OM System Announce the New TOUGH TG-7 Adventure Camera

OM System Announce the New TOUGH TG-7 Adventure Camera

Historically, the Olympus TOUGH cameras were well respected by outdoor adventurers, divers, and those who work in extreme environments. The New OM System TOUGH TG-7 has taken a huge step forward with a host of exciting new features.

There is a big call for small but strong cameras for those who venture into the wilds, underwater, or work in challenging environments such as construction or mining. The newly announced OM System TOUGH TG-7, due out at the end of this month, looks like the camera that will meet those requirements. Inheriting some of the features of the mirrorless OM range and building upon the previous TOUGH models, this robust, compact camera looks like it will be a very attractive proposition for anyone working under the sea, on top of a mountain, and everything in between.

The OM System Tough TG-7 Is Protected Against Extreme Environments

The camera is shockproof, designed to withstand being dropped from 2.1 meters (7 feet), and it is waterproof to up to 15 meters (49 feet) depth. If you want to go deeper, then the PT-059 case allows it to be used up to a depth of 45 meters (147 feet). With these specifications, this camera will appeal to divers, snorkelers, wild swimmers, sailors, canoeists, surfers, and other water sports enthusiasts.

There are five underwater shooting modes that optimize settings for various scenes: Underwater Wide, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Macro, Underwater Microscope, and Underwater HDR. As divers know, the blueness of the scene increases with depth. Consequently, the white balance modes automatically adjust based on the underwater shooting mode, although manual adjustments are also possible. These white balance modes are Underwater: Shallow, Underwater: Mid-Range, and Underwater: Deep.

The optional PT-059 case can accommodate two external flash units, creating a compact yet comprehensive multi-unit flash system for underwater flash photography.

The camera has a new non-slip grip and a dual-lock system on all the body openings to preserve its integrity and keep water and dust out. It is functional at -10°C and is crushproof up to 100 kgf, which will make it ideal for mountain climbers, hikers, cave divers, and potholers.

Photographic Quality of the TOUGH TG-7

The camera’s photographic specifications look good. It has a bright, f/2 lens that will help it achieve faster shutter speeds to stop movement blur in low light. The manufacturer reports it has advanced optical technologies incorporated in it, including a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens with anti-reflective coating on both sides of the lens to prevent ghosting and lens flare.

Many owners of previous TOUGH models have used them for macro photography. This camera takes it further with its Microscope Control Mode. That is for close-up shooting, where one can get within 1 cm of the subject. That allows users to effortlessly switch between 1x, 2x, and 4x magnifications with the single touch of a button, mimicking the experience of using a microscope to observe and photograph subjects. On top of that, the rear LCD monitor allows for subject magnification of up to 44.4 times.

Furthermore, the camera has focus stacking from three up to ten shots and focus bracketing up to 30 shots. By using focus bracketing, the photographer can blend them into a single frame with a wide depth of field using the OM Workspace software. There are also two optional lens accessories that will allow even more possibilities for macro mode.

It sports a 12-megapixel back-lit CMOS sensor. 12 megapixels is more than enough to print a large 11” x 14” at best 300 dpi quality and up to a 30” x 40” print at good quality. Restricting the pixel count on compact cameras is a wise move, as it increases the dynamic range and lessens noise in the image.

Inherited from the OM System interchangeable lens cameras such as the OM-1 and the OM-5, another feature included in this camera is Pro Capture mode. This facility is unique to the OM System and buffers shots for half a second before the shutter is fully depressed. This means you should never miss the action because of your reaction time.

Also included is the live composite mode, which only adds new light to a photo, making it possible to photograph, for example, star trails and light trails, plus do light painting.

The Tough TG-7's GPS and Environmental Sensors

The camera has built-in GPS, automatically acquiring latitude and longitude. Its internal compass records the shooting direction to the image’s metadata too. The TOUGH TG-7 also measures air pressure, altitude, and water depth, as well as air and water temperature. This information can be uploaded to the OM Image Share (OI Share) smartphone app to display the route traveled along with the altitude and water depth.

Shooting Video With the TOUGH TG-7

It shoots 4K video, plus up to 120 frames per second recorded at full HD, 240 fps at HD, and 480 fps at SD for creating slow motion movies.

The OM System Tough TG-7 also can record vertical video with the camera turned by 90° to portrait orientation, so movies can be uploaded to social media without editing. Moreover, it has interval shooting for up to 299 shots, which automatically generates a time-lapse video. A great-sounding new feature for this is its exposure equalization, which will deal with sudden changes in lighting between frames, such as the sun going behind a cloud.

The Tough TG-7's Special Camera Features for the Construction Industry

Although we rightly think of cameras like this being for outdoor enthusiasts, the TOUGH TG-7 also has another type of user in mind. This camera is made with the construction industry in mind. Builders, surveyors, miners, road maintenance workers, facilities managers, civil engineers, and similar extreme trades will welcome its Construction Mode, which uses in-camera processing to enhance images in challenging environments. It can reduce or remove airborne dust particles, work in very dark work sites, and cope with showing shadow detail in high-contrast scenes, and there is a slow shutter mode for nighttime construction images.

The camera also creates stitched panoramas that are useful for photographing interior or exterior scenes, useful for overseeing the entire progress of a construction site. An indoor mode optimizes the flash to evenly light the scene from front to back, and the Documents mode is made for capturing drawings and blackboard information using a method called Binarization.

The CALS Digital Image Photo Management format can also be utilized, which is widely used across the construction, transport, tourist, and other private and public sectors in different countries.

Other Advanced Features of the Tough TG-7

All these features are available because of its powerful TruePic VIII processor found in its interchangeable lens cameras. Furthermore, it features the OM System’s in-body image stabilization, which is widely considered to be the best available. It can also shoot raw as well as JPEG stills. Apart from offering greater image development and editing options, being able to shoot raw is essential for providing legal evidence.

The camera has a USB-C socket, so the battery can be charged within the camera. A separate charger is an optional extra. You can also buy the RM-WR1 Wireless Remote Control that has IP57 class water and dust protection for dust and splash-proof protection. It uses Bluetooth Low-Energy communication for long battery life. It also has wireless connectivity.

OM System Tough TG-7 Specifications

  • Image sensor: 12 MP 1/2.3" BSI CMOS
  • Processor: TruePicTM VIII
  • Lens: 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) 4x optical zoom f/2.0 (W) - f/4.9 (T)
  • Macro: (Super macro: less than f=5.4mm, from 0.1m to 0.3m / above 5.4mm, from 0.01m to 0.3m / Microscope: 0.01m - 0.30m)
  • Teleconverter: x2 (P, A, Movie mode), x2/x4 (Microscope mode)
  • Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
  • Monitor: 3.0", approx. 1,037k dots (3:2)
  • ISO 100-12,800
  • Shutter speed: 1/2 - 1/2000 sec. (A mode: up to 4 sec.)
  • Sequential shooting: [Sequential shooting H]*: approx. 20 fps with selectable 10/20 fps [Sequential shooting L]: approx. 5 fps [Pro Capture]*: approx. 10 fps* Electronic Shutter
  • Time-lapse movie is possible with interval shooting up to 299 frames
  • 4K video
  • Waterproof to depths of 50 ft / 15 m
  • IPX8 Dustproof
  • IP6X Freezeproof to 14°F / -10°C
  • Crushproof to 220 lbf / 100 kgf
  • Shockproof from 7 ft / 2.1 m
  • Anti-fog dual pane lens cover glass

  • GPS (GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS), compass, manometer, temperature sensor, acceleration sensor
  • Live Composite, Art Filters, HDR, Underwater Modes, Macro Modes, Construction Mode
  • USB Type-C Micro HDMI (type D), built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n), built-in Bluetooth (Version 4.2 Bluetooth Low Energy)
  • LI-92B Li-ion battery

Pricing and Availability for OM SYSTEM TOUGH TG-7

The TG-7 will be available from late September at a suggested retail price of $549 USA, €549 EU, £499.99 UK

Ivor Rackham's picture

A professional photographer, website developer, and writer, Ivor lives in the North East of England. His main work is training others in photography. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being. In 2023 he accepted becoming a brand ambassador for the OM System.

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This seems like an incredibly capable camera for an extremely reasonable price. As I was reading your description about it, being aware of Olympus' high prices relative to other brands, I was thinking. "maybe I could find an old, used, discontinued Tough TG for just a few hundred bucks. Like a TG 3 or TG 4. But when I saw that the retail price is only $549 I was very pleasantly surprised.

I am very impressed at the lens being a 4x zoom covering 25-100mm equivalency. That is extremely useful for the herp photography that I do. Especially so considering the extreme close-up capabilities. Can you provide specs on the actual magnification ratio, in the way that it is most commonly expressed? For example: Maximum Magnification 0.50x

Ivor, have you used this camera personally? If so, I would love to read a more personal, "user experience" account of this camera from you, especially at the more extreme close up usages and also underwater with only ambient light.

I'm glad it can shoot in RAW, as jpeg and all of the "shooting mode" stuff is rather useless for me. I have zero interest in any of the modes or settings that could just be done on the computer (what's the point?)

Can it create those stitched panoramas in-camera in RAW mode, or does one have to use jpeg for that feature to be enabled?

The extreme macro that you mention - is that achieved optically, or is it just a "digital zoom" type of thing that results in a bit of image quality loss at the most extreme range? Also, is the macro capability "real"? By this I mean, is it actually based on the size of the subject as projected onto the sensor?

Have you personally owned any of the previous Tough TG models? If so, I would be very interested in seeing the images you have taken with them in extreme conditions, and in your own personal list of pros and cons when an old model is compared to this newest version.

Thanks for making me aware of this exciting camera!

Good questions. I work in forestry and like to have a camera for landscapes, closeup (some times in macro) and some other stuff I run into on the job. I'll carry a smaller camera, but still worry about being hard on it and is it going into a pocket, a pack or in one of my work vest pockets? A matter of protection vs ease of access since I don't won't to spend too much time getting and putting away a camera. I'm not getting paid for photos though some documentary photos are useful so the boss and landowner can see issues rather than rely on my description of issues to be addressed. Something tough benefits me and handy when I need to document trespass or other issues.

I hope to be doing a hands on review of it in the near future, Tom. Watch this space.

I will love that! Others in the U.K. have already done hands on reviews, so you should have no trouble getting one from Olympus to test.

I am especially interested in seeing deep image quality reviews that are a bit more scientific and controlled than the kind of reviews that just say things like, "I was plenty please with the IQ for the what I do with the images". I mean, I really want to know how it stacks up to full frame at 1600 ISO for demanding output / final use like submitting to stock agencies with an extremely stringent review process or cropping deep and making big prints.

The thing that would be most useful to me is evaluation of fine detail resolution and noise grain at the pixel level, That is what will show me just how far it lags behind the cameras with much larger sensors that I am used to shooting.

Of course I will not demand that it be just as good as a 5D 4 at 1600 ISO because that would be unreasonable to expect. But I do demand that it be pretty close.

You've posted many questions there, which I hope to be able to answer when I get to review the camera. This news article is based upon a press release, plus what other information I could glean. It was written before it was released.

Every camera on the market is a compromise of one sort or another, mainly because of the laws of physics. The boundaries of what is possible with smaller cameras are widening because of the advances in sensor tech and processing power. But the boundaries of what larger cameras can do are changing too. In a lot of cases the extremes that large cameras now exceed the requirements of many photographers.

I don't think there is a camera on the market that doesn't have advantages and disadvantages and one must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each piece of kit. For example, I dropped my OM-D E-M1 Mark II in a river, picked it up, and carried on shooting, and my OM-1 has had a similar soaking. But, I would not deliberately hold them underwater, as I would with the TG-7. I would not expect the image quality and dynamic range of the TG-7 to be as good as my OM-1, but it will be a lot better than my phone camera.

If I were still into SCUBA diving, gorge scrambling, climbing, hillwalking, canoeing, and sailing then this camera would be permanently with me. If I still worked in an environment that involved being on construction sites, then I would have used one of these instead of the countless phones I destroyed photographing in those challenging environments. When I am cycling, gardening, hiking, or spending the day doing something where I just want to record snapshots, then this would be a great choice.

But, would I replace my OM-1 with it? No. Although the Micro Four Thirds is smaller than many other ILC systems, there are still times I don't want to carry it about. So, for me, it would be a great camera for those occasions. When I test it, I'll write a review.

There are SOOOOOO many things I want to know about this camera beyond what is covered here in this article. Spent a half hour in Live Chat Support with a B&H representative this morning. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to answer any of the dozen or so questions I had for him. He said he would contact Olympus and ask them to provide more details specifications than what they have readily available. Hopefully I get the answers I want, because if this does everything it's supposed to do, and is right on par with my current gear for image quality, I will have a new favorite camera!

Ivor Rackham wrote:

"The New OM System TOUGH TG-7 has taken a huge step forward with a host of exciting new features ..... building upon previous Tough models"

I would like to know exactly what the differences/improvements are between this new TG-7 and the TG-6. If they are just software related, like "shooting modes" that jpeg users use, or in-camera bracketing and stitching, or "digital zoom", then I want to know.

What would really interest me are actual hardware improvements. Otherwise I think the G6 may be the better value at $50 less.

Regardless of whether the improvements are worth it or not to me, I am going to be buying an Olympus Tough camera, just undecided on which iteration to get. I'm afraid it may take a lot of time and thought power to find out all of the tiny little differences in the specs of all of the previous versions. I wish someone would just do all of that work for me so I can have all of the specs of each version appear side by side in a super easy to view format.

The single-digit Tough cameras used to always follow the same formula:
TG-1 and TG-2 same body, but software changes in the 2.
TG-3 and TG-4 same body, but software changes in the 4.
TG-5 and TG-6 same body, but software changes in the 6 *plus a new anti-reflective coating on the lens, and a higher-resolution LCD screen*

In my opinion, advanced photographers will want at least a TG-4, as that introduced raw recording, so that lets you avoid the smeary watercolour-like noise reduction of the in-camera JPGs. If you specifically use DxO PureRAW noise reduction on the raw files it's almost magical.

While the TG-4 is 16 megapixels, the TG-5 is 12 megapixels, with slightly better low-light performance, a control dial that makes things like exposure compensation easier, and a newer, better menu system. The TG-5 also introduced 4K video.

All of the TG-x cameras had received rare complaints of purple blob reflections when shooting into the sun, which the new coating on the TG-6 lens is supposed to solve, and it has a 1 million pixel LCD screen rather than 400,000 pixels.

The TG-7 has a differently-shaped grip, USB-C instead of micro-USB, the LCD screen supposedly has "more accurate colour," and the rest of the changes are all software

I found a review posted on the B&H website. It is a review of the Tough TG-5. I was all excited about this line of Tough cameras until I read this. So now I wonder if the TG-6 or TG-7 have gotten a MASSIVE sensor upgrade, compared to the TG-5.

It seems that if one is accustomed to the pixel level image quality of high end full frame DSLRs, then these Tough cameras may not give us the same level of image quality. Which is concerning and now has me questioning if such a camera would be useful for a pixel peeper who likes to print things huge or crop real deep and still have stellar IQ.

If anyone has their own experiences with this line of Tough cameras, I would love to know what you think of the IQ compared to much higher end cameras.

Review I saw on B&H:

"I've owned the TG-2 and TG-4 and I recently purchased the TG-5. The incremental upgrades are good and welcome but what I was hoping to see in the TG-5 was a performance upgrade in the quality of the sensor. Regrettably, photos made with the new camera are indistinguishable from-side by-side photos shot with the TG-4. This camera delivers impressive results at ISO 100 and 200. ISO 400 is okay. ISO 800 is marginal at best and at ISO 1600, picture detail turns to mush. Sad. And so I am returning the camera to B&H and I will look to my trusty TG-4 to continue to soldier on. Thank you, B&H, for allowing me to return the TG-5 to you (in mint condition, and it never got wet). And Olympus, if you are listening, thanks for creating a marvelous little camera but it's time to step up your game. We need a TG-6 with a seriously improved sensor."

The TG-5 and TG-6 definitely have the same sensor. The TG-7 most likely still has the same sensor. The sensor is TINY. A full-frame sensor is 5.6x larger. Results will never be comparable to a full-frame DSLR. But, shooting raw and bypassing the in-camera noise reduction on JPGs will make a pixel-peeper much happier, so download some sample raw files and take a look at those. Most of the complaints are from people just looking at JPGs.

My minimum requirements would be clean images at 1600 ISO. I mean truly clean where there is no grain at all when I zoom in deep on my 27" 5k monitor. I can get that from any recent DSLR or mirrorless ILC, and couldn't accept any less. You suggest downloading some RAW samples. Where would I go to find such samples? And can I do it on my desktop browser without having to download any app or software?

If you expect clean images at ISO 1600 from a TG- camera with a sensor less than 1/5th the size of your other cameras, you'll be sorely disappointed. The TG- cameras won't come anywhere near close to your recent DSLR or mirrorless cameras, but on the other hand, how many of those will take pictures 50 feet underwater and survive, or survive being dropped from 7 feet?

This website won't let me link to other camera review sites, but a Google search for TG-5 "Sample RAW Images" and TG-6 "Sample RAW Images" will take you where you need to go. You can download them using your browser, but you'll need decent raw processing software to see them properly.

Thank you Stephen

Really? 1600 ISO isn't even high. It's like baseline for what myself and most of my peers shoot at when the light is good.

Sadly, every time I hear about some camera that I've never heard of before, and it sounds really awesome, and very affordable, further digging reveals that image quality won't even be as good as what I'm used to ..... and I'm not even satisfied with what I'm used to and want better, not worse.

The tech guy at B&H who I talked to yesterday said that I would not be satisfied with the image quality from this TG-7. Then this morning I found a YouTube video from a person who got one of these from OM Systems to review. I watched her video review and asked some questions in the comments. She responded to my questions by saying that it does not even have a fully manual mode and that I would not be at all satisfied with the image quality. In fact, she said that image quality is similar to what you get from the better cell phone cameras these days. So not at all good IQ in really challenging conditions like super high contrast or very low light.

I am starting to feel disheartened, and hesitate to even click on anything about a new or different type of camera, for fear that I will find out that it does not even have IQ as good as my old 5D Mark 4. By nature I am optimistic and hopeful, but when these hopes get dashed time and again and again the hope eventually starts to fade out.

It does not have fully manual exposure because it only has three aperture settings: wide open, a slightly closed-down aperture, and an ND filter. The sensors is so small that a real aperture mechanism doesn't make much sense.

No, it does not have image quality anywhere near your 5D IV, but it is significantly smaller, lighter, waterproof, crushproof, freezeproof, shockproof, and dustproof. It's an entirely different thing to your 5D meant for a different purpose. There's no point complaining that a small 2-seat sports car can't carry as much cargo as a pickup truck... they're meant for very different things.

Stephen Strangways wrote:

"It does not have fully manual exposure because ..... "


I would like to know - without a manual mode, it is possible to underexpose by 5 or 6 full stops, or overexpose by several full stops?

The reason I want full manual is so that when I need to create images that require an extreme exposure, I can do so. I mean sometimes there are scenes that are 95% total blackness and just a bit of very bright rimlight on the subject. The "correct" exposure to capture that rimlight without blowing it out will be several stops UNDER what the meter thinks is correct.

So how does one achieve that if there is no full manual mode?

You can only under or overexpose by minus or plus two stops.
There is also no auto exposure lock, though in continuous shooting the focus and exposure are locked at the first frame, so that may sort of work in some situations.
It does have spot metering available, so at least there is that.