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Olympus Tough TG-820 iHS

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The rugged Olympus TG-820 iHS is modeled to endure and outlast the elements. It can handle water pressure up to 33 feet, 220 pounds of standing weight, and 6.6 foot drops. The TG-820 features a 5x optical zoom lens, a 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor, and a 3-inch LCD display with 1,030,000(!)-dot resolution. This device is capable of capturing video in full (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) 1080p HD. Additionally featured in the TG-820 are a rechargeable LI-50B lithium-ion battery pack, hi-speed USB, HDMI video output, and a SD card slot for memory storage and expansion. 

Features List:

- Waterproof

- 5x optical zoom lens

- 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor

- 1080p HD video recording enabled

- Rechargeable lithium-ion power supply

- Hi-speed USB

- HDMI video output

- SD card slot

Digital Trends’ Camera Buying Tips:

Memory card buying tips

Name Brand: Buying a name brand memory card can sometimes cost an extra few dollars, but along with the name comes a trustworthy company, a good warranty, a generous exchange policy and a reputation for stability – something that’s much more critical than it sounds.

Speed: Not all Flash Memory cards are created equal. Some are terribly slow and others are turbo charged for high-end digital photography. True high-speed Flash Memory cards will have their speed ratings prominently displayed, whether on the card itself, the product packaging or both. You’ll see ratings like 80X, 133X, 266X, or perhaps 8MB/second, 20MB/second or 40MB/second. If you don’t see this number, inquire with a sales rep. If they don’t know or if the manufacturer hides this info, don’t buy the card. Look for a card that has at least a 9MB/second or 60X rating. Why is this speed important? If you’re taking numerous photos in succession, you don’t want the camera to stop taking photos so it can slooowwly save the images to the memory card.

Storage capacity: There are many factors that affect how many photos you can store on a single card – how many “megapixels” the camera is rated for, whether you’ve selected highest-quality photo settings or if you’ve set your camera to take slightly smaller photos. For example, an 8 megapixel Canon point-and-shoot camera can fit around 2,200 high-quality photos on an 8GB Secure Digital card. By this standard, even a 1GB memory card could hold up to 275 high quality photos. A whopping 16GB card could hold nearly 4,400 pics! That’s a lot!

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

What are some basics I should look for?

Your new digital camera should have these key features:

  • At least a 6MP imaging device for a D-SLR
  • At least a 7MP imager for a point-and-shoot
  • Optical zoom of 3x, not just a digital zoom
  • The highest quality optics
  • A large LCD screen; the more pixels, the better the quality
  • The widest range for aperture (f/stops), shutter speed and ISO
  • An AF Illuminator or AF Assist mode for best flash shots in dim light
  • A variety of Scene Modes for more convenient shooting in a variety of situations
  • Make sure you do your own ergonomic hands-on test

What about memory cards?

There is no universal memory card to fit all digital cameras – not yet, anyway. Based on internal politics, design considerations and financial reasons, individual camera manufacturers typically adopt a particular style of Flash Memory card for their cameras. Some manufacturers will even split their alliances – one type of memory card for professional-level cameras, and another type of memory card for consumer level cameras. When buying a new Flash Memory card, remember which camera you have and the type of card it requires. Some camera snobs (like your humble writer) will even selectively buy a digital camera based on the type of Flash Memory card they prefer to use!

The most common types of Flash Memory cards are:

Compact Flash, or CF – Roughly the size of a silver dollar (though not round), the CF card is one of the earliest types of Flash Memory cards and is most often used in professional or semi-pro digital cameras.

Secure Digital, or SD – Roughly the size of a postage stamp, the SD Card is available in a wide range of storage capacities. It’s inexpensive, durable and amazingly lightweight.

Memory Stick or Memory Stick Pro – About the size of a small stick of gum, the Memory Stick is meant for Sony Digital cameras.

XD-Picture, or XD Card – Typically found in Fuji and Olympus cameras, the XD Card is about 40% smaller than the SD card.