Olympus Tough TG-1 Digital Camera Review$399.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
Like all tough-cams, the Olympus TG-1 is geared for automatic shooting. The camera takes care of the technical stuff while you’re busy swimming or hiking. iAuto mode controls just about every setting, though it allows a bit of control over the flash, timer, resolution/size, and a few less-important odds and ends. It's a reliable auto mode.
Buttons & Dials
The TG-1's button layout is pretty typical of a tough-cam (and point-and-shoots in general), though a bit cramped. The mode dial on the rear makes it easy to switch between common shooting modes (iAuto, program, and a few others). The four-way selector is tied directly to the quick-menu system, which is helpful, and there are dedicated buttons for movie mode, playback mode, and the menu. Also typical of the tough-cam class is the two-button, W/T zoom control (as opposed to a zoom tilter).
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
A typical set of scene modes are available, in addition to one of the best collection of in-camera filters and effects we've seen.
The TG-1 menu system is laid out fairly well. Menus have usually been a sore spot for Olympus cameras, but they've ironed out some of the quirks.
It's legible and not too crowded, which is a good start. The quick menu is layered on the live image preview, accessible at any time by touching the four-way pad. With 8 settings to cycle through, navigation can get a little bit tedious—a direct-access key or two on the four-way pad might be preferable, though that might confuse navigation. But overall, it's a good system, and easy to get used to with a bit of practice.
The full menu system is typical for a compact, with tabbed navigation and a maximum of 7 options per page. The layout is mostly logical, and in total, the whole menu isn't that long anyway.
The multi-language, fold-out quick-start guide is one of the skimpiest printed manuals we've seen with a camera, even if we count the pamphlet about water resistance care. A PDF version of the full manual is included on the CD-ROM (though the English version is bizarrely listen as ELL.pdf, rather than ENG). Pretty egregious cost-cutting here.