on July 9, 2012
My TG-1 has a very annoying ticking sound in all the video's that I shot so far (even if I follow the advice from the manual to set the video sound to 'low'). I contacted Olympus, sent them sample vids and they refused the warranty claim because they consider this normal for this camera. Check out this samples to find out what Olympus thinks is "perfectly normal behaviour" for this camera:
These vids were made with one shot AF, IS off, and I can also confirm that this has nothing to do with the sound of the optical zoom (which is hardly noticeable in this camera).
Olympus says this sound is a consequence of waterproofing the camera, but they wouldn't tell me why other waterproof camera's apparently don't have this problem.
It's a real shame Olympus will not warrant this, because the rest of the camera is really good: great 2.0 lens, fast performance, very good image quality (esp. high iso and macro) for its class and nice, functional body design.
You might get lucky with your sample (or maybe not so unlucky as I was,) but be warned that Olympus will not grant any warranty claims if you end up with video sound like this.
on June 28, 2012
As a current owner of the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 for the past several years, I have experienced all the great, and not so great, things about owning a rugged camera. The Tough 6000 is most certainly a tough little thing. It has survived many many lake and ocean swims, including long snorkeling trips and pool days, a Vegas bachelor party where it was dropped several times on the ground and had beer poured on it, been on multi-day snow skiing trips in sub zero temperatures, and even survived for over 20 minutes in the blazing heat of the clothes dryer when I forgot it in my shorts pocket (which also means it survived the wash cycle prior to the dryer!). While its toughness is certainly excellent, there are some things it needs improvement on. Start up speed, speed between taking pictures, shutter lag, difficulty in finding focus in low light, poor quality in low light, non-HD video, and xD picture cards were all things on my wish list for improvement. Thankfully, the new TG-1 iHS has resolved all those problems, which I will detail below.
- Start up speed: Using a stopwatch, I consistently was able to hold down the shutter button while pressing the power button and get the camera to take a picture in around 1.5 seconds while in Program mode. This is way faster than the Tough 6000 could ever manage and find it quite satisfactory.
- Speed between taking pictures: There really is no lag between taking pictures anymore. The camera will take pictures as fast as you can repeatedly press the shutter button. In the dedicated Sport mode the results are even more impressive. At full 12MP, the camera is taking about 10 frames per second, but if you knock the image size down to 3MP it will capture an insane number of pictures per second. Olympus rates the highest speed at 60fps, but I have not confirmed this. I did test it out on my friend doing jumping jacks and it's really pretty nuts. It is very slow motion on the order of frame by frame video. (I have experience with video editing, so I am not just throwing that term out there blindly.) The sport mode is really cool for capturing people jumping in to a pool, doing cart wheels, or any other action where a set of high speed sequential shots is desirable. Olympus really did a good job on improving this aspect from the Tough 6000. (NOTE: the sequential shooting speed appears to depend somewhat on the speed on the SD card being used as, after a few seconds of taking pictures, the SD card logo on the OLED monitor turns from white to red and the camera stops taking pictures. The picture counter will catch up to the number of pictures taken and then the SD card symbol will turn back to white. I am using a 16GB SanDisk Ultra II class 4 card rated at 15MB/s. I would imagine higher speed cards would enable the camera to take either more pictures per second, take sequential pictures for a longer period of time, or even perhaps both.)
- Shutter Lag: Shutter lag is pretty much non-existent. I have been using film and digital SLRs for years and am used to the instant shutter speed of such cameras and the TG-1 compares quite nicely to them, especially for a "point and shoot" style camera.
- Focus hunting in low light: I have taken several pictures in low light settings, some with flash and some without, and found the auto focus speed to be vastly improved from the Tough 6000. You will no longer have to tell a group of people to hold still forever while the camera is attempting to focus on them.
- Low light quality: The F2.0 lens really makes a noticeable difference here as low light quality is so much improved over the Tough 6000. Quality low light pictures can be obtained, even without using the flash.
- Video: The HD video, both 1080 and 720, comes out nice considering this is primarily a still camera. It is certainly not as good as the video from my Canon Vixia HF10, which is a purpose built camcorder, but that is to be expected. I do like that the video is started and stopped using its own dedicated recording button on the back of the camera. That way the camera can be set up in whatever still shooting mode you find desirable for the moment, but start shooting a video literally at the press of a button if the moment calls for it. The camera allows you to zoom during shooting and adjusts exposure on the fly in the middle of recording. This is very nice as you are able to reframe your videos and not worry about exposure changes while in the middle of shooting a video. The one main negative I can point to about video is that the zoom motor noise is clearly audible in the recording. This is unfortunate, but considering the camera's core mission as a rugged still camera, it is acceptable. The noise is not loud enough to drown out all other sounds, but is certainly noticeable. The camera records video in the Apple mov file format, which may be good or bad depending on your preference.
That pretty much does it for the comparison between the older Tough 6000 and the new TG-1.
Other things to note about the TG-1 are:
- The strap is quite beefy for a point and shoot strap and is more like the one I have on my camcorder. I find this to be good though as the traditional point and shoot straps are always so thin it makes me nervous when the camera is dangling by it over a precarious position.
- The screen is quite large, has great quality, and has an excellent viewing angle.
- I like the lens being in the middle of the camera as it reduces the odds of getting fingers in the shot and is just more natural for framing shots in general.
- The mode dial has dedicated spots for Sport, Low Light, and two Custom Setup options allowing you to save custom set ups that are quickly accessible.
- The access doors are now double locked, meaning they have a slider that shuts the door, then another slider that keeps the first slider from moving. This added security is certainly welcomed.
I have not tried out the GPS function or the manometer function, so can't really comment on those. They aren't terribly important to me, so that's why.
Finally, some negatives:
- As others have stated, the button layout is a little cramped. I don't have a problem navigating around the button layout, but those with clumsy and/or large fingers may find it a tad challenging perhaps.
- Like the Tough 6000, the TG-1 still uses the lame proprietary USB port that Olympus for some reason insists on using. This forces you to carry around the included proprietary USB cable they provide to hook the camera up to a computer and to charge it.
- Speaking of charging, the camera does not come with an external battery charger. This forces you to keep the battery in the camera to charge it via the aforementioned proprietary USB cable connected to either a computer's USB port or the included AC adapter. As of right now, 6/28/2012, there is no external charger available for purchase. This is incredibly lame as it makes it impossible to charge a spare battery and use the camera at the same time; which is something everyone wants to do on a multi-day vacation. Hopefully Olympus will come out with one soon or perhaps a third party will.
Overall I think this is an excellent rugged camera that really nails all the features necessary to excel in this camera segment. The TG-1 is most certainly a big step forward from the Tough 6000 and I am very glad I purchased it. Besides the relatively minor negatives mentioned above, this is a sure fire winner for anyone looking for a rugged camera.
***UPDATE JULY 6th, 2012***
Just got a new SD card and tested out the difference in speed, with emphasis on the sequential sport mode.
Before I present the data, here are the cards being used:
- OLD: 16GB SanDisk Ultra II Class 4 rated at 15MB/s
- NEW: 32GB SanDisk Extreme Class 10 UHS 1 rated at 45MB/s
Sport mode results:
- 12MP Sequential:
- OLD: 100 frames in 30 seconds, 3.33fps (frames per second)
- NEW: 100 frames in 20 seconds, 5fps
- 3MP Hi 1 Sequential:
- OLD and NEW: 100 frames in 7 seconds, 14.29fps (no difference between cards)
- 3MP Hi 2 Sequential:
- OLD and NEW: 100 frames in 1 second, 100fps; yes one hundred frames per second! (no difference between cards)
As you may have noticed, all the tests involved shooting 100 frames. This was not my choosing, but appears to be the maximum allowable sequential images the camera will take at a time. For each of the tests I held the shutter button down until the camera stopped taking pictures, so it was not my choice to stop at 100. You will also notice that the only speed increase is in the 12MP sequential test, whereas the other two modes have the same speed.
While not recorded for time, I would like to note that the time it took the camera to process and save the images after each burst mode seemed to me to take less time with the newer card, especially in the Hi 1 and Hi 2 modes.
***UPDATE May, 2014***
Our TG-1 now exhibits the continuous clicking noise during video recording that many others have reported with the TG-1 and TG-2. Up until this point, the camera did not have this problem, so am not sure why it just started. From everything I've read online, it appears it is the autofocus (AF) making this noise. I believe this to be true because the noise stops if I put the camera in Underwater Wide 2 mode or if I hold down the zoom out button, both of which temporarily stop the AF from working.
I was excited to hear that Olympus is coming out with the TG-3 and hoped they would fix this AF clicking noise during video, but it appears not. In the comments section at the bottom of an article written by William Brawley at imaging-resource.com, he confirms that his sneak peak trial version of the TG-3 has the same AF clicking noise during video. It is really unfortunate and disappointing that Olympus couldn't resolve this issue by the third generation of this camera line, for it makes any video shot with these cameras almost unwatchable due to the annoying constant clicking noise. I had actually planned on buying the TG-3 because I figured they would have fixed this glaring defect by the third model version, but now I am strongly considering not doing so because of this. I'll wait to read some reviews after the camera goes on sale next month to make final judgement though. Perhaps William just got a faulty pre-release model and the final production versions will not have this issue.
Link to article: [...]
on July 8, 2012
My previous WP camera was a Pansonic which took great video but the images really suffered from pixel packing and over processing. I bought this Oly primarily for its fast, quality lens. Despite its small sensor, I'd hoped that the lens would keep the images decent in low-light situations which are common for this type of camera.
It seems to work as described. I bought a fast SD card and the camera is very fast with it. I'm not particularly interested in all of the trick "filters" and GPS (I have one), but I did test the auto-stitch panoramas and they were all without artifacts. The fact that the camera is so fast allows taking three images quickly, so that the scene has little time to change between images.
With my other cameras, I typically underexpose my images and shoot raw so that the skies aren't blown out. In preliminary shooting with this camera, it seems like the default values are as good as one can get with these JPGs.
PLUSES: the doors are double-latched and have a really tight fit. The OLED screen is wonderful. The lens is typical good Oly quality.
MINUSES: Because of the large screen, the controls are a little too tightly packed for my fat digits, but I prefer this large screen to having wider spaced controls and a smaller screen. The only real complaint I have is the cheesy in-camera charger. Oly makes an external charger that one can currently only buy on eBay ($40!) but this seems pretty lame in a top-of-the-line model when $100 cameras have the convenience of external chargers. Also, the one-of-a-kind charging connector to the camera requires you to keep yet /another/ special USB cable for each USB device.
I assume the charging issues will lessen as soon as decent no name chargers arrive and the real Oly charger becomes more widely available.
If it shot raw (no WP cameras do, that I know of) and if it had a grown-up charger, I'd rate it as a "5" but none of my complaints with it are very significant. I expect to like it more as I use it more.
UPDATE: Today the Oly charger is $84!! on eBay and $60 plus shipping etc. at B&H. What must it cost Oly to have these made in China, $5?
UPDATED 9/11/12 I recently bought the $40 (!!!) adapter to allow attaching tele and fisheye lenses. It also allows use of 40.5 mm filters and lens caps. Then it dawned on me: THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE CAMERA IN THE FIRST PLACE. As it is shipped, the camera offers no protection for the glass lens cover, which has a special coating to repel water. The plastic do-nothing ring that ships with the camera is useless. The "$40" threaded ring is functional and should have been integrated into the camera in the first place. Now I can use a lens cap on the camera like I should have been able to in the first place. To sell a $400 camera that requires another $40 plastic ring to be complete is really poor design. I'll remove one star in my rating.
on July 1, 2012
Let me start my review by saying that this is my first Olympus camera and I'm pretty impressed at what this "little" camera packs in for the money.
I'm normally one to buy Canon products and have many years of experience in photography. I've owned a Canon Rebel XT, and XTi and currently shoot with a Canon 7D. I also own two pocket cameras, a Canon SD850is and a Canon SD1400is. I do a lot of mountain biking and other "rough" outdoor activities so I've always been hesitant to pack any of my currently owned cameras with me to shoot while on the trail. I was looking for something to suppliment my helmet mount sports cameras that usually go with me for video but just do OK for photos. When I saw that Olympus was releasing the TG-1 I looked into it heavily. What swayed me from Canon or Nikon was the F2.0 lens. While to the average person taking photos this may not have made a selling point but to someone who's shot photos in a vareity of challenging lighting situation the F2.0 is a huge plus. (more on that later) The fact that it was virtually crush proof also made a big selling point as I would be stuffing the camera into my Camelbak along with snacks and other stuff which sometimes gets compressed/crush together to make it more comfortable to ride with it on my back. The more minor selling point was the listing of the water resistant coating on the lens and LCD which causes water to roll off vs beading when say transitioning from under to above water... A problem with my sports video cameras is that I have to blow the drops off or face shots with water droplets in the shots.
Ok so as I said I really like this camera. I have been very impressed at the image quality in general both above and below the water. Taking photos at/in the pool as a test I was pleasantly surprised as how awesome they looked. Pretty comparable to my Canon pocket cameras. The iAuto mode though is a bit flaky but I shoot with it mostly in P. The camera also has a variety of sceen modes but I didn't find to much of a difference in them from shooting in P. I'm not one to use the MAGIC modes or special effects modes since I do most of that after shooting in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. If you do use them though the few test shots I did with each SCN mode were high quality shots though some additional control over some modes like "draw" effect would be nice. What has impressed me the most though is the two 3 megapixel high speed shooting modes. Putting the camera on H2 for 60fps shooting was amazing. Taking photos of my kids running or diving produced some very crisp shots both above and below the water. I've been able to grab some shots I couldn't have done with any of my other cameras. What impressed me more is some of the shots were taken with ISO100 and still produced 1/2000 shutter speeds through the whole range of shots. Get yourself a big memory card though if you use this mode as you will take a ton more photos that you expect. One quick press of the shutter can produce over 100 photos in H2 mode. Unfortunately there are just too many good things to write about this camera and I'm still discovering modes and features that I like. Although I won't ever use the BEAUTY FIX mode I played with it for fun and my jaw dropped at how much can be done inside the camera with certain types of portraits. Get this camera and try if for yourself.
There are though a few negative things I have to say that probably aren't really fixable or maybe don't need to be fixed at all but none the less they are things that have frustrated me. They're not game changers though and I still love this camera. The first and biggest negative I have is that the mode dial was very very difficult (almost impossible) to turn when underwater or when my hands were wet. There's just not enough grip on the side of the wheel to turn it. I finally was able to turn it with two fingers, one resting on the flat side of the dial. At first I thought that putting it underwater showed a defect in the one I had because of this but once I dryed it an my hands off I had no problems turning it. The second negative I have is that when you use the high speed shooting modes that dump to the SD card takes FOREVER (which is a bit to be expected when you've shot 100+ photos in two seconds) BUT there's no indication on the camera that it's doing anything and none of the buttons respond during the save operation. I do have it set to only display shot information overlay for 10 seconds and once that 10 seconds is up the SD write indicator isn't visible. They should have a light on the back like most cameras do to show SD activity. It took 20 - 30 seconds in some cases to clear the buffer to SD and the camera wouldn't respond to anything during that time though it did show the "viewfinder" image during that time. The menu's are a little confusing as well despite the "teaching" mode that shows you in text what each mode does when you set it. There's two digital zoom modes which are still confusing me. Normally I don't like digital zoom but the on Super Zoom mode produced some good results for me without all the normal grain and such you find with digital zoom.
Overall though I have to highly recomend this camera. Despite being a Canon guy Olympus has impressed me with this one. Way to many features to put in one review. Excellent image quality. Impressive f2.0 shutter speed. High speed shooting mode that I'm very impressed with and will use time and time again even at 3MP. What else to say other than I'm very happy with my purchase. While my 7D won't be collecting dust because there's still many uses for a DSLR I will have to say that my other two Canon pocket cameras will probably collect dust. This camera will now replace the others as my suppliment to the 7D and will be my primary camera for outdoor adventure photo taking.
on August 8, 2012
The first part of this review is an "out-of-water" review; below it is a review of performance in and on the water.
Design and controls:
--Design: attractive, functional. Tradeoff between small size and crowded controls worked out OK once you get used to it.
--Double-latch doors: good idea.
--Other users have reported easily losing the plastic ring around the lens because it has no click latch. Oly must have fixed this; mine makes a loud click when you put it on, and it requires pushing in on one spot while turning, otherwise it won't come off.* (At least not in the living room--but read on.) At any rate, if you lose it Oly says it's "cosmetic" and doesn't affect waterproof capability.
--Menus: OK once you get used to them. The quick Info menu is good.
--Display: the LCD is good, but like most of them virtually useless in bright sunlight. The onscreen display showing basic shooting settings and other info is good.
--The in-camera battery charging is a pointless complication (the camera comes with a plug-in charger, so why not just make it so you can put the battery into it and keep a charged one in the camera, instead of going through the process with an extra cord, etc.). Luckily there are aftermarket out-of-camera chargers available.
--The online manual (which I have downloaded in PDF) is woefully inadequate, poorly organized and tells you almost nothing. Perhaps they want everyone to just leave the controls alone. (For a good manual from a competing product, see the Canon D10 manual.) To compensate, Olympus has posted FAQs on their site; also some informational highlights.
Things to watch out for:
--This is the only camera I've ever seen in which the battery will slide in both ways (right way and wrong way) so the user has to be sure to check that the terminals are lined up or it won't charge. Another example of making things easy for the manufacturer instead of for the purchaser.
--JPEG default is set at Normal, which generates an image of something over 2mp, meaning that most of the data captured by the sensor is being thrown away. (If you set to Fine, you preserve about twice as much data--but you're still losing a lot.)
--Digital zoom or intelligent superzoom is noisy: I shot the same picture with full optical zoom and again with full maximum digital zoom. Then I enlarged both so that the subject had the same dimensions in each. The digital zoom image was full of noise. Stick to optical zoom and enlarge, if you want to, with one of the many PP programs available.
--Olympus recommends sending the camera in yearly to get the seals replaced. This will cost you about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the camera itself, each year. So maybe the most cost-effective strategy is to keep the seals clean and lubed with silicon, and gamble that you'll get 3-4 years of life before it dies from leakage. Just hope this doesn't happen on the first day of that big diving trip you've been looking forward to for years. (Although you could go online, order a new camera from Amazon with next-day air, and get it in time, maybe.)
--Other users have noted that the TCON will create horrible vignetting unless almost fully zoomed. So when you have the TCON on, you basically have a dedicated lens, with little flexibility.
--*The lens ring will fall off (mine did), regardless of the push-and-turn feature. If you're going in the water, I suggest leaving the ring at home so it doesn't get lost. According to Olympus, it's merely "cosmetic" so you aren't affecting the waterproofing. Keep the ring in case you want to resell the camera, or send it back.
--Colors are very nice right from the camera at WB Auto setting.
--Burst shooting and, just as important, burst depth. With a class 10 card I got better than 5fps at full resolution, and I got 18 shots before the camera began to hiccup and slow down. After this, I still got about 3fps. This suits my goal of action shooting.
--I found that using the P setting, keeping ISO at 100 and EV at -1/3, I could shoot into glare without losing highlights, even though this camera really limits user control.
--Can't seem to control shutter speed. I tried the P setting using ISO100 (the idea being that the camera would use a balanced combination of fast shutter speed and smaller aperture); instead, on one shot the EXIF data showed 1/200 sec. and f/18 (still trying to figure out how the TG-1 goes to f/18); on the next shot it was 1/500 sec. and f/11. I did find that using the P mode, keeping ISO at 100 and EV at -1/3, I could shoot into glare without losing highlights.
--Can't shoot RAW, and can't shoot JPEG extra-fine, which limits enlarging and cropping.
--Images are very soft and fine detail (leaves, etc.) is often smeared.
Many of the positive reviews seem to be based on a different set of expectations--people wanted a toy to play with in the swimming pool or let their 3-year-old play with it. Or they are going to make prints at under 8inches or post online at 800x600px. I'm not expecting DSLR quality, but when a 12mp P&S camera like the FZ150 can take outstanding pix at full zoom, one does hope that a 12mp underwater P&S would have some decent capabilities.
If you want to take pix in a wet or underwater environment, and you want rapid burst, all at a reasonable cost, this is probably your best option. Other water cams have high leakage/failure rates; for example the Hero has a reported 20% failure rate and they will not guarantee the product (read their rather arrogant warning/disclaimer on their product page on Amazon). The TG-1 appears to be the most reliable (least unreliable?), fastest burst, brightest lens, and about average image quality.
Here's what some professional reviewers had to say after the initial "gee whiz" reactions.
"The TG-1 does not offer what we consider to be manual controls--no manual focus, no priority or manual exposure modes. This is typical for a tough-cam, though it's off-putting to some photography enthusiasts who are drawn in by the f/2 lens and excited by the prospect of a more "serious" tough cam. This is not that camera--it's a standard tough-cam with a better lens and screen than any of its competitors."
Another reviewer, talking about IQ: "At its lowest ISO settings, the TG-1 seems to drift between over-sharpened or soft and smeary when photos are viewed at 100 percent. And really it continues that all the way up to ISO 800; above that things just gets soft and noisy.... Video quality is...basically like the video from a pocket video camera or higher-end smartphone."
Here's another: "We ran into glitchy performance with the TG-1, and it even crashed on us a few times. It typically occurred while we were switching between shooting mode and playback mode. The image on the LCD would hang for at least a few seconds, sometimes completely locking up the camera."
In-the-water review follows. Out of the water, it's a solid 3-star performer--average at best.
Ocean test: I would give this camera 2.5 stars in the water (not good), for the reasons listed below.
Before going in the water, I took a couple of hundred shots at the beach.
--As mentioned before, color is nice.
--I used P mode, ISO 100, EV-1/3 and got very good results in terms of WB and highlight preservation.
--Stationary objects came out pretty well, a little soft but acceptable.
--Shooting at moving birds (aiming down from a low cliff at pelicans gliding over water) was not so good, because the AF was poor, even though the AF box indicated that the shot was in focus. I was shooting 10-12 frame bursts at 5fps. The birds were about 80 feet away, and traveling across the field of vision, so there was little change in distance. Most of the images in each burst were out of focus, but every few frames in the same burst one would be in focus. So the AF is jumping all around and missing most of the time. (I considered the possibility of camera shake, but at 1/200sec this would be unacceptable IS; P&S super-zooms at 300mm (450mm equiv) show no camera shake even at 1/125 or slower.)
I then paddled out to a small surf break (with the camera in a neoprene belt pouch) and sat beside the break to take pictures of waves and surfers. I took another 200 shots or so.
--Got some very nice and interesting shots over the water toward the shore, focus was good and as usual color was great. This is basically the same as stationary objects (above).
--The good action pictures were very nice; a little soft but acceptable. The foam of the breaking waves wasn't blown out by overexposure, but at 100% it looked like a collection of small blobs, rather than foamy spray. My old Canon PowerShot SX100is (8mp P&S) did a much better job of detail in shots like this (from the shore, of course!).
-- Some images had a weird bluish haze on a large part of the image--appears to be from the lens fogging up due to temperature change (water about 67, air about 75 degrees) as the camera was immersed and then out of the water. This was present in a minority of images, but it was serious; the images that had it were ruined. (No, it wasn't my hand over the lens.) I sent samples to Olympus for their analysis; no word back as yet.
--Just as with the pelican shots from the cliff, there were more OOF pictures than good ones, even though the AF box indicated that the shot was in focus. Again, I was shooting 10-12 frame bursts at 5fps. There was a lower percentage of OOF images. (See comments on possible camera shake, above.)
-- The LCD was of little use most of the time due to the bright sun, so it was really hard to see the subject. (Not unusual with P&S cameras without a viewfinder, but Olympus has touted the visibility of their LCD. It seems no better than any other.) A true "point and guess" situation: when I tried to shoot birds flying overhead (using burst), I missed them and got only blue sky. I got a little better luck with a helicopter; in a burst of 10 frames I managed to get part of the helicopter in two frames. The surfers were a bit easier because you could track them by the wake they made going across the wave, but even then (from a distance of about 100 ft.) it was hit and miss.
*--Regardless of the push-turn latch on the lens ring, when I got back home and put the camera in fresh water, I noticed that the lens ring had fallen out somehow. I have ordered a replacement from Olympus. (It has been several days, and no word on when it will ship. Olympus Customer Service does not answer emails on this issue. Overall this is becoming a bad experience and will definitely affect my decisions regarding Olympus products in the future.) BTW the poorly-attached lens ring is a known issue; Olympus even has it on their Q&A/Info page online. Apparently they are in no rush to fix it.
I gave this camera one more try today; the results were no different. Some "OK" images, a lot of images with smeared detail and/or a harsh, artificial look (presumably due to in-camera sharpening, since I didn't change the settings from shot to shot in the burst). I even did some extensive PP with the best images; although with a lot of work I managed to get them quite a bit better, they were still inferior to images from other P&S cameras I have owned. With regret, I give up.
Bottom line: the TG-1 is probably very good for close range, stationary objects, swimming pools, water parks, warm water, underwater (no abrupt temperature fluctuations while shooting and no bright sun glaring off the LCD), and many types of still shots. It's also probably very good if you intend to post images online, email them, view them on a computer, or print them at some size under about 8-10in or so. For anyone considering this camera for viewing at 100%, larger prints, surf, breaking waves, flying birds and other ocean action shots (especially in the water), I recommend against it. I have decided to send this one back and wait for further improvements in the product. The basic concept and design are great, but the above items need work. It's truly a shame, because I love the burst shooting, the color and the handling, and the few reasonably good images make it tempting to keep the camera--but I just don't want to spend time and energy stalking that "special" shot, only to find it unusable for one of the reasons mentioned above.
Later note: Doing more research, I find that for about $50 more than the TG-1, I can get a camera + housing combination that could well give better results. The Lumix ZS15 has full controls, has 16x zoom, has gotten good reviews on IQ, and it fits the Panasonic Marine Case. (There are cheaper cases, little more than a ziplock baggie, but I don't have the nerve to entrust them with a camera costing $200 or more. Why risk it?) Both items may be found listed on Amazon; if Olympus ever sends the lens ring so I can return the TG-1, I'll do so and try the Panasonic combination. I'm also attracted to the Lumix LX7 (not much zoom, but shoots RAW, has good burst), but haven't yet found a housing to fit it.
I finally got the ring from Oly and sent the camera back for refund. Had the ring been missing, Amazon could have charged me up to 50% restocking fee ("missing part")! For a defective item. I had to pay Oly $7 + shipping for the ring, and Amazon charged me postage since the problem wasn't due to their error. (!) At least they took it back.
I then ordered the ZS15 for $165 new on Amazon. I got it a couple of days ago; in good light it is very good for a small-sensor camera (although not the equal of the FZ150--full details in my 4-star review of the ZS15).
I have ordered two underwater housings: the full-dress Pany housing and an "econo" version which makes me nervous but which got good reviews and not one "it leaks!" complaint. When these arrive, I'll test them in the bathtub with tissue paper, and then brave the waves.
It's hard to understand why the underwater camera makers choose to put out these inferior products. My total cost for the ZS15 + housing is a shade over $400--for a package that is far superior to the dedicated underwater models costing almost as much. Why not put a first-rate camera in a waterproof shell and market that? It's really disappointing.
on October 8, 2012
I purchased this camera a few months ago but have been waiting to write a review on it until I could get a lot of use out if it. Between the summer and my Caribbean cruise I just took I think I'm ready to give my verdict: This camera is great.
While my wife has a DSLR camera for high-end photography, I had a Canon PowerShot SX210IS for my every day digital camera needs, and a Fujitsu XP10 for any water needs. It was a pain to carry around both cameras whenever I went somewhere so I wanted to find a camera that was close to a top end Point & Shoot but also had the protection that the waterproof/shockproof cameras provide. I did look at all the high-end waterproof cameras currently out there, and decided on this one. I'm glad I did. This camera met and exceeded my expectations, and I daresay it takes better photos than the Canon did.
I will put up some sample photos, but I feel the image quality this camera delivers is great. Between automatic and other settings I've used (night portrait, beach/snow, underwater portrait, HDR) the images I get look fantastic. When we loaded all the photos onto our iPad during the cruise (an iPad 3, if it matters) at first glance it was very difficult to even tell which photos were taken with the DSLR and which were taken with this camera! In fact my wife was jealous of some of the colors I was getting with this Olympus, mainly during the HDR shots I was taking.
I carried this camera around with me everywhere on the cruise and always got a reliable shot, whether it be inside the boat, on dock, on shore or in the ocean. Absolutely happy with this purchase. There's a lot more I can do with this camera that I haven't yet (manual settings, etc) but what I have used is great. And the GPS feature, if you like to see where you take photos it's fantastic. I loved loading the pictures on the iPad and having it show me where I took the pictures.
That's not to say there are not some nagging issues (hence the 4 stars instead of 5). Those are:
- The software on the computer. It's clunky and seems to be the only way to really import photos. I need to find a workaround so I can just pull the photos off the camera. It's slow to start importing and always goes through questions (do you want to add location? Do you want to facial scan?). And it also labels the folders terribly. I think it does a date AND time stamp? I'm not sure. They are long strings of numbers. I was looking for a specific photo earlier today and had a hard time figuring out what folder it was in, even though I knew the day it was taken. For example, photos that were taken on 10/7/12 are in folder 201210713506831. Yeah. If anyone knows how to change the folder names on import I'd love to know.
- After about 1500 pictures during the cruise the camera started to load up slower than normal to the point where I could take the first photo. Also it started to not save the GPS coordinates for some reason. A big batch of the last day is missing GPS, and then there are some, and then it's missing again. Not sure what happened there. It did show it had locked GPS coordinates when I was taking the photos but it didn't save it.
- Battery/charging: The battery is good but not great, and it has to be charged with a USB cable connected to the side of the camera. I only hit low battery one day on the cruise, and it was when I took 300 photos and about 10 videos (10 minutes or so total). I will need to purchase a second battery I think, hopefully I can find one with an external charger.
- The time it takes to put together HDR, and especially panorama photos, is a pain. We're talking 5-10 seconds per HDR and 10-15 per Panorama after you take it before it will display it and you can use the camera again. And for panoramas it does a slow pan display of the entire photo, and you can't stop it to use the camera during that time from what I can see. Sure you can turn off the option to display the photos you have taken, but there's no way to turn it off only for panoramas.
- The screen likes to display "Check battery cover for foreign objects before using in water" a lot. It actually did it to me WHILE I was snorkeling with the camera. So far I haven't had any problems with it in water, and I can't tell if that's just a generic safety message or if there are actually sensors in there that think the compartment is not secure.
But don't let those neagtives drag you down! I would certainly not go back to my Canon PowerShot camera over this one ever.
on June 15, 2012
First of all the beautiful oled screen is a joy to look at when composing the shot. Colors pop out the screen, everything looks tack sharp. The build quality is second to none, the ergonomics are pretty darn good. The picture quality is good for a point and shoot camera, however dont expect this to out perform image quality of the canon s100. I own the s100 and when you compare the quality canon has the edge on noise performance and sharpness. What i like about the olympus is the fact that it can go to places where my s100 cant. Also keep in mind that unlike its competition the tg1 camera is made in china, not in japan. (panasonic and canon advance point n shoot cameras) Overall for what the camera is capable of doing i think it deserves 5 stars.
on August 1, 2012
I own the Canon D10 and Sony TX10 and anxiously awaited the D20 and TX20. But seeing that the D20 lens is even slower than the D10, I passed. The TX20 gained some enhancements such as faster time to start recording video and improved playback, but the sensor and lens and overall operations are essentially the same. So passed on that as well.
When I saw the specs on the TG-1, esp. the f2.0 lens and latest processor and tech, it looked like a sure winner.
Unfortunately, once I took it to the beach and tried it out for a week, I found some weaknesses/issues that caused me to return the camera and stick with my TX10 and D10 for now.
Here are the issues I have with this camera:
- Video not as smooth and vibrant as Sony
- Definite clicking sound in videos
- Zooming during video shooting causes too much focus hunting
- Panorama feature sucks ... the result is usually misaligned and takes 10 seconds to process, the Sony sweep panorama is the best in the industry
- No A or S mode. Canon and Sony doesn't have this either. Why is it so hard to add A or S mode to the compact underwater cameras?
- Camera locked up a few times, it would turn on but none of the controls worked, had to reset it
- When I used the flash underwater, I often get flash reflection back to the lens
Though the camera was fast and responsive, I wasn't overly impressed with the images and videos. And the lock up issue scared me as well. Will stick with my trusty D10 and TX10 for now.
My dream compact rugged camera would be something that can match a Canon S95 or Sony RX100 in performance and operation. Guess I'll have to wait for now.
on August 28, 2012
I've been using my Olympus TG-1iHS for a little over a month now. I love the land based shooting capablities, however I'm very disappointed with the "ruggedness" of this camera. After having the camera for a few days I hopped in the pool with it just to play around and took some great underwater shots and video, the following weekend I took it out body boarding with me in the surf and it died (no buttons except for the on/off button would function on the camera). So I got it replaced and got a new one, same test again I took the new one in the pool played around with it and no problems, then just this past weekend I went out body boarding with it again and it died yet again (same exact issue no buttons would function except for the on/off button and shutter button, however this time I could turn the camera off change the dial wheel and then turn the camera back on to change shooting modes) Anyhow of course going to get it replaced again, but pretty disappointing that this camera can't even survive a day at the beach in less than 6 ft of water. Maybe I just got a couple lemons, hopefully third time is a charm. If anybody else has more postive feedback about using this camera in the ocean (light surf) I'd love to hear it, as that's one of the primary things I bought this camera for.
on July 16, 2012
I am a retired 69 year old male that rides horses all over the U.S. in all types of weather and also lives on a lake where swim, ski and tube with grandchildren. For the last five years I have used a Canon Power Shot digital camera that gave great pictures. But, the Cannon was not a go anywhere camera as is the Olympus TG-1 that I now have had for about 1 month. Also I have been limited in low light, fast action, and slow responce inside under flash. I considered all of the major brands and read all that I could find on them as well as reviews like this one. After about 600 pictures from my TG-1 I can say that I now have the camera I wanted and it meets my needs.
There are other reviews that do a very through job of outlining the camera and so I want waste your time on the overall ability of the camera - it does it all while in a crush proof, water proof case. I have always had problems with low light both around water and while riding horse in the evening. The TG-1 lens is low light and it will catch those sunsets and sunrises that I have been unable to take [only have a few left]. The sports mode works well for my grand children in track meets and when flash pictures are required in concerts inside of buildings it works there also. Even thought it has a very good zoom built in, I will be glad when the new longer range len is available.
The above benefits are excellent, but I am also impressed with:
-the feel when you hold it and the size for it fits on my belt.
-the different modes available - I now am a professional by using these modes - the menu will just lead you through to fine the possibilities available and the understandable line that shows on the screen will make anyone comfortable in it's correct use. These special effects or shooting modes is adding a different and professional look to my picure books. I never thought I would be able to get this type of effect in pictures but the TG-1 makes it easy.
-the mode dial is in a place that will not turn when you are using or turn as you pull from you case as my canon camera did.
-I have big hands and have had no problems with hand placement.
-I like the big view screen that can be seen as well as any in bright sun light.
-GPS is a nice addition as use GPS in remote places that I ride.
-the picture quality is very good and I am not disappointed. Because of the megapixels, I am able to enlarge pictures.
I am very well pleased with my TG-1 Olympus camera and think it is the best on the market at this time for a waterproof point and shoot camera.