Olympus one ups GoPro with an even tougher action camera that’s also logs where you’ve been

May 24, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Olympus one ups GoPro with an even tougher action camera that’s also logs where you’ve been

May 24, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

9519088711

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker (we’ll just call it TG-Tracker), is the newly announced action camera from Olympus looking to take on the likes of GoPro for market supremacy.

Boasting a whole host of neat features and super rugged durability right out of the box and without the need for a protective case, it looks like it may well hit its mark, too.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMxEkxY4rsw

It has a look that resembles something more like a small Handycam than your typical lens-on-the-big-face camera design, the TG-Tracker has its lens on a thin end face.  This should help to hold it a little more stable when faced into the wind or travelling at speed.  It’s an intriguing appearance.

1605938459

I’ve been thinking about picking up an action cam for a while now, but whenever I’m ready to buy, new ones have been released, and a whole new round of “wait and see” begins.  If I were in a huge rush, I’d have just gotten a GoPro and been done with it, but it’s not a major want, so I’m happy to wait.

3664871836

Top of my list is waterproofing, and the TG-Tracker is waterproof to a distance of 100ft, a little short of the GoPro Hero 4’s 131 feet with the waterproof housing.  The TG-Tracker, however, manages to do this without an external protective housing (although it does require a lens protector to allow autofocusing underwater – which is included in the kit), giving you access to all of the buttons and features while you’re in the water, which is a big bonus for me.

7998060229

Obviously as an action camera it also needs to be able to take a bit of a beating, so the TG-Tracker is dustproof, shockproof from 7ft, freezeproof all the way down to 14°F (-10°C) and crushproof up to 220 pounds of force, without any form of protective case, so it sounds like it can handle most anything thrown at it.

Pretty much any new camera today expected to be able to record 4K footage, so that’s a given, capable of shooting it at up to 30fps (hopefully it offers a 23.976fps option).  At 720p we can go all the way up to 240fps, but I’m slightly surprised that 1080p is limited to 60fps and not 120fps.

9519088711

On the front with have an f/2.0 lens with a 13mm equivalent focal length, offering a 204° field of view, which is greater than that of the typical human field of vision which is around 135°.

A headlight mounted directly above the lens is a nice feature, helping to light the way when shooting in dark conditions.  I could see this becoming handy underwater where visibility can often be limited.  The light can also be activated independently of the camera acting as a simple flashlight to guide your way.

8265877557

A flip out 1.5″ LCD lets you see what your camera’s lens sees when either handholding the camera or mounted to something in front of you, although it doesn’t rotate, so I wouldn’t rely on shooting selfie videos with it.

1392555007

It has a few interesting features that I hadn’t expected to see in an action camera, although they certainly make sense.  Thinking about it, with a name like “Tracker”, it should’ve been obvious, really.

Having built in GPS, barometric pressure sensor, temperature sensor, compass and accelerometer, a dedicated “Log Mode” allows the TG-Tracker to record this data for an extended period of time without having to drain the battery by powering the camera.

While I’m sure many action camera users are thinking of long bike rides over the vast countryside or hiking through the mountains, for me, this makes it a perfect device for location scouting, and it frees up my phone’s processing power and battery life if I have another device that can log everything.

Speaking of the phone, built in WiFi lets the camera talk to your phone to transfer images or log data, with a whole bunch of handy summaries and other useless bits of information.  Ok, so they’d only be useless to me, and I imagine quite a few might want to know things like average speed, elevation, etc.

The only thing you don’t seem to be able to transfer over the WiFi is 4K footage, although 1080p and 720p will apparently send over just fine.

A pistol style grip is bundled with the camera for those times when you don’t have it mounted to your head, or handlebars, and will bend into a few different configurations for high or low angle shooting and selfies, but remember to not try and rotate that LCD around.

5153858711

The pistol grip handle should help to make handheld shots a lot smoother and steadier, although it appears comically huge when compared to the size of this small camera, which measures only 93.2mm long, 35mm wide, and 56.5mm tall (which is about the size of three iPhone 4s sandwiched together).

All in all, it seems like a pretty formidable little camera, at least on paper, and if the durability comes even close to that advertised then it should be able to stand up to a fair amount of shooting situations and abuse.

AOLYMCC325285841

Having an estimated price of $349.99 in the USA, $479.99 in Canada and £279 in the UK, the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is set to be released in June and is available in a rather fetching green colour, or plain and simple black.

With a price that’s pretty similar to the GoPro Hero4 Silver, the main features are somewhat comparable, although I wonder if the tracking & logging features might attract those who aren’t bothered about the slightly lower resolution stills camera.  Being honest, that last qualifier would include me.  I certainly wouldn’t be buying an action camera for its stills capabilities.

Is the TG-Tracker getting your adrenaline pumping?  Or has Olympus turned up to the party too late with too little?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 responses to “Olympus one ups GoPro with an even tougher action camera that’s also logs where you’ve been”

  1. Jason A. Avatar
    Jason A.

    All I want out of an action camera is a non-fisheye field of view and the ability to manually set – or at least lock – the exposure and white balance so it doesn’t jump all over the place and require me to fix it in post. I have a GoPro that I’ve given up on because, while it does offer the ‘medium’ and ‘narrow’ FOV options, there is no control of WB or exposure. It seems this Olympus has the ability to set WB at least, and I suppose filming in 4k would let me manually crop to a narrower FOV, but there is apparently still no way to lock the exposure.

  2. Jeffrey Friedl Avatar
    Jeffrey Friedl

    Interesting… according to the specs linked to, it does *not* support GPS, only GLONASS. Yet it calls it “GPS”. That’s (almost) like saying “Nikon F-Mount Supported: Canon EF”.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      The press release sent out by Olympus states that it’s GPS, and it even has a disclaimer there about obeying the different GPS laws and regulations in various countries, as well as telling people to disable it where prohibited.

      1. Jeffrey Friedl Avatar
        Jeffrey Friedl

        I checked the specs on the Japanese-language site, and it says “GPS (GLONASS, QZSS)”, which implies that they’re using “GPS” in a generic way to mean “satellite positioning system”. I sent them a query to ask whether they mean “GPS” when they write “GPS”.

        1. Kaouthia Avatar
          Kaouthia

          Be interested to see what you find out. I haven’t seen that mentioned on the US or UK product pages.

          1. Jeffrey Friedl Avatar
            Jeffrey Friedl

            I got a reply from Olympus… it is indeed GPS+GLONASS+QZSS enabled. Glad to hear… it’s very strange how they wrote it on the spec sheets.

            FWIW, here’s the important part of the reply:

            TG-Tracker は、アメリカ合衆国によって運用される「 GPS 」、
            ロシアによって運用される「 GLONASS 」、
            日本によって運用される「 QZSS 」のすべてに対応しています。

            そのため、TG-Tracker は「 GPS 」対応でお間違いございません。
            どうぞご安心ください。