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OLYMPUS TG-820 Review – The Best of Times The Worst of Times

By Lawrence Davis

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Olympus TG-820, the newest tough as nails, can withstand shock, heat, wind, rain, and submersion, point and shoot camera, was sent to me to review and arrived during my ski trip to Lake Tahoe where I could test it out.

Olympus TG-820 Camera

As the publisher and editor-in-chief of Splash Magazines, I often receive technology products and I must say the Olympus Tough TG-820 is one tough point and shoot and I guess I’m split on its deliverability. I’m not impressed with the still photos but am sold on the video, clear sharp HD!

The Olympus TG-820 comes in a variety of colors, blue, red, silver and black. I was sent the black. It has sleek lines, is trimmed in black and has limited line interruption. The Olympus TG-820 is the length and width of a Blackberry Bold and double the depth. It fits easily in the palm of your hand and has a side slide lock that lock all features easily so no pictures or video are deleted unintentionally through the touch/user sensitivity feature.

Olympus TG-820 Camera

The camera has unique and interesting touch sensors that with single knuckle taps on the sides, bottom and top, the camera can be programmed to display and advanced through the menu of offerings. An open handed side tap doesn’t seem to generate the same fast advance as a knuckle tap and using the touch method is awkward when trying to tap the top of the camera. 

The 3-inch rear LCD features an amazing 1,030k-dot resolution—which makes it extremely sharp and occupies most of the back panel. The only physical controls sharing that back panel space are the Record button, playback controls, the menu and Help button with a small round cylinder with arrow directional controlling the user experience.  The zoom rocker, shutter release, and Power button are located on the top of the camera. The zoom control moves from left to right. Also the Olympus Tough has audio assurance attached to the controls enhancing the user experience.

Olympus TG-820 Camera - About the size of a handheld device

With a 5x zoom lens, and although that may seem sparse for a standard point and shoot, it is impressive in a tough camera. It covers a 28-140mm focal range. The Olympus Tough has a wider 25mm lens, but can only zoom in to 100mm.

Although the Olympus Tough TG-820 is rated for use in up to 33 feet underwater, able to survive drops up to 6.6 feet, works in temperatures as low as 14°F, and can be crushed under 220 pounds of pressure I didn’t attempt any of these feats to ensure accuracy in advertising.  

Olympus TG-820 Camera

In terms of speed, the Olympus Tough TG-820 is impressive. There is practically no pause between shots. It can shoot in 1.5 seconds, with only a 0.2 second between photos, which equates to about five frames per second, which makes for very little shutter lag time between shots. It also records with a very short 0.1-second shutter lag. The Olympus also has an automatic shutter that snaps on and off and is accompanied with sound notification. The shutter speed is probably the fastest you can get without buying an SLR

In terms of sharpness, the videos were great, crystal clear, and unfortunately the pictures were not. I’m a tough judge as I travel and expect to come back with memories that I can share through my publication with millions of readers. I know that Tough Cameras often have a difficult time maintaining a sharpness again I was surprised the Olympus Tough TG-820 videos.

Even though the TG-820's video is recorded in 1080p30 format, it isn't the most crisp I've seen. The footage, which is recorded in QuickTime format, is a little dark and slightly grainy to my eye. The camera can zoom in and out while rolling video, and while the noise of the lens moving is slightly audible on the soundtrack, you'll have to increase the volume to hear it. There's a standard micro HDMI port for output to an HDTV, although the USB port is a proprietary design. The USB cable can plug into your computer or into the included USB to AC adapter, which is the only way to charge the camera's battery. The memory card slot is a standard design, accommodating SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards.

From the box contains camera, strap, Ion battery, CD-Rom, USB and AV plugs Manuel, warranty card and adapter. The Olympus Tough TG-820 costs between $219.99 and $249.99.

Overall, the Olympus Tough TG-820 is a great camera and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I would have preferred to receive the camera before my trip and might have had a better user experience if I had the time to learn the program and camera functions and the camera ability.

Of all the Olympus cameras I used this is fair and my preference is the Olympus TG-2-iHS which I borrowed for a day from a friend in Indonesian and am hoping to receive one for review.









Published on Feb 18, 2013

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