LONGTERMERS GET TOUGH

Olympus TG 1

Olympus TG 1

A new camera joins the long term test team, the new Tough camera from Olympus the TG-1 and editor Scorey takes it on holiday Many a year ago I gave up taking big, chunky DSLRs on my family holidays with me; the arguments were just too taxing on the brain. The children, my wife, friends all got fed up with me saying, "Just a mo!" while reaching for my tripod, filters and wide-angle lens. I now have to be smarter and more surreptitious with my choice of imaging gadget. Yes, I used my iPhone and Hipstamatic before, but this year I wanted something more... rugged. You know the scenario. Beach tent, towels, bags, camera on the mat — children come running in and drop their sodden wetsuit and sandy ball on top of your precious D7000 or EOS 650D. Heads turn on the beach as you explode. "Not cool, Dad!" Step up the TG-1, Olympus’ latest Tough camera — the proverbial Schwarzenegger of Olympus compacts. 12-megapixels, 100kg crushproof, 12m waterproof and shockproof to 2m, oh, and freezeproof to-10 degrees. Add to this an f/2 lens, a 4x optical zoom, Full HD movie mode, a built-in GPS and Super Macro Mode and this thing does pretty much everything.
Macro Photo

Macro Photo

To be honest, the camera wasn’t meant to be for me, it was requested by Professional Photographer s Art Editor, Becky for her holiday in the United States but she went before it turned up! I know Olympus well, having had an E-P2 and currently have an OM-D, which I adore. So things were relatively familiar. The TG-1 certainly felt chunky and well built, and not overwhelmed with buttons. All the stuff you need in a dash is at hand: zoom, playback, one-touch video and the extended creative functionality such as the Art Filters, GPS and Scene Modes. Not only did I take this thing in the sea and on the beach, it went with me to the pub (and I duly amazed the gathered throng by placing it in my pint!), on a walk or two and even to Pendennis Castle in Falmouth for a day out watching jousting! I shot portraits, action, close-ups of daises, seascapes, panoramics and pretty, low light sunsets. I did ask my eldest daughter to take it pier-jumping with her, but the occasion never arose a second time... apparently. The feeling I was left with was the overwhelming relief that I could take this camera anywhere and not worry about it. With careful use it could be employed for the fastest action —admittedly the zoom was a little restricting at times, but what it did do is encourage me to take it everywhere, and let my girls borrow it and not worry it would come back a paperweight! Over the coming issues, we will put this camera through its paces and test some of those claims from Olympus —well, 100kg crush test is going to be huge fun! Mind you, I may have trouble getting it from Becky rather tight grasp. My newly developed infatuation with f/1.4 has taken a new turn. After a month of capturing friends, family and passers-by firmly and securely in a frame of soft blur, the part that is in focus, the eyes of the subject when I get it right, has changed. Turns out there is a limit to how long you can keep snapping at someone without ending up with a portfolio of annoyed and rigid facial expressions. So it time, on my journey into the art of portraiture, to start looking at new ways of portraying people. I started experimenting with ways of getting more of a person body or surroundings into the frame, which means leaving the security of f/1.4 and paying attention to the rest of the Sigma 30mm aperture range. My first shoot was an attempt to capture my friend lovely, green eyes as we were relaxing in the grass, but looking at the image now I not entirely convinced she was relaxing as I pressed the shutter. I happier with my second attempt; a more ’shoot of her reading a magazine without paying attention to me and my camera.

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