In 2012, I won a Olympus TG-1 “Tough” compact camera plus an underwater housing for it. I was really very excited, it came as the 1st prize in the “behavior” category of the photo contest at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns. A nice camera, but obviously I already had an underwater camera, otherwise I couldn’t have won the competition in first place. So, I smiled, proudly showed it to my friends, and put it in my camera-cupboard. Some time later I lent it to a friend who was on his way to Vanuatu, and I played with it a bit during kayaking trips and wen photographing the big eels in the pond in Victoria park in Sydney.
But I really came to appreciate the camera when my main SLR setup went belly-up-ish (a minor leak, which did not destroy the camera, but made me leave it on land till the housing was serviced). I started diving with the TG-1, and found it a useful camera for a number of reasons:
– This is one of the camera models which can be submerged without a housing, down to 10 meters. Now, I am still using it with the housing, but the thought that a leak will not destroy the camera is comforting!
– This amphibious nature of the camera let me take it to places where I would not have been able to take my large & bulky SLR setup, for instance on a kayak, and would not have wanted to take a non-waterproof camera.
– The Tough is small, and it’s easy to wedge it in crevices, or to quickly point it in an awkward angle at some of the fish swimming by.
– Also, it’s easy to switch between the regular (wide-angle), macro and super-macro mode. I got really satisfying wide-angle shots and macro sots with tat same setup during one dive. That’s a real treat, with the SLR I always have to decide on macro or wide-angle before the dive. Once the lens is on the SLR, there is no way of exchanging it underwater.
– And it does video really well! I have gotten a few good ones since I started using it.
Here are all the shots and videos I got with the tough. I will, of course, go back to my pro level camera once it’s serviced, but the Olympus TG-1 didn’t fail to impress me! It would be a great camera for a beginner or intermediate underwater shooter.