Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera Preview

Preview, specs, features and thoughts for underwater photo and video with the brand new Olympus TG-5 compact camera
By Brent Durand

Olympus has just announced a follow up to the extremely popular TG-4 compact camera - the Olympus Tough TG-5.

The TG-5 is packed full of features useful to underwater photo and video shooters; the latest camera from a brand that actively considers underwater shooters when designing its products. Not only is the camera waterproof down to 50ft (15m), but it is designed with the Olympus PT-058 UW housing rated to 147ft (45m). This housing is the most affordable TG-5 housing on the market and accepts most popular underwater photo accessories.

The Olympus TG-5 also packs RAW photo recording for wide latitude when editing (including white balance), 4K video recording, 1080p video recording at 120fps (4x slow motion!), a super macro mode with minimum focus distance of 1cm, and automatic TTL flash control with Olympus and/or 3rd party underwater strobes.

Est. Availability:  Shipping by June 16, 2017

Est. U.S.A Retail Price TG-5:  $449.99

Est. U.S.A. Retail Price PT-058:  $299.99


Bluewater Photo TG-5 Packages:

Olympus TG-5 Camera

Olympus TG-5 Underwater Housing PT-058

Olympus TG-5 and Housing Bundle

Olympus TG-5 Camera, Housing, and YS-03 Strobe Package



Olympus TG-5 Camera Specs

  • 12MP 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor optimized for low light (4000x3000 images)
  • Waterproof (50ft without housing), Shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof
  • Fast f/2.0-4.9 lens with 4.5mm - 18mm focal length (equivalent to 25mm - 100mm)
  • Minimum working distance 1cm (in super macro mode)
  • ISO range 100 - 12,800
  • Olympus TruePic VIII image processor
  • 25 autofocus points with Single AF and Tracking
  • 4K @30p video recording (approx. 102 Mbps bit rate). 1080 @120fps High Speed Movie mode
  • Pro Capture mode for 20fps image capture
  • Built-in flash
  • SD storage (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
  • WiFi capabilities, including camera control via smartphone
  • Weight (approx): 250g / 8.72oz with battery & memory card 
  • Dimensions: 113mm x 66mm x 31.9mm (4.43in x 2.6in x 1.23in)


TG-5 Upgrades from the TG-4

The Olympus TG-5 is almost, but not quite, the same size as the Olympus TG-4. This means that owners of a TG-3 or TG-4 housing cannot use the TG-5 in their current housing. The TG-4 became extremely popular with its semi-manual shooting modes, RAW image capture, image stabilization and (especially important for underwater photo/video shooters) microscope mode for super macro. The camera can shoot a crisp image of the back of the lens cap, literally.

The Tough TG-5 builds on this strong foundation with upgrades that follow the trends of high-ISO shooting performance, low light performance, 4K video recording and burst recording. These improvements can largely be summed up with a few notes on the new TG-5 image sensor.


TG-5 vs. TG-4 Image Sensor & Megapixel Comparison

The Olympus TG-5 uses the same size 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor as the TG-4, although the TG-5 has 12MP while the TG-4 has 16MP. Why the reduction? This is for two reasons. First, less megapixels generally results in better low light sensitivity. The TG-5 images will have less noise in the shadows and dark areas of the images. Second, less megapixels also means less data, which leads to faster image processing - essential when recording 4K video and high-fps bursts. The TG-5 does have an upgraded image processor, but the lower megapixel count surely makes a bigger difference in processing speeds.

Also keep in mind that Olympus has a wide-range of nice OM-D mirrorless cameras, so shooters who are looking strictly for megapixel count will likely shop the mirrorless options since they are more advanced cameras with better image quality. Check out this Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II bundle deal (47% off).


Thoughts for Underwater Photography

The Olympus TG-5 will be a great compact camera for underwater shooters who want a simple system on a budget. The camera is the perfect topside adventure companion, making it a smart purchase for the dive boat even if you already have a big camera system. The TG-5's upgrades in low light performance will deliver better image quality with less noise than the popular TG-4 when shooting underwater video and ambient light wide-angle, both of which often require shooting with ISOs above the base 100.

RAW image capture is an essential feature for divers who really want to edit their photos. Manual aperture control in the TG-5 is limited to three settings, but I don't see this as a huge drawback. 4K video (at 30fps) is available for those that really want the resolution, and 120fps (at Full HD) is available for those that are more interested in slow motion effects. When shooting in Microscope Mode, resolution is limited to 1080p at 60fps.

The TG-5 will be competing with the SeaLife DC2000, which features a larger 1" sensor and simple piano key control at a slightly cheaper price (camera + housing). That said, the entire feature set and versatility of the Olympus TG-5, from super macro mode to WiFi apps, make it a solid choice for both beginners and experienced shooters looking for something small. Other compact camera options are much more expensive, including the Sony RX100 IV / V and Canon G7 X Mk II.










Olympus TG-5 Underwater Housings

Unfortunately, the new Olympus TG-5 will not fit in the older TG3 and TG-4 underwater housings. The camera sizes are nearly identical, but do have some minor control differences as well as a larger finger grip. A new Olympus PT-058 TG-5 underwater housing will be available with the camera's release.

We also expect to see housing options from Ikelite, Recsea and Nauticam. The Ikelite housing price point will be similar to that of the Olympus PT-058 (see the Ikelite TG-4 housing for reference). The Recsea will be priced slightly higher and the Nauticam will likely be more than double. As above, we expect that the TG-5 will not fit into TG-4 housings from these brands.

We'll update this section as soon as we have more underwater housing information.


Related Reading:  Olympus TG-4 Camera Review


Bluewater Photo TG-5 Packages:

Olympus TG-5 Camera

Olympus TG-5 Underwater Housing PT-058

Olympus TG-5 and Housing Bundle

Olympus TG-5 Camera, Housing, and YS-03 Strobe Package


Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.

Brent is an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Follow Underwater Photography Guide on Facebook or Instagram.


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