If you can live without Wi-Fi on your camera, the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 may be the waterproof digital camera you can use. It is the upgrade to the TG-830. This new model is also “lifeproof” like most of the tough cameras that come out of the Olympus camp. After seeing the price tag for the new TG-3, I started looking at the TG-850 and really though it was a nice camera until I started digging and uncovered why it may not be such a good purchase after all.
This camera is just as tough as previous models in that it is waterproof down to 33 ft. /10m, freezeproof down to 14°F/-10°C, crushproof up to 220 lbs. /100 kg, shockproof up to 7 ft. / 2.1m and dustproof. On this one the shockproof and crushproof is good if the flip LCD is closed. Oh, I didn’t mention the flip screen, huh? It is really a neat feature.
Olympus likes to invite the consumer to “consider things from a new angle.” The TG-850 is the first Tough series camera is equipped with a tilt LCD screen. It fact, it may be the only waterproof digital camera with this type of 180 degree flip LCD monitor. It has a 3 inch, 480k dot resolution and because of being able to move, it allows users to easily adjust the view for shooting self-portraits and other difficult to frame images. Also, the screen makes it very simple to change settings and review images and video.
The camera is also equipped with a 16MP BSI (Back-illuminated Sensor) CMOS sensor, a 5x optical zoom lens, and the TruePic VII image processor in order to create detailed, high resolution images. Additionally, this camera is capable of capturing video with 1920 x 1080 recording at up to 60 frames per second.
Unfortunately, being excited about having all these great photo taking features is short lived because there is no Wi-Fi or GPS. So, there is no way to share photos and video because the camera doesn’t come with Wi-Fi or GPS. Anyone purchasing this model will also have to spring for an accessory card to share your media.
- Image Sensor: 16MP BSI CMOS Sensor
- Monitor: 3 inch LCD Monitor with 460K dots; flips 180 degrees
- Zoom: 5x Optical Zoom + 2x Super Resolution Zoom + 4x Digital Zoom
- Video: Full HD 1920 x 1080 Video at 60 fps
- Connectivity: AV / USB Multi, HDMI D (Micro) DC Jack; No Wi-Fi or GPS
- Removable Media Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory
- Internal Memory: 37MB
- Battery Life: 300 shots; 91 minutes continuous video shooting
- Dimensions: 4.3” W x 2.5” H x 1.1” D (109.9mm W x 64.1mm H x 27.6mm D)
- Weight: 7.7 oz (218g)
- Colors: Black, Silver and White
What’s In The Box
- TG-850 Digital Camera
- Premium Wrist Strap
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
- USB Cable & AC Adapter
- Owner’s Manual & Software
16MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS Sensor
The TG-850 has a 16MP back-side illuminated sensor with fast auto-focus that provides true to life detailed images and video. Captures high-resolution images up to 4768 x 3516 pixels.
TruePic VII Image Processor
TruePic VII provides users with detailed high resolution quality images. It allows the camera to shoot both high resolution photos and Full HD video with accurate colors and minimal noise. It should be noted that the TG-850 does not take 3D photos.
The TG-850 is designed to be used in inclement weather and is able to shoot underwater and withstand the bumps and drops that other cameras cannot. It is waterproof to 33′, shockproof to 7′, crushproof to 220 lb, freezeproof to 14°F, and dustproof.
5x Optical Zoom Lens
With a focal range that is the equivalency of 21-105mm in the 35mm format. At 21mm, this allows for a wide-angle lens shot and at 105mm, the camera becomes a telephoto length that can magnify distant subjects or shoot closeups. Because the TG-850 is meant to be used in all weather conditions, the lens has a water-repellent coating to keep water and condensation from clouding-up the image.
There is also a Super Resolution Zoom function that can digitally extend the zoom ratio by combining it with optical zoom. Unlike conventional digital zoom, it can be used without significantly losing image quality. For example, it can enhance a 12.5x optical zoom to 25x zoom without photo degradation.
Shoot 1080p Full HD Video at 60 Frames Per Second
The TG-850 can record full high definition video at up to 60 frames per second. Additionally, it can increase the frame rate for slow motion recording if you record at a lower resolution. Options include 640×480 @ 120 fps and 432×324 @ 240 fps, but these modes will only capture video and not audio.
3 Inch Diagonal Tilted LCD Display
The hinged 460k dot LCD display screen is one feature on the TG-850 that is really unique. In fact, it is being touted as the only waterproof camera with this feature. The LCD screen can be flipped upwards to 180 degrees, allowing the convenience of shooting at low and high angles or flipping it to face forward for those great selfies and group portraits. It should be noted that it is not a touchscreen display, but still just for the most part a movable screen monitor.
In-Camera Panorama Mode
The camera stitches together multiple photos into a panorama shot. Users can capture panoramic views in one frame with the touch of one button, by simply panning the camera across the scene whether using the standard or 360 degree mode. Additionally, the TG-850 can perform continuous shooting. It will capture up to six images at 7 fps, for photographing action scenes.
Need Eye Fi SD Card Accessory For Photo Sharing – No GPS or Wi-Fi
Because the TG-850 doesn’t have the Wi-Fi feature, there is no way to quickly upload images to a smartphone for sharing with others on social media sites. The TG-850 has a menu setting to enable Eye-Fi SD card wireless transfers. You can add this functionality, but by the time you invest in the card, why not just invest in a camera model with integrated Wi-Fi like the new Olympus TG-3, which is $349.99, on Amazon.
Although, the Olympus TG-850 has some pretty nice features, it is still in my opinion not up to par. One of my frustrations is when a device is updated, something that works is usually taken away. For example, the last model, the TG-830 had GPS and a compass, but the TG-850 does not. If it wasn’t for the tilting LCD monitor, the TG-850 would be a standard waterproof camera with some nice features. What’s interesting, is that the TG-3 has GPS, compass and Wi-Fi.
The reviews for the TG-850 for the most part have been mixed. Most users have not been real crazy about the image quality, but video quality is above average. I agree with that assessment. However, there are some good images, but it may all have to do with the camera settings. For example, one reviewer stated, “It’s not that we didn’t enjoy using the TG-850, but it ultimately comes off more as a regular, old compact for the selfie generation whose “all-terrainness” comes solely from its shock resistance for falls. . .”
I really like what the reviewer has to say about the camera’s performance, “Photo performance was generally strong for the TG-850. Colors are rendered accurately as opposed to being exaggerated, and often the details of a photo remain intact. Panoramic photos were stitched together almost seamlessly, and a super macro mode does well to focus on fine tones up close.” However, you should keep in mind it is this person’s opinion, and you will find others that don’t agree. Read more buyer reviews here.
Amazon Average Customer Review Rating 2.7 out of 5
- Tough, durable lightweight compact camera
- 180 degree tilting LCD screen
- Fast power-up for shooting photos
- Eye-Fi card ready for WiFi transfers
- Intuitive menu navigation
- Sharp, wide-angle lens, Super Macro mode
- Nice photos in well lit environments
- No touchscreen, GPS, Wi-Fi, Compass or Altimeter
- Night photos and videos will come out grainy
- Images are best in daylight and pixelate in poorly-lit night environments
- Zoom toggle appears out of place, too close to shutter release
- Small amount of motor noise recorded when zooming video
- Responds well to capturing spontaneous action
- Lens clears of water drops easily
- No dedicated charger included
Eyefi Mobi WiFi SD Card: from moment of capture, instantly transfer, organize and sync photos across all devices and share
Float Strap: Keeps waterproof cameras from quickly sinking to the bottom. Buoyancy of strap allows users to take steady underwater pictures without having their hand forced to the surface. Adjustable for the perfect fit on your wrist or arm. Carabineer loop for clipping to your lifejacket or scuba gear.
Overall, photo image is hit or miss. I believe it really depends on the camera settings and/or the operator. Most people find the display screen unique and can appreciate how many different ways it can be used to shoot photos. The TG-850 has a fast start-up and users can begin taking photos almost immediately. The tilt LCD screen is a nice feature, but is not touchscreen. Although, I think the TG-850 is a good camera, in my opinion the TG-3 would be a better purchase because it has most everything this camera has including Wi-Fi, compass and GPS, but without the tilting LCD display. Of course, the TG-3 doesn’t have everything, but if you’re one that doesn’t mind paying a little extra for features, the TG-3 would be a good purchase. See my review on the TG-3 here.
Checkout this video about the TG-850. It will provide an overall review of the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850. It combines tough performance with beautiful styling, a newly-developed 21-105mm 5x optical zoom lens and a movable monitor, to extend the range of shooting options.
Filed under: Best Waterproof Camera Reviews
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