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Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review

Sabyasachi Biswas July 24 | Updated on July 23, 2013

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review : The colours produced were typically Olympus. Balanced, and never vivid or pale.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-2 review: Being a Tough camera with a bright f2.0 lens, we could go really close to subjects that were moving fast and splashing around a lot of icy cold water.

Olympus has a new must-have accessory for those who seek adventure – a camera that goes under water, in snow and survives drops. Is the imaging just as good?

As more and more exotic destinations are opening up for holidaying, the need for all-weather compact cameras is also increasing. Because out in the tropics or up in the mountains, conventional digital cameras would go bust the moment you take them out of your pouch. And also because weather-proof casing for DSLRs is also a bit too expensive for some.

The Tough digital camera lineup from Olympus is not new; in fact it has been around for quite some time. But the products’ image quality was often questioned, especially where lighting was dim or subjects moved a bit fast. The latest all-weather from Olympus is the Stylus Tough TG-2, and we tested this compact-tough in one of the harshest conditions that we could find in India.

Ease of use

You’d usually associate complex functions under a weather-proof housing from a tough camera. This isn’t true at all for the TG-2, because it operates as easily as any conventional compact digital camera. In fact if you had to ignore the red filter protector or the Tough insignia, you’d think this is just another camera. The mode dial, zoom toggle and shutter release button are very ergonomically located and even when on manual modes, changing shutter or aperture values was also quite easy.

However, we did find that some controls can be a little difficult to access when you’re wearing gloves. The shutter release button, thankfully, remained easy to use throughout. It’s only when you decide to use a filter or get some creative control, and have to change a few settings here and there you will need to struggle a bit. In such conditions, we’d suggest you put the camera on Auto mode and click away. The camera doesn’t have any prominent hand grip, but it does feel quite grippy once you hold it. Although we didn’t really find the need for it, there’s a strategically placed wrist-band ridge as well.

Weather proof

The Stylus Tough TG-2 is water resistant up to 15 metres, freeze proof up to 10 degrees below freezing point, shock proof up to 2.1 metres, crush proof up to 100kgf and dust proof. So that makes it an ideal compact camera to use in rain (and also underwater up to an extent), while skiing in snow, travelling through deserts, and trekking over rocky surfaces.

To test most of these claimed features, we used the camera in snow, out in a heavy downpour and also dropped the camera on hard surfaces from a height of 5 feet. The camera survived all of this and was ready to take pictures as soon as you picked it up. In fact we were the closest to get near a subject moving through a water crossing, splashing a lot of almost-freezing water everywhere. That, in our opinion is quite commendable.

Performance

The Tough TG-2 has a 12 megapixel sensor, a maximum ISO of 6,400, 4x optical and 16x digital zoom and is capable of shooting full HD 1080p videos. It has got a sensor-shift image stabiliser, which works quite well (as we found on a chilly evening with shivering hands) under acceptable low light conditions like dawns or dusks. There’s also a GPS on board, but like any other GPS-enabled device, it drains the battery quickly.

Colour reproduction is typically Olympus – all the colours stand out clearly, without any loss and never too vividly. Contrast is balanced perfectly, and in all the automatic or preset modes, exposures come out quite well. Even on dramatic filters and while using HDR, there was just the right amount of exaggeration of certain tones, but it was never too jarring.

The same cannot be said about sharpness, though. While many pictures came out with decent sharpness, some showed signs of edge smudging. We didn’t encounter loss of sharpness in many manual modes, though. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be advisable to take full blown or extra large prints of photos taken from the TG-2. But for sharing online and on social networks, the images are sharp enough. That said, the low-light imaging is stellar, thanks to a bright f2.0 lens and noise levels being suppressed internally.

Verdict

The TG-2 has limited competition, in the form of Nikon Coolpix AW110 and Lumix DMC-FT3. But Olympus’s compact digital cameras have always shown us immensely impressive results in terms of colour reproduction and exposures, hence we would recommend the Stylus Tough TG-2 if you’re out somewhere like The Himalayas or in Andaman when it’s raining.

Rs 22,990

Love – colour quality, spot-on exposure

Hate – Occasional smudging, difficult gloved usage

>sabyasachi.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 22, 2013

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