The Olympus Tough TG-5 is one of the most impressive waterproof cameras in our lineup. It is rugged, packed with features, easy to use, has a good battery life and flat-out takes great underwater photos. And although it’s also the priciest option, it is a solid performer and worth the cost.
When you pick up this camera, you’ll notice its sturdy feel. The casing is made from metal – whereas most of the other cameras we reviewed have plastic casings – making the TG-5 especially durable. However, this makes it bulky and a bit heavier than most of the other cameras. We noticed that the weight doesn’t sit along the right side where you’d hold it, so it feels off-balance and a bit awkward for one-handed use.
The camera is rated to withstand a drop from 7 feet, which is more than every other camera we reviewed except the Nikon W300. This waterproof camera is rated to dive to down to 50 feet underwater, and though we didn’t test this camera at those kinds of depths, the TG-5 was able to withstand all of our underwater testing without any problem. The battery and charging hatches have two latches that keep the compartments sealed. One opens the hatch and the other locks it. The locking mechanism keeps water out of the hatches completely and is also easy to use.
The TG-5 captured remarkable underwater images – among the best in our lineup. The image clarity is crisp and sharp. The images also have accurate and deep color saturation that makes the test scene look vibrant, even underwater. Many other underwater digital cameras give the water an unnatural yellow or blue tint. In the TG-5’s underwater images the water is a soft blue that keeps the overall picture bright and the target in focus, detailed and sharp, which is thanks in part to its anti-fog dual-pane lens.
The dry-land image testing results for the TG-5 were also good, but other cameras outperformed it with slightly sharper images and better color accuracy. The Olympus TG-5 has solid technical specifications for an underwater camera. It features a 12-megapixel BSI-CMOS 1/2.3-inch sensor, standard for any waterproof digital camera. The ISO ranges from 100-1600 manually, though you can customize it to go as high as 12,800. Shutter speed ranges from 1/2,000 to half a second, and it’s dynamic enough to capture crisp action shots.
This camera has all of the extra features you’d want in an underwater camera. It can capture 4K video that includes audio. It has image stabilization, face detection and focus lock to make it easy to take a photo, and many different picture effects that you can add to your images once you’ve captured them. Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities let you easily geotag your photos and wirelessly upload them.
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Make sure you have this camera tied or strapped to you – if you drop it in water, it will sink. And the camera is heavier than most others at 8.8 ounces. At 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 inches, the dimensions are average, if not a bit large for underwater cameras.
The back of the device houses a 3-inch display as well as a mode dial, display information button, playback button and a menu button to display the camera’s settings menu. When you turn the mode dial, an explanation of the selected mode comes up on the display so you don’t have to interpret what the little icons mean on the dial, which is a nice touch. The camera menu is straightforward and easy to navigate. The layout is one list you can scroll through without having to wade through different sub-menus. That being said, the camera is easy to use.