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on March 9, 2013
I have used a (highly reviewed) 10MP f2.8 Canon SD790 from 2009 for the past few years, and have sought an upgrade due to common issues with such small point-and-shoot cameras (1) effects (vignetting, blurring) from lens aberrations that were especially noticeable in landscape photography (2) fragile construction. There have also been many circumstances when I have not been able to use the camera due to moisture or excessive dust during outdoor activities.

(Note: Before discovering the TG series, I was convinced to buy either the Panasonic LX7 or Sony RX100 for sake of their extremely high image quality.)

Photo Performance: small but noticeable upgrade
At first glance, the SD790 photos seemed to be better with bolder colors and better definition. But on closer inspection, the difference is only due to a lower average exposure on the SD790, and higher processor contrast. Carefully analyzing small leaves and tree trunks, the TG-2 does show much more detail. On 0% zoom, test photos do show some pixel distortion in the 4 corners of the shot, but zooming in a tiny bit (about 10%) is enough to remove the distortions from your shot. Low light photos give great colors, and the f2.0 lens is way better than most cameras, but the noise level will never be DSLR quality; head to the Sony RX100 or bigger if that is your priority.
I have not used the super macro yet, but professional reviews claim it is very good.

Add-on Lenses: extra expensive plus
The two extra lenses are probably not quite worth the $110 each, considering that you also need a $20 adapter (I recommend 1 each). They are both small, high quality glass. I have had very satisfying results with the teleconverter, which should be most useful for shots taken from a fixed location (sports, performance, cruise) but is of course not as useful as a normal zoom lens. Because of the heavy lens vignette, the camera must use it's maximum optical zoom (4x) to use the teleconverter. Thus any further zooming uses digital zoom only. Minimum zoom shots are 100% equivalent quality to the best non-teleconverter shots, but at higher zoom. From that point, further digital zoom still looks nice, but naturally collects noise. If you want a variety of shot composition options, you will have to quickly take the teleconverter off, and switch the camera mode back to normal. This is easy and quick, but not seamless, about 5 seconds.
The fisheye lens has a mild fisheye effect, and confers a wider-angle as well. No intelligent thoughts on this one yet.

Extra Features: this wins it
If you're going to pay the extra cash for this camera, pay it for the extra features. You can pull this out in ANY situation, at ANY time (rain, snow, boats, dust, rocks, children) without fear of destruction. Seeing how much my SD790 has aged (lost screws, creaking case) and with stories of zoom failure in extended dust exposure, the value of a sealed case (and sealed zoom) is more than underwater novelty. There have been many awesome experiences in the past few years that I was not able to capture because of moisture, dust, etc. Despite that security, my only fear is that the lens glass will be scratched even though it is recessed. The GPS tagging is also a blast to help you relive your adventures in the future.

Big picture:
If you're looking for a small point and shoot that takes the best possible photos, don't buy this (get something cheaper and smaller).
If you're also considering mirrorless or larger cameras for the variable lenses and sensor quality, don't buy this (get something cheaper and larger).
This IS a camera for the adventurer/outdoorsman/chronic klutz that is also a discerning photography enthusiast. Without the lenses, this is a camera that you can use in absolutely ANY context without fear of destruction. You will get shots and videos that you could never consider with any other camera. Adding the expensive lenses into the package puts the camera into a strange limbo category that is well above any expensive point-and-shoot camera, but below any cheap mirrorless camera.

Personally, for my interests in extended outdoor adventures, quality + low-light photography, and creative composition (teleconverter + fisheye), this is an excellent camera. But I have definitely paid a high premium for that flexibility.

P.S. The two main reasons to purchase this new model instead of the TG-1 is (1) aperture priority mode to take advantage of the f2.0 lens (2) improved super macro mode.

P.P.S Comparisons with the soon-to-be-available Pentax WG-3 are appropriate with caveats (1) its larger 16MP sensor does not necessarily correlate with better shots; wait for the reviews (2)the WG-3 looks like a toy; I would not bring it to a wedding, etc. (3) the battery life is not as good (4) I see very little information about the new addon lenses.

UPDATE #1: Lens Adapters + Filters
I have added a rainbowimaging lens adapter with UV protector filter to protect the lens in pocket/etc, and there is no vignetting on the edges of the shot. However, the rainbowimaging adapters have a slightly less secure detent than the OEM products, so I recommend OEM adapters for the lenses.
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on April 13, 2015
If I could give it 0 stars, I would. I purchased this camera on March 8, 2014 based on good reviews. It was rarely used, but I wanted an underwater camera for the few times I would go snorkeling. Between March 22-March 29, we were on a trip where we when snorkeling every day. A guess what? The camera took in water. I'm very, very careful, but thought I should call Olympus instead.

Their answer - I should have sent in the camera to change the seals - every year. I'm excellent about soaking the camera after use, and making sure it's clean, but how did I miss that? I downloaded the instructions, and it's there - buried...

Other disappointments were the zoom stinks... but that may be the nature of an underwater camera.

I'm going to call back.... see if they will do anything, but I don't think they will. Ugg. Next underwater camera will be a GoPRO, I think
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on December 20, 2013
We love camping, hiking, skiing, boating, etc. Pretty much anything that gets us outside in all types of weather is what I needed a camera for. I already had a camera that takes really nice photos, but it isn't waterproof, drop resistant or dirt resistant. I wanted to be able to capture memories of the things we love doing, not just events that everyone brings cameras to like weddings and holiday parties. So, I researched rugged cameras and narrowed my choices all the way down to this one. And after owning it for several months now, I can honestly say I don't think I'll ever again take out my other camera.

This camera has been submerged in water, dropped accidentally, in below freezing temperatures, at the beach, in the rain, in the woods... it hasn't missed an opportunity to capture those amazing memories. And the photos are great quality - just as good if not better than my other camera that I babied.

It's a great little camera that can and does go everywhere with me.

I would recommend getting the Joby GorillaPod Hybrid Red (in any available color) tripod with this camera, so you can be in the photo too every now and then.

I also have the Lowepro Rezo 30 -Black case. The TG-2 fits very snug in the case, but it does fit. I went with the 30 because I wanted the smallest case I could find that would fit the camera. This case was the one I liked best.
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on June 4, 2013
Like it... Here are my list of things that would bump it to "LOVE".

I purchased this camera for a few specific reasons. GPS, f2.0, rough and tumble.

First the GPS. You must plug it into your computer to download the current orbital info (every 2 weeks) in order to get any type of a fast lock. This works great, however if you forget, and you're up in the woods, and you want a fast lock for a picture, you're out of luck. Then you're at the mercy of that standard 12.5 minute full GPS signal rotation... I was able to get lock in about 3 to 5 minutes, but it wasn't fast enough for my liking. I'm very used to the GPS in smartphones that cache all that data, and so you get lock in seconds, even in challenging situations.

Second the USB cable. It doesn't seem to be any type of cable that I already have several of laying around. It seems to have a standard USB Type A on one end, then some form of a tweaked USB mini-B on the camera side that prevents me from using any one of a dozen cables everyone already owns. This was a big disappointment for me. I use a solar charger on my longer excursions, and have become accustomed to using standardized cables for all my electronics. I now have a cable that I can only use on this camera, that is black, short, and one more thing to lose, and pack with me if I plan on doing an extended trip.

Third the start-up time. I haven't used it too much, only on a few hikes in the woods. However I noted that the startup time/function seemed glitchy. At least 3 times when turning on the camera from cold, I would get a screen where I thought I could click a picture, then the screen would go black almost instantly. This threw me off, so I pressed the power again, and then it came up "normal". I missed a picture of a small herd of elk in the woods due to this, and so... My nature shots were screwed. I took to hiking with the camera on, just so that I wouldn't miss another shot of 10 elk like that.

None of this is a deal breaker for me. I just need to use the camera on a few more hikes, and get to know it better. But I can assure you I'm going to load the GPS data before my trip, and I worry about losing that cable, so I always know where it is.

If it was a standard cable, it internally cached orbital data that it learned from the GPS without an external app, and I didn't have a start-up issue a few times. This would be a 5 star camera as far as function. I need to shoot more with it, to evaluate the imaging qualities.
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on November 8, 2013
I really enjoy using this camera! I have 5 kids ages 14 to 3 and they all love using it as well. It is easy enough to use and you get great pictures. It is tough enough that I can let the kids use it and not worry about it being broken. I take this camera hiking with me and use the video and pictures to make presentations. People can't believe the images come from a point and shoot camera! I also use the f2.0 for low light pictures of the kids sporting events with great results. The one negative I have is that once you switch to a setting with an automatic lower file size to one that you can choose it automatically keeps the lower file setting despite you previously setting the file size, but that is a minor inconvienence. The display screen is not apart of the tough package and is easily scratched. I kept the camera in pocket in my cargo pants one day with noted micro scratches from rubbing. I suggest buying a screen protector.
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on January 12, 2014
I got this camera as a Christmas gift from my husband, I've only had it for a few days, and I don't like writing reviews this early in the game, but there are so many positives so far, I just had to because there are things I'm finding with this camera that I hadn't seen reviewed yet. So here it goes!!!

I've only had it 4 days because the first one out of the box on Christmas day was defective. We discussed getting a different model, but this one has so many good reviews (on many different outlets) we decided to try again, I'm so glad we did! I'm not going to go into the toughness or compact features, they have been talked about at great length in other reviews.

First, if you have owned an Olympus digital before, you know how complicated the menu options can be. We had a 3030zoom for about 16 years and it finally died, it took AMAZING pictures even at only 3.3 megapixals because of the lens quality, but the menu options were almost impossible to figure out. We knew the quality of pictures was probably a no brainer with the TG-2, again, because of Olympus lens quality and I was willing to take on the menu again.

To my surprise the menu, though still pretty involved, has a VERY cool feature!! It has a cheater window at the bottom of each option to tell you EXACTLY what that feature does. (you can turn that off if you want, but who would want to? :-}) With the 3030 I always had to refer back to the owners manual which was also daunting. But with the TG-2 I only have to look at the manual occasionally because of the newness yet. So if you are worried about the reputation Olympus has with the menus fear not, they have listened to the consumer about this one!

Another really cool feature is that you can make "folders" for grouping pictures which is very cool if you are going to be on trips at various locations, you won't have to try and organize once you download to the computer, a lot of the work will already be done for you.

The pictures I have taken so far are AMAZINGLY clear and detailed (even in some not so good lighting) and the colors just pop! It has even out done my Cannon EOS Rebel at only 2 more megapixels. I love all of the special effects features, I'm having a lot of fun playing around with them. (it's in the "magic" menu) I also took a video of my cats playing, very clear and defined. I like that you can just hit the red button to start recording, no more switching modes to do so.

The one and only drawback I have found is that if you zoom during video recording you can hear the motor very clearly in the video itself. So make sure you are zoomed in and out before you start recording. Or a person could possibly cover it with music? Not sure about that yet.

If you are on the fence about this one, I highly recommend giving it a try. If I find other things about it, I will update my review as needed.
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on November 14, 2013
We were a little leary purchasing this camera, as there were some negative reviews on it, we are very glad we did. We took it on a trip to the caribean, so we had a wide variety of enviornments to test in.

First, the camera is solidly built. It's not too heavy, but you know your holding it, or it's in your pocket. The doors to the memory card, battery, ports, etc are double sealed and outlined in orange when not locked. It's helpful, there's also a reminder to check for debris before taking it underwater when you close the usb port. The camera turns on and takes a picture in about a second and a half. Pretty respectable. The screen is decently large and bright that you can use it well in direct sunlight and underwater. The buttons main buttons, photo, on/off, zoom and record, are large enought to use easily, probably with a glove too, thought we didn't use gloves in the caribbean. The menu system is fairly easy to navigate, and makes review images pretty easy.

Photos themseleves turned out great. The camera focused quickly in most situations, took great, vivid shots and was all around a joy to use. Colors were a little warmer in the photos than real life, but not terribly so. Underwater pictures were clear and bright, with decent depth. The "Auto" setting worked well for most pictures, providing well focused, properly lighted images. There are a bunch of other preconfigured settings, night time, underwater, super macro (which was also amazing for flowers and insects), and others for pretty much anything you can think of. Additionally, the panoramic setting is amazing! It uses the built in gps to detect how far you've turned the camera, and any change of orientation, and automatically snaps the picture when the camera is turned at the right angle. It guides you to the right position on screen. The camera then combines the images together automatically, allowing you to see what it looks like. It takes some time, to put them togather, but this is the best way to take panoramics I've seen.

A couple other notes, it requires the olympus proprietary usb connector, which is a pain, but not the worst. It's not the most beautiful camera, but looks a lot better than other tought cameras. We only tested the waterproof to about 10 feet, so I can't judge further, but it was salt water, and there were no problems.

At the end of the day, if you're looking for a rugged camera that takes great pictures you'll want to show off, this is the one to go with. The photo's aren't SLR quality, but they are great quality. You don't have to worry about breaking the camera, and it wont weigh you down. We are super happy we made this investment.
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on August 15, 2013
I really like this camera and am getting plenty of use out of it. Pictures are good. Though it is bigger than I expected it to be though. My biggest complaint is that this is supposed to be a Tough camera:

Per Product specs:
"Shockproof 7ft/2.1m
The shockproof structure of the TG-2 iHS ensures that your investment is protected. Carefully sandwiched between two protective frames, the lens and camera unit remain unfazed by bumps, drops, falls and other impacts. Even after repeated drops, critical camera components and functions like the lens, shutter, aperture and auto-focus remain safe. Drop, pick up, and keep on shooting."

Not what happened with me. Out using it on the very first day at Disneyland, this camera was dropped from about shin height, so maybe only a foot and a half off the ground. It hit the corner of the camera and the case completely crumpled. It was very apparent that it would no longer be water resistant after that. Not a problem for that particular trip because I was not planning to get it wet. And it continued to be functional. But it definitely is NOT shock proof.
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on January 9, 2014
This camera does what many years ago one needed fancy Nikon's for. Now, I do not use current fancy Nikon's and other premium photographer's dream cameras - yet. I speak from my photo and enlargement quality. I am well aware of the advances and choice of premium cameras for professional underwater and above water cameras from the likes of professionals like Cathy Church. And the need for great lighting. Checking and greasing o rings each dive. Patience. Water clarity. Being very still. And I am certain that those wanting the most supreme camera on the market will step things up a level... But for those that just want a really great camera for snorkeling or SCUBA to 50' without a housing or several hundred with a housing, this camera is excellent. I like it on the underwater mount with a very bright light. And with a filter as everyone knows the further you go down... The less light and color will show up and particularily red disappears the fastest. To have better photos adequate lighting and filter for red is imperative. Else, just take photos in 10-15 ft. If you want great photos. This camera takes great photos under and above water just as it is. But more professional photos with lighting and filter. Video above water and sound quality is very good. As is video below water, but sounds there should be dubbed over with music. Who wants to hear bubbles?
Makes a really great gift!
Just bought another for a family member as I loved it so much!
Only trouble so far is the screws hold corrosive salt, so I need to keep an eye on them, and maybe bring a toothbrush on dives for better rinse-ability.
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on May 22, 2014
I bought this camera for an extended hiking trip. Not wanting to carry my Nikon DSLR, I wanted a camera that I could strap on my pack and not worry about bouncing and rain. While it has some fun features like the special effects, I find the overall picture quality has much to be desired. The zoom produces grainy pictures. The ring around the lens fell off almost immediately and is now somewhere in the wilds of Montana. I would use this camera as a novelty because the special effects and the underwater capability are fun but the picture quality is not what I would expect from a camera in this price range. My Nikon Coolpix does a much better job (although not durable--it met an unfortunate end in Wyoming). My hiking buddy has the Lumix version of this camera which does much better for less money. I will keep playing with settings and have fun with it but will be saving my pennies for the Lumix.
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