OM TG-7 for Underwater Photography - Is It Worth It?
OM Systems, formerly known as Olympus, has recently unveiled its latest addition to the Tough TG series – the TG-7. For years, the TG Tough cameras have been the go-to choice for beginning underwater photographers.
These rugged cameras have earned a solid reputation for their durability and image quality in the circles of underwater adventurers. However, when it comes to the TG-7, the question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s worth the upgrade over its predecessor, the TG-6.
What is the difference between the TG-7 and the TG-6?
Let’s dive in and explore the differences between the TG-7 and the TG-6.
The TG-7 appears to be a mere refresh of its predecessor. The fundamental characteristics of the TG-7 have remained consistent across the recent iterations.
It maintains the same 12-megapixel sensor, which is larger than what you’d find in most compact cameras.
The lens, boasting an impressive F2.0-4.9 25-100mm equivalent range, continues to prove effective for low-light conditions in underwater shooting.
Furthermore, the TG-7 can capture 4K video at 30 frames per second, utilizing the full width of its sensor.
The most-beloved microscope mode continues to excite macro photographers. The Variable Macro System extends the possibilities of close-up photography by enabling shooting at distances as near as 1 centimeter from the lens’s edge, achieving a maximum image magnification of 7x. This broadens the horizons of underwater macro photography.
One of the significant selling points of the TG series has always been its ruggedness. The TG-7 stays true to its heritage, offering waterproof performance down to 15 meters (50 feet). When used with the PT-059 Underwater Housing (which remains the same housing that was already used for the TG-6), divers can take the camera down to depths of up to 45 meters (147 feet).
If you’re a die-hard underwater photography enthusiast, the TG-7 doesn’t disappoint in terms of accessories. The camera housing is compatible with numerous add-ons, including external flashes, wide-angle wet lenses, and more. This extensive range of accessories empowers you to tailor your underwater photography setup to suit your specific needs.
Additionally, it’s drop-proof from heights of up to 2.1 meters (6.9 feet), freeze-proof down to -10°C (14°F), crushproof up to 100kg (220lb) of force, and dustproof to IP6X standards.
These features make it an ideal companion for extreme adventures, ensuring it can withstand the harshest of conditions.
So, what's new in the TG-7?
While maintaining its core features, there are a few minor upgrades that make it an attractive choice for newcomer underwater photographers.
A USB-C connector has been added, primarily for charging the camera, offering a more modern and convenient method of power replenishment. If a USB-C bulkhead was added to the underwater housing, this could allow you to charge the camera without opening the housing.
The TG-7 sports a 3-inch TFT display with improved color accuracy, ensuring you get a better view of your shots and settings.
One exciting feature for videographers is the support for vertical video, catering to the demands of various content platforms and the rising trend of vertical video consumption.
Additionally, it now offers interval and time-lapse shooting modes, both of which will not come in very handy underwater but offer you more flexibility when using the TG-7 on land. The inclusion of support for the RM-WR1 weatherproof wireless remote expands your creative possibilities, allowing you to control your camera remotely with ease at the surface.
OM Systems has announced that the TG-7 will be available from late September 2023 at a suggested retail price of $549.99 US. This competitive pricing makes it an accessible choice for those looking to dive into the world of underwater photography or upgrade their existing gear.
Now, the real question is: is it worth it?
The TG-7 as your first underwater camera
If you want to get started with underwater photography, the affordable price, the ease of use, and the various features described above make the TG-7 an excellent choice as your first underwater camera.
Upgrading to the TG-7 from the TG-6
If you are already using the TG-6 and you are looking to upgrade your system to take your underwater photography one step further, the TG-7 does not offer any huge advances. In this case, I recommend investing in a mirrorless camera system to offer you more flexibility and opportunity to grow.
Upgrading to the TG-7 from the GoPro
If you are currently using a GoPro or similar action camera for underwater photography and videography, but would like to dive deeper into the field of underwater photography, the TG-7 can be a great option. It offers you more control over the individual settings, the option to connect an external strobe, and an excellent macro mode for capturing small animals. If you want to get serious about underwater photography, this will offer you better results than simply capturing screenshots from your video footage.
If on the other hand, you want to focus more on capturing videos than photos, I don’t think the TG-7 will offer you a better deal than the GoPro.
Excellent choice for beginning underwater photographers
In conclusion, the OM TG-7 is the successor to the beloved TG-6, offering underwater photographers a few new features and improvements while retaining the ruggedness and image quality that have made the TG series famous.
Disappointing to many underwater photography enthusiasts, the new model does not offer any notable upgrades from the previous models.
It continues to be an excellent choice for beginning underwater photographers. The still missing full manual mode and lack of control over the shutter speed are major drawbacks for divers wanting to take full control of their images.
If you’re an underwater photography enthusiast or diver seeking a compact camera that is easy to use, the TG-7 is undoubtedly worth considering. Its robust build, impressive accessories, and competitive pricing make it a strong contender in the world of underwater photography equipment.
So, gear up and get ready to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the underwater world with the OM TG-7.