Buying the Olympus TG-5: 24 Hours Later

Two weeks ago my wife bought me snorkels. Snorkling was an old hobby of mine. I tried it again for 1 week and I went crazy I simply loved it. Immediately my mind started racing as to how I could combine photography and snorkeling. I researched what camera I could buy or whether I can use some of my cameras.

I’ve asked the question whether it was worth buying a new camera or I just buy an underwater housing for one of my dslrs. Well I decided not to risk my equipment which I use for a number of photographic assignments. I decided to buy the Olympus Tg-5 as it is the best in its class (according to various reviews).

But can reviews be trusted? Well I’ve come to believe that no camera is perfect and when one buys a new gadget one has to take THAT leap of faith. Whilst doing my research I saw many photos, however in the reviews that I saw I ended with the following questions: 1) I did not see any edited photos 2) How much printable are 12MP photos (especially macro photos) that come out of the Olympus TG-5 3) Is it a good all rounder camera? 4) Can I use this camera even for everyday use?

Well last Saturday I bought the camera and these are some of the photos that I took in the first 24 hours.

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From the first 40 photos I took I immediately tried the macro focus stacking option. The crab spider made it easy to take these photos as it stayed still. When it moved I had a kind of a halo around it. However overall I am happy with this focus stacking and I was relieved to find that it was no gimmick.
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The above is a very important image. It is the very first image I took with my new camera. Well it is of no artistic value. However I always cherish the very first photo I take with my new camera.
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Following the photos I took of the crab spider I was eager to try the camera under water. We went to Riviera beach (in Malta) and I took a number of photos with the underwater setting. The water was not clear as you will see from the next photo. However it was not difficult at all to take a good shot of my daughter.
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I spotted my first fish. Alas the fish was scared and rightly so with so many human beings at sea. The visibility was bad and of course I am still learning about this new genre of photography.
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Back to shooting humans… my comfort zone. I am still happy with results.
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It was time for some fun time. Again the camera was fast to capture the action. One thing I did not realize before I bought the camera was that the shutter speed cannot be set. It seems that the camera uses its AI to decide the best shutter speed. However up till this was not of any issue.
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This particular beach has some majestic sunsets. I was shooting RAW photos and I also changed the settings to SCN (scenery mode) and I chose the option sunset. Of course I did edit the photos in Lightroom. However I was pretty pleased with the overall result. (Do not forget that one of my concerns is that I am using a 12MP camera as I am now used to work with 24MP cameras)
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Finally just before the sun was gone I took this shot. I used the camera zoom 100mm and on the whole I was pretty happy with the result. I cropped the photo into the follow dimensions 16×9.
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Day 2: Still 24 hours have not yet passed and I was eager to keep on testing the camera. I went to mum’s house and I tried a number of shots. Like any camera one takes good shots and bad shots, good composition and bad composition… frustrating focus and good focus. Sometimes these elements are determined by the photographer’s ability or inability and at times they are determined by the camera’s performance. What I can say is that in the first few hours of camera use the Olympus TG-5 fared well. On the whole it worked well and in the majority of times it pleased me. Of course now I am used to work with a dslr I now have to adjust myself to get used to use a compact camera.
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Another quick shot of the birds’ water. This is an abstract shot. I do feel that if I was a bit more careful and set the camera on aperture priority (A mode) I would have managed to get all the droplets in focus.
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Okay it was time to test the camera once again at the sea. The conditions did not help much. Lots of people at the sea and I am still fiddling with the number of different settings that the camera has. I am also still debating whether to use flash or not inside the sea especially in macro sea mode. However I am pretty pleased that I got this one particilar shot. These crabs moved very fast.

So in 24 hours that I’ve owned this camera I do feel that I did a good investment. However experience has taught me 3 things a) keep on testing the camera and discover its limits b) it is still to early to either fall in love with the camera or hate it c) finally it will all depend on how much I will make good use of the camera.

At the beginning of this article I’ve asked the following questions and here are my replies:

  1. I did not see any edited photos: Yes the RAW photos from the camera can be nicely edited.
  2. How much printable are 12MP photos (especially macro photos): Soon I plan to print some photos and see the results.
  3. Is it a good all rounder camera? Up till now it did not disappoint me and I feel it was money well spent.
  4. Can I use this camera even for everyday use? Yes definitely. I am experiencing the joys of not having to change any lenses. It is important to note that I’ve used this camera with the company of my kids. As any photographer who is a photographer can say it is not easy to experiment with a camera whilst having the beautiful company of a 4 year old and an 8 year old around. The Olympus TG-5 is also great to carry and not overload oneself with a lot of camera gear especially when one has to carry children’s food, water etc.

I am eager to keep on testing this camera and get familiar with how it works.