43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2014
I purchased this camera based on the reviews of the previous Olympus 830 model from Amazon, Consumer Reports, & various others sites being generally positive. There was no single water camera ( in the price range I wanted to pay) that had perfect reviews so I focused on finding, what I thought, was the camera with the fewest negative reviews & the 830 seemed to be the best choice but then the 850 just came out ...so I rolled the dice with newer 850 model.
I'm not a camera pro - just wanted a camera to take beach, snorkeling, swimming/pool,& camping trip photos. I received the camera the day before a spring break trip & it got a lot of usage. It was easy to use, had so many settings to capture a variety of different shots, & most importantly - took great photos. The colors were vibrant, clear, & focused. The snorkeling photos took a couple adjustments based on the lighting but once I was able to figure that out, pictures were very good. I'm fine with some of snorkeling pictures not turning out that great due to me moving, the fish moving, or the light not being right but the majority were great. I just kept taking a lot of pictures til I found the best way to capture the shot. The flip screen was cool, not used a lot, but was great for taking the underwater selfie or odd angle shot. It worked great taking zip lining pictures with fast moving targets in the sports mode and it also worked for taking just general pictures.
I saw reviews of some other underwater camera having issues with leaks & this was a major concern for me being it's an underwater camera. No issues with this one so far - I'll post back if I do. Overall - camera worked great & very happy with the 850
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
As a professional photographer you might wonder why I have an interest in this camera. Well, I do have several inexpensive cameras that I own that I grab and take with me when I'm just out having fun, which is a whole lot different than work. Frankly I would never think of taking my pro gear out with me for a Sunday with the family any more than a bus driver would think of taking his bus when he goes for a leisurely family Sunday drive.
I tried several rugged cameras and of them I liked this one the most. Olympus has shown that they often do a better job with their low-cost cameras than some of the other big name brands, and the TG-850 has a few features that are unique, like the built-in "selfie" screen which is an Olympus exclusive in a rugged digital camera. What better time to want a selfie screen than when with family and friends on a casual outing.
Sure my cell phone can do much if not most of what the TG-850 can do, but I'm not going to sit in the first row with it at a sea life park when the crowd splashing event happens or take it on a splash mountain ride at a theme park. That is where this camera is at its best, when you don't care if it gets wet or hit or if you're in the frigid polar bear exhibit.
There are other cameras now with selfie screens (but not rugged ones) but Olympus better executed the idea than some I have tried where you can't push the shutter button with the screen flipped up or your hand gets in the way of the flash. Olympus thought it out first before rushing it to market.
The features are listed above on the product page so I won't repeat them but I will call out one thing that seems to have concerned some reviewers which is "how waterproof is it"? Olympus makes a claim of 33' in the same sentence where they go on to say "won't have to worry about a little rain during a bike ride in the local park". Which is it? A little rain is a far cry from taking it deep sea diving.
Since the reviews are highly polarized with "love it" and "hate it" pretty much split, here's something to think of. Go back to how I started my comments above. As a person whose income depends on using the right tool for the right job I would never consider the TG-850 to be an underwater camera. If you've never owned an underwater camera, do a search and read about them and you will quickly see that this in no way is an underwater camera and wasn't designed to be one. It appears Olympus' fault is that they permitted an over-zealous copy writer to get carried away with the claim of waterproof to 33'. Just look at the camera, the very thought of submerging it over 30' seems ridiculous and Olympus seems to be misleading their customers into thinking they can. For that reason alone a camera that probably should have earned close to 5-stars for all the good things it does well falls short of that at earning 4-stars.
If you use the TG-850 as a versatile everyday fun camera that occasionally gets caught in the rain or a drenching from a trip down the side of splash mountain you will probably love the picture quality and features that would usually only be found in a much more expensive camera. Take it diving and you may not be so happy.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2014
I saw the TG 850 a few months ago at an Olympus service centre getting my EM-5 fixed and really liked the features- waterproof, 180 degree flip screen and very wide angle- 21mm (in 35mm format). I think you will need some camera knowledge to understand how outstanding this wide angle is. Until a few years ago, "wide angle" used to be 28mm. Then more recently it became 25mm. On my Samsung s4 zoom mobile, it is 24mm. The wider it is, the more you can include in the photo, and the easier it is to take selfies.
However when I looked it up online, it had a horrendous reputation. A very large minority of people complained of it not being waterproof, which is one of it's core features. It's like a plane that doesn't fly, but stays on the tarmac. If it only stays on the tarmac, then it's an oversized bus.
I looked around and couldn't find a single camera with everything I liked. I almost settled for the Pentax WG series when I suddenly saw amazon's tg850 page return and I saw MC J.G "Photographical Luddite" 's explanation of the Olympus recall to fix the leak and I bought one in a shot.
Since then I have been on two 5 hour hikes with it. One was run of the mill sunny day trail hiking. The second involved muddy narrow trails, climbing a few steep areas with ropes, stream trekking, and playing around in a pool directly underneath a 40 m waterfall and passing through it as well (damn water hits hard from that height! It hurts more than I thought it would!) From this I can say the following.
- Waterproof. Yes- it did NOT LEAK!
- lightweight. The lighter it is, the easier it is to carry around and the more likely you are to have it and use it.
- 180 degree flipscreen for easy selfie taking.
- The tilting screen is actually a first for any waterproof camera and improves the flexibility of taking photos at different angles
- The 21mm wide angle. Amazing. Can even take a group photo holding the camera at arm's length like a selfie, but easily includes 12 of your best friends from waist up, not just their head. Wide angle means you can include more in the photo- very useful is you snorkel or dive- some big rock/reef/fish/whale comes along- it's not easy to swim around and backtrack so that the subject will fill the photo. Wide is better. It zooms to 105mm which is par for the course and I'm fine with it.
- Ergonomic. That means things are placed in places it's easy your your hand to find and fit. When I hold the camera for selfies, my fingers do not feel like they have to hold the camera on finer tips, even when I'm waering gloves (admittedly not thick winter ones but thinner ones). Buttons are easy to press.
- Megapixels- 16. If you are still into this number, 16 is ok.
- Battery life seems fine. A bit hard to know exactly how many it can take. I took 240 and it was down to 2 bars. But the battery gauge only has 3 bars. I have a spare with me in any case.
Things to take note of
- It does not feel robust. It feel plasticy and many other adventure cameras feel more durable. You won't want to knock this against rocks or drop it. However I did knock it a few times with no scratches or loss of function.
- Speaking of scratches, the LCD screen needs a screen protector ASAP. after just 3 weeks I'd say 40% of the surface is covered in fine scratches. It is plastic, not the type of tougher glass you see on mobile phones or watches.
- There is no real manual function for shutter speed or aperture.
- There is a macro mode which works well
- It does not remember the settings made in auto- in particular flash on/off/auto. It defaults to auto each time you turn camera on or off or turn the dial.
- Details look good but on pixel peeping you definitely can see artefacts and loss of details, just like digital cameras used to be perhaps 6-7 years ago. Seems to be normal for all adventure camera. I think it's pine. I'd rather have an average photo than none at all.
Overall I like this camera a lot and will keep using it until it stops working. I'll be cycle touring soon and it's definitely coming along for the ride!
Totally recommend it now, as the problems seem resloved.
Thanks for reading!
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2014
Back in October I mentioned the recall notice from Olympus. When I finally got around to sending it in Olympus returned it amazingly fast. Having worked in the photo retail industry for years I remember how long some camera companies took to deal with repairs. Olympus had a turn around of about 3 days to fix the camera and returned it cleaned and tested. I had no problems with the camera pre-recall but decided to have the mode dial issue fixed prophylactically, I've not had any problems with it after. It's still functioning 100%, and I'd recommend it (although I see they now have the tg-860 coming out, with GPS!
Update 10/1/2014: I recently received a recall from Olympus - apparently many people that experienced flooding issues may have experienced them due to a defect. I still have not had any problems with the camera and I must say the battery life is excellent. Despite not yet having any issues I do intend to send it to Olympus to have whatever fixes they've made implemented.
I own many cameras. In buying the TG-850 I hoped to get a "go everywhere" point-and-shoot that would do the same job as the Olympus Stylus Epic and Olympus XA 35mm cameras I've carried in the past. While I haven't snorkeled or gone kayaking in years I wanted a camera that I could confidently take with me while cycling without too much concern about exposure to the elements.
Something I think many people don't realize with "underwater" cameras is the level of care necessary to keep them functioning as such. Despite the fact that these modern digital "life-proof" cameras have only one sealed door for battery, media and I/O ports that is still their achilles heel. Any microscopic grain of sand or even a human hair can be enough to defeat the seal thus flooding one's camera with water; in the case of salt water the threat is even greater since it takes only a bit of moisture to completely foul the circuitry permanently. Since I am generally using this camera on dry land please view my review in that context.
Before buying this camera I compared it to the Fuji XP-200 (only had 1080i video, good but not great) the Sony TX-30 (touch screen only? yuck) the Olympus TG-630 (well reviewed, but hey there's one with a higher model number!!) and the Panasonic, the name of which escapes me at the moment. The TG-850 had 2 deal-breaking features that set it apart - the tilting LCD screen and the wide-angle zoom lens (a 21mm equivalent). These two features are excellent in tandem, if you've never used an articulated screen on a camera I suggest you try it, you'll find that you're able to get angles and compositions previously impossible. Since lens allows "zooming-out" to an ultra-wide angle you can shoot from a truly unique perspective.
As with all tiny point-and-shoots low light performance leaves something to be desired. I really wish that instead of trying to jam 16 million pixels on to a 1/2.3" sensor they'd work on making a low-noise 6MP model. As it is there is quite a bit of detail and accurate color reproduction, but if you view your images at 100% you will see the "smudging" effect typical of these cameras. The macro mode works well and flash metering is excellent, even close-up when taking "selfies" with the screen flipped up. My only real disappointment with this camera was that the ubiquitous "snap-sort" which ranks so highly on Google when the camera is searched insists that this camera has an external mic port - I've yet to find one and there is none mentioned in the manual.
This is a good buy, I'd say it could replace all but the most "pro-sumer" of point-and-shoots. It's not as quick as my X100s or D600 but like the old saying goes "the best camera is the one you have with you" and a truly durable and compact camera such as this is sure to be with you all the time.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2015
This camera is amazing! Took perfect underwater photos, still photos, moving photos, etc. Taking a selfie is super easy too with the flip screen. Make sure to soak for 10 minutes in fresh water after use in salt water. Put the camera on underwater setting for the best water photos.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2014
I bought the 850 for my trip to Mexico that involved a lot of beach/snorkling. I am writing this review in the middle of my vacation to say that all the buttons except the shutter and the power button is non fuctional. I am stuck with the rest of my vacation shooting in a program auto mode with no zoom or scene setting. Awesome.
after posting this review, the next day the camera completely failed on me. Needless to say, I will never buy an olympus camera.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2014
I really wanted to buy the new Olympus Stylus TG-3 for my trip to Hawaii! I pre-ordered it a week before it was supposed to be released, but it was on back-order for 2 weeks (I guess Amazon didn't order enough or Olympus released them in limited quantity to create demand). So even though the reviews have been mixed for this camera, I decided it was worth a shot. I now wish I had purchased a different camera. Just like several people have stated, the very first time in the water all the functions stopped working. I was kind of strange, the functions returned for just a minute about 10 minutes into the snorkel trip only to quit for good. Unfortunately, when the functions returned it changed the mode I was using to a mode that didn't work as well for underwater pictures. I checked the battery compartment after getting out of the water, there was no water in that compartment which means it is leaking somewhere else. I'm really surprised that Olympus hasn't done something to address this problem considering so many people are experiencing the same exact problem.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2014
I just received this camera a few days ago so I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I can say this:
For the price point, this is a great addition to our camera collection and I've been very happy with it so far. We appreciate picture quality and also own a DSLR, but because it's so expensive we're afraid to take it along on most of our vacations. So, after days of research we chose the TG-850 as a solid point-and-shoot that we're not afraid to get dirty, or wet. It was a little risky as a brand new model, so we based our decision on the earlier model and so far I have no complaints. It has the flexibility of other point-and-shoots with different scene settings (including some specifically for water and snow!), decent zoom, ability to record video, and while not exactly tiny, it easily fits in a large pocket or small bag. I especially appreciated the action setting (I have a toddler!), and the ability to take a burst of continuous shots at hi-speed. So far the only water shots I've taken were at a water park, so it hasn't been submerged for long lengths of time but it was dunked, splashed, and banged against concrete repeatedly for several hours and appears to have survived without a scratch. As expected, the picture quality is not as high as our other camera, but it's still very good and all of my 4x6 prints look great. Battery life lasted through a day and a half of constant shots, next time I will definitely recharge overnight before the next day of vacation so it doesn't run out on me. Overall, I'm very satisfied with our decision to purchase this camera and now we have a ton of fun vacation photos that we would not have otherwise.
Tip: Waterproof cameras are finicky things, as electronics and water generally do not mix well. In doing our research, we found that ALL of the "waterproof" cameras in this price point had a small percentage of negative reviews regarding failing in water (10%-25% depending on brand), so I was careful to put it on a specific credit card that offers an extended warranty on my purchases.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2014
I purchased a TG-850 from Amazon on April 1, 2014. The TG-850 failed in less then 60 days in non-abusive use. (Mostly unused during this time.) I have owned Olympus cameras before and expected better. Shortly after buying this camera, I began to notice reports warning of a short service life for the TG-850. I have just returned from a 90 passenger 3 week trip. (Galapagos) Most passengers had water resistant point and shoot pocket cameras. My TG-850 failed and 2 other travelers carrying the TG-850 experienced the same failure. Thank goodness this was a backup for my DMC G6 camera. Shame on Olympus for making us beta testers! There are many cameras in this category. Do not consider this one.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2014
After destroying our prior point-and-shoot camera with beach sand, we decided to go with a "tough" camera that is both waterproof and sand-proof. Several makers fit this bill but the Olympus had the highest "bang for the buck" ratings on several techie websites. We were not disappointed. This rugged camera has an incredibly fast recycle time -- as fast as you can push the shutter button it will take photos. We were warned that photo resolution is lower on rough or tough cameras but we have not found that to be true. This 16MPix camera snaps extremely sharp images outdoors and the LED flash help produce acceptable indoor shoots (although indoors is not its specialty). We like the auto mode, the sports mode, and the panorama mode but don't have much need for the many artsy modes. It also takes nice HD videos. The variable angle flip up LCD viewfinder is a great feature for taking nature photos and it even inverts for selfies. Battery life is good but we did buy an additional battery and freestanding charger for longer days. The camera uses standard SD memory cards (inexpensive) and two 16GB SanDisk card will last us all day (easily a 750 photos). Remember the battery and memory card door has two locks -- use both when going in the water. There was a recall on earlier models due to door failures, so suggest you google that and immediately check your serial number on receipt. The only negative (and we knew this going in) is the modest zoom range although is does have a great wide angle 'unzoom' range. If you shoot a lot of images at long range you might wish to look at other brand. We'd buy again.