For the event of CES 2013 Sony has reworked their line of digital compact waterproof cameras and announced theTG-2, TG-830 and TG630. Olympus has taken a leap forward with their waterproof level with the TG-2 which resists water to depths of 15 m.(+/- 48 ft.).
On the basis of the TG1 iHS which I had the opportunity to test in Guadeloupe, FWI in the Caribbeans for the TG-1 review, Olympus has revised their high-end waterproof compact digital cameras. The TG-2 will undoubtedly be a success because it takes from the TG-1 the essential points of its design and technical characteristics. It’s still equipped with the 25-100 mm zoom lens with a generous f/2 aperture in wide-angle. The technology iHS that combines the Bakc side illumintade sensor with the TruePic Vl processor will be surely greatly appreciated by underwater photographers, in an environment where light diminishes very rapidly with depth. Decidedly top of the line we also find the lovely OLED viewer screen.
The new macro system of the TG-2 allows us to approach the subject within only 1 cm (.4”), and to enlarge it up to 8 times digitally with very limited loss of detail with the “super resolution” zoom system. With this macro system we can enlarge microscopic subjects, or create an out of focus background (bokeh) that’s appreciated by many. To get that soft background one must adjust the lens wide open, which can be done with the aperture priority mode, a rarity in compact water-proof cameras. Yet, let me warn you that the effect of a wide aperture on a small 1/2.3” sensor will be quite limited.
Olympus has taken advantage of this new generation of water-proof digital cameras to release several accessories that can be adapted onto the TG-2 like the fisheye converter which gives ultra wide angle effects, one that allows us to shoot at the same time an underwater detail and what’s happening above the water. A telephoto converter for the TG-2 allows us to multiply the focal length by 1.7x. This gives us an interesting maximum telephoto of 170 mm. Deep underwater photographers can also equip themselves with the Olympus Stylus TG-2 waterproof case (Olympus PT-053) which will allow them to extend their working depth from the 15 m of the naked body down to 45 m.(144 ft.)
Olympus TG-2 price and availability
The Olympus TG-2 will be available Jan. 2013 in black and red or red and black for a suggested retail of €549 / $379. Yes, that is quite a price gap between EU prices and US prices.
In addition to the TG-2 Olympus has introduced the TG -830, which will be available in March this year in four colors, black, blue, red, and silver, at a suggested retail price of €329 VAT included. The TG-830 is equipped with a GPS sensor as well as an electronic compass. It’s waterproof down to 10 m. (+/-32 ft) and can resist against being crushed by a 100 kg (220 lb.)weight, or resist falls from 2,1m (+/- 6.6 ft). It can function in temperatures below -10°C (14°F).
The back lit CMOS sensor of the TG-830 can record Full HD video at 30 or 60 images per second, and slow motion in a reduced definition of up to 240 i/s. It has a Multi-Recording function that allows it to take full resolution photos with 16 megapixel detail while filming at the same time in full HD mode, which will seduce more than one underwater cameraman.
Olympus TG-630: waterproof down to 5m, equipped with a CMOS BSI
Olympus offers an economical version of the TG-830 with the TG-630, it will resist water down to
5 m ( +/-16 ft.) and falls up to 1,5m (+/- 4,8 ft) in height. It will be available January 2013 in black, blue, and white at a suggested retail of 229,€ (300,$). It also will be equipped with iHS technology and a backlit CMOS sensor with a faster processor. The TG-630 can film in Full HD and comes with 11 different artistic filters.