TG-5

TG-5

Steve's Conclusion

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SPEED & AF PERFORMANCE
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| Underwater | F8.0 | 1/320 | ISO 100 | 25mm |

For a compact, point-n-shoot camera, the TG-5 performs very well. Both single shot delay and continuous shooting perform very well, allowing to you continue shooting as needed. RAW shooting will slow things down, with a limit of approx. 14 images, unlike JPG only that will capture your memory card fills. Continuous shooting has the ability to capture up to 20fps using an electronic shutter, so you always capture the perfect action shots. Using the onboard flash does increase the shot-to-shot delay, as the flash takes a little time to recharge before each captured image. This also puts an increased drain on the camera's battery.

AF performance was also fast and mostly accurate, allowing you to quickly capture your images on the go. A must for action and adventure photography. With the help of the AF Illuminator, the camera works very quickly to achieve focus in good lighting conditions. As the light dims, the AF system gets slower. This brings us to the camera's underwater photography. As light does not travel as well underwater, the camera tends to work a little slower. The AF system can be far less accurate, especially in cloudy or moving water. Overall, the camera does very well when compared to other affordable "tough" cameras.

Timing
  • Power On to First Image: 0.2 Seconds
  • Shutter Lag when Pre-Focused: Less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter Lag with AF: 1/10 to 3/10 of a second
  • Shot-to-Shot Delay: 0.56 seconds
  • Shot-to-Shot Delay with Flash: 1.00 seconds
  • Sequential shooting: Selectable, up to 20fps

METERING
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| Dramatic Tone | F4.9 | 1/400 | ISO 100 | 100mm | EV -.07

Metering was good in most situations, allowing the camera to capture as much detail as possible in both the light and dark areas of the image. It provided the camera with excellent exposures in most situations, as worked incredibly well when the Face Detection locked onto faces within the frame, keeping them as the priority in the image. Again this changes once to take the camera under water, as it provides info to the camera that quite often resulted in shutter speeds that were too slow to freeze the subject. This is one area where higher ISO and shutter speeds would benefit the images on a regular basis. High contrast situations were also difficult, with the camera tending to blow out highlights in favor of mid-tones and shadows.

STILL IMAGE QUALITY
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| Program | F2.8 | 1/1000 | ISO 100 | 25mm |

In outdoor, bright shooting situations, the TG-5 performed admirably; working quickly and accurately to capture quality images. Exposure, color, and metering all work well in these good conditions, and the camera's tough abilities allow you to take it where other cameras cannot go. When shooting situations are not ideal you will start to see the struggles of the camera. Starting with backlighting and other high contrast situations, fringing becomes a huge problem (see sample below). The sensor struggles with these situations, producing the unnatural colored fringing along the edges of these high contrast areas.

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Fringing CROPPED from one of our sample images

Macro photography is another huge benefit of the TG-5, providing some amazing options and results for shooting closer than any other compact camera. The camera gets closer than any other compacts and even closer than most DSLR macro lenses can manage on their own. The camera features several shooting modes, including some digital magnification modes to get you even closer (with the same drawbacks of a digital zoom). Using the macro mode gives you a very shallow depth-of-field, which can be great if that's what you are looking for, but just a portion of a tiny subject isn't always enough. Olympus's in-camera focus stacking offers a way to increase the area of focus on these images, bringing your entire subject into focus, all with one press of the shutter release. 

The TG-5 does pretty well underwater too, especially when compared to other point-n-shoot cameras with similar tough/underwater abilities. Able to dive up to 50ft without any other cases or housings, it is ready for snorkeling, free-diving, and even scuba diving right out of the box. 

The LCD screen is easy to work with as long as you are able to look at it directly (as soon as you try to look from an angle, the image completely disappears). Image quality is very good for a compact, but the camera does struggle a little to keep exposures that allow for sharp, handheld images in many underwater situations. You will also have to remember that unless your subject is within a couple feet, the flash is not powerful enough to reach. With our sample images, we did notice that the color and exposure did come out better when shooting with the camera's underwater mode vs. using the Auto or Program modes. 

Special shooting modes/Art filters are plentiful as well on the TG-5. From the expected Art Filters, similar to what you will find on most consumer level cameras today, to automatic handheld night and panoramic composition modes, you will not be disappointed with your options. With the power and speed of the camera, panoramic shooting was a little of a letdown, as the TG-5 takes three images and does a poor job of combining them. 

Live Composite is another creative mode, which is specific to Olympus. Here the camera takes one initial long exposure, and only adds NEW movement or light to your original image, which should prevent your light sources from over exposing (as they would in a DSLR's BULB mode). The results bring out the color and light in a dark scene without too much overexposure while allowing for plenty of detail in the darker areas as well (check sample below). While the results of this mode are quite good, we're not sure the results are as accurate or adjustable as the TG-4.

ISO PERFORMANCE
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| Live Composite Mode | F3.5 | 2.5 Sec. | ISO 100 | 38mm |

ISO performance from the TG-5 is actually pretty good for a compact camera, thanks to its new 12-Megapixel imaging sensor. With that said, we were looking for a little more out of it on the higher ISO end. The higher ISO settings, along with some of the special shooting modes and digital IS that boost the ISO in order to work, show a bit more noise and less detail than we like to see. The camera also features handheld low-light modes that use the burst and higher ISO settings to capture and combine images to try to increase image quality. While this does help, it is still no comparison to using a long exposure setting and a tripod. 

VIDEO QUALITY

The addition of 4K video is 'YUGE step for the Olympus "TG" line, offering the highest resolution and quality possible for your big adventures. Both 4K and Full 1080p HD video quality is good for a compact digicam, with the internal image stabilization helping to eliminate camera shake while recording handheld, although it does not stop it completely. The videos play back smoothly on all media sources, offering you an excellent home-video experience. 

That said, you're going to get the best results with wide angle videos during the day. Image stabilization doesn't work nearly as well at 100mm (equivalent), which is odd for an Olympus product. Further, zooming while recording video leaves your footage shacking visibly and suffering from motor noise, both of which ruin the shot. We also found the AF system struggling in darker or high contrast conditions much like it does with still images.


Along with 4K and Full 1080p HD video, the camera is capable of some awesome high-frame-rate, slow motion video recording. Great for capturing the action, the camera can capture videos at 120fps (1920x1080 Full HD), 240fps (1280x720 HD), 480fps (640x360). This lets you really slow down the action for awesome effects or even to study and research fast-moving subjects/objects like a golf swing. A sample of all of the shooting modes can be seen in our sample videos above or on the sample images page.

Overall, we'd say the video recording capabilities are very good and sharp, especially given the underwater and slow motion capabilities, BUT if your needs are VIDEO-FIRST, you're probably not going to sell your GoPro for the TG-5.

WIRELESS PERFORMANCE
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| Super Macro | F6.3 | 1/400 | ISO 320 | 100mm |

For control without having your hands on the camera, Olympus includes built-in WiFi that allows you to connect to a tablet or smartphone. Once connected, you have the ability to view and download images from the camera to your other device. If that device has an internet or cellular connection, you images can then be shared with the world from just about anywhere. Connections are controlled via the Olympus Image Share App for either OIS or Android. On top of viewing your images, once connected to the camera, your device can also be used as a wireless remote to control the camera. All of the options for the camera are available, including shooting settings and using the optical zoom.

Along with WiFi, the TG-5 sports built-in GPS and several other sensors that keep track of your elevation, speed, direction, and temperature. This allows it to compete with the smaller, action video cameras like GoPro and Sony Action Cam. If they are all turned on, the results from these sensors will all be recorded and embedded in your still images and videos; telling the entire story of your grand adventures. 

BOTTOM LINE
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| Focus Stacking (in-camera) | F6.3 | 1/400 | ISO 125 | 100mm |

As far as compact, "tough" cameras go, the Olympus TG-5 is the one that you want to have packed on your next big adventure. Sporting a new 12-Megapixel imaging sensor, powerful TruePic VIII image processor, 4K video capture and the toughest body on the market; the camera is truly ready for anything that you are, and maybe more... 

Image quality and performance are very good, providing the speed and quality that you hope for (in most cases). There are a few flaws, mostly in the video and difficult lighting department, and the $449 MSRP isn't exactly pocket change, so the TG-5 doesn't blow the competition away. Still, we're pleased overall with its tough and image capturing abilities (and the 4K/30p is a nice get). While a camera with equivalent quality and performance is not too hard to come by for less, Olympus has packed it into a body that will SURVIVE everything you need it to (even toddlers), where other cameras will wither and die.

PICK THIS UP IF...
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| Super Macro | F4.9 | 1/400 | ISO 800 | 100mm | EV +0.3

You are in need of a camera that can survive (almost) anything. Great for the adventurous, the TG-5 is ready for any and all shooting situations, and also great for any household with young kids and/or a pool. Finally, if you are looking for a compact, easy-to-carry camera with outstanding Macro capabilities, the TG-5 is for you.

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