Olympus unveils tough-as-nails TG-7 compact camera with underwater and macro photography chops
The popular compact digital cameras of yesteryear are in 2023 a dying breed (barring of course some very premium models like the Fuji X100V and the Sony ZV-1 II). Holding out staunchly against that trend is Olympus' newly launched and very rugged TG-7, an update to the discontinued TG-6. On account of Olympus having sold its camera business, the TG-7 is branded under OM System alongside the mirrorless models, despite not being an interchangeable lens camera.
The TG-7’s main selling point is obviously its take-anywhere, tough build quality, and on that front it delivers. It can handle being subjected to underwater depths of 15 m/50 ft, drops from up to 2.1 m/7 ft, freezing temperatures down to -10°C/14° F, crushing forces of 100 kg and, with its IP68 rating, a lot of sand and dust. Complementing these specs is its Field Sensor System, an array of sensors – GPS, thermometer, manometer (for water depth) and compass – which capture and save the data for each photo. The camera can connect to a smartphone using WiFi and Bluetooth for file transfer.
The TG-7 has a 1/2.3” sensor and an f/2.0 4x zoom lens (equivalent to 25-100 mm) with a 1 cm close focusing distance for macro photos. There are several modes for macro, underwater shooting, time-lapse, and even a construction mode that “optimizes reliable image recording on all types of construction sites”. That last one makes sense when you realize that construction professionals make up an important market for rugged compact cameras.
A comparison with action cameras like those from GoPro and DJI is natural here, but while those cameras' hardware, design and software tools make them best suited for videos, the TG-7 is clearly geared for still photos (although it can capture 4K/30p video), even with its somewhat underwhelming 1/2.3” sensor. The TG-7 will likely appeal to the aforementioned construction professionals, adventurers requiring utmost levels of toughness in extreme conditions, or just someone looking to introduce their toddler to the joys of photography.
The Olympus OM System TG-7 will be available starting September 27 for US$549.