All grown up: Rugged Olympus TG-5 gets dual quad CPU and an inoculation against megapixel madness


posted Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 2:00 AM EDT


Two years ago, Olympus updated its TOUGH-series camera line with a new flagship, the TOUGH TG-4. Today, the company reinvents the rugged, waterproof point-and-shoot with the followup Olympus TG-5, a camera which retains its predecessor's rugged build, but which promises to greatly improve on the rather subpar image quality for which the tough-as-nails camera segment has become known.

At the heart of the TG-5 are a new 12-megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor paired with the same dual quad-core TruePic VIII image processor as used in the flagship (and very well-received) OM-D E-M1 II mirrorless camera, and together they allow sensitivities to ISO 12,800-equivalent. The lens, meanwhile, is a holdover from the previous Olympus TG-4: A 4x optical zoom with a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture at wide angle, and which can focus to an extremely close 0.4 inches (1 cm) through most of its zoom range..

The combination of the new sensor -- which ignores megapixel madness in favor of better light gathering and reduced high-sensitivity noise levels -- plus a seriously powerful image processor and a reasonably bright optic promise good things in the image quality department. But there is a lot more than just that to the Olympus TG-5, which like its predecessor can withstand 220 pounds (100 kg) of crushing force, is waterproof to 50 feet (15 m), capable of surviving a drop from seven feet (2.1 m), freezeproof to 14F (-10C) and dustproof to boot.


For one thing, it now sports a dual-pane cover glass over the lens to help avoid it fogging up when the temperature suddenly changes. For another, Olympus has taken the TG-4's raw file format, and given access to it even during burst capture. The Olympus TG-5 also adds in-camera raw processing, and supplements its predecessor's GPS / GLONASS / QZSS-compatible geolocation capabilities and e-compass with a new external temperature sensor, plus a manometer which allows measurement of altitude and underwater depth.

And as if that wasn't plenty to talk about, the Olympus TG-5 also offers both focus stacking and focus bracketing functions, not to mention manual focusing complete a focus peaking function. There's also a pro capture mode that can shoot at 10 frames per second constantly until you press the shutter button, then let you reach back in time as long as ten seconds before the shutter was tripped to find the perfect moment your reflexes weren't quite ready for, plus other great tools like a live composite mode, HDR capture, 4K movie recording, high-speed and interval movie capture, Wi-Fi connectivity and a seriously impressive lineup of accessories that will extend the capabilities of the Olympus TG-5 in new directions.

The Olympus TG-5 and its new accessories go on sale from June 2017 in the US market, with a choice of either black or red body colors to suit your tastes. US-market pricing is set at around US$450 for the camera itself, while a newly-announced 147-foot (45 m) underwater housing is priced at US$300, and a new silicone jacket will cost US$30. (Other accessories are backwards-compatible with the TG-4 and already widely available at retail.) Located just a little over the border to our north? Our Canadian readers will be able to purchase the Olympus TG-5 camera for CAD$580, the underwater housing for CAD$330, and the silicone jacket for CAD$32.

For the full story on this interesting new TOUGH-series model, hop on over to our Olympus TG-5 preview now. Just want to reserve your place in queue to pick one up? Keep an eye out on our Olympus TG-5 deals page to get your preorder in at the first opportunity!