Dec 132012
 

On my recent trip to Fiji, I had the opportunity to test the Olympus TG-1 camera.  This camera is waterproof to 40 feet/12 m without a housing.  A housing is also available, so the TG-1 can be used for diving as well as snorkeling and other aquatic activities.

I used the camera without a housing for ambient-light snorkeling photography.  Here are my initial thoughts.

 

Pros

-Very little shutter lag for a compact camera

-Central lens placement

-GPS

-Fast lens for a compact camera in this category – f2.0

-Multiple underwater modes (most cameras in this class have only one underwater mode)

-Sharp macro photos using “underwater macro” mode

-Menu is user-friendly and intuitive

 

Cons

-No RAW shooting capability

-The dial is tricky to adjust underwater

-Flash automatically turned on each time the underwater modes were adjusted underwater

-Experienced internal lens fogging which took many minutes to clear

 

Final Thoughts

This is an impressive camera for snorkeling photography.  It consistently produced sharp images, is packed with useful features and has a fast lens.  However, due to the fact that it has no RAW photo format, I can’t recommend it for serious underwater photography.  I consider it more of a “fun” camera, and will happily use it while snorkeling and boating.

Below are some images I took at Savusavu Bay and Matangi Island, Fiji using the TG-1.

Olympus TG-1Images - Fiji

Sample of Images from Olympus TG-1 camera taken in Savusavu Bay and Matangi Island, Fiji

[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_matangi-damsel-from-olympus-wm.jpg]Curious Damsel
Damselfish in Coral - Matangi Island, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_matangi-worm-with-olympus-wm.jpg]Christmas Tree Worm
Christmas Tree Worm - Matangi Island, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_black-brittle-star-wm.jpg]Black Feather Star
Split Rock, Savusavu Bay, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_matangi-clownfish-with-anemone-wm.jpg]Clownfish in Anemone
Clownfish in Anemone - Matangi Island, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_matangi-reefscape-from-olympus-wm.jpg]Reefscape - Matangi Island
Matangi Island Reefscape
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_split-rock-damsels-wm.jpg]Sergeant Majors
Sergeant Majors - Split Rock, Savusavu Bay
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_matangi-bird-wrasse-in-coral-wm.jpg]Bird Wrasse Pair
Pair of Bird Wrasse in Coral - Matangi Island, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_banded-sea-krait-wm.jpg]Banded Sea Krait
Banded Sea Krait - Savusavu Bay, Fiji
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/olympus-tg-1-sample-underwater-images-fiji/thumbs/thumbs_split-rock-damsel-fish-wm.jpg]Sergeant Majors at Split Rock
Savusavu Bay, Fiji

The Olympus TG-1 is available at:

Backscatter

B&H Photo

Amazon

Edited on 4/22/2013- I took the Olympus TG-1 with its wide angle conversion lens to Hawaii to shoot manta rays.  The camera flooded as I was shooting a manta doing barrel rolls.  Needless to say, I was more than a little upset.  I called Olympus upon returning home, and they replaced the seals.  I no longer have trust in this camera.

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  4 Responses to “Olympus TG-1 Camera – Review and Sample Images from Fiji”

  1. I find it strange to hear about problems with this camera. I have used my TG-1 maxing it out between 35-40 feet at least 50 times scuba diving as well as several other times free diving for nearly a year problem free. We use this camera to document coral growth on our artificial reef project in Montserrat and found the quality to be excellent. Also work with a company that uses a TG-1 for our UW video inspection surveys. I suggest this camera to everyone but do mention, as with as UW cameras and housings, that you have to clean and check your seals every time you open it. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed myself!

    Happy diving!

    • Thanks for your comments Andrew. Are you using this camera with a housing? I purchased this camera for snorkeling and use it without a housing. Perhaps that is the difference.

      For diving I use a Canon G12 with Fisheye Fix housing.

      And I agree, if using a housing, make sure to check seals and grease the O ring after each day of diving.

  2. Upon first use with a direct-from-Olympus refurbished TG-1, it flooded in waist-deep salt water. The good news is that we didn’t have a memory card full of pictures yet! The bad news is that upon return to Olympus (after they confirmed that it was under warranty), they sent it back unrepaired with a form letter pointing out the it was beyond economic repair. A phone call to their customer service folks got that policy reversed, and we now have a replacement camera. I’m looking forward (somewhat nervously) to reintroducing it to the water.

    • I’m not surprised about the flooding. Although I like the image quality, the camera is not without issues. Well after I created this post, the camera flooded in Hawaii. I sent it back to Olympus and they replaced the seals. I’m a bit nervous to use it again.

      I’m going to make an edit to this post noting my recent flooding. I think the bottom line is that these “waterproof” cameras are never truly waterproof. A camera with a housing is a much better bet. However, I realize that many people don’t want to carry that much equipment, nor do they want to maintain a housing.

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