The new OM System (formerly Olympus) TG-7 is deeply rugged, ultra-compact, and crammed with robust shooting specs.
In other words, despite its small size and fairly small sensor, it might just be an ideal travel and nature photographer’s camera.
This particularly applies because, despite its compact size, the TG-7 can also take excellent, vibrant photos.
OM System, the company formerly and famously known as Olympus (Why give grey corporate changes to names with deep brand recognition?) has introduced this serious little camera as the successor to its recently-discontinued TG-6.
Like its TG-6 predecessor and the TG-5 and TG-4 before it, the TG-7 offers a 12MP Type ½.33-inch sensor with an integrated 25-100mm f/2-4.9 lens. Its 35mm-equivalent focal length is however 4.5-18mm.
Right at a glance, the most notable thing about the TG-7 is its rugged design. In the case of this camera, it’s not just external decoration. The TG-7 is indeed very robust.
Right out of the box it’s waterproof down to 50 feet or 15 meters and is also shockproof to heights of 7 feet or 2.1 meters (try that with your average iPhone). Moreover, it can withstand crush pressures of up to 220 lbs or 100kg and temperature lows down to -10 degrees Celsius, or 14 Fahrenheit.
The waterproofing in the camera can also be dramatically expanded with a separately sold PT-059 external case that deepens it to 150 feet or 45 meters.
None of these qualities in the TG-7 mean that you should start kicking it down along a jungle trail, but if you’re taking it deep into the field as an easy-to-carry tool for great photos, it’s built to manage.
And that’s possibly the best thing about the TG-7: it not only looks tough and really delivers tough, but it also takes genuinely great photos. Crucially too, it does all three things while being wonderfully small.
Despite its relatively compact sensor size, the TG-7 is loaded with shooting specs for numerous scenarios.
One of these, living up to the camera’s superb water resistance is a dedicated underwater photo mode. Alongside it are the TG-7’s Auto Shooting, P/A, Scene and Microscope (macro) shooting modes.
It also offers a range of 22 scene modes in total and a Live Composite mode for creating light trails to images.
Maybe the most interesting among these modes for really lovely up-close shots is “Microscope” though.
In this setting, the TG-7 can achieve a minimum focusing distance of just 0.394 inches or just one centimeter. That’s impressive by any measure and even more so in a compact pocket camera.
Many of the above specs and features were ones that the TG-6 already had, so you might be asking why you should bother with the TG-7. Well, this newest version of the little-camera-that-could also comes with wholly new goodies.
One of these -useful for the social media age- is the ability to shoot video vertically, creating footage that’s more TikTok/IG-friendly.
Another cool feature is interval shooting for easy timelapse videos. This is especially useful for great macro sequences if combined with the camera’s extremely close focusing distance.
Additionally, the TG-7 comes with a USB-C port for easier media transfer and its sensor delivers arguably better shots than the predecessor’s did.
The TG-7 can also deliver decent video performance by being able to output 4K/30p, 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps. Filming in standard SD, it can even go up to 480fps.
One other very useful feature of the OM System TG-7 is that it can be set to record not only a photo or video’s GPS coordinates but also other data points like air temperature, altitude, water temperature and even water pressure.
If you need information like this for thorough documentary work, it definitely makes the TG-7 your friend out in the field.
OM System also offers a range of accessories for its TG camera line.
These include the already-mentioned underwater housing but also unique lens attachments, an attachable ring light (for macro shots and video,) and other shooting extras.
Finally, there’s the price of the TG-7. For all the robust specs it offers and its ruggedness, this is one decently priced camera at just $550, available in both black and red variants.
I know that it’s hard to compare such different cameras for such different uses, but when you consider Polaroid’s pricing of its newest Polaroid I-2 camera, the TG-7 really does seem like a good and practical deal.
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