The Olympus TG-610 – A Review
Shockproof. Waterproof. So the label said. I’d been looking for waterproof camera for a long time – so when I had the chance to test out the Olympus TG-610 in the Florida Keys, I jumped at the chance.
Or, more accurately, snorkelled at it.
Like the first time you jump out of a plane, abseil or try to speak in public, it’s amazing how much a smidgen of everyday faith in the reliability of equipment (parachute, rope, vocal cords) can vanish in an instant.
Sitting on the edge of the boat, surrounded by syrupy sunshine, something seemed wrong. Very wrong. After months (ahem, decades) of trying to keep camera equipment perfectly dry, not only was I going to expose it to the odd raindrop, I was about to plunge straight into the ocean.
Ah well. With a queue gathering around me, I double-checked the wrist strap and jumped on in.
Underwater – (Read this in a warbled, disoriented underwater voice)
First off, the good points. The camera didn’t fizz and pop and stop working. In fact, the images were clear, the buttons easy to operate and the settings helpful. The Olympus TG-610 had a few too many menus for my liking. I prefer buttons instead of scrolling through screen options – as I can change the settings more quickly. Still, I was bobbing around underwater and could find everything I needed.
However, said bobbing of waves, plus the darting of the fish and the intermittent flailing of the photographer did make timing the photos tricky…A faster response time of all concerned (minus the fish) would definitely be an improvement.
Video, however, was much easier…
Olympus TG 610 Underwater Scene Options
The Olympus TG 610 comes with more scene options than I knew what to do with. Underwater with small fish, underwater with big fish, sunset settings, portrait settings, fully auto and more. I spent most of my time in the semi-manual state of P – where I could adjust the flash, exposure, white balance and ISO, but I know plenty of other people who would prefer to select a scene and be done with it.
Next up was the chance to get wet but stay above water by kayaking through Florida’s mangrove swamps. Here’s how the camera performed…
I loved, loved, loved the fact that I could take a camera aboard a kayak without worrying about the splashes from the paddles or the catastrophe of falling in. The Olympus TG 610 is so light and small that it’s perfect if you want to capture a few memories while out in the wild.
Shockproof – The Olympus TG-610
Like the good journalist I am, I subjected this claim to a stringent test. Zooming along on a Segway (don’t laugh, they can pick up some speed) – I had the Olympus TG 610 strapped to my wrist, ready to record the riverbed of Valencia as it whizzed by.
Just as I cried out “I wish we could make these go faster,” I hit a pot-hole, catapulted through the air, landed in the mud with the Segway on top of me, rucking and mauling me like an angry bull.
The ligaments on my thumb and cartilage around my knee have yet to recover. The Olympus TG-610, however? Absolutely fine…
Grabbing Action Shots Above Water – The Olympus TG-610
Florida also had us visiting the Dolphin Research Center. Just like beneath the sea, the response time of the camera couldn’t quite keep up with the pace of the animals for still shots, but the video had no problems…(Video clips to follow…)
Macro Shots – The Olympus TG-610
When it comes to getting up close and personal, the Olympus TG-610 excels. Here’s a tiny sand crab on an outstretched palm on the beach in Portugal. Nothing further to say – I love this feature.
When it comes to beaches, however, this is where you can really play around with a waterproof camera…Er, like this…
Not to mention the photo at the top of this post, taken while kayaking through the bullet-like rain in Wales. Great performance from the Olympus TG-610, but I thought we’d all rather finish with a warm and cosy sunset shot…
A big thank you to those who helped me to take these photos:
The Florida Keys with Virgin Holidays
Virgin Holidays (0844 557 3859/virginholidays.co.uk) offers seven nights in Florida Keys from £1,089pp (two sharing), room only. Price includes return flights from Heathrow to Miami, four nights at the Sheraton Suites Key West, three nights at the Hilton Key Largo Resort and seven days car hire. For departures November 1-December 9, 2011. Florida Keys & Key West: 01574 794555/fla-keys.com/photoadventure
Preseli Venture in Pembrokeshire
And…my lovely husband for taking all the photos that have me in them…
Olympus TG-610 Specs – According to Olympus
- Waterproof to 5m**, shockproof to 1.5m*** and freezeproof to -10°C
- 5x wide optical zoom (28-140mm*)
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- Eye-Fi Card compatibility
- 3D photo shooting mode
- 720p HD Movie and HDMI Control