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Olympus' single-digit TG Tough cameras have long been a popular choice because of a bright lens and excellent macro mode and the company is continuing the tradition with the new TG-5. Like earlier models, the TG-5 features a waterproof design, a bright lens, RAW shooting, and excellent macro, but Olympus is adding extra features with an array of sensors, new modes and an enhanced sensor.
The Olympus TG-5 is the first still camera from the manufacturer to integrate the same sensors found on their action camera, the Tracker. With not just a GPS but a compass, manometer, temperature sensor and accelerometer, each photo (or video) is tagged with details on the shot like how deep the dive was or how high the climb was, what temperatures you fought through to get there, and, for videos, how fast you were moving. Using a smartphone app, that data can be added to overlays, or graphics that put the information on an easy-to-read format right over the image.
That additional data is paired with a number of new shooting modes, including a Zero-Lag Pro Capture mode that uses the electronic shutter to start recording before and after the shot, upping the chances of getting the right timing for action shots. Images can be taken up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter, which tends to produce more noise than a physical shutter, or the traditional shutter at 5 fps. Night Composite modes as well as Microscopic Modes for macro photography are also included.
Noise is the reason behind the TG-5's updated sensor. The megapixel count actually drops from the TG-4, down to 12 megapixels. Why? On cameras with small sensors like the ones in most compact cameras, more megapixels may mean a higher resolution, but tends to step down the low light quality by introducing more noise at higher ISOs. With the 12 megapixels, expect 4,000 pixel files with a bit better quality in low light.
Low light is one of the reasons the line has been the choice for pro photographers that don't want to wreck their fancy cameras in the water. Like earlier models, the TG-5 uses a bright f/2.0-4.9 lens that's better for shooting with limited light, a big perk for cameras designed to dive far away from the sun. The camera's reputation is also built on a solid macro mode for close-ups, which is continued here as well.
Don't let the lower megapixel count fool you -- the TG-5 packs a punch for underwater photography and, short of buying a big case for a DSLR, offers solid images pretty much anywhere you can imagine going. If the sensors and lower megapixels don't intrigue you, watch for price drops on the TG-4.