Innovation has always been Olympus’ motto and the company was the first to start the trend of tough digital cameras in the market.
Olympus internationally launched the Tough TG 810 in March 2011. This digital camera boasts a 5x optical zoom, 28-140mm equivalent lens, and features a waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof and crushproof design to withstand rough handling of any sort. This new TG 810 is designed to drive users to a new level in photography with its new features.
Design and Build Quality
The Olympus TG 810 is made of a tough metal outer case with a silver metallic finish. For a camera weighing 221g, the build quality is good. It is waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, shockproof up to a drop of two metres, freezeproof up to minus 10 degree Celsius, crushproof up to 100kg, and dustproof with innovative weather-sealing. Available body colours include black and silver.
The TG 810 is a 14-megapixel camera using a 1/2.3 inch Type (6.16 x 4.62mm) CCD for imaging. The camera uses Dual Image Stabilisation (CCD- shift IS and High-sensitivity shooting) for blur-free images in low-light conditions. It features a 28-140mm equivalent, f/3.9-5.9 lens. In the Normal mode, it focusses from 60 cm to infinity, while in the Macro mode, it focusses from 20cm to infinity at the wide-angle end; and 50 cm to infinity at the telephoto end. In Super Macro mode, the focussing range is from 3 cm to 60 cm. The metering modes of the camera are Digital ESP and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 1600 and White Balance options are Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, and Fluorescent.
The camera’s shutter speeds range from 4 to 1/2000 sec. The available shooting modes are 3D Photos, Program Auto, iAUTO, SCN, Panorama and Magic Filter (which allows you to try your hand at being creative, as explained later). 3D images can be captured only while shooting still objects and can be viewed only on 3D-compatible TVs. In iAUTO mode, the camera determines the type of scene and applies the setting to optimise the results. Scene modes available are Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach & Snow, Underwater, Pet Mode, Cat/Dog, Snow, Portrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night scene, and Night Portrait. The Underwater mode provides four options—Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide 1 (for portraits), Underwater Wide 2 (for action scenes), and Underwater Macro. The TG 810 features Shadow Adjustment technology, which automatically balances the shadow areas of the scene and also features Face Detection AF and Pet Detection capability.
The TG 810 includes a variety of eight Magic Filters which are quite similar to the in-camera Art filters first introduced in Olympus digital SLRs in 2009. The Magic Filters consist of Pop art, Pin hole, Fish eye, Drawing, Soft focus, and Punk (gives a classic rock feel to your image), including two new features—watercolour and sparkle. The Sparkle Filter introduces a twinkling effect on highlight areas. While using magic filters, the frame rate might vary depending on the filter used.
The device offers 720p high definition movie recording with HDMI output to view images and movies on your HDTV. HDMI cable is optional.
The TG 810 uses a 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot HyperCrystal III colour LCD monitor and has a built-in GPS receiver to keep you on the map, and an Electronic Compass which allows you to trace your shooting directions and a manometer (measures water and air pressure) which records the depth or altitude at which the pictures have been shot. This model uses a Li-ion rechargeable battery pack (supplied). When connected to a PC, the battery is charged via USB port. The camera has dimensions of approximately 100.2 x 64.5 x 26.0 mm (W x H x D).
By its compact box form, the TG 810 is light in weight and fits well into our hands. The 3.0 inch ultra high definition 920K dots LCD provides with a wide viewing angle. The menu is simple, straightforward, and easy to navigate. The display appeared noisy and buttons are closely placed, making it slightly uncomfortable to use. The joystick is quite small and hence, users with large hands may find it inconvenient to use.
The TG 810 produced sharp images with good contrast. The lens controlled distortion very well. No barrel or pincushion distortion was observed at any focal length. Slight darkening was observed at the wide-angle end with the lens wide open, but is not much of a concern. Since the camera does not have manual or priority modes, we could not set the optimum aperture for our tests. In the test for flare, the camera set the aperture to f/11. In this setting, prominent flare was observed at the wide-angle end. We did not observe any chromatic aberration. White Balance performed effectively under sunlight and cloudy conditions, but a distinct colour cast was seen when shot in artificial light. This was easily corrected in Photoshop.
Native print size of the images was 10.72 x 14.29 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the screen size, ISO 1600 was noisy. Slight noise was seen at ISO 800 also. When viewed at 50 percent, ISO 400 also showed slight noise. Enlarged to 100 percent of the screen size, the images showed noise from ISO 200 onwards, but were perfectly usable up to ISO 800. For best results, stick to ISO 80 or 100.
Autofocus was sluggish and struggled to lock on to the subject under low-light situations. The camera’s metering was accurate, though in strong light, highlight burnouts were noticed.
Value for money
The Olympus TG 810 is sold at an MRP of Rs.20,999. Considering the advanced features and its tough construction the cost seems justified for the adventurous lot, but for others, this might be over-priced.
+ Sturdy build quality
+ Weather sealing
– Uncomfortable joystick
– Not much space between buttons
– Sluggish Autofocus
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 17/20
Noise Control 3/5
Value for Money 7/10
Grand Total 77/1
The Olympus TG 810 would be a great buy if you are looking for a rugged ‘all-terrain’ camera that can produce good images with minimum hassles.