Olympus Tough TG-1 waterproof camera first look [Video]
What is the Olympus Tough TG-1?
The TG-1 is Olympus’s new flagship tough camera suited to extreme environments, claiming to be waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof – as well as featuring GPS.
The TG-1 claims to be waterproof down to a depth of 12 metres – very deep when you consider that an Olympic diving pool is around 5 metres deep. If you’re having trouble visualising it, 12 meters is more than a height of 2 double decker buses.
It also claims to be shock resistant dropped from a height of up to 2 metres, freezeproof down to a temperature of -10 degrees C and crushproof up to 100kg.
The Olympus Tough TG-1 is available in stores for around £300.
You can see how the TG-1 measures up in the water against rivals like the Nikon Coolpix AW100 and Canon Powershot D20 in our waterproof camera group test video.
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If you’re looking for a waterproof camera, read our waterproof camera reviews before you buy, to make sure you get the best camera for you.
To see more images taken on these cameras visit our waterproof camera photo gallery.
Olympus TG-1 – 5 things we like
You can’t get great shots from the centre of the action if you can’t keep hold of the camera. The TG-1 has well positioned grips and the wrist strap ensures it’s always close at hand.
- Mode dial
The mode dial on the back of the camera gives you quick access to shooting models without having to dig too deeply into menus and doubles as a handy place to rest your thumb when taking pictures one-handed.
- Prominent shutter release
The shutter release button is prominent and easy to keep your finger on so that you don’t miss the action.
- OLED screen
The 610k dot OLED screen on the TG-1 means it’s not that difficult to view in bright light and you can view it easily at an angle too.
If you’re taking a rugged camera on your travels the inclusion of GPS means you don’t have to remember where you were when you took a shot – the GPS function will record that information for you on still shots. The GPS function can also display other information such as land marks near you and includes an electronic compass so you can get your bearings.
Katie’s impressions of the Olympus TG-1
The Olympus TG-1 is comfortable to hold – get the position of the wrist strap right in your hand and the camera is easy to grip by resting your thumb on the dial on the back of the camera and with your fingers on the grip on the front.
It has a chunky feel, but should still be just about small enough to fit in a pocket and the screen wasn’t as difficult to view in bright light as some cameras I’ve used – like the Pentax WG-2 GPS. The shutter release is prominent enough to feel for and shielded by a plastic rim which meant I didn’t make too many accidental presses and the zoom rocker switch is always easily within reach.
Programme dials aren’t common on rugged compacts, but I like them because they give you quick access to options without having to navigate through onscreen menus. So, the inclusion of a programme dial on this camera is a welcome addition – you can switch easily between auto mode, low light shooting and fast modes to name just a few.
One bonus of the dial is that turning it to ‘super sport’ mode instantly puts you into a continuous shooting mode, where the camera takes shots as long as you hold down the shutter release. If you’re taking shots during an activity, this may be the better mode to use to capture more frames and hopefully get that gem of an action shot.
Features in the ‘Tough settings’ menu on the TG-1 include ‘tap control’, which, when enabled, lets you cycle through and select settings by tapping the top and sides of the camera with your fingers. However, in practice there didn’t seem to be any real benefit to this as the physical buttons on the camera are well placed and easy to use. The camera also has a manometer function to display water depth.
The ‘beauty’ menu lets you retouch portrait shots and the scene mode on the dial opens up a wealth of scene options, from the more commonly seen sunset and fireworks modes to a wide range of underwater shooting options and an HDR mode for more dramatic looking shots.
For all it’s versatility, as with most waterproof cameras, it’s rather limited on zoom and the TG-1 only has a 4x optical zoom which is less than many of it’s rivals including the Nikon AW100. However, it does off a wide angle of 25mm – wider than many of it’s competitors – which will help you to fit more into a landscape scene or close-up group shot.
In the full review
This is just our first impression of the Olympus Tough TG-1 but it’s already being tested at our lab for:
Picture quality - In our lab-based reviews we look at a number of aspects of picture quality, and put each camera through a series of challenging tests that reflect everyday use – such as taking photos on sunny days or indoors.
Speed - Shutter delay is measured precisely using a sophisticated timing method, so we can see how long the delay is between pressing the shutter and capturing the image. We also measure start-up time, time between shots and the speed of the camera’s burst mode which can come in really handy in action situations, ensuring you don’t miss a magic sporting moment.
That’s not all we test for, however. See our full how we test digital cameras page for more details on our in-depth lab testing of digital compact and waterproof cameras.
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