11/07/2012 11:51 | By Rob Clymo, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Olympus TG-820 review

A flexible and adaptable compact with plenty to offer the enthusiastic amateur.

Olympus TG-820 is rated four-and-a-half stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets (© Olympus)

What is it?
Another in the range of Olympus Tough cameras and the successor to the outgoing TG-810.

What's great
Bold and brash styling shows the TG-820 means business, while the range of features is excellent. 'Life-proof' credentials offer reassurance that you're buying a camera built to last.

What's not
No built-in GPS; rather complex panorama feature; noise creeps in at higher ISO settings.

The bottom line
A flexible and adaptable compact with plenty to offer the enthusiastic amateur.

Olympus has carved itself a solid niche producing durable compact cameras. Its latest 'life-proof' offering is the TG-820, launched alongside the cheaper but less feature-packed TG-620.

At first glance, there's not much to differentiate the TG-820 from the TG-810 that preceded it, with the main attraction being the cute and colourful styling. Colours come in blue, red, black and silver.

The TG-820 isn't quite as svelte as other rival models out there, but it will slip into a pocket with relative ease. Since it is one of the Tough range, you can also expect plenty of rock-hard features.

It can be plunged into water up to a depth of 10 metres, can resist crushing to 100kg, is freezeproof down to -10 degrees celsius and shockproofed to handle drops of up to two metres.

There's plenty squeezed inside that durable exterior. Among the more notable features of the TG-820 is an internal 5x optical zoom lens, 1080p Full HD movie recording, image stabilisation and a 3D shooting mode.

The power of this camera is boosted further by the addition of a suite of 'Magic Filters', which have already proven so popular on other Olympus models. These enable you to easily add interesting effects as you shoot, with options ranging from Pop Art to Watercolour to Miniature.

The TG-820 performs well too, thanks to the 12-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and a TruePic VI image processor that help deliver impressive images.

See also - Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 review

More comfortable to use than its predecessor, the TG-820 has a small joystick-style control on the back that makes it simple to work your way through the on-screen menus, even if you're togged up in thick gloves. There's TAP control, too, which makes it possible to navigate menus by tapping or tilting the case as needed.

The range of options here is commendable, while the small-but-perfectly-formed lens manages to produce crisp and clear shots on most fronts.

The panoramic feature doesn't fare quite so well, however, with a little more in the way of manual intervention needed than other comparable models on the market. Similarly, an absence of built-in GPS might prove unappealing to outdoor types who expect it on the latest 'everything-proof' compacts.

The video aspect is another weaker side to the TG-820's performance, but it still produces serviceable footage just so long as you're not expecting a blockbuster.

Adding it all together and you're presented with a loveable, rough-and-ready compact snapper that will last the test of time, no matter what you're planning to do with it, or irrespective of where you're travelling. There's the beefy feature-set, fun and funky styling and it produces images that are generally spot-on, if a tad noisy as you head higher up the ISO settings.

In fair weather conditions the image quality really is top-notch, while the dazzling three-inch LCD screen around the back helps to frame everything nicely. There are more sophisticated performers on the market, including Olympus's very own TG-1 iHS, but none offer the same value that you get for this price.

Olympus TG-820 is rated four-and-a-half stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets

Essential info
Megapixels: 12
Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
LCD: three-inch, 1,030,000-dot HyperCrystal III TFT
ISO: 100-6400
Video: Full HD, 1920 x 1080 (30 fps)
Memory cards: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS speed class not supported)
Weight: 206 g (including battery and card)
Dimensions: 101.4 x 65.2 x 26.0mm
Price: £269
Web: www.olympus.co.uk

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