The Olympus TG-5 is the best rugged compact you can buy right now
1 Introduction | What Worked
Washington State's Pacific coastal beaches are quite the contrast to what you usually find around Puget Sound near Seattle. The pebbles, barnacled rocks and copious sickly sea foam give way to pillow-soft sand, waves you can surf and mountainous, craggy rock formations that make for an otherworldly visual experience. As a local, I'll admit that I love both varieties. But despite how picturesque a trip to the beach can be, I absolutely hate going with a camera in tow. Sand can kill.
Even brief exposure to sand and saltwater can make for a deadly combination for just about any electronic device, so in planning for a three-day, two-night camping trip to Washington's Second Beach in La Push, I had basically written off any possibility that I'd bring a camera along. Then, I remembered we had the Olympus Tough TG-5.1
|The first leg of the journey was a ferry across Puget Sound to get us closer to the ocean.|
And in considering the TG-5, I was reminded of a well-worn saying; 'it's not the camera, it's the photographer.' I happen to think there's an awful lot of truth in that, but even so, as a nerd as well as a photographer, there are usually lines in the sand (apologies) I don't cross. One of them is using a dedicated camera with a smartphone camera-sized sensor.
But then again, my smartphone isn't rugged or waterproof, and doesn't have an optical zoom. Adding to that, the TG-5 offers Raw capture, GPS logging, good external controls, a more powerful flash and a crazy good macro mode. With the Tough, you've got a pretty compelling, compact package without the hassle of endless smartphone apps, clunky waterproof cases and fiddly lens attachments.
|The TG-5's 'microscope' mode sounds a little goofy, but it results in very good macro performance. And check out that background blur despite the small sensor!|
Besides, I still find some satisfaction in using a dedicated camera as opposed to a smartphone for even casual photography. So, was the TG-5 the absolute perfect camera for this trip? Turns out, it's got a couple of quirks. But it was still darn good.
|One of the joys of visiting La Push with the TG-5 was access to tide pools at low tide. Then I discovered they were all just occupied by the same green sea anemones. Maybe next time I'll try snorkeling to get some more variety.|
The very first thing I did with the TG-5 when I grabbed it from our camera cabinet was run it under the tap. Of course, it's fun to do that just because you can, but it also had some sunscreen on it from a previous user that I wanted to rinse off.
So the TG-5 is very well-sealed against both moisture and dust and dirt intrusion. This meant I could comfortably leave it lying around our beachy campsite even though everything was covered in sand.
I could put it in my sandy pocket, or deposit it in my sand-filled bag in our sand-filled tent and not have to worry at all. I brought it along on rocky beach hikes where it was likely I would fall into the ocean. This capability alone is pretty much worth the price of admission in my book, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.2
Every image you're seeing in this article is the result of a Raw file from the TG-5 processed through a beta version of Adobe Camera Raw (more samples available in the gallery). This is probably my favorite thing about the Tough; even though the images can be noisy even at base ISO, I was able to salvage some clipped highlights and lift some shadows to bring detail back in high-contrast scenes, which you're likely to encounter in outdoor photography.
The TG-5 is, thanks to an updated processor, also a very responsive camera. Start-up, focus and shot-to-shot times were all very quick, making it easy to whip the camera out for a quick shot on the move (and the well-sculpted grip makes it feel secure in the hand). But sometimes, quick shots on the move proved to be a problem for the TG-5. Let's explore what Olympus could improve on the next iteration of their tough cam.
|The TG-5's metering did a pretty good job here, but I was able to go into the Raw file and pull down some highlights that had clipped in the JPEG file due to the dark background.|
1. Okay, and a Nikon D7200 that stayed safely tucked away in a bag for much of the trip.
2. Some sand will still get stuck around the screen and port doors, but nothing another good rinse under a tap won't take care of.
The Pixii camera is an interesting little rangefinder camera that features a 12MP APS-C sensor and lacks a rear LCD display, opting instead to pair with your mobile device, which can be used to view and transfer images.
Sirui is launching an Indiegogo campaign for a wide-angle answer to its existing 50mm F1.8 anamorphic lens. The 35mm APS-C lens will come in a Micro Four Thirds mount with adapters for other systems.
Sony has added a 12-24mm F2.8 to its top-shelf 'G Master' series of lenses. It's the widest constant F2.8 zoom currently offered for full-frame, with a hefty price tag to match: it will sell for $3000 when it ships in mid-August.
Take a look at the view from Sony's new ultra-wide F2.8 zoom – we paired it with the a7R IV for some initial shooting.
Canon's EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best DSLRs ever made. With fast burst speeds, great video quality and impressive autofocus, the 1D X III is equal parts cinema rig and sports shooter. Find out how it fares against steep competition in our full review.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that Nikon will announce successors to its Z6 and Z7 camera systems by the end of the calendar year.
Canon says the event, set to take place at 14:00 CEST in two days on July 9, will be its 'biggest product launch yet.'
The Verge Video Director, Becca Farsace, shows how she built a custom Raspberry Pi camera with effectively zero coding knowledge over the course of just three days.
The EOS R5 has been in the works for some time, and Canon has published a handful of specifications, but there's still plenty we don't know. What are you hoping to see from Canon's forthcoming flagship camera?
Canon's CE-SAT-IB satellite camera was destroyed alongside six other satellites during Rocket Lab's ironically-named 'Pics or It Didn't Happen Mission.'
This sample gallery includes images from our recent review of the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD zoom lens. Check out these photos to see how it performs, from wide-angle to telephoto and everything in between.
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD provides a wide zoom range in compact, weather-sealed design. Find out why it's Chris and Jordan's new favorite travel lens.
Kodak Portra 800 is a wonderful and versatile color film. And any rumors of it being discontinued, we're pleased to report, are simply untrue. That's a good thing, because it's capable of producing lovely results in all sorts of conditions.
Boering has left the World Press Photo without much of an explanation from either him or the organization, but he tells DPReview the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the WPP to change the way it makes money.
The standard-size deck of playing cards features unique photography-oriented artwork and act as cheat sheets for photographers.
The Sony ZV-1 and Panasonic Lumix DC-G100 are the first cameras we've seen that are overtly designed with vlogging in mind – and the changes they represent could have implications for the future of all cameras.
The utility allows the E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III and E-M5 Mark II cameras to be used with video conferencing apps over USB.
Olympus is showing final images of its under-development 150-400mm F4.5, which it says will arrive this winter. An unspecified macro and 8-25mm F4 Pro have also been added to the lens roadmap, and the E-M1X's AF gains bird detection.
The scam, which involves sending fake copyright violation notices, has been circulating on the social media platform since at least June 9.
Fujifilm is one of just two producers of tape media (the other being Sony) and it is hard at work on a breakthrough that will allow single tape storage drives to offer 400TB capacities in the coming years.
The National Parks Service says it's investigating the incident, which took place just two days after the park opened following a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professional full frame lenses are usually large and have fast apertures. In this episode of DPReview TV, Chris and Jordan argue that there's a need for slow professional lenses – inspired by some of their favorite Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The camera maker joins Olympus, Fujifilm and others is a legal tussle over US digital camera technology patents held by DigiMedia Tech.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) photographs the sun every 0.75 seconds. In its first decade in space, the SDO has captured more than 425 million images of the sun. NASA has compiled these images into an amazing time lapse, come check it out.
The lens is available for Leica M, Sony FE, Nikon Z and L-mount camera systems, and now holds the title as the world's widest rectilinear lens for full-frame camera systems.
Tamron's new 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is a versatile zoom lens for Sony E-mount. Well-suited for travel photography, it's compact, lightweight, and fast/quiet to focus.
Fujifilm has announced that its GF 30mm F3.5 R WR wide-angle lens for its medium format cameras will ship in late July or early August.
Fujifilm's latest lens is a sharp, reasonably compact and well-built wide-angle for the company's GFX medium-format cameras. We took it out and about in the warm Seattle summer with the company's 50 and 100 Megapixel camera bodies to see what it can do.
Fujifilm has issued firmware updates to the GFX 100 and GFX 50 models, with the 100MP camera gaining the most significant improvements.
Although the channel is still growing, it currently has nine videos that offer concise overviews of just a few of the cameras Japan Camera Hunter founder Bellamy Hunt has sitting around his Japanese storefront.