on July 1, 2013
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.
on July 19, 2012
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.
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 better
3) 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.
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 issues
5) 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 new model though). Even though I really like the speed of the TG-820 I would definitly take the Canon D20 over it (if i could get one that the mic didn't fail on me). Maybe your expirience will differ, so good luck to anyone trying this.
**** updates ****
Ok, so i think i figured out what is going on with regards to image quality. The camera is apply a high level of sharpening along with agressive jpeg compression. Doing the same action in Adobe Lightroom gives me similar results. The level looks very overdone to me and it doesn't look like there is anyway to disable it. Not zoomed in the images look fine, but zoomed in the effect is that the whole image looks harsh, and it creates what appears to be artifacts around edges (like eyes and mouths). I honestly don't notice it too much elsewhere, but on the eyes and mouth this is particularly anoying. The ISO noise isn't as bad as I thought it was initially and is decent up to ISO 800. It is really the auto sharpening and compression that is bad.
Couple other grips in additional testing:
1) Underwater modes are pretty useless. The main one that is closest to usefull forces the flash (terible thing to do in most underwater shots), and if you disable the flash it is reenabled the next power cycle. So i am just using normal program mode with underwater white balance. Color balance isn't very good though, and there is a very blue cast on just about everything. Doesn't look terrible though.
2) The focus hunting in videos is more anoying that i thought initially, and unless you are videoing a stationary subject you probably won't be happy with the focus. The 60fps video vs 24fps on the canon d20 is nice though.
3) battery is very week. Barely made it though 1 1/2 hour snorkling trip (100 pictures and 5 videos) and it was almost dead. This would be a serious limitation.
I am 95% sure this camera is going to be returned, but i will give it another week to try to find some fixes for the sharpening, and video focus.
-1 star for Image Quality issues (was -2, but now i understand what is going on better)-
-1 star for video focus issues
-1 star for poor battery life
-1 star for useless underwater modes, touchy controls, no highspeed video, etc. .
+1 star for speed (generally very fast and snappy)
+1 star for durability and battery compartment access (so far so good which is better than the canon d20s i had)
on June 16, 2012
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 16x20). 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 the microphone, as one would expect, is just adequate enough to pick up nearby sounds. Flash performance: Using the camera indoors for flash photos generally produced crisp, well-exposed results at the distances we were shooting (typically 3-11 feet). The red-eye reduction flash feature worked great.
Based on our 3 weeks with the TG-820 including a week-long vacation where we took over 1000 photos, we know we can take the TG-820 anywhere and come back with great pictures! Everything considered, my rating remains 4 stars.
on June 4, 2012
Purchased the TG-820 camera in mid-May for an upcoming trip to Bermuda and both my wife and I were extremely impressed. We have not purchased a digital camera for about 6 years or more and no longer use our old digital video camera due to its size and complexity. I thought it would be a great idea to buy a camera to capture my snorkeling and our yearly trips. I was very skeptical about the waterproof feature since according to the reviews on virtually all of these underwater cameras there is a fairly high failure rate. Well, after snorkeling 3 times in Bermuda and capturing some great stills and video I can say that so far this camera is working extremely well. My wife also captured some great (and funny) video and stills as we zipped around the island on our scooter. I am not a photographer and neither is she but I found that using many of the different modes worked extremely well. In particular the sunset mode and panorama mode were especially useful. I will likely use many of the other modes as I become more familiar with the camera. I left the setting on the auto mode and this worked well for her shots from the back of the scooter. As far as the layout of the buttons, I have large hands and had no issues with the toggle switch and actually thought it worked rather well despite another review here. The LCD screen is great but I had some trouble seeing it when snorkeling and watching the video afterward on the camera screen was initially disappointing but when I transferred the video to my computer the video was amazing and I was thrilled at the videos of parrot fish I was able to shoot. The audio was weird and a bit disappointing initially but again when I transferred to my computer and played through the computer speakers it was much better. Really can't expect much from such a tiny microphone/speaker. Overall this was a great purchase and I would highly recommend this camera. I took over 400 pictures/video which is way more than I ever have in the past which illustrates how much fun this camera was to use. Follow the directions for care after underwater use and you should be good to go. Buy & enjoy!
on May 4, 2013
A retired photojournalist, I was photographing rough water action in the Virgin Islands with a Canon digital SLR and very expensive lens. The man standing next to me was using a TG-820, waterproof, small, and rugged. Comparison of the final photos from the two cameras displayed little difference between similar images. I ordered the camera the next day and carry it with me constantly
on April 19, 2012
I have only had this camera for a week but I am in love! This is my second Tough camera. My first was the 1030SW and it was a phenomenal camera! I was sad it got water logged after several years of use. I'm pretty sure it was my doing too, not a malfunction in the camera. I replaced that camera with the Panasonic Lumix TS10 and really do not like that camera. Feel free to read my review of it to learn why.
*FYI - I'm not a professional photographer and I'm sure more technically minded people will have different opinions about small technical things.
This newest Tough TG-820 is awesome. The display screen is large and extremely clear. It's like watching a mini-HDTV. I really like the video button since it is so easy to switch between photo and video. I have a toddler so this feature makes it easy to capture quickly the various silly things he does on a daily basis. I love how quickly a photo is displayed in the LCD after pressing down the shutter. I read that it can take multiple photos in a row if the file size is smaller but I haven't experimented very much yet. The toggle is good and bad. This is my first toggle on a camera so I feel like it's a bit sensitive to the touch but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Everything is selected using the toggle (ie, flash, macro, timer, etc.). I like how the photos do a thumbnail slideshow when holding the toggle to the left or right. The auto-lens cover is loud when it closes. It actually has startled me. The camera is on the heavier side. It's definitely larger than my first Tough camera. It has a power save feature and an auto-off feature but I think it takes about 10 minutes to shutoff. I haven't yet tested this camera in the water but if it's anything like my first Tough camera, I know I'll be happy. The built-in speaker isn't very good. One thing that I find as an annoyance with this newest model is that it did not come with a battery charger. The camera is supposed to be plugged in to charge the battery via USB or AC power adapter. Not exactly convenient. I am happy to still have the battery charger from my first Tough camera so I don't have to worry about this. I recommend buying a battery charger and extra batteries.
I only gave this camera 4 stars due to the various small issues listed above but overall, I think this camera is great and I highly recommend it. It is an expensive camera but the quality is outstanding.
on May 19, 2012
This is one Fantastic little camera, I was afraid it would be bulky but its not, its pocket friendly with a very comfy shape to grip. I am a photography hobbyist, not a professional by any means and I was seeking a good camera to take out on my Geocaching adventures, without fear of breaking it. Though I have only had this camera a few hours, in just testing it out I am amazed at the photo quality. The HyperCrystal Viewer in the back makes looking through your photos easy, the bright colors are very easy to see in the sunlight. I haven't seen any issues with glare. the buttons are easy to maneuver and scroll with. It takes fantastic shots of my pets, getting a picture of them, actually sitting still is almost impossible. All I could get where blurry, movement blobs. I took this camera outside with them and for once I have some extremely cute photos of my pets running around that are crystal clear!
Now I have not tried "All" the features as of yet, I haven't thrown it against a wall, sat on it. I will update as it performs, specially if anything goes wrong.
I have however, dunked it in my fishtank and took some AMAZING close up pictures of my Big fish! I was nervous at first but it worked perfectly.
It will take some getting used to just like any new items. My old Camera was an Olympus Stylus 600, this is a Huge upgrade to me, but thankfully its not so different in controls and options where I'm lost. I cant wait to take this camera for its first Geocaching hike through the parks!
So far the only few things I don't like, don't have much to do with the camera its self. The box does not come with a very informative book to flip through. Just a few basic info folded papers. It does come with a CD-Rom that I haven't used yet since my netbook doesn't have a CD drive. Also, as some have said elsewhere, I wish it came with an actual battery charger station, instead of having to charge the battery with it in the camera. I plan to try my old battery charger or buying one so I can carry extra batteries while I'm out on the trails.
Still takes wonderful pictures under water, It did take a lot of tweaking to figure out how to record properly, it seems a tad shaky and "woobly" when zooming in and out. Its really hard to get the video recorder to re-focus once it goes out of focus on something. Over-all I am still very happy with this camera, BUT I am going to move my 5 stars down to 4. Mostly for the video recording hiccups. I have also noticed I have a hard time getting the camera to focus on the target I am wanting it to, it likes to focus off to the side, or behind it alot. Though that might just me user error. :)
Update: 12/12/12 - 04/01/13
Camera somehow got an odd mark or fuzz or something under the lens that I could not clean off no matter what I tried. I was advised to mail the camera back and I did after the holidays, thankfully, since it took over a month for them to "fix" it and send it back to me. I went right back to taking pictures, everything seemed fine. They said they updated the firmware, when I tried to shoot video's after receiving my camera back, it would lock up and freeze, I would have to remove the battery to shut it down. I tried to place it in water and take a picture of some fish and noticed that it now leaked ALL around the camera buttons.. Soo, here I mailed it back once more..
This time it took about two weeks, they mailed me a whole new camera. Not black like I had, but Silver. I don't mind I suppose, it works and everything seems good so far. I don't like that I still had about 3 months of my original warranty on my old camera but this one they mailed me with a 15 day warranty.. So far though, so good, everything is back in working order, they were very nice on the phone each time and seemed to want to help.
on August 6, 2012
I would like to start this review by saying that I am not a professional photographer. I do, however, enjoy taking photographs as a hobby and have a few cameras and basic working knowledge of aperature settings, shutter speeds, ISO setting, etc. If you want a thorough, in-depth review of the camera and every single feature then I recommend going to a photography or Olympus' website, if you want a practical review for the average/hobbyist photographer then please keep reading.
This was the first point and shoot camera I purchased in a while. Before this, my everyday camera was a fixed lens Fujifilm camera that is not nearly as tough. Therefore I needed something that I could take with me on vacation to the beach, kayaking, hunting, to family events with young children where I wouldn't take a nicer camera, tripod, bag, etc. anyway. For the features and price of this camera you cannot go wrong.
Paired with a Sandisk ExtremeSD card (you'll want a fast SD card to transfer HD video off the camera) I have taken probably 1000 pictures and some video in the last two weeks and will describe some of the features I like about this camera. In no particular order:
1. Burst Mode Shooting - I have never had a camera that had this feature and now realize that I could never do without. A recent example of where this comes in handy was visiting my sister who has a 4 week old. Taking pictures of babies/children can be a gamble as you never know when they will smile, look in the right direction, etc. Using this feature I was able to take nice quick bursts of images capturing the brief moment when the baby was not crying and smiling big right at the camera! I believe the camera would work just fine at any local sporting event, etc.
2. Durability/Waterproofing - This was a main reason in purchasing the camera. I like the outdoors. I hunt, I fish, I kayak, I snorkel, you name it. Having taken a number of cruises and tacking on a snorkling/kayking trip I was the "look at that guy, he thought to bring a waterproof (albeit disposable) camera." Having used those throw away cameras a number of times with the high film exposure speed, you learn quickly that the pictures are grainy, incorrectly exposed, etc. Half the time the pictures just plain stink and you have no instant feedback after the shot. Do I think this camera should be used for deep sea exploration? No. Do I think the underwater features/capabilities are sufficient for the average joe to shoot great pictures to share with their friends of a trip to Grand Cayman Reef? Yes, yes, yes. I just recently took a trip to St. Thomas and St. Maarten and this camera was great out on a boat and in the water. Just make sure you buy a floating camera strap...
3. Instant HD video - So easy just push the button and record. Video is high quality. Microphone is not the best but this is a point and shoot camera that takes takes video as good as any microHD camcorder with comparable sound. Those cameras wont go underwater, at least right out of the box anyway. Again, if you want to shoot short films for the Cannes Film Festival buy a purpose built device, if you want to shoot quick videos of your daughter's 6th birthday party this will work just fine. What is nice is some of the "Magic Filters" carry over into the video recording. Which brings me to...
4. Magic Filters - These filters add some great effects to pictures. Sure some are garish and silly but some are downright cool. I particulary like the "Pop Art" filter which draws out bright colors by making them even brighter and more vivid (think Andy Warhol). Also interesting is the fish eye "lens" (self-explanatory) and dramatic lens filter which seems just to be a High Dynamic Range image post-processed within the camera. If you don't know what it is, look it up. The effect makes the pictures look pretty wicked and dark/sinister in some cases. All this without having to buy photo editing software. I won't go into all the filters but they are fun an offer a neat distraction to turn an otherwise boring picture into something far more interesting.
I could go on but at the expense of becoming superfluous in my write-up I will just sum up. Buy this camera, with the exception of the harshest, most particular photographers, you will not be disappointed. Although I would recommend camera to those more picky photographers anyway as I think the cost alone justifies the purchase...if you drop it you didn't just break that $500 lense and damage that fancy SLR camera body.
on November 24, 2012
I don't usually comment, but this camera is worth it for guys like us. I was looking for a durable camera after having spent $100 here and there on various cameras on previous combat deployments. They were all disappointing. I did a lot of research on cameras this time around and I decided to go with this one. I put this camera in my front pocket without a case. I've banged this camera against the ground with full kit on, slammed it against up-armored vehicles, scraped it against jagged walls while climbing over them and just basically have been abusing it. As you can see it has been beat up pretty bad. It's been wet, in the hot sun and in the cold. Haven't had a malfunction with it yet; still works perfectly fine. The buttons are easy to use even with gloves on. The pictures are great, but then again this is from a guy that doesn't know too much about photography. And the easy to use record button, is the best feature in my opinion.
I gave it four stars because it has turned on in my pocket a couple of times and it has a loud beeping noise when doing so. It has only happened four times in the past 6 months that I've had it, but you can see how this could be bad on night ops. Good thing is when it does turn on and I don't notice it, the battery life is pretty descent where it will last the whole day. Also I was a little hesitant of the price, but I said screw it, because who knows if I was even going to make it back from this deployment right. At least I would have some good pictures that my buddies could look at whilst remembering how much of a $#!% bag I was. Haha! Happy hunting.
De Oppresso Liber
P.S. I also have the contour roam for a helmet cam. You have to buy the attachment for the ops core helmet also on the contour website or on amazon.
on August 1, 2013
I've waited a couple of months to post a review for this camera because I wanted to make sure that I took it through its paces. In a sentence, The Olympus TG-820 is a fantastic outdoor camera that doesn't need to be babied like many other proclaimed "tough cameras" .
I spent a lot of time comparing the reviews and specs for many cameras within this "tough camera" segment. It all boiled down to the Nikon AW100 and the Olympus TG-820 for my price range and functionality requirements.
I chose the Olympus over the Nikon for many reasons. The TG-820 in nearly 100 dollars cheaper than the Nikon and had more useful features to my shooting habits.
Reasons I chose TG-820 over the AW100:
1. TG-820 has more than double the screen resolution of the AW100
(1,030K dots vs. 460k dots)
2. TG-820 can shoot up to 5fps over the Nikon's 3 allowing for better action shots
3. TG-820 has better low light performance with a maximum ISO of 6,400 compared to the Nikon's 3,200
What the TG-820 does well:
The TG-820 performed extremely well in and out of the water. I took this camera snorkeling in Fiji, and I had zero problems with its claims of being waterproof up to 33 feet. All of the ports on the camera have rubber seals that lock tightly and secure the camera from water, with the battery and SD card compartment having a double locking system to make sure you don't accidentally open the compartment.
The 5x optical lens is housed completely inside of the camera so there is no protruding part to get bent or broken allowing the camera to maintain a tight water seal. To test this, I gave this camera to local spear fisherman on my trip to get some cool under water pictures. After the fact, I found out the camera was taken to depths of nearly 50 feet without any mechanical problems.
The menus on the camera are not overly complex, but switching shooting modes and ISO are only accessible by navigating the onscreen menus. There are no designated buttons on the camera, or a touch screen to quickly toggle your settings. This could be a buzz kill for some people wanting to change settings quickly, but once you get the hang of the settings menu, it's very manageable.
*Just found the "tap control" setting on this camera, which allows the user to tap the sides of the camera with their finger to navigate the menus. To access this function, tap the designated menu button and scroll down until you are in settings menu 3, you will find the tap control function here. Switch tap control on and you are presented with a configuration menu that allows you to change the sensitivity and location of each tap. I would still prefer physical buttons, and I'm not sure how useful this feature is because its slower than using the toggle stick, but at least it presents the user with more options.
This camera does take pretty good photos. The image is sharp and has good color saturation in all varieties of light. Some reviewers have mentioned that the camera overly sharpens the image. I agree that the in-camera sharpening is a little harsh, but by no means enough to deter someone away from buying this camera. The other positive features far outweigh this one little gripe.
I know that effects are gimmicky with many modern cameras, however the TG-820 brings a new style to them. If you enable the "magic mode" in shooting selection, you can choose from a variety of filters that appear in real-time on your camera. This allows you to see what your picture will look like with the filter applied before you take the photo, eliminating the pointless minutes of applying filters after the fact that most likely won't look good. The effects listed are pop art, pin hole, fish eye, drawing, soft focus, punk (looks like the old dancing apple ipod ads,) sparkle, watercolor, reflection. miniature, fragmented and dramatic (produces HDR effect.)
In a previous review I had mentioned that this camera does well at high ISOs. I can no longer say this is true. With further use, I have found that ISOs over 800 produce a fair amount of noise, with images tending to be especially noisy when shooting indoors. High ISOs still might be better when shooting underwater, but be warned that if you want to print the picture in a large format, it will be noisy.My recommendation is that you turn off auto ISO and try to keep the camera below 800 for the best possible photos.
-The finish on the outside of the camera, along with the screen are prone to scratching.
-No physical buttons for switching modes.
-Overly sharp images.
-Not the best when it comes to High ISO noise levels
Overall, great camera to take on outdoor adventure trips because of its rugged build and great picture abilities. I would highly recommend this product to anyone wanting camera functionality at a fraction of the price.