12.0MP | 25-100mm (4X) Zoom | $326/£288/€341

This is the second in a series of short underwater/rugged camera reviews on DPReview. We're testing the cameras concurrently, and once all six cameras have been reviewed, we'll publish a roundup of the class, comparing them directly.

Olympus, along with Pentax, is one of the pioneers of the underwater/rugged camera. Its first camera, the Stylus 720 SW, was introduced back in 2006, and the rest is history. Many, many generations of rugged cameras later, the Tough TG-1 iHS arrived, and it brought something new to the genre: a fast, F2.0-4.9 25-100mm (equivalent) zoom lens. This was a significant improvement over the slow lenses normally found on tough cameras. Two other notable features were support for conversion lenses, and limited manual exposure control.

The Tough TG-2 iHS, which arrived in early 2013, builds on the TG-1's already impressive feature set and is even more waterproof and rugged, with a better-than-average depth rating of 15 meters (50 feet). The other hallmark features, listed below, remain the same.

Specification Highlights

  • 12.0 effective megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor
  • F2.0-4.9, 25-100mm lens (4X)
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Waterproof to 15m, shockproof from 2.1m, crushproof to 100 kg, freezeproof to -10C
  • 3.0 inch OLED display with 610,000 dot resolution
  • Aperture priority mode
  • Built-in GPS with landmark tagging, compass, manometer, and logging
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 1080/30p movie mode with stereo sound
  • 'Tap Control' for (limited) camera control when wearing gloves
  • Support for fish-eye and telephoto conversion lenses
The highlight of the TG-2's specification is undoubtedly its relatively fast 25-100mm lens. At wide-angle, the maximum aperture is F2.0, which is at least a full stop faster than what you'll find on most other rugged cameras.

As we'd expect, at the telephoto end of the lens, the TG-2's maximum aperture is a slightly more pedestrian F4.9.

A 'fast' maximum aperture lets in more light, which allows you to keep the ISO sensitivity down, which in turn keeps noise levels low (at least in theory). The Canon D20, for example, offers a longer zoom than the TG-2, at 28-140mm, but it is considerably slower at its wide and middle focal lengths, offering a maximum aperture of F3.9-4.8. So in the same shooting conditions, at wide-angle, the TG-2 will be able to correctly expose shots using lower ISO settings than the D20, which means less noise and better image quality.

Another unique feature of the TG-2 is the ability to add conversion lenses. The camera supports both telephoto and fish-eye lenses. As you'd expect, both of these lenses are waterproof.

The conversion lens adapter that comes with these lenses (and can be purchased separately) also allows the use of 40.5mm filters.

The only other rugged camera on the market to support a conversion lens is the Pentax WG-3, which supports a wide-angle lens, but lacks filter support. There are plenty more interesting features on the TG-2, which we'll cover on the following page.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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