Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 iHS front
Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 front

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Key Specs

Olympus TG-850 iHS
(Full Review)
  • 16MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Tilting Screen
  • ISO 125 - 6400
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1920 x 1080 video
  • 21-105mm (F3.5-5.7) lens
  • 218g - 110 x 64 x 28mm
  • Introduced January 2014
Sony A500
(Full Review)
  • 12MP - APS-C Sensor
  • 3" Tilting Display
  • ISO 200 - 12800
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • No Video
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha Mount
  • 630g - 137 x 104 x 84mm
  • Released August 2009
  • New Model is Sony A560
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Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Overview

In this article, we are comparing the Olympus TG-850 iHS and Sony A500, former being a Waterproof while the other is a Entry-Level DSLR by rivals Olympus and Sony. There is a sizable difference among the sensor resolutions of the TG-850 iHS (16MP) and A500 (12MP) and the TG-850 iHS (1/2.3") and A500 (APS-C) come with totally different sensor measurements.

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The TG-850 iHS was revealed 4 years later than the A500 and that is a fairly significant difference as far as camera tech is concerned. Both cameras offer different body type with the Olympus TG-850 iHS being a Compact camera and the Sony A500 being a Compact SLR camera.

Before diving through a thorough comparison, below is a quick introduction of how the TG-850 iHS scores against the A500 in regards to portability, imaging, features and an overall rating.

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Reasons to pick Olympus TG-850 iHS over the Sony A500

 TG-850 iHS A500 
ReleasedJanuary 2014August 2009Fresher by 54 months
Display resolution460k230kCrisper display (+230k dot)

Reasons to pick Sony A500 over the Olympus TG-850 iHS

 A500 TG-850 iHS 
Manually focus More precise focus

Common features in the Olympus TG-850 iHS and Sony A500

 TG-850 iHS A500 
Display typeTiltingTiltingTilting display
Display sizing3"3"Equivalent display measurements
Selfie screen Lack of selfie screen
Touch display Lack of Touch display

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Physical Comparison

When you are aiming to carry your camera regularly, you will need to think about its weight and proportions. The Olympus TG-850 iHS provides external measurements of 110mm x 64mm x 28mm (4.3" x 2.5" x 1.1") with a weight of 218 grams (0.48 lbs) while the Sony A500 has measurements of 137mm x 104mm x 84mm (5.4" x 4.1" x 3.3") with a weight of 630 grams (1.39 lbs).

Compare the Olympus TG-850 iHS and Sony A500 in our completely new Camera plus Lens Size Comparison Tool. Camera Size Comparison with Lenses

Don't forget, the weight of an ILC will vary based on the lens you have chosen at that time. The following is the front view sizing comparison of the TG-850 iHS vs the A500.

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 size comparison

Looking at size and weight, the portability rating of the TG-850 iHS and A500 is 91 and 63 respectively.

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 top view buttons comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Sensor Comparison

Generally, it can be difficult to see the difference in sensor sizing only by viewing technical specs. The graphic below might give you a better sense of the sensor measurements in the TG-850 iHS and A500.

As you have seen, both of those cameras offer different megapixels and different sensor sizing. The TG-850 iHS with its smaller sensor will make achieving shallow depth of field trickier and the Olympus TG-850 iHS will provide you with more detail because of its extra 4MP. Greater resolution will make it easier to crop images a little more aggressively. The younger TG-850 iHS will have an edge with regard to sensor tech.

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 sensor size comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Screen and ViewFinder

Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Screen and Viewfinder comparison
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Photography Type Scores

Portrait Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Portrait photography factors
Sony A500 Portrait photography factors
good MP (16MP)
has face detection autofocus
lack of manual focus
no manual mode
external flash not possible
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
doesn't have RAW files
focusing manually
nice sensor size (APS-C)
offers face detect focusing
delivers RAW formats
MP count low (12MP)
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Street Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Street photography details
Sony A500 Street photography details
has a tilting screen
image stabilization (Optical)
weather proof
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
doesn't have RAW files
screen tilts up and down
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW formats
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Sports Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Sports photography highlights
Sony A500 Sports photography highlights
image stabilization (Optical)
good MP (16MP)
has tracking autofocus
weather proof
good battery (330 shots)
no shutter priority mode
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
doesn't have phase detect autofocus
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
sensor has phase detect AF
max frames per second low (5.0 frames per second)
MP count low (12 megapixels)
low battery life (520 per charge)
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Travel Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Travel photography info
Sony A500 Travel photography info
good battery (330 CIPA)
weather proof
good MP (16MP)
has built in flash
decently wide (21mm)
display isn't selfie friendly
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.5)
flash built-in
no Timelapse function
low battery life (520 per charge)
MP count low (12 megapixels)
screen is not selfie friendly
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Landscape Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Landscape photography features
Sony A500 Landscape photography features
decently wide (21mm)
pretty good screen size (3")
image stabilization (Optical)
good MP (16MP)
weather proof
good battery (330 CIPA)
lack of manual focus
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.5)
no manual mode
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
doesn't have RAW files
focusing manually
change lenses (Sony/Minolta Alpha mount)
nice screen size (3")
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW formats
MP count low (12 megapixels)
low battery life (520 shots)
no Timelapse function
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Vlogging Comparison

Olympus TG-850 iHS Vlogging information
Sony A500 Vlogging information
decently wide (21mm)
image stabilization (Optical)
has face detection autofocus
video res high (1920 x 1080 pixels)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.5)
display isn't selfie friendly
missing external microphone jack
no video shooting
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Olympus TG-850 iHS vs Sony A500 Specifications

Detailed spec comparison table for Olympus TG-850 iHS and Sony A500
 Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 iHSSony Alpha DSLR-A500
General Information
Brand Olympus Sony
Model type Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 iHS Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
Type Waterproof Entry-Level DSLR
Introduced 2014-01-29 2009-08-27
Body design Compact Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Processor TruePic VII Bionz
Sensor type BSI-CMOS CMOS
Sensor size 1/2.3" APS-C
Sensor measurements 6.17 x 4.55mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Sensor area 28.1mm² 366.6mm²
Sensor resolution 16 megapixel 12 megapixel
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio - 3:2 and 16:9
Max resolution 4616 x 3464 4272 x 2848
Max native ISO 6400 12800
Min native ISO 125 200
RAW data
Focus manually
Touch to focus
Continuous AF
Single AF
AF tracking
Selective AF
AF center weighted
AF multi area
AF live view
Face detection focusing
Contract detection focusing
Phase detection focusing
Total focus points - 9
Cross type focus points - -
Lens mount type fixed lens Sony/Minolta Alpha
Lens zoom range 21-105mm (5.0x) -
Highest aperture f/3.5-5.7 -
Available lenses - 143
Focal length multiplier 5.8 1.5
Screen type Tilting Tilting
Screen size 3 inches 3 inches
Screen resolution 460 thousand dot 230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch function
Screen tech TFT LCD -
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type None Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage - 95%
Viewfinder magnification - 0.53x
Minimum shutter speed 1/2 seconds 30 seconds
Fastest shutter speed 1/2000 seconds 1/4000 seconds
Continuous shutter speed 7.0 frames/s 5.0 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation - Yes
Custom WB
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash distance - 12.00 m
Flash modes - Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Fastest flash sync - 1/160 seconds
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Video resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (60p), 640 x 480 (30 fps) -
Max video resolution 1920x1080 None
Video file format H.264, Motion JPEG -
Microphone jack
Headphone jack
Wireless Yes None
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
GPS None None
Environmental seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
Weight 218 gr (0.48 lb) 630 gr (1.39 lb)
Dimensions 110 x 64 x 28mm (4.3" x 2.5" x 1.1") 137 x 104 x 84mm (5.4" x 4.1" x 3.3")
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating not tested 64
DXO Color Depth rating not tested 21.8
DXO Dynamic range rating not tested 11.6
DXO Low light rating not tested 772
Battery life 330 photos 520 photos
Battery form Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery ID LI-50B NP-FM500H
Self timer Yes (2 sec, 12 sec, Custom Self-Timer (1-30 sec start timer, 1-10 pictures, 1-3 sec interval)) Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory SD/ SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Storage slots One One
Launch cost $250 $638