It’s been a long time since I reviewed a compact camera, and as far as I remember, Olympus Stylus Tough camera series have been around since 2010. Its design has not deviated much, which may or may not be a good thing. In this age where retro is the new fashion, the Stylus Tough TG-870 continues the legacy.
As I tried out the tough camera over the review period, I identified a few important features that I liked.
For a rugged camera, the TG-870 weighs like a feather, shedding a few grams off its replacement, the TG-860. To be honest, I am impressed at how it could withstand the pressure: shockproof (2.1m), crushproof (100kgf), waterproof (15m), freezeproof (-10 degrees) and dustproof. Other than slightly stiffer buttons, the camera is really compact and lightweight.
The Flip Screen
Similar to the TG-850 and TG-860, the TG-870’s flip screen on a waterproof camera is a fantastic feature, as we can take selfies in any condition that the camera can handle – even underwater!
Ultra Wide Angle
The ultra wide angle (21mm) really makes selfie shots so much easier. I can capture so much info at arm’s length.
And if you prefer to get closer to action, you can zoom in 5x optically. There is a super macro mode that lets you shoot really close, up to 0cm!
The Function Button In Front
The TG-870 has a new additional function button which I find ergonomically brilliant. While it can be configured to do one of several other functions, I find it best used as a shutter button when doing selfie shots. And yes, the button supports the half-press AF-lock.
With this button, I find that I can take selfie using either hand, in portrait or landscape. The days of awkward handling are totally over.
When turned to the dedicated “Sport” mode on the mode dial, you can shoot in Full-HD at 60fps, take consecutive images automatically at specific time intervals (0.05s to 60s), shoot slow-motion movies (120fps or 240fps, 360/480p resolution), or time lapse (0.5s to 30s interval lapse per frame).
Other than transferring images from the camera to the smartphone wirelessly, the QI.Share app can let you do remote shutter capture and remote viewfinder. Establishing connection is easy by scanning the QR Code image on the camera.
As a photographer who is particular with image supremacy, the TG-870 images are not spectacular. There are severe loss of details due to aggressive noise removal. The images lack the contrast and sharpness that we grow accustomed to on smartphones. Below, I compared the shots to the Zenfone 2 smartphone.
While I would not bank on the TG-870 to produce stellar images, they would do fine for casual photography. Below are some of the dozen filters that will add colour to your shots.
I did not do any underwater test shoot as the review unit is pre-production.
For videos, there appears to have rolling shutter effect, where the footage will appear wavery when you pan. This is due to the lag in capturing data from the first row of the image sensor to the bottom row.
Battery and Charging Port
I was also disappointed that the TG-870 continues to use its proprietary USB connector for charging the battery. It means having to bring the special cable for trips, and if it gets misplaced, I would not be able to charge the camera.
I love shockproof waterproof cameras. They allow me to handle them without worries about mechanical damages. The Olympus TG-870 is a fun and versatile compact camera. The overall shooting response is quite snappy and meets my needs to capture fleeting moments. The ultra-wide angle helps in shooting selfies easily, and the SportCam mode captures time lapse video without post-processing. The major letdown for me is the image quality: the images lack details, but photo printing and social media posting should be fine.
Would I get it? Yes I would, not for the image quality, but for the fun and versatility of shooting without a care of weather elements.
The TG-870 retails at S$398.
Product website and specs: http://www.olympusimage.com.sg/product/compact/tg870/spec.html