Olympus TG-1 review

Tough compact with f/2.0 lens

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  • Rugged build and specs
  • Fast f2.0 lens
  • Great all-round image quality
  • Excellent macro shooting
  • Fast operation


  • GPS drains battery
  • Noise at high ISOs
  • Video jerky at telephoto settings
  • In-camera battery charging can be inconvenient

Olympus has a long-running reputation for being at the forefront of 'life-proof' compact camera development, frequently being the first to implement new technologies and lead the way in terms of the amount of punishment its cameras can take. Yet again – with the launch of the Tough TG-1 – Olympus has excelled itself.

With the recent increased level of competition in this niche sector of the digital camera market, Olympus has pulled out all the stops with its latest development, to ensure that its Tough series of camera remains at the top of the pack. Setting a new precedent with its impressive specifications, the Olympus TG-1 raises the bar with its tougher-than-ever adventure-proof features.

Olympus TG 1 review

The new camera boasts significantly improved waterproofing features, being capable of resisting water ingress and coping with the pressure right the way down to a depth of 12m (40ft). It's also freezeproof to -10C (14F), crushproof to 100kg (220lbs) and shockproof if dropped from a height of up to 2m (6.6ft).

The Olympus TG-1 is also dustproof, incorporates an Electronic Compass, a Manometer and boasts built-in GPS too.

Olympus Tough TG-1 at a glance
12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS
Lens: 4x optical zoom (25 - 100 mm equivalent), f/2.0-4.9
LCD Screen: 3-inch, 610,000-dots, OLED
Focus modes: Contrast Detection: Face Detect AF, iESP Auto, Spot AF, AF Tracking
Dimensions: 111.5mm x 66.5mm x 29.1mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.1 inches), 230g (8.1oz)

On paper, the Olympus TG-1 certainly looks to have the potential to be a market leader in terms of its ruggedness. But Olympus also claims to have taken steps to ensure that image quality, which – as we've seen in the past – can sometimes become a secondary concern in the development of these types of compact cameras, was of equal significance when developing the new camera.

To that end, the manufacturer promises "DSLR image quality" from the 12MP BSI-CMOS sensor and bright f/2.0 lens. We'll see how these claims stand up in our tests.

Build quality and handling

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The Olympus Tough cameras we've tested in the past have all lived up to their name, and the Olympus Tough TG-1 continues this tradition. It may have a plastic outer shell, but the camera feels very solid, reassuringly weighty and nicely balanced in the hand.

A plethora of exposed bolts and touches such as the double-locking mechanisms on the hatches that protect the memory card/battery compartment and the various ports are all reminders of the Olympus TG-1's superb level of build quality and protection.

Olympus TG 1 review

Buttons are well proportioned and logically positioned, with the fact that each one is raised away from the camera body making it simple to locate and operate each one.

The only criticism we might have made in this respect is that perhaps the controls on the back panel are a little too closely clustered together. This didn't present any issues for us during normal use, but it has the potential to make the camera a little more difficult to operate with accuracy while wearing thick gloves, or underwater, for instance.

Olympus TG 1 review

With this in mind, Olympus has thankfully incorporated its innovative Tap Control feature into the Olympus TG-1's menu options, enabling you to perform certain tasks – including altering some settings and navigating through menus/images in playback mode – by gesturing with and/or tapping the sides/top/bottom of the camera.

Olympus seems to have tightened up the reflexes of this feature, making it a pretty effective alternative method of operation.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANNo
Effective Camera Resolution12 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyTough
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom4x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameOlympus
DurabilityShock Proof, Freeze Proof, Crush Proof, Dust Proof, Scratch Proof
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG, MOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)230 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution3968 x 2976
Display Screen TypeOLED
Height66.5 mm
Width111.5 mm
Depth29.1 mm
Focal Length4.50 mm to 18 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelTG-1
Product NameDigital Camera TG-1
Product LineTough
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV104090SE000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

Even by the extremely high standards of Olympus' category-defining TOUGH range of cameras, the new TG-1 TOUGH flagship takes remarkable pictures - and boasts some remarkable features. First and foremost its superb, extra-wide aperture f2.0 high-speed lens that can capture excellent-quality images even in the permanent twilight found 12 metres underwater. Which is exactly where this camera is engineered to excel. The TG-1 is waterproof to 12m, shockproof to 2m, crushproof to 100kg and freezeproof to -10°C. For all-action risk-takers or reef-loving divers, it's peace of mind sealed in a stylish all-metal box. And what a box of high-tech innovations that is. For serious photographers, waterproof fisheye and tele converter lenses are available (via an optional adapter). There's Olympus' iHS (Intelligence, High Sensitivity and High Speed) technologies, plus a colour-rich, high-contrast, anti-reflective OLED display, GPS and e.compass and three new shooting modes: Low Light, Super Sports and Super Macro. It's an impressive package that puts rival compacts firmly in their place.

Package Contents
  • Digital Camera TG-1
  • LI-90B Lithium-Ion Battery
  • F-2AC AC Adapter
  • CB-USB6 USB Cable
  • CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable
  • Hand Strap
  • World Wide Warranty Card
  • Instruction Manual
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty2 Year