Pinned on November 4, 2013 at 7:42 am by Mary Hardin
Drop it, dunk it, splash it, freeze it, The TG-820 is built to keep up at 7 frames per second
Fast And Ruggest, but very harsh Image Quality IMHO I am trying to find a good waterproof camera for surfing/snorkling (I live in Hawaii ). I got this because the sound recording on 2 Canon powershot d20′s stoped working for me. I liked just about everything (other than the speed and strap placement of the d20), but obviously there is a problem with waterproofing as the sound stopped recording correctly on both of them after a snorkling trip.Fast forward 2 weeks and now I have the Olymus tg-820 which I decided to try over the older Nikon AW100 and the significantly more expensive Olympus TG-1. I knew that people didn’t think the Video recording was great on the TG-820, and that the battery life was subpar, but it looks like the best of the three options for my budget. The summary is that there are some good things about this camera, but again I either got unlucky (again) or there is a quality issue with the CMOS sensor as the image quality leaves a lot to be desired. Most of my comparisons are going to be between the D20 and the TG-820 as I have had hands on with both of them.Pros:1) Very fast compared to Canon Powershot D20. The biggest improvment is the between shot time which is closer to .2 seconds vs 1 second on the d20. The burst mode is much better too!2) Strap placement is much better3) Battery/SD card door is double lock, but easier to use than the D20 which i almost broke a fingernail trying to open.4) Construction appears a little better than the D20 (which had a couple rough edges on some of the frame pieces.5) Lens cover – not sure if this is a pro or con. Helps keep lens cleaner in pocket, but another mechanical part to possibly fail.6) More easily accessable Manual control options than the D20.7) No issues with sound recording yet, and the speaker while not great is definitly louder than than the D20 which i could barely hear.Cons:1)***Image quality is very very . .. struggling to come up with the right word. Harsh or Violent seems to best fit. Basically there is a good bit of detail in the pictures (probably a bit more than the D20), and zoomed out the images look pretty good, but as soon as you zoom in there are terrible artifacts around all edges, blotches on solid or gradient surfaces, and a good bit of chromatic aberations, and obvious ISO noise everywhere (particularly in the dark areas). I have tried playing around with all the settings (dynamic range correction, decreasing JPEG compression, JPEG size, ISO settings, etc . .), and pretty much anything above 100 ISO or maybe 200 ISO is too noisy in my opinion and even 100 ISO has the JPEG edge artifacts. While noise inceased and detail decreased on the higher ISO on the D20, I felt like up to 1600 ISO was usable. Not so at all on the TG-820. The camera has a tendency to shot at ISO400 and use flash on every picture indoors. The D20 would usually not use flash but shoot at ISO 800 and I found the pictures to be far better. Needless to say for a camera with supposed great low light performance I was pretty disapointed. I have gone back and looked at sample images for the TG-1 and now that I know what I am looking for they look a lot less noisy (presumably due to the f2.0 lens as well requiring lower ISO settings). I tried to upload an example picture to Amazon so you could see what i am talking about, but unfortunatly Amazon smooths out pictures and reduces their quality to save space so you couldn’t see the issues. Playing around with post processing by adding noise reduction in Adobe lightroom definitly helps stuff out, but you loose a lot of detail by the time you get rid of enough noise.2) Autofocus isn’t as acurate and hunts around a bit, especially in video mode.3) No highspeed video mode. This feels like a total oversight on Olympus’s part. The processor is obviously much faster than the D20, but has no 120 or 240 FPS video modes like most of the competing tough cams do.4) Video quality isn’t as good as D20 either – appears mostly related to compression artifacts and the autofocus issues5) I am getting pretty good at the joystick buttom control, but it is definitly touchy, and I almost always make a mistake when applying the settings I want the first time.6) Camera modes are a bit confusing and not as intuative as the D20s. Although there are more options, a lot of them don’t seem very usefull (like the 4 different underwater modes – probably only Underwater Wide 1 is any use- and you still have to manually turn the flash setting off).Overall – Promissing aside from the image quality. It honestly looks like a processing issue to me more than necessarily just the sensor or lens, but hard to tell without seeing RAW images off the camera. I am probably going to return mine as the image quality is a bit of a deal breaker for me. Not sure what I will try next?? Maybe try the TG-1 or Nikon AW100 (tempted to wait for Nikon to release a…
Really Awesome Camera I recently picked up the TG820 for my 9 YO daughter (her 3rd P&S camera) now that she has taken a fancy to photography. I purchased it at a local camera shop for no more than what it would have cost buying online. In doing my pre-purchase research I saw that Nikon offers a model with similar features that seems to be very popular right now. However, after previously buying my daughter the inexpensive (ie, less than $100) Nikon L22 and then the next iteration L24, I no longer have any confidence whatsoever in the quality of the components in the Nikon point & shoot cameras since the battery cover broke on each camera after minimal use. I believe that this is something Nikon had to be fully aware of before introducing the L24 as the problem appeared to be well documented in L22 reviews. After comparing the features of the Olympus TG820 to the Canon, Nikon, Pentax, & Sony rugged-type cameras, I liked what I saw in this model the best, including the fact that it does not have GPS and the picture taking lens has what appears to be a rugged automatic lens cover when the camera is switched off. I also don’t expect to have problems with the double-locking, tight-sealing, metal-hinged battery cover.Based on our limited experience, this camera takes wonderfully detailed, clear, quality snapshots with rich, satisfying colors. The LCD viewfinder is razor sharp. The macro feature is extremely good and has 2 different settings. Best of all, the camera has been so much fun to use. My daughter says it’s “really cool”. I’ve owned and used a number of P&S cameras (and DSLRs) and have not enjoyed any camera as much as I have this one. My daughter especially likes the ‘fragmented’ special effect and has taken some really brilliant, well composed shots using this feature. They look so good that I’m considering having several enlarged (possibly up to 16×20). We had the camera with us in the swimming pool today to take stills and video. We did our shooting on, in, and under the water and were totally in awe tonight after reviewing our results on a large computer monitor. To sum up in one word what we saw – “WOW!”While I would love to give the TG820 a full 5 stars, there are 3 reasons I won’t. While video was not the purpose I got this camera, I find the video performance to be just OK at best. Maybe we still need to become more familiar with shooting video with this camera but focus seems a bit hit or miss/here or there. Of greater concern however is the joystick and how difficult it can be to accurately navigate though one’s choices. I see another reviewer called this a glaring error and I must agree. Navigating with the joystick pretty much requires use of one’s fingernail and not the fingertip to be able to press only the very outer edge of this button (ie, the joystick) in the intended direction. A little too much pressure (very little actually) away from the edge will usually result in an unintentional selection, thus requiring you to get out of what you’ve landed in and re-start the process from the beginning – sometimes multiple times. It took me nearly 10 minutes to set the time and date because of this ‘touchiness’, a task that should take no more than a minute. Finally, it does not come with a separate battery charger so the battery can only be charged in the camera while the camera is connected to a computer or plugged in an outlet, thus taking the camera out of service while the battery charges (about 1-3 hours). If you carry and use a 2nd battery, you’ll have to consecutively re-charge each battery in the camera.In spite of the above short-comings, I would still highly recommend this camera to anyone looking for a rugged, take anywhere camera that can be used in most any environment including under water because it takes really great photos and is really fun to use.6/30/11 – The battery life on our camera is less than desirable, actually it’s quite dismal. I would highly recommend having a second charged battery on hand to swap out the partially run down battery if you’re planning to do a lot of shooting between charges. We currently have taken approx 800 shots after 5 days on our family vacation. We have had to swap out the battery after a morning of shooting to ensure that we can shoot the rest of the day since one battery has yet to last an entire day of shooting. Not making the swap after a morning of shooting has resulted in a dead battery in the early afternoon. We have found that charging both batteries sequentially every night after a day of shooting or just charging one battery whenever we have a break of several hours avoids the disappointment of a dead battery.7/1/11 – Video performance: I shot several short videos in the past week and I will retract my previous comments about the ‘poor’ video quality. It does video OK and I would use the TG-820 again to shoot short videos. The image quality I now think is very good while…
Fantastic!!!! Really is waterproof. Bought this camera on a whim before our honeymoon to the Caribbean. Both of us are avid photographers and normally use SLR cameras, but wanted something in the small point-and-shoot category, and something we didn’t have to be afraid of dropping or getting wet, and that we could use underwater. This camera impressed us so much that we didn’t take our SLR out of it’s case a single time the entire trip! It held up to a week of constant use though sun, sand, water, and dust without a hitch, and not a single foggy or blurry photo. We took it snorkeling in up to 10 feet of water for hours at a time and it took fantastic photos with no issue during or afterwards. Drop it in the sand? Rinse it off in the ocean!Another impressive thing about this camera is the sheer number of settings and photo modes. The filters are incredibly accurate and processing was super fast (INSTANT). Even processing for the panorama mode (which works great!) was completed in under 10 seconds. My wife loved the “pop art” and “dramatic” settings, and the FOUR underwater modes all worked perfectly.Not sure what “Lucas Smith” is talking about with his review that talked about the battery life. Our battery easily lasted though each day (200-300 photos and video, 6+ hours a day) without dying a single time. The battery/SD card/charging port double lock was very easy to operate, and didn’t let a single grain of sand or drop of water into the area the entire trip.Construction is great – no loose or flimsy pieces, and when powered down a METAL door automatically slides over the lens to protect it from dirt and dust.Focusing and firing is EXTREMELY fast. Almost instant – leaving plenty of time for multiple simultaneous shots of action filled activities. I was able to easily squeeze off 3-4 shots in 3 seconds (no flash), all of them in focus.The LCD screen is the best i’ve seen on a camera yet – easily viewable in bright sunlight and even underwater, crystal clear, and sharp.Taking video is effortless thanks to the separate record button on the back corner, no fumbling with the settings to enable recording mode vs shooting mode. I do wish that I was able to snap still shots while recording though, but it’s easy enough to extract images from the video once you load it onto your computer, and since the videos are in 1080p the images are still sharp and clear.I have yet to test the freeze-proof and crush-proof claims, but based on the durable construction and water-proof performance I have little doubts about their accuracy.BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for an extremely flexible and durable “tough” point and shoot camera, look no further than this one. It will satisfy everyone from the beginner photographer to the professional, and I still wouldn’t be afraid to hand it to my friend’s kids to use at the beach or in the pool. If i could give it 6 stars I would. A++ Olympus – this one is a home run.