The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough rugged and waterproof adventure camera is the new update to its predecessor, the TG-860. The TG-870 is a mild update — basically it includes a few new art filters and the rear LCD screen is now sharper and brighter.
While most people don’t mess with the art filters on adventure cameras, sharper and brighter LCD screens are a welcome update in the best waterproof cameras, primarily because they make it easier to see the screen and frame your photos or video on bright sunny days. In case you’re wondering, the TG-860 and TG-870 will shoot the same quality photos and video (check out our dedicated TG-860 review here).
Meanwhile, what is the TG-870 waterproof camera all about?
The Olympus TG-870 Feature Review
The TG-870 is waterproof to 50 feet, dustproof, shockproof to drops from 7 feet, freezeproof to 14-degrees fahrenheit, and crushproof to 220 pounds. It uses a 21mm ultra wide-angle lens with a 5x optical zoom. It can shoot 1080p video up to 60 frames per second.
The 21mm wide-angle lens is cool because this camera can capture wider images than most waterproof cameras. It’s not as wide as a say, what you get with a dedicated action camera like a GoPro, but it’s wide enough to let you use it as a double-duty, versatile camera. For instance, the GoPro doesn’t zoom at all, so taking photos with it sucks if you’re trying to get a photo of a deer standing across the river.
But back to that wide-angle lens: You can mount the TG-870 to a backpack strap or chest harness and use it like a GoPro, giving you a first-person video experience. Case in point: I used a TG-860 while fly fishing last summer, and it worked great.
Olympus makes a handy Sport Holder strap that keeps the TG-870 ready for action while also letting you use it in sport cam mode.
The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough boasts a great flip-up LCD screen.
The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough screen rear view.
The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough front view.
The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough top view.
The Olympus Stylus TG-870 Tough back view.
Olympus Sport Holder for the TG-870.
If you’re going to shoot action video, 1080p is large and detailed enough for most people (most HDTVs are still 1080p, by the way). The 60 frames per second is a key feature, too. If you’re fighting a monster trout, for example, you will have enough frames to edit the video and create a little slow-motion moment. Of course, you could get similar video at an even higher frame rate out of a GoPro Hero4 Black, making the video appear even slower, but that’s not the point: If you’re looking for an adventure camera, a rugged waterproof camera like the TG-870, you’re looking for a versatile point-and-shoot camera that will let you take great photos and video and be easy to use.
The feature that really sets the TG-870 apart from the waterproof camera competition is its sharp 920,000 dot 180-degree flip-up LCD screen. This screen is great if you’re trying to take a selfie and make sure you capture the awesome mountain ranges behind you. It’s also handy when you’re trying to take cool low-angle photos or video. When I first started using it, I thought it was just a gimmick — it’s not. I was surprised at how often I used it.
The TG-870 also has a Face button on the front of the camera, which let’s you take selfies with either hand, and the Self Portrait mode automatically adjust the focus to the person holding the camera. Nice.
If want a self-timer, the TG-870 has that, too.
Wi-Fi and GPS in the TG-870
With built-in Wi-Fi, you can connect to and control your TG-870 with an Android smartphone or iPhone using a free Olympus app. In addition to remotely controlling the camera, you can also wireless transfer images over to your smartphone.
As for GPS, a lot of people like to tag their photos with their exact location in the backcountry, and the TG-870 does this — and can even track your route.
There are, of course, a lot of other handy little features, like 13 art filters to create special effects like vintage or watercolor photos, or sport burst shooting or time lapse movie mode — all of which are pretty much expected on most waterproof cameras in this class.
All-in-all, the TG-870 is a small upgrade over the already great TG-860. It’s a versatile can’t-go-wrong rugged waterproof camera, easy to recommend. Oh, one more thing: the new green version looks sweet.