From oceans to rocky trails, Olympus’ TG-870 survives in elements where most cameras won’t dare venture.
In bright light, image quality was quite good with accurate colors and sharpness and detail. The design of the 16-megapixel TG-870 is more sophisticated than rugged cameras of the past – less toy-like, more of a tank.
Our review unit is dark gray and has exposed bolts on the front to enhance the rugged look (they’re just there for show). Along the slim top are stereo mics, power, and shutter buttons as well as a zoom toggle switch. The 3-inch LCD screen covers nearly the entire back, with a 920K-dot resolution – an improvement over the 460K-dot resolution in the TG-860, and even the TG-4 and TG-3. That’s why there’s still demand for rugged point-and-shoot cameras, so called because they can endure the harsh environments and abuse.
The thing they all have in common is that they are “compromise” cameras—if you’re looking for a compact with superior image quality and extensive photo adjustments, the TG-870 and others of its kind are not for you.

On the right-hand grip is a red-dot “Face” button that lets you take selfies when using the tilt-screen LCD. There’s a small, recessed mode dial with Intelligent Auto, Program AE, Super Macro, Scene (19 options), 13 of Olympus’ cool art filters, Sportcam (turns the camera into an action cam, with quick access to four video settings), Panorama, and Self Portrait. Keeping the electronic innards dry is critical and Olympus makes sure you slide one switch and flip another to make sure it’s sealed. Whether it’s the outdoorsman who wants to grab snaps and videos while trekking in the wild, or vacationers who just want to toss a camera around a pool, there’s still a valid need for this type of compact camera, even if demand in the overall point-and-shoot sector is declining.
That said, for environments where you wouldn’t dare risk bringing a super expensive camera or smartphone, the TG-870 perfect – to a point, which we’ll explain. You can take it down 50 feet underwater, use it in temperatures that hit 14 degrees Fahrenheit, crush it with 220 pound-feet of pressure, and drop it from a height of 7 feet. Olympus continues to be a major player in this field with its Tough series, and its latest for edition for 2016 is the TG-870 ($280).
This non-extending glass has a 5x optical zoom with a 35mm range of a very wide 21mm to 105mm.

The camera is a mild evolution from the TG-860 – a camera (now discontinued) we beat the heck out of, but didn’t leave a scratch – and retains the same ruggedness as its predecessor.
Interestingly, the Stylus has two tripod mounts, one in the classic spot on the bottom with a second on the left hand side to change orientation. In the right lighting conditions, the TG-870 is an able performer, but there are some drawbacks. In other words, you’ll need outdoor light for best results and the flash for indoor subjects. For the types of activities we imagine people would use this camera for, abundant natural light shouldn’t be an issue.

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