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Olympus Tough TG-5 loses some megapixels and gains 4K video, tracking features

Create: 05/22/2017 - 23:08
Olympus Tough TG-5


  • 12-MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • Microscope mode allows 7X reproduction
  • Camera is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof

Olympus’ latest Tough camera, the Olympus Tough TG-5, dials back the resolution while adding some features that will appeal to fans of this series.

The Tough series cameras are made to stand up to the rigors of the outdoor enthusiasts who hike, ski, climb, swim, bike and other activities. The Tough TG-5 is waterproof to depths up to 50 feet, crushproof to 220 pounds of force and can withstand a seven-foot drop and temperatures as low as 14°F. It also is dustproof and now includes Anti-Fog Lens Cover Glass.

The styling of the Tough TG-5 remains largely intact. Olympus says there have been some changes to the body to allow it to be operated while wearing gloves. An accessory silicone jacket should make the camera even easier to grip while giving it a bit more cushion.

The Tough TG-5 uses a 12-MP 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100-1,600. That can be extended upward to 12,800. This is 4-MP less than its predecessor – the Tough TG-4 has a 16-MP BSI CMOS sensor. Olympus says the image quality of the new model is the highest to date of any Tough camera.

The Tough TG-5’s lens remains the same 4X f/2.0 25-100mm (full-frame equivalent) zoom lens. It’s a fast f/2.0 at the wide end and f/4.9 at 100mm. The shutter has speeds running from 1/4 to 1/2,000. While that might seem limiting, the likely buyer shouldn’t have a problem with the available shutter speeds. To keep images sharp, the camera has Sensor-Shift image stabilization.

The Tough TG-5 uses a 25-point contrast-detection system. Turning the knob on top of the camera activates Live View magnification, as well as the focus peaking feature, if it’s been enabled.

Focus Stacking and Post Focus are now part of this camera’s arsenal. Focus Stacking allows the photographer to alter the depth of field, including allowing different points of focus within a photo, while Post Focus allows the photographer to change the point of focus after the image is captured.

The Tough TG-5 can shoot up to 20 frames per second at its fastest rate. The camera handles images with the Olympus TruePic VIII and stores them to full-size SD cards in RAW and JPG formats.

The camera also records Ultra 4K video, and as is usually the case, videos can’t be any longer than 29 minutes. Slow-motion videos are recorded at 120 frames per second at Full HD resolution.


Like other cameras, there are numerous scene modes. Unlike other cameras, this also includes an underwater option.

There is no optical viewfinder, but there is a fixed 3.0-inch LCD monitor. It is not touch-enabled.

The lens doesn’t extend when it focuses or zooms. That’s a bonus in this type of camera, as it provides fewer points that need to be sealed and fewer points for dust and moisture to enter the camera.

There also is a dual-pane protective cover over the lens to prevent condensation from forming during sudden changes of temperature.

The push-pull zoom lever on the Tough TG-4 has been moved to surround the on-off button. In its place is a knurled knob that allows the photographer to fine-tune the focus setting. This will be appreciated by those who enjoy macro photography.

The Tough TG-5 has a built-in flash that can accept the TG-4’s LED Light Guide, as well as the Flash Diffuser. Both are intended for close-up photography.


The Tough TG-5 has built in sensors to record a wealth of information: GPS coordinates, altitude and water depth (manometer), air and water temperature and a compass to show the direction the lens is pointed.

Olympus also is releasing a new underwater housing for those times when you want to dive deeper than 50 feet.

While many point and shoots have a macro mode, the Tough TG-5 has four of them, allowing for shots as close as less than one inch (1 centimeter) and up to 7X in “Microscope Mode.”

There also are two conversion lenses that provide either a fisheye view or more reach on the telephoto end. Both are waterproof and can be attached or removed at any time, including when the camera is under water.

The camera is 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 inches (113 x 66 x 31.9mm) and weighs 8.7 ounces (250 grams).

The Olympus Tough TG-5 will be available in June 2017 in red or black for US449.99.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.