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