Olympus TG-5 Video

A video montage from Olympus' high-end waterproof camera

By Dave Pardue | Posted: 05/20/2019

One of my favorite pursuits as a camera reviewer is seeing how much quality I can squeeze from a certain class of camera. And of course one of my favorite life pursuits is just chasing my kids around in the summertime. With those two things in mind I strapped the little Olympus TG-5 to my side last summer with the intention of doing both.

Video is so much fun, but is also much more involved than still photography. High-end video shoots require loads of personnel and gear to pull off, and for good reason. But with ample southeastern U.S. sunshine and an Olympus TG-5, you can achieve very good quality footage considering the price, toss it on a timeline in an editor and come away with better results than I ever would have thought possible with a little waterproof camera. And as you'll see from some of the footage, you can even get decent results in nighttime/low light conditions.

How the TG-5 Sees Summer

I have 5 segments for you, or if you'd prefer you can watch the "Director's Cut" and take it all in down below. And, as we always try to do here at IR, I've provided the full resolution files for download so that you can see the full, uncompressed results, as they are really interesting to watch. Due to typical YouTube file compression, watching the uncompressed (downloaded) results are really the only way to see how good the camera can actually perform, and to be able to see what you'll be able to expect from your own footage.

In these videos, you'll see ample use of 120p "slo-mo" video, which for my taste works really, really well. You'll also see several examples of time-lapse footage on clouds, storms, sunrises and moonrises, which are also tremendously fun to explore. But mostly you'll see the TG-5 doing what it does best, which is being a solid side-kick to summer fun.

Part I: Pools and Lakes

This first section begins with a timelapse of a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. After this you'll see ample use of 120p underwater footage, which is the real strength of the TG-5. For the price of this camera, the quality of footage at 120p is fairly astonishing.


Part II: Rockets, cycling and chasing fish

This section begins with more 120p footage of a kid's rocket launch, and then switches to normal shooting speeds for bicycling through the Carolina Lowcountry. The image stabilization is good in some places, but can get a bit "off" a few times. I left these shaky clips in, as I wanted to present a full picture of the camera, both strengths and weaknesses. This segment ends with more 120p footage underwater, which of course is an obvious strength for the TG-5. I used the FCON-01 (19mm eq.) conversion lens here to broaden the views of the local fish.


Part III: The Beach!

Moving back to mostly "normal speed" footage here, we see some limitations of the TG-5 in the way of some choppiness and some shaky footage, but it's not too bad overall for this class. In other words, for less than $500, it's still quite good. And the timelapse of the midday summer storm is a fun addition. If you acquire a TG-5, don't forget to experiment with timelapse! It's super easy to use; just set it up based on the time duration, hit the shutter button and walk away.


Part IV: The Mountains

This clip further showcases the beauty of 120p from the TG-5. The footage both above and below the raging mountain stream is meant to really show the breadth of possibility for such a reasonably priced camera. I perhaps included a few too many clips near the raging waterfall, but it's mesmerizing to watch for me, so it was hard to remove any more. And the underwater footage came out better than I'd expected.


Part V: Summer Nights

Here we turn to low light, though that has traditionally been the domain of higher-end cameras. The brighter f/2 aperture of the TG series comes to our aid here as compared to most "tough" cameras, as do the range of manual controls. For my taste, the lower light footage is quite good for this class! We then end here where we started the first segment, this time with an evening moonrise timelapse off the Atlantic Ocean.


How the TG-5 Sees Summer: Full Version (all 5 segments)

Thanks for watching! I hope these examples have demonstrated at least some of the potential from this cool little camera, as well as a few limitations where it doesn't rival higher-end cameras. For the price, it's a very capable little rig, especially when paired with the optional FCON-01 (19mm eq.) conversion lens. Below are a few more notes from these videos.

TG-5 Video Shooting Notes:

Virtually all of the clips above are as delivered by the camera... only one or two short clips were brightened a tad, but most were left "as is" to show how the camera delivered them.

I chose to remain in 1920x1080, but of course the TG-5 also shoots in 4K. You can find some 4K clips in our TG-5 Field Tests.

Audio is not recorded when shooting in 120p, and so some of the audio you hear has been added in after the fact. This is just the nature of recording in slow motion, across various brands and models.

[All of the music in these pieces was written by yours truly, and if you like what you hear, please search for me on Spotify or elsewhere!]


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