Olympus Tough TG-1 Digital Camera Review$399.99
- Low Light Performance
- Noise Reduction
- ISO Options
- Focus Performance
- Video: Low Light Sensitivity
Low Light Performance
The Olympus TG-1 is a champion in low light, at least compared to other tough-cams. The f/2.0 maximum aperture is the linchpin, allowing for quicker shutter speeds than most tough-cams can muster, and in turn, fewer blurry pictures. Shots are clean enough for most sharing and printing through ISO 1600. And the autofocus system is usually quick and accurate, even in dimmer settings.
To be clear, don't expect studio-quality low-light results, but it's quite good by point-and-shoot standards, it's better-equipped for the job than any other tough-cam.
The Olympus TG-1 handles noise very well. The 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor seems to produce clean images to start with, and the noise reduction algorithm is clever, smoothing out graininess without ripping away much detail. The noise-to-signal ratio stays under 1% through ISO 400, and stays at a reasonable 1.6% at ISO 1600. More on how we test noise.
Native ISO starts at 100 and extends through 6400, user-adjustable in full stops. There's an Auto ISO mode, which seems to cap sensitivity at ISO 1600, as well as a High ISO auto mode, which opens up the full sensitivity range.
Autofocus is quick and accurate. Olympus claims that they've incorporated the AF system from their PEN series of interchangeable-lens compacts; there's probably some truth to that, but whatever, it's a marketing tactic. In any case, it's right up there with the best point-and-shoots. We occasionally ran into some frustrating focus-hunting problems in Macro and Super Macro modes, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. What struck us the most was the impressive AF speed and accuracy in video mode—a challenge for just about every point-and-shoot we've ever seen.
Video: Low Light Sensitivity
The TG-1 isn't as sensitive in low light as some of the other tough-cams we've tested. It bottoms out around 30 lux. But you probably don't shoot in such dim conditions very often, and if you do, you don't expect great results.