Ruggedized cameras have always been delivered with some kind of compromise -- an inflated price tag, bulkier body or sub-par image quality. Now, much as the E-M5 did to tighten the gap among mirrorless cameras, Olympus is introducing a full-featured pro-worthy Tough model.
The Tough TG-1 is effectively an XZ-1 in a ruggedized shell -- its 12-megapixel 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor, 25-100mm, f/2.0-4.9 4x zoom lens and 3-inch 610k OLED display are all wrapped in a reinforced body, capable of flawless shooting at depths of 40 feet, in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and after a 6.6-foot fall.
With the TG-1, the company is aiming for the pro's gear bag, bringing features like 30 fps full-res rapid-fire shooting (for 50 consecutive shots, or 220 in a 3-megapixel 60 fps mode), the same TruPic VI image processor previously available only on current-gen PEN models and super-fast E-P3-like focusing speeds to an affordable, pocketable compact.
The TG-1 is also a capable video shooter, offering 1080/30p captures on land and under the sea, with Linear PCM audio recording and a powerful Multi-Motion Movie image stabilization feature. A shutter range from bulb to 1/2000 second boosts versatility, while tools like GPS, an e-compass and pressure-measuring manometer combine to provide data-rich pictures while also aiding in-camera tools, like a compass with 3D renders and a power-efficient GPS that helps to identify more than 700,000 landmarks around the globe.
It's hardly approaching ILC territory, but the camera includes some lens accessory compatibility, with an available conversion adapter with fisheye and telephoto attachments that work (and can be swapped in and out) underwater. Double-locking battery and HDMI port doors will keep dust and water away from compartments, and a repellant coating helps fight water build-up on the lens -- there's 40.5mm filter compatibility as well. The Olympus Tough TG-1 is set to ship for $399 in mid-to-late June, and we're fairly certain it will be worth the wait.