OM Digital Solutions recently discontinued the Olympus Tough TG-6 compact camera – a camera that still occupies top spot in our best waterproof cameras guide, four-years after its release. Now we see why, with the announcement of a successor, the OM System Tough TG-7.
It's a familiar package, with a different name (since Olympus was acquired by OM Digital Solutions). Core Tough-series features are virtually untouched; we still have a 12MP 1/2.3-inch sensor (that's a similar sensor size to your average smartphone), a 25-100mm F2.0-4.9 lens equipped with super-macro focusing, plus class-leading build quality that includes IPX8-rated waterproofing up to 15m.
OM System Tough TG-7 price and release date
The list price of the TG-7 on the OM System website is £499.99 – that's a 25% mark up from the launch price of the TG-6, while shipping commences from Sep 20. There's loads of add-on accessories available that make the TG-7 an even more versatile stills camera, too many to sensibly list here.
So what's new? Its ports are brought up to today's standards, including USB-C connectivity for charging. Interval and timelapse modes have been added, too. Elsewhere, there's not a whole lot different going on – which is no bad thing because the Tough TG-6 also sits pretty in our best travel camera guide. We still get a rugged build, built-in GPS (which I’ll get onto), and photography versatility that also includes a plethora of add-on accessories for various photography scenarios, such as underwater housing.
The TG-7 could now be the camera to throw in the bag for outdoorsy family vacation photos. It's more versatile for photography than the best GoPros and many of the best action cameras, but less so for video, even though it shoots 4K / 30p from the full width of the sensor, and now includes a new vertical video setting, too.
Analysis: Built for adventure
I recently wrote about how the DJI Osmo Action 4 convinced me that action cameras beat mirrorless for vacations, and that’s certainly true if you’re primarily shooting video. But if you’re more into photography, then arguably a tough compact camera like the new TG-7 is your best choice.
Whether you’re on the beach, going for a swim, or hiking up a mountain – you'll want a tough camera that you don't have to worry about, one that keeps out water and grit, like the TG-7. Like the previous model, it also has built-in GPS, compass, thermometer and barometer, meaning you can map out your trip and pin your photos taken en route with precise location, plus data such as altitude. It’s super helpful stuff – albeit power hungry – not usually found in a camera.
And the TG-7 is a different proposition to the Hero 12 Black and Osmo Action 4 – both fixed-lens cameras equipped with powerful in-body image stabilization. It can’t match those cameras for videos on the move – you won’t strap it to the handle bars of an off-road bike for smooth video – but it is a more versatile photography camera, with a decent zoom range, plus a fantastic macro photography setting.
If you haven’t spent all your money on the camera – which has a 25% premium over the TG-6 – add-on accessories include underwater housing that extends waterproofing depths to 45m, and a ring light that fixes around the lens and can add a little fill light for punchy macro shots.
The lack of any real digital camera action since the shift from Olympus to OM System is ominous for Olympus fans, and there might not be a whole lot new to say about the TG-7, but it’s a safe bet to replace the TG-6 in our various buying guides, and we’ll confirm that once our upcoming in-depth review is complete. For now, the tough compact camera lives on.