Olympus Tough TG-610 Overview
The Tough TG-610 features a shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof body, designed to take whatever the elements can throw at it - or perhaps, whatever you might accidentally throw it at! Able to survive a drop from 5 feet, to capture photos at up to 16 feet underwater, and even to be used in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 degrees Celsius, the photographer is likely to surrender long before the camera does. Inside this rugged exterior are the combination of a 1/2.3"-type, 14 effective megapixel image sensor and an Olympus-branded 5x optical zoom lens, which offers a 35mm-equivalent range from a useful 28mm wide-angle to a useful 140mm telephoto.
A 3.0-inch HyperCrystal III LCD display with 920,000 dot resolution offers the Olympus TG-610's only option for framing and reviewing images, as there's no optical viewfinder on this model. The Olympus Tough TG-610 also includes true mechanical image stabilization - an important addition that forms half of the company's "Dual Image Stabilization" system. The other half is what Olympus calls "Digital Image Stabilization", which increases the ISO sensitivity (and along with it, both the shutter speed and image noise levels) to try and freeze motion. ISO sensitivity ranges from a low of ISO 80 to a maximum of ISO 1,600 equivalent.
The Olympus Tough TG-610 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera's image sensor, and the TG-610 also includes face detection capability, able to detect up to twelve faces in a scene simultaneously. Olympus' Face Detection function is linked to both the autoexposure and autofocus systems, ensuring that your subjects' faces are taken into account when determining both these variables. AF tracking technology continually adjusts focus and exposure to keep fast-moving subjects in focus, and there's even "Pet Mode" AF tracking for animal lovers.
As well as still image shooting, the Olympus TG-610 offers 720p high definition movie capture, and includes an HDMI output to view images and movies on your HDTV, although the cable is an optional extra. Thanks to HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) support, you can use your HDTV's remote to control certain playback functions on the camera, via the HDMI interface. A rechargeable LI-42B Lithium Ion battery with charger is included with the Tough TG-610, and has a CIPA rating of 150 shots per charge. Images are stored in a not-so-generous 19.5MB of available internal memory, as well as on Secure Digital memory cards, including the newer SDHC and SDXC types. Support is also included for Eye-Fi's wireless-capable SD card products. Images and videos can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection.
The TG-610 includes a variety of what the company terms Magic Filters, which are similar to the in-camera Art Filters first introduced in Olympus digital SLRs in 2009. Three new Magic Filters -- Watercolor, Sparkle, and Punk -- are included, in addition to the Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish-Eye, Soft Focus, and Drawing filters seen in previous models. A generous 17 scene modes including four underwater modes are offered in the Olympus TG-610, plus a Program Auto mode, allowing users some degree of control over their images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds and apertures. There's also an Intelligent Auto mode which can automatically select from a subset of scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Night + Portrait, Macro or Sports). A 3D Photo mode captures two images from slightly differing angles, and combines the result into an image suitable for viewing on 3D-capable displays.
The Olympus Tough TG-610 ships in the USA from February 2011, with pricing of about US$300. Available body colors include black, silver, and red.