Olympus Tough TG-5 Review

We review the waterproof Olympus Tough TG-5 - a 12mp compact camera with 4K video, high speed shooting, and an f/2.0 lens.

| Olympus Tough TG-5 in Compact Cameras

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (3)

The Olympus Tough TG-5 is the latest waterproof camera from Olympus and features a new 12-megapixel sensor, along with high-speed shooting (both stills and video), and 4K video recording. The camera also features built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, a bright 4x optical zoom lens, with a f/2.0 aperture, and a number of advanced features. 

Olympus Tough TG-5 Features

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (5)

The Olympus Tough TG-5 uses a 12 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, instead of the 16mp sensor found in the TG-4 - this reduction in resolution means that the sensor has larger pixels, giving better sensitivity to light, and the camera has an extended ISO range from ISO100 to ISO12800. The camera also offers 4K video recording, 4K timelapse, and high-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps. High-speed video is possible, with FullHD video recording at up to 120fps. 

There are only a small handful of waterproof cameras to choose from currently available, so let's quickly have a look at the options available:

Fujifilm XP120 Canon D30 Nikon Coolpix W300 Olympus TG-5
16mp 12mp 16mp 12mp
5x, f/3.9-4.9 5x, f/3.9-4.8 5x, f/2.8-4.9 4x, f/2.0-4.9
20m waterproof 25m 30m 15m
FullHD video FullHD video 4K video 4K video
10fps continuous shooting 1.9fps  7fps  20fps 
Wi-Fi GPS GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth GPS, Wi-Fi
£150 £250 £389 £399

The 4x optical zoom lens offers a bright aperture of f/2.0, at the wide-angle end of the lens, which is equivalent to 25mm-100mm (in 35mm equivalent terms). The lens features new anti-fog dual-pane protective glass, as well as an impressive macro focus distance of 1cm even when using the full 4x optical zoom, meaning you can get impressively close macro photos. To take full advantage of this, focus stacking (and bracketing) will help you get more of the photo in focus, with the camera automatically merging numerous shots taken at slightly different focus distances into one. 

The TG-5 is waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof from 2.1 metres, crushproof up to 100kg, freezeproof to -10C, and dustproof meaning it should survive under water, in extreme conditions or from mistreatment.

The Olympus Tough TG-5 has features inherited from the top of the range Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

Pro capture mode can shoot photos before you've pressed the shutter release button and is a feature that was first introduced in the top of the range Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. High-speed continuous shooting lets you choose between 20fps and 10fps, at the full 12-megapixel resolution.

All of the scene modes feature an example photo, giving you an idea of when it's best to use the mode, and there is a built-in help to explain the modes and options on the camera. There are a number of including underwater modes available: underwater snapshot, underwater wide, underwater macro, and underwater HDR. Art filters are available, with a number of different versions of each.

Wi-Fi is built-in, and using Olympus' Image Share app on your smartphone you can remotely control the camera, import photos, edit photos, and more. The camera has built-in GPS so that you can log your travels, as well as add location information to your photos. 

If you hold the INFO button on the back of the camera, when it is switched off, then it will display a compass, the time, temperature, atmospheric pressure, depth, and GPS coordinates. Olympus calls this the Field Sensor System / or the Action Track Sensor System. The camera is also compatible with Olympus' Image Track (OI.Track) app.

A number of accessories are available, including a fisheye converter, tele converter, flash diffuser, light guide, plus floating straps, silicone cases, you can also get an additional underwater case for the camera, which lets you use the camera up to 45m underwater. 

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (4)

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens, 25-100mm equivalent, f/2.0-4.9
  • In-camera sensor-shift image stabilisation
  • 3inch screen, 460K dots
  • 20fps continuous shooting 
  • Waterproof to 15m, shockproof (2.1m), dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof (100kg)
  • GPS, Wi-Fi built-in 
  • 4K UHD video recording
  • High-speed video, FullHD at 120fps
  • ISO100 to ISO12800, raw shooting
  • Aperture priority mode
  • 1cm macro, macro focus stacking/bracketing
  • Underwater scene modes
  • Available in black or red

Olympus Tough TG-5 Handling

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (9)

The design has been improved, with a larger grip on the front of the camera. The camera feels solidly built, as you'd expect from a Tough camera, and the camera has a decent weight to it for its size, making it feel substantial. There's a new control wheel on top, which helps to quickly change settings, and the zoom control has been moved to surround the shutter release button. 

A LOG switch has been added, and the front accessory ring now has a locking/release button next to it. The battery and memory compartment features a dual-lock system so that you can't accidentally open it, and the same for the side USB connection. The mode dial now features a dedicated video setting, whilst not a major change, this makes it easier to access video settings and modes.

The camera has an aperture priority mode that lets you set the aperture, with f/2.0, f/2.8 and f/8,0 available at the wide end of the lens, and f/4.9, f/6.3, and f/18 available when fully zoomed. The screen resolution is reasonable at 460K dots, and viewing angles are good. 

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (10)

Menus – Pressing the middle OK button brings up an on-screen set of controls and options so that you can quickly change settings, without having to go into the menus. The menus are split into logical sections, however, there is an advanced options area, where it can take some time to find the options you want. There is built-in help so that the camera will tell you what the options do. 

Wi-Fi features - Built-in Wi-Fi gives the ability to use a smartphone for remote shutter release and setting up the connection is very easy as you simply need to scan a QR code on the camera screen using the O.I.Share app. You can download and share images, apply art filters and other effects, as well as use the app to geotag images (in case you want to switch off GPS on the camera to save battery life). 

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review: Olympus Tough TG 5 (7)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 340 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is good, although we'd recommend a spare battery if you want to shoot more. 

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