Ease of Use: / 5
Pricing: / 5
Video Quality: / 5
Photo Quality: / 5
Features: / 100
- 14.0 Mega Pixels
- 5x Optical Zoom – Olympus Lens – 1: 3.9-5.9
- 2m Shockproof
- 10m Waterproof
- HyperCrystal View LCD Display
- Built-in GPS
- HDMI Out
The TG-810 is the latest iteration of Olympus’ popular Tough series cameras. Having spent some time with it, I can understand why it is such a popular series of cameras.
On the Outside:
This camera looks every bit as tough and rugged as you would expect from a camera that’s part of a series called “Tough”. It looks like something a Navy Seal should be using. If you forgot you hammer, you could probably use this rugged piece of equipment as a substitute. It looks that tough.
As you would expect, most of the exterior is metal, with the lens sunk into the body to help prevent knocks.
The top houses the Power and shutter release buttons and the GPS knob. The side houses a waterproof dock for the battery and memory cards that you have to pressurize and depressurize depending on whether you are opening or closing it. That happens by turning a small button. It feels very sturdy.
The back has the zoom buttons, a dedicated video recording button and the usual play/menu/navigate buttons for operation. The buttons are easy to operate and not finicky and very logically laid out. It’s simple, but perfect for this sort of camera.
The back also houses the LCD display. The display is called a HyperCrystal display. On a camera like this you need something really strong, almost like the Gorilla Glass you get on all the modern cell phones. This display seemed to do a good job and I didn’t manage to get a scratch on it, even though I tried my best, as you’ll see in the video. I did see a few small scratches on the unit I got. Whoever put it there had to severely punish the camera. The display has a decent resolution, and average viewing angle.
This camera is shockproof up to 2m. I couldn’t get myself to drop it, although I did test its waterproof claim to the extreme. I even had people shouting at me in shock and horror as I dunked the camera under the water at the beach, only to be pleasantly surprised and relieved, as I pulled it out, and played them the video or photo I just took, while the water was still dripping from the camera. One person even pledged to buy one the next day, after my water antics with the camera.
On the Inside:
As mentioned earlier, the camera has built-in GPS. It worked without a hitch. That means that you can geo-tag your photos you take from the top on Kilimanjaro or from the top of Table Mountain.
The menu system, is very straight forward and without and frills or anything else fancy. When your trekking through bogs and marshes, you want a functional men system, not a frilly one. And it works like a charm. All the settings are where you’d expect them to be.
So, you’ve gathered that it’s tough and can hold its own in just about every situation nature can throw at it. But, does it actually deliver decent results?
The photos are fantastic. This camera has a 14MP sensor and the results are sharp, well defined and well exposed. The zoom range is quite handy, and goes beyond most competitors’ 3x zoom in this class of camera. The macro function is surprisingly good. Details remained sharp, and you can get in very close. The camera handled very tricky lighting situations with extreme light variations with ease, and the white balance was mostly very accurate.
Auto focus was also remarkably fast for this class of camera, and very accurate. Olympus has been in the game for a long time, and it shows. I struggled to catch the camera out, and when I did, the results were still very manageable. The photos were a very pleasant surprize.
The video was as positive though. A lot of thought went into the photos, but it’s clear that the video was a bit more of an after-thought. It’s not bad though.
The negatives first: The video output is only 1280×720. In a 1920×1080 world, 720 simply isn’t good enough anymore. The other problem is in the encoding. This is actually a problem that could be rectified with a simple firmware update. The video struggles with movement, smearing and softening a lot of details. The data rate is quite low at around 12-13Mbps. This only adds to the detriment of the video. The problem with this sort of camera is that most of the things you would shoot would be moving a lot. Things don’t keep still under water… When the focal point was quite static, the results looked great, like the last shot of the leaves in the sample video.
The positives: The video exposure was very accurate and colour rendition accurate, even under very demanding situations, like in the puddles and waves crashing over the camera. Exposure changes were also handled with ease and were very smooth, with almost no visible “stepping” noticeable. The focus was fast and accurate. The focus did hunt a bit more than I would have liked, but being very fast, it didn’t distract too much.
This camera is a very well thought out product from a company that knows what they are doing when it comes to producing cameras. This camera was a heap of fun to use, as you can confidently get close to the action, any action, or my case IN the action. This means unique results as you will see from the sample gallery and video.
The photos are of excellent quality, with lots of detail, good exposure and accurate colour rendition. And with 14MP, you never feel wanting higher resolution photos.
The video isn’t as good the photo, yet still a lot of fun, with great results to entertain yourself and everyone else with. You will not be shooting the next underwater fantasy movie with this camera, but you could definitely get all the behind the scenes photos.
Overall a very Tough and well-made camera that produces great photos and very decent video.