Olympus TG-860 Review

Olympus TG-860
The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 is available in black, orange, or white body colors. Olympus

Olympus has long been one of the leading manufacturers of waterproof point and shoot cameras, providing easy to use models for those who want to shoot some basic underwater photos. And the latest Olympus Tough branded camera is the TG-860, which is perhaps its best fixed-lens model aimed at underwater photography.

Olympus included built-in Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities with the TG-860, which is a nice feature to find in an underwater camera, allowing you to geotag your images with the location at which they were shot. Considering all underwater photos can start to look alike after a while, having a GPS option can help you remember exactly where you were when a particular photo was taken.

Image quality is about average with this model, and it was disappointing to see how much noise is introduced into the images when you're using a mid to high ISO setting. The built-in flash is a little weak, but you do have the option to add an external flash with this unit, which is rare among point and shoot cameras. 

For the market at which Olympus is aiming the Tough TG-860 -- the underwater camera market for beginning photographers -- the TG-860 performs well and compares favorably to other models.


  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Optical zoom: 5X
  • LCD: 3.0 inches, 460,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size: 4608x3456
  • Battery: Lithium-ion, rechargeable
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 7.7 oz.
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Movie mode: Full 1080p HD


  • Extremely easy to use and works well in Auto mode
  • Works in up to 50 feet of water depth
  • LCD screen is of a good quality versus other underwater cameras
  • Good collection of burst mode options
  • Reasonably good price versus other underwater models


  • Small optical zoom lens at 5X
  • Mid to high ISO settings yield quite a bit of noise in images
  • Battery life could be better
  • Flash performance could be better

Image Quality

Considering the Olympus TG-860 has a small 1/2.3-inch image sensor, this model's image quality is adequate. It's certainly not going to be able to match up with more advanced models in terms of image quality, but for the portion of the market at which Olympus is aiming it, the TG-860 does a solid job. It outperforms the majority of Olympus' other waterproof point and shoot cameras.

Noise is a significant problem with this model's images when shooting in low light without the flash. And if you're relying on the built-in flash in underwater settings, you may have some unevenly lit photos. Still, when compared to other point and shoot cameras, the TG-860 is an average performer in low-light conditions.


For a point and shoot camera, the Olympus Tough TG-860 does a decent job in terms of performance speed. While there's a little bit of shutter lag with this model, it isn't going to be noticeable much of the time. And the camera is ready to shoot a photo a little more than 1 second after you press the power button, which is a good result for a beginner-level camera.

Battery life is a bit of a disappointment with the TG-860. You'll struggle to record 200 photos per battery charge, and making use of the built-in GPS or Wi-FI will drain the battery much more quickly.


As with the majority of the other Olympus waterproof cameras, The TG-860 has a lens that's positioned in the upper right corner of the camera and that does not extend beyond the camera body. This limits the optical zoom measurement of the lens to 5X, which is a disappointment. 

After handling the TG-860 for a couple of minutes, you can easily understand why this is a tough model that can survive a fall of up to 7 feet. It's well built and has a heft to it that you wouldn't necessarily expect from a point and shoot camera. And the ability to use this model in up to 50 feet of water depth is impressive.