Olympus TG-1 review

Tough compact with f/2.0 lens

TODO alt text

One of the Olympus TG-1's headline features – its f/2.0 lens – proves to be a considerable asset when it comes to image quality and low light performance. Unlike many of its rivals, which tend to be equipped with slower lenses, the Olympus TG-1's lens proves its worth when the light begins to fade, enabling faster shutter speeds and lower ISO sensitivities to be maintained, and producing better quality images as a result.

Unlike a DSLR or CSC, however, the Olympus TG-1's fast optic doesn't offer the same scope to produce shallow depth of field effects; a trait that remains difficult to achieve with smaller compact camera sensors.

Olympus TG 1 review

You can, however, create a similar effect by employing one the Olympus TG-1's creative Magic Filters: select the Miniature option and you can generate shots that look convincingly like they've been taken using a tilt/shift (perspective control) lens.

While we wouldn't exactly describe the image quality from the Olympus TG-1 as 'DSLR-like' we can report that it is very good indeed. Shots taken at low ISOs are generally sharp, detailed and noise-free, with this continuing up to around ISO 800. Beyond this point things get softer and noisier, with ISO 3200 being about as far as we'd recommend pushing it in an emergency.

Olympus TG 1 review

It's worth noting, however, that the need to shoot at higher ISO sensitivities is minimal in most low-light situations: that superb f/2.0 lens is a saving grace when it comes to helping to keep the sensitivity range at the lower end of the scale.

Videos shot with the Olympus TG-1 are pretty pleasing for the most part, although the sensor-shift image stabilisation doesn't manage to keep things as smooth as we'd like when shooting at telephoto settings.

Olympus TG 1 review

You might also like...
Best tripods and camera supports 15 tested
Best tripods and camera supports

Sound recording is good, although you will pick up operational sounds such as focusing and zooming while filming in quieter environments.

Another marked improvement over previous Olympus Tough models is evident in the Olympus TG-1's operating speed. It's quick to start up, and shot-to-shot times are noticeably quicker than those of its predecessors.

Action enthusiasts will also be pleased to see the inclusion of a dedicated sports mode on the camera's mode dial, which enables continuous capture of full resolution stills at up to 5fps (reduce the resolution to 3MP and you can achieve speeds of 15fps or 60fps).

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