17 May 2017

Is the Olympus TG-5 the new high-end of action cameras?

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The Red and the Black: the new TG-5 comes in two colours. This is the red one in case you were wondering The Red and the Black: the new TG-5 comes in two colours. This is the red one in case you were wondering Olympus

Olympus’ new $499 TG-5 action camera has been designed to be an expert in both stills and 4K video

Action Cameras sort-of live in a parallel universe where characteristics like toughness and waterproofing are as important as image quality, although a new product that doesn’t make good images isn’t going to get very far these days.

The new Olympus TG-5 is being positioned by Olympus as the one to beat. That’s a big claim, and we haven’t tested it yet, but the specifications are certainly credible.

There’s a new sensor, coupled to the latest TruePic V111 image processor. The lens is a “super bright” 25-100mm 1:2.0 and pictures that we’ve seen certainly look sharp and saturated.

The sensor actually has a lower resolution than the TG-4 which had 16 megapixels. The TG-5 sensor has 12 megapixels and we wonder whether the same philosophy is at work here as with Sony’s A7S, where fewer pixels means bigger pixels, and hence more light per imaging element. This should lead to better low light sensitivity and the specifications bear this out, with a usable ISO range up to 12,800.

4K video is supported up to 30fps, and HD up to 120fps. There’s an extra “anti-fogging” layer of class to keep the optical path clear even in the worst conditions.

This camera is perhaps more interesting than it looks because it’s being pitched as a combined still and video camera. This makes complete sense for action cameras, where the less you have to carry the better, and sometimes a still is more appropriate than a video.

Tough_TG-5_red__Product_180.jpg

The camera is available in red or black. It’s priced in the UK at £399.99 and in the US at $449.99.

Here’s a list of the features from the manufacturer:

A new 12MP backlit CMOS sensor replaces the 16MP unit in the TG-4. Combined with the latest TruePic VIII processor also used in the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, this delivers better low light sensitivity and a wider dynamic range for improved overall image quality in a wider range of lighting conditions.

TG-5 adds temperature to the field sensor system already including GPS, compass and manometer. This data can be transferred with images and video via WiFi to the free OI.Track app to showcase trips.

New anti-fog dual pane protective glass prevents the lens misting up after extreme temperature shifts.

Controls have been improved for easier handling in harsh conditions or whilst wearing gloves including a new dial for easier control of key functions including exposure compensation.

Video is considerably enhanced now boasting 4K at 30P and Full-HD sized, 120FPS high-speed movies.

Also coming from the OM-D series is a new “Pro Capture” feature that ensures you get a shot at the precise instant you want in a fast moving sequence

Super-bright 1:2.0 wide 25-100mm* 4x optical zoom lens for wide-angle shots and excellent image quality with high ISO values in low light

12MP backlit CMOS sensor

TruePic VIII image processor

Waterproof to 15m

Shockproof to 2.1m

Crushproof to 100kg

Freezeproof to -10°C

Four-mode super Macro system for spectacular close-ups from 30cm to just 1cm

4K 30P Video as well as high-speed Full-HD modes to provide slow motion playback

Built-in WiFi and OI.Share app compatibility for remote control and sharing via smartphone

GPS, compass and OI.Track app compatibility for fast and accurate location data

Expandable with an extensive range of system converter lenses and accessories

Underwater HDR Mode for more definition of dark and light areas

AF Area for focusing on selected areas of the image

Customizable, easily reachable mode dial for quickly accessing key settings on the go


David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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