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Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860: For outdoors enthusiasts and maybe clutzy photographers

Create: 03/16/2015 - 18:57
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860

The Olympus Stylus Tough series adds a stablemate. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, this might be the camera for you.

Olympus is back with another all-weather camera - the Stylus Tough TG-860. It's the camera to consider when you don't want to test the physical limits of your expensive DSLR or mirrorless machine.

This follows on the heels of the the predecessor model, the TG-850 (announced last January), and presumably is aimed at restoring Olympus' reputation following problems with the TG-850. Some batches of the previous model had reports of leakage around the mode dial, and – to its credit – Olympus repaired those cameras. (See the notice as a PDF).

What sets this line of cameras apart from other point and shoots is its claim for ruggedness. Olympus says the camera can survive a seven-foot (2.1 meters) drop, can operate in temperatures down to 14ºF / -10ºC and can be submerged in up to 50 feet (15 meters) of water.

If that isn't deep enough, Olympus has the PT-057 Underwater Case, which allows the camera to operate in depths of up to 147 feet (45 meters). It can be paired with the optional UFL-3 Underwater Flash that enables true underwater flash photography.

For on-land use, the CSCH-124 Silicone Jacket provides extra protection. You can attach the camera to a backpack or belt using the CSCH-123 Sport Holder, allowing you to take photos while hiking or taking part in other activities that require you to use both hands.

The new model features a 16MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with a f/3.5-5.7 21-105mm (35mm equivalent) lens – the same lens that was used on the TG-850. Shutter speeds run from 1/2 to 1/2000 of a second. In night mode, the longest shutter speed is four seconds.

The TG-860 has a 3.0-inch, 460k-dot LCD for taking photos. However, it is not a touchscreen LCD, and there is no optical viewfinder. The LCD can tilt vertically from its stowed position to 180 degrees. It does not swing out.

Autofocus is accomplished by CMOS contrast detection, and the camera can detect up to eight faces at once.

The camera has built-in WiFi and GPS and can record full HD video. Photos can be saved only as JPGs. There is no RAW option.

Photos and videos are saved to SD cards, including the latest high-capacity cards. The lithium-ion battery is rated for 300 photos or 90 minutes of continuous video.

The TG-860 comes in three colors: orange, black and silver, and it retails for US$279.99.

» Read more about the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.