Olympus toughens up, adds performance, and an ultra zoom

How does a strong compact camera sound? And one with a really long zoom lens in a small form-factor? Well that’s just what Olympus is announcing this week at CES.

First up is an update to the long-running Olympus TG series, the waterproof, shock-proof, and freeze-proof cameras that we’ve seen from the company for years.

The word "tough" probably gives away that this is a rugged camera.

The latest model is the TG-320, freeze-proof to negative ten degrees Celsius, shock-proof to 1.5 metre drops, and water-proof to three metres. Olympus has stuck in a 14 megapixel sensor here with 720p HD recording, 3.6x optical zoom roughly equivalent to 28-102mm, and the ability to capture 3D photos.

Interestingly, it’ll also be available in blue and red, just like the old 3D glasses, though we doubt that’s an intentional thing.

Over in the performance area, Olympus has announced two new cameras, the VR-350 and VR-360. While they don’t offer virtual reality, they do offer 16 megapixels, a 3 inch LCD, 720p HD video recording, image stabilisation, arty filters, and a body made of metal.

The VG350 will arrive in purple, silver, and black.

The two models are slightly different, with the VR-350 featuring 10x optical zoom – equivalent to 24-240mm – and the VR-360 taking advantage of a 12.5x optical zoom, roughly equivalent to 24-300mm.

But if you need more zoom, then the new SZ-14 has you covered.

Featuring an impressive 24x optical zoom lens equivalent 25-600mm, Olympus is calling this the travel camera “that will cover nearly all photographic scenes from the very wide to the very far”.

We love the sound of the very long zoom on the SZ-14, but are a little surprised by the limitation of 720p HD recording.

The sensor is a little bit different in the SZ-14, topping out at 14 megapixels and featuring a 3 inch LCD, 720p HD video capture, 16 scene modes, 11 art filters, and dual image stabilisation.

Most of these cameras should be available from February, so if the news here made you at all curious, you won’t have long to wait.