The Tough TG-1 is the latest rugged digital compact camera from Olympus which has a 4x optical zoom f/2 lens which can also be used with special fisheye and tele converters. The converters are both priced at £129.99 with the camera priced at £309.00.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Features
The Olympus Tough TG-1 has a 12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and a 4x optical zoom f/2.0 lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-100mm, with Dual Image Stabilisation to help keep images blur free. It is waterproof to 12m, shockproof to 2m, crushproof to 100kg and freezeproof to -10°C. A unique feature for a digital compact is the ability to add fisheye and tele converter lens via an optional adapter.
The TG-1 has iHS Technology with modes including Low Light, Super Sports and Super Macro. There is also a Beauty Make-up Mode, Pet Detection Mode, In-Camera Panoramas, Magic Filters, HDR Backlight Adjustment, Advanced iAuto and AF Tracking, Face Detection and Advanced SAT (Shadow Adjustment Technology).
The camera is also armed with some handy extras including Super-resolution Zoom, GPS & Electronic Compass, Tap Control, Manometer and LED Illuminator. Videos can be recorded at full 1080p HD Movie with HDMI Control and Multi-motion Movie IS, there is also stereo sound.
12 Megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
4x optical zoom f/2.0 lens (35mm equiv: 25-100mm)
Dual Image Stabilisation
3.0 inch 610,000 dot OLED screen
Waterproof to 12m
Shockproof to 2m
Crushproof to 100kg
GPS & Electronic Compass
1080p Full HD Movie and HDMI Control
1cm minimum focusing distance
HDR Backlight Adjustment
TruePic VI image processor
Low Light Mode
Super Sports Mode
Super Macro Mode
Multi-motion Movie IS
Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
Advanced iAuto and AF Tracking
Face Detection and Advanced SAT
3D Photo Shooting Mode
Beauty Make-up Mode
Pet Detection Mode
Tap Control, Manometer, LED Illuminator
Olympus Tough TG-1 Handling
The TG-1 has a very solid metal body with a substantial rubber grip on the front and one for your right hand thumb on the rear. The buttons aren't as large and chunky as some of the other Tough models, but if you are struggling to use the camera with your gloves on you can activate Tap Control with allows you to adjust the camera's setting by simply tapping the sides of the camera. The buttons are fairly typical for a compact camera, with a dedicated movie record button and a mode dial which has a ridged edge to aid grip.
For those who have used recent Olympus compact cameras the menu system will feel very familiar, for those who haven't they are easy to get used to. The basic settings which can be adjusted in each mode are displayed down the right hand side of the screen and the d-pad is used to cycle through them. The 3 inch OLED screen is crisp and bright, even in low light conditions.
The battery doesn't have a CIPA rating, we were able to do all our testing on one charge (over 200 shots), although we did leave the GPS switched on after, which flattened the battery completely. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Sequential shooting records at full 12 megapixel resolution, with high-speed 1 and 2 limited to a maximum of 3 megapixels.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with really good colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones and are free of red-eye. Landscapes have excellent blues and greens. Pet mode automatically takes a picture when your pets face is detected.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Lens test images
Lens Performance - The lens doesn't protrude from the camera body, so is extremely small, this commonly is at the expense of image quality. Detail is fairly good in the centre of the images but are much softer in the corners and there is evidence of purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens can focus as close as 1cm which allows you to get close enough to take a good macro shot.
Olympus Tough TG-1 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - There is no noise at ISO 100, with a small amount appearing at ISO 200 and again at ISO 400. Noise at ISO 800 causes the image to become softer and a little more softer at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 sees quite a loss of detail which black dots appearing, which gets even worse at ISO 6400.
Olympus Tough TG-1 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lighting the AWB preset takes an image with a slight orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking the better picture. The AWB preset performs really well under the fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset having a magenta cast.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Scene modes
Above are a number of images taken using a number of the scene modes available on the TG-1. We tried taking panoramas but there some stitching issues, something which is disappointing.
These pictures have been taken using the optional fisheye lens, unfortunately Olympus were unable to provide us with the tele converter to test. Using it to take portraits is good fun.
(Above) Fisheye Landscape | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
(Right) Fisheye Portrait | 1/30 sec | f/2.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 200
Olympus Tough TG-1 Digital filters
Digital Filters - As you'd expect to find on an Olympus compact camera, there are twelve magic filters available to help you take unique and creative pictures, examples of each are above.
Video - Below is a video shot at full 1080p with use of the optical zoom during recording included. Stabilisation is also available when shooting videos.
Value For Money
The Olympus Tough TG-1 is one of the most expensive rugged cameras, available for £309.00, but is one of the most feature packed.
The Olympus Tough TG-1 certainly delivers in terms of features, it has a whole host that you don't normally find on your typical compact camera. You can even add a fisheye or tele converter. We think they are quite expensive and you even have to purchase the adaptor separately. Images are good, they excel in terms of colour reproduction, with detail not as good as it could be. We also struggled to take a decent panorama shot. If you're looking for a camera to withstand the extreme conditions, the TG-1 won't disappoint, if you have the budget.
The Olympus Tough TG-1 is a feature-packed camera for photographer with a very active lifestyle.
Olympus Tough TG-1 Pros
GPS & Electronic Compass
Good amount of rubber grip
Bright f/2.0 lens
Solid, metal body
Images have excellent colour reproduction
Olympus Tough TG-1 Cons
Panorama images don't stitch together very well
Zoom range is quite limited
Extra accessories are expensive
The Panasonic Lumix TZ70 offers a 30x optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi, a high-resolution electronic viewfinder as well as a lower resolution 12.1 megapixel sensor. Say what? Yes, a lower resolution sensor.
3 Mar 2015 8:44AM