New Olympus TG-1 camera promises both great pictures and a rugged body

Olympus TG1 Front

Olympus’ latest rugged camera is out now. Check out our review of the Olympus TG-1 iHS camera.

Olympus has introduced the TG-1 iHS, the latest model in its range of rugged cameras, but this time it’s promising the device doesn’t compromise image quality over a desire to make the body as hard-wearing as possible.

Before getting into the camera’s specification, here’s how tough Olympus has made the TG-1. It’s waterproof to 40 feet (12 meters), freeze proof to 14-degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), and can withstand a drop from 6.6 feet (2 meters) and weights of up to 220 pounds (100 kg) before giving in.

The anti-reflective lens is scratch proof and has a special water-repellant coating to disperse water droplets, and the casing provides a dust proof barrier too.

There’s little doubt the TG-1 will be able to withstand some abuse, then, but what about its ability to take good pictures?

Olympus TG1 Rear

Up front is a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor with a TruePic VI image processor, also found in the Olympus Pen E-P3 and the E-PM1, which Olympus say produces “DSLR-quality” pictures.” It’s autofocus with face detection and tracking, has a 4x optical and 4x digital zoom, an ISO range of between 100 and 6400, plus an extra-wide f2.0 aperture.

The camera also shoots 1080p video at 30fps, and has several still shooting modes including Super Sports, which uses high speed autofocus and a 1/2000 shutter speed to capture great action shots. GPS, a digital compass and a manometer are also built-in to record exact location information.

Other features include a 3-inch OLED screen, a built-in flash, stereo microphone and an HDMI-out. Sadly, the TG-1 only captures JPEG images and not RAW.

Olympus are emphasizing the TG-1’s underwater ability too, as it has four different camera modes specifically for aquatic use, plus they offer several accessories such as a waterproof fisheye lens and adaptor ring, plus an even more robust housing which can go as deep as 135 feet (45 meters).

On paper it’s a step up from other rugged cameras, particularly that bright f2.0 f-stop, and given Olympus’ very public issues recently, they need a success.

The Olympus TG-1 will go on sale in the USA this July, and has been given a retail price of $399 (keep in mind the TG-820 iHS from Olympus cost $399 at release, and the TG-1 considerably bumps up the specs), but it could be available slightly earlier in the UK, where it has a price of £359.