Olympus unveils something tough, something long for 2016

Compact cameras may not do as well as they once did, now that phones are taking over from them, but if you need to take a camera underwater or into the snow, you might need something made for the purpose, and one of the originals is back with a new tough camera.

One of the brands that practically pioneered the whole ruggedised compact camera concept is back with a new model, as Olympus works out a way to make the compact more useful than just there to take the occasional happy snappy.

In fact, if you regularly take your camera to places where cameras usually don’t and shouldn’t survive, you may want to take a gander at something Olympus is showing off at CES, with a new generation of the Olympus Tough camera.


The new entrant is called the TG-870, and it’s a 16 megapixel camera with a body designed to be taken into environments that tend to be less nice to electronics.

As such, the TG-870 is designed to handle up to 100kg being pushed up against it (kilogram-force), drops of up to 2.1 metres, temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius, and water-proofing down to 15 metres.


Think of the Olympus Tough camera as a body as tough and then some compared with some of the action cameras out there, though this is no action camera.

Rather, you can expect a zoom lens working from 21mm all the way up to 105mm, with a 180 degree flip-up screen to let you take selfies when you’re underwater, because that’s a thing people want to do.


Olympus has also thrown in a feature called “autofocus-lock” to keep images looking good as you focus, while edge distortion compensation is also here to make sure the ultra-wide selfies don’t go out of whack when you shoot them.

And you’ll even find a few other staples rugged camera buyers look for, such as GPS functionality, WiFi to share the images with a smartphone, and an LCD with high brightness for use in outdoor environments.


Pricing on this camera has been announced for Australia, which is good news if you’re already convinced, and you’ll find it in stores in February for around $399.

Olympus also has one other thing to show at CES, and it’s a big one.


We chose those words intentionally because the Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm f4 Pro is quite literally a big announcement, as Olympus offers a big lens for its Micro Four-Thirds lens system.

The lens — which will be compatible with both the Micro Four-Thirds cameras produced by Olympus and that of Panasonic — will work best with Olympus cameras thanks to the use of the new image stabilisation technologies found on the bodies, which Olympus says could provide up to 6 shutter steps of stability from bodies like the E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II.

That’ll make the 300mm lens long and sharp, but you can’t expect it to be cheap, and it isn’t, with Olympus providing a local price of $3699 when it launches locally in February.