Olympus TG-2 Review
Review Date : Wed, 12 Jun 2013
Author : Mike Topham
The Olympus Tough TG-2 is one of the best-specified underwater cameras on the market, both with regards to imaging capabilities and tough credentials. See how it gets on in the What Digital Camera Olympus Tough TG-2 review
|Pros:||Fast maximum aperture; Mode dial; GPS; Fast AF performance|
|Cons:||Mode dial is difficult to operate underwater; Small buttons|
Olympus TG-2 Review - Features
Olympus has a strong heritage in the tough compact area of the market. The TG-2 is the company's flagship waterproof camera and features a 4x optical zoom lens (25-100mm) that's positioned in the centre of the body rather than being offset. It features a 12MP CMOS sensor that's partnered by a TruePic VI image processor, and as well as boasting a 100-6400 ISO range, the TG-2's lens has a maximum aperture opening of f/2, making it brighter than some other waterproof compact's optics.
The TG-2 provides users with manual aperture control via a mode dial at the rear of the camera, and there are also 23 scene modes to choose from. What's more, GPS and full HD movie recording are available. At the rear, the TG-2 boasts a 3in, 610k-dot OLED display that displays neutral colour and impressive levels of detail.
The TG-2 doesn't feature in-built Wi-fi technology but is compatible with FlashAir memory cards so images can be transferred wirelessly on social media via a smartphone.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Build & Performance
The TG-2 autofocus performance is very snappy and locks focus extremely quickly without delay or signs of hunting. It back this up with an impressive build quality that shouts rigidity and resistance for shooting in demanding environments. The mode dial at the rear is good for accessing the camera's various shooting modes and saves you having to dig your way through the menu to find what you want when you need it. Start-up/shutdown times are also quick and you're ready to shoot within two seconds of switching the camera on.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Underwater Performance
The fast AF system combined with 5fps sequential shooting allowed us to capture great shots in quick succession when shooting underwater. Colours were rich and exposure couldn't be faulted, however there's very little grip on the mode dial and we found it extremely difficult to change the shooting mode with wet hands. This shouldn't cause a problem in everyday use as you're likely to set the shooting mode in a dry environment before shooting underwater, but it's an area for improvement on a future model.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Freeze Test
A night in the freezer didn't affect the TG-2. After breaking it out of a block of ice, the camera switched on very quickly and performed just as it should without fail. This test confirmed that the Olympus TG-2 withstands bitter temperatures and would be well suited to those who plan to purchase a tough compact to go ski-ing or venture outdoors in cold environments.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Shock Test
The TG-2 claims it can survive drops and impacts from 2.1m. We measured this height in the studio and dropped it onto a hard floor. The strong body survived the fall and other than a few blemishes on the base of the camera where a little paint had rubbed off, there was no other damage and it continued to work without fault.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Image Quality
The TG-2's 12MP sensor resolves 20 lines per millimeter. This is considered as a reasonable performance from a compact, but it resolves fractionally less detail than the 16MP sensor as found within Panasonic's FT5. Crisp detail is captured between ISO 100 and 400, however when you push beyond ISO 800 expect images to get slightly softer. Colour saturation drops off slightly at the TG-2's highest ISO setting, meaning you won't want to push above ISO 800 unless your shooting conditions suggest you really must.
Olympus TG-2 Review - Verdict
The Olympus TG-2 is a great looking tough compact that matches its fine appearance with an excellent performance. The images it produces underwater are very impressive and its fast autofocus operation won't leave you waiting around to acquire focus before you fire the shutter.
The quality of the screen is very important when it's being used to compose shots as well as review images and the TG-2's doesn't disappoint. The white on black text making it easy to navigate the menu and the quick menu that's accessed via the OK button gives you direct access to your most commonly used settings.
Our only criticism is that some of the buttons, such as playback and the menu, are fairly small. There's very few boxes the TG-2 doesn't tick, but one feature it does lack is Wi-fi functionality - something that's starting to creep in to other tough compacts such as the Panasonic Lumix FT5 and Nikon AW110.
If Wi-fi isn't one of your main concerns, the TG-2 would make a superb tough compact choice, provided your budget can stretch to its fairly high asking price.