Rob Clymo
22/11/2011 12:26 | By Rob Clymo, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Olympus TG810 review

The TG810 is a fun-packed camera that can take its fair share of knocks, drops and dunkings.

Olympus TG810 (© Olympus)

What is it?
The Olympus TG810 is a cute but decidedly rugged 'go-anywhere' compact that comes with all of the tools for capturing a range of adventure shots.

What's great
We love the muscle-bound styling and solid spec list.Images aren't bad either, while it's reasonably priced for what you get.

What's not
Controls can be a little bit tricky to get to grips with, as buttons and other bits are a little too secure in their positions. The camera's technical limitations can result in some shots being afflicted by noise.

The bottom line
If you're looking for a compact that can take its fair share of knocks, drops and dunkings then the TG810 fits the bill. Sure, there are limitations when it comes to the quality of the images it produces, but there are a wealth of tools and options packed inside that eye-catching design.

The TG810 is one of Olympus' so-called 'Tough' line-up. This range of compact cameras are designed with adventure firmly in mind and constructed so you can pretty much do what you like and not have to worry about calling up the insurance company when you get home.

There's certainly no doubting the rugged credentials of the TG810. It's billed as the world's first crushproof camera, capable of withstanding a mighty 100Kg before giving up the ghost.

On top of that, it's also waterproof to 10 metres, shockproof to 2 metres, freezeproof to -10 degrees and scratch resistant to boot. Aside from that action-packed specification, it's not a bad little camera for taking pictures either.

On the outside, exposed screws and polished metal fittings set off the body colour to good effect, while key features include a 5x optical zoom lens, three-inch high-definition rear LCD screen and a built-in flash.

The TG810 is an ideal second camera to have in your pocket or backpack if you don't want to take your main camera out for the day, or conditions don't really allow for it.

The other positive aspect of this rugged compact is that it's also very easy to use, with a no-frills interface that allows users to both capture great images, but also fine-tune and tweak them.

What's more, the TG810 takes great underwater shots. You won't be taking it scuba diving, but for the pool or beachside this little Olympus does a very acceptable job indeed. There's even a built-in manometer that tells you if you're going too deep, while the double lock concept for covering the battery, memory card and connector port ensures there are no leaks while you take a dip.

Elsewhere, the TG810 has a cool GPS and electronic compass and these tools can come in very handy if you're in unfamiliar territory, with literally thousands of geographic and natural points of interest loaded into the system.

There's a simple four-way D-pad around the back of the camera that enables swift navigation of these and other menus, including flash mode, exposure compensation, white balance and ISO.

In addition, you'll find plenty to pad out the core features on this camera, including a 3D mode and panorama function, although the latter doesn't quite match up to results we've seen on some pricier compacts that offer the same functionality.

Nevertheless, the Olympus TG810 is a likeable and capable camera with a comprehensive feature set that makes it respectable value for money. There are some shortcomings from the digital images it produces, but basic point-and-shoot offerings in bright holiday or weekend destinations fare well.

Zoom, ISO and flash limitations mean that the compact struggles in trickier conditions, but this is outweighed by the fact that you can take the TG810 pretty much anywhere and return with a record of the day's activities. Video isn't amazing either, but delivers some presentable enough footage, all things considered.

The Olympus TG810 is rated four-and-a-half stars out of five on MSN Tech & Gadgets

Essential info
Megapixels: 14
Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor
LCD: 3-inch, 920,000-dots
ISO: Auto, ISO 80-1600
Video: 1280 x 720 (30fps)
Memory cards: SD, SDHC, and SDXC
Weight: 221g (including battery)
Dimensions: 100.2mm x 64.5mm x 26mm
Price: £329.99