The Olympus Tough TG-2 looks set finally to elevate the tough camera concept to new heights. When we first saw the original TG-1, complete with its f/2.0 maximum aperture lens at the widest angle setting, we liked where the concept was going but found the camera ultimately failed to deliver where it mattered.
READ: Olympus TG-1 review
From the outset the Tough TG-2 fixes many of our qualms with the original hard-as-nails cam. Pocket-lint was on hand at Minus 5, an ice bar in Las Vegas, to get our frozen palms to grips with what the TG-2 is all about.
Design-wise it looks the same as its predecessor, except that the rear mode dial now houses manual shooting modes, including the all important aperture priority mode which lacked from the original camera. With that wide-aperture lens this is an absolute essential.
Waterproofing is also improved, with the TG-2 now capable of handling depths down to 15m.
There's also a new super macro zoom mode, which is also included on the mode dial, and it sure is "super" in its ability to focus up close. And then some. We're talking more or less no distance from the lens - it can practically touch a subject and still focus with results magnified between 4x and 14x depending on the zoom setting.
Controlling the camera's zoom relies on the same two rear buttons as per its predecessor, not the more traditional zoom toggle that most compacts use. Although this makes sense, because it avoids any clash with sand and the like, its position doesn't feel the most natural in use, but it's usable enough.
If you're after a tough, waterproof, dust/sandproof, and pretty much "everything-proof" compact camera then, from what we've seen, the Olympus Tough TG-2 ought to be a strong contender for your shortlist. It's about time the tough camera concept was pushed up a peg or two.