Now that I’ve sampled an all-purpose, waterproof, shockproof (and dustproof and crushproof) camera, I don’t ever want to go back to my more delicate point-and-shoot. That is, after taking the Olympus Tough TG-820 digital camera to Australia in June — where I snapped photos underwater at the Great Barrier Reef and recorded video while ziplining through the rainforest — I’m convinced that I need this camera or one like it. For my active lifestyle, and for all of the water-based and outdoor adventures my family typically enjoys on vacation, a rugged point-and-shoot is the way to go.
Now, that’s not to say I won’t continue to use my beloved HD Hero GoPro — but the GoPro has limitations, namely, I don’t have the LCD screen so I can see what I’m taking pictures of as I take them. The Olympus Tough TG-820 has a viewfinder and a good-sized LCD screen so I know whether or not I’m chopping off a fishy’s tail while I’m snapping and snorkeling simultaneously.
This Olympus camera is easy to figure out — a requirement for any new piece of technology in my house! I appreciated the different settings — i.e. landscape, portrait, even underwater (a fish symbol) — for ease of taking different types of photos in different environments.
You can read all about the high-tech features (frankly I don’t understand half of what this camera is capable of, but I did appreciate the good zoom quality). What is most important to me was that it is so durable. It is waterproof to 33 feet, it can be dropped from 6.6 feet, it can withstand temperatures of 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can put it under 220 lbs, and it should still work! Granted, I didn’t intentionally drop the camera, but it certainly got knocked around a lot on my Australian adventures (kayaking, sightseeing, helicoptering in addition to ziplining and scuba diving). Indeed, I took it about 30 feet underwater while diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and the camera continued to perform beautifully.
I was worried about water seeping into the battery or smart-card area, but there is a locking system that protects the key parts of the camera. It is important to note that the camera should be rinsed thoroughly after using it in the ocean or on the beach — certainly, small granules of sand collected in the lens area. I took care to rinse in fresh water after a day on the ocean or on the beach.
This Olympus Tough camera, or one like it, is on my Christmas wish list. It retails for about $300.