Tough, handsome and sweet
The low-down: This 12-megapixel camera with its bright f2-4.9 zoom (25mm-100mm) can be dropped two metres, submerged to 12 metres, frozen to minus 10 degrees and sat on without doing any harm. (We didn't test the claims!) The handsome body is also dust-proof, so you can take it to the Sahara, or up Everest. GPS and an electronic compass is built in. The 75mm OLED screen is of modest resolution but is, nevertheless, bright and useful. As is common for this type of camera, all the controls are very small and hard to use with bare hands. We tried it with gloves and gave up. The maker's intention must be to use it in full auto mode when gloves are needed. Video recording is 1080i high definition.
Like: The short-reach zoom lens is excellent, delivering sharp images with good contrast and colour. Super macro mode is wonderful. Noise reduction is well handled up to ISO400, with blurring of fine detail only observable at full magnification. Images are fine for interweb sharing and prints up to A4.
Dislike: The tiny zoom rocker is the one thing that cannot be set to auto and it would be better if a little larger.
Verdict: Olympus now has an indestructible camera able to mix it with the best from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. We feel that some earlier attempts at the form by Olympus have not been up to the mark but the TG-1 is a beauty. Anyone looking for a good all-purpose compact that can stand a lot of rough use should look first at these little units. You could certainly hand any of them to a small child without anxiety.