Olympus TG-2 iHS
Design and Key Features
Unlike some of its peers, which have - shall we say - rather unique designs, the Olympus Tough TG-2 is about as plain old rectangular as a camera can get. The only protrusions are the 'hump' on the top for the GPS receiver, and the large metal strap mount on one side. The camera lives up to the 'Tough' name that's emblazoned on its front plate, with a body made almost completely of metal. The TG-2 is available in black and and red colors, and those prone to losing their cameras may want to choose the latter, which is a lot more visible.
The TG-2 is one of the most rugged cameras on the market. It can go up to 15 meters (50 feet) underwater, can be dropped from 2.1 meters (7 feet), and can be crushed with up to 100 kg (220 lb) of force. It's also freezeproof to -10C (+14). If you want to take the camera even deeper underwater, Olympus's PT-053 housing supports depths of up to 45 meters (148 feet).
Naturally, you don't want water collecting on the lens when you're out in the elements. Olympus put a water-repellent coating on the TG-2's lens to prevent that, and in our testing water rolled right off the lens in both controlled and real-world use.
A neat trick that many Olympus Tough cameras can do is Tap Control. This feature comes in handy when you're wearing ski gloves, for example. Tapping twice on the left or right side of the body opens the shortcut menu, and you can then tap on the top or bottom to navigate through the menu (using left and right taps to select an option), with a double-tap on the screen confirming your selection. Tapping twice on the top of the TG-2 enters playback mode, and you can navigate through photos by tapping left or right.
|As with all underwater cameras, all of the doors have gaskets to keep out moisture and dust.||Olympus makes it pretty difficult to accidentally open a door, with dual locking systems for both the battery/memory card and I/O port compartments.|
It's worth mentioning that during our shooting, the TG-2 was the only camera with which we had issues with condensation. We cleaned and checked the seals in an indoor, air conditioned environment. When the camera went into the ocean, the inside of the lens was totally fogged up for about half an hour, before finally clearing. While we don't know how it got there, clearly some moisture had entered the camera. We should note too, that we only had this problem once.
|Like its predecessor, the TG-2 has a 3-inch, 610k-dot OLED display, with brilliant color and a wide viewing angle.||Here you can see the TG-2's LED illuminator and built-in flash. The flash has a range of up to 7.9 meters, but that's at ISO 1600.|
While the TG-2's OLED display looks beautiful indoors, outdoor performance was lacking. It's nearly impossible to use in bright light, even with brightness cranked to the maximum setting. It was also very difficult to use when snorkeling. On a brighter note (no pun intended), images on the TG-2's display are easy to see in low light.
The LED illuminator on the TG-2 is normally used as focusing aid in low light situations. You can also turn it on while shooting stills, which brightens the scene (especially when your subject is close). The LED lamp can also be used when the camera is turned off. Hold down the Info button for a few seconds, and the TG-2 becomes a very expensive flashlight.
While the built-in flash looks the same as every other camera, it has one trick up its sleeve. The flash can be used to wirelessly control an external flash - something that even some high-end compact cameras can't do. The TG-2 can work with Olympus' own RC wireless flash system, which transmits exposure information to the external flash (Olympus or Panasonic-branded). If you're using a third party flash, then it becomes a 'dumb slave' system, where the built-in flash simply triggers the external unit.
It's worth noting that the TG-2's flash is quite weak. Olympus quotes a maximum range of 7.9 meters at wide-angle and 3.1 m at telephoto, but that's at ISO 1600, which is a sensitivity that's best avoided. At the more reasonable sensitivity of ISO 400, the range is just 2 meters at wide-angle and 0.8 meters at telephoto, which isn't far. That's not to say that other compact cameras will be a lot better, but it's something to keep in mind if you take a lot of flash photos.
|The TG-2's main menu is packed with options, and Olympus smartly added descriptions of each of them at the bottom of the screen.||The Function menu is your shortcut menu, and allows you to quickly adjust white balance, ISO, the self-timer, and more.|
As we'd expect from a a consumer-level compact in 2013, the Olympus TG-2 has an 'intelligent' Auto mode, where the camera selects the correct scene mode for the situation. If you want to select scene modes yourself, there are plenty to choose from. There are four scene modes dedicated to underwater photography: snapshot, wide 1/2, and macro.
The TG-2 also has Magic filters (variants of the Art filters that can be found in its higher-end cameras), which lets you compose photos with special effects such as fish-eye, pop art, reflection, 'punk', and miniature.
|The pin hole feature, one of our favorites from Olympus PEN cameras, adds vignetting to an image.||If you want your photos to look like an iPod advertisement from five years ago, here's the 'punk' filter.|
One of the nice features on the TG-2 is an aperture priority mode - something that's unusual on compact cameras. At wide-angle, you can select from F2.0, F2.8, and F8. At telephoto, your choices are F4.9, F6.3, and F18. Before you get too excited, though, the actual aperture of the lens is fixed at F2. Confused? Well, like many compact cameras, the TG-2 'fakes' its smaller apertures with the use of filters, which basically cut out light equivalent to shooting at smaller aperture settings. This is not a bad thing at all, since shooting at genuinely smaller apertures would result in lower sharpness due to diffraction.
Other manual controls include custom white balance and exposure compensation. You can also save your favorite settings to two spots on the mode dial.
As mentioned above, the TG-2 has four scene modes for underwater shooting, plus an underwater white balance mode. Unlike most of the underwater cameras we've tested, there isn't a bluish color cast in our photos, which earns the TG-2 some points.
|The camera has a built-in manometer, which tells you both depth and altitude. While we didn't take the camera more than about 1.5 meters under the water, it was pretty accurate in upcountry Maui.|
The TG-2 has three different ways of taking three-shot panoramic images. The first (auto) has you pan to one side or the other, and align a 'pointer' with a 'target' on the OLED display. The second option (manual) is what we might call the 'classic' approach, and requires the user to line up the edge of the frame with the next one. For both of these modes, the camera will be locked up for upwards of thirty seconds while the photos are stitched together. The final panorama method is similar to the last, except that three separate images are saved, for later stitching on your computer (the bundled Olympus Viewer software can do it, as can Photoshop and many other editing suites).
|Both the auto and manual panorama modes produced satisfying results in our testing.|
The Olympus TG-2 has one of the more fully-featured GPS setups on the market. It'll record your location, your altitude or depth, direction (thanks to an e-Compass) and nearby landmarks. It can also track your path as you travel (at the expense of battery life, since the camera turns on every few minutes), which you can import into Google Earth. It also has a cool landmark locater, which is pictured below, and can display your location on a very zoomed-out map.
|There are quite a few options in the GPS menu (above left), including automatic time adjustment, tracking/logging, and landmark tagging.
In playback mode you'll see your location and the landmark that the camera thought you were near (above right). If you keep pressing the zoom out button, you'll see your very-approximate location on a map (lower right).
While landmark tagging is a nice idea in practice, in reality the camera often picks the wrong place (its small database doesn't help matters). While the TG-2 lets you change the landmark associated with a photo, you can't just remove it entirely if there's no match.
|One neat trick the TG-2 can do is show a landmark locater. Select the landmark (which is Seattle's Space Needle in this case) and the camera will point you in the right direction (literally).
This screen also display location, barometric pressure, altitude, and the current date and time.
With GPS Assist data (which is loaded using bundled software), the TG-2 was able to figure out that it was on the roof of the DPReview headquarters in a very impressive 15 seconds. However, as with all cameras with built-in GPS, it struggled when in the big city. As you'd expect, the GPS doesn't work underwater, but at least the built-in manometer (pressure meter) will tell you how deep you are.
The Tough TG-2 can record 1080p video at 30 frames/second for up to 24 minutes, which is when the camera hits its 4GB file size limit. There are also 720p and VGA options available, with the former having a 29 minute time limit. Sound is recorded in stereo, and you can adjust the mic level (with low or normal settings). A wind filter is also available, though in practice it wasn't very effective.
The TG-2 can also record high speed video at 60 or 120 fps, though the resolution drops to 640 x 480 and 320 x 240. When played back at normal speed, everything appears to move in slow motion.
You'll find sample videos on the following page.
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.