I’ve recently reviewed Olympus TG-3, the more expensive waterproof Olympus camera and it turned out to be a solid although far from perfect performer. Now, it’s time for the cheaper one – the TG-850. The differences at least in theory, are not that big: both cameras seem to share the identical image sensor and features, but the TG-850 has 60p video (TG-3 does 30p) and tilt-LCD what is unheard of in waterproof cameras. It also has a bit wider lens (21-105mm vs. 25-100mm on TG-3) but TG-3 offers much brighter lens (F/2 on wide angle), can withstand diving to 15m vs. 10m on TG-850, has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and can accept fisheye and telephoto converters. Keep reading to find out how it performs in real life situations.
Compact camera market is in decline for a few years already, and as a result Olympus stopped producing compact cameras some time ago. Luckily, they are still into ultra zoom market and the SP-100 is the latest top model. It sports 50x optical zoom (24-1200 mm), 16 megapixels sensor and full HD video recording. Beside all that it has a unique “Dot-sight” finder that will help you to locate your subject with the lens zoomed all the way to telephoto.
Olympus has quite a good reputation when it comes to waterproof cameras. Theirs Tough line models have proven numerous times in real life being able to survive really harsh conditions. TG-3 is the latest top of the range model, and beside the usual specifications like back illuminated 16 megapixels sensor or full HD video offers impressive resistance to abuse: this little fellow can survive diving up to 15m (50ft), is shockproof when dropped from the height of 2m (7ft), can survive being crushed by a force of 100kg, and will happily keep shooting at -10°C.
Olympus Stylus 1 is a camera from a so called prosumer class which was very popular around 10 years ago but neglected since because of cheap DLSR cameras. Lately, many manufactures started to produce them once again as there is a demand for small cameras with high image quality and manual controls. Stylus 1 has all the bells and whistles that should make it popular: 12 megapixel CMOS sensor with RAW file format compatibility, 28-300mm zoom lens with F/2.8 constant aperture, Full HD video, WiFi, EVF, tilt and touch sensitive LCD and many others. I was quite indifferent to this camera at the time of the announcement. Big zoom, small sensor, probably bad electronic viewfinder (most EVF’s on compact cameras were garbage until now so why expect better?) and surely average image quality… Boy I was wrong! It is not revolutionary but almost all aspects of Stylus 1 were way better than I expected. Keep reading to find out what0s so good about it.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 (another long name lol!) is the latest mirrorless offering from Olympus. It is very similar in design and specification compared to E-M5 but with some key specifications removed in order to make it cheaper. It has only 3-axis image stabilization instead of 5-axis and looses weather proofing, but it has higher resolution LCD, gains built in flash and WIFI and newer image processor which should result in even better images.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 is the latest mirrorless offering from Olympus. It is not a E-M5 successor but a higher-end model aimed especially at classic 4/3 users with 4/3 lenses. It has a sophisticated AF system with on-sensor phase detection pixels which should provide fast AF with 4/3 lenses. With native micro 4/3 E-M1 will use contrast detection focus which already proved to be very fast and reliable. There is also a range of other improvements over E-M5; 1/8000 shutter speed, 2.3M EVF, 10fps burst mode, bigger grip and a wide range of customization options. I had the privilege to be the first to try the new E-M1 in Croatia (yeah, we get new gear with a delay compared to the USA and most of EU) what came at the price: camera was with me only three days but this was enough to get a general feel of the new E-M1. As soon as I get an opportunity, I will test it in detail.
Mirrorless cameras have gained a respectful base of followers in less than 4 years since first introduction. Panasonic and Olympus were first to break the ice and remove the mirror from interchangeable lens cameras. It proved to be a successful idea, quickly gaining market shares and other manufacturers soon followed with their own systems. One of the main early criticisms was toward the lack of native lenses, but those day are long past. Today, 38 lenses are available for use on Panasonic and Olympus micro 4/3 bodies. If you are tired of heavy DLSR cameras or lenses and ready to jump into mirrorless world, micro 4/3 system is your best gamble.
Therefore, I’ve assembled this guide of the best micro 4/3 lenses. Please note that this is not a music chart and the first on the list is not necessarily the best one (just like J.B.) . All of the lens here recommended are excellent performers and you should choose them regarding your shooting style.
Pen Lite E-PL5 is one of the latest mirrorless offerings from Olympus. It can be regarded as an intermediate level camera – full of various features yet very small and portable. It was announced alongside its more affordable brother – the Pen Mini E-PM2. These two cameras share so much that it’s very hard to distinguish them… in fact there are only three differences between the two models. Since I published detailed review of E-PM2 a few months ago, I’m not going to review E-PL5 from the ground up. If you are interested in the details, please read my E-PM2 review. Instead, this article will cover only the differences and provide some image samples.
Olympus 15mm F/8 body cap is pretty unique yet very simple product. The idea is simple: take a camera body cap, put a simple triplet lens inside, attach it to a mechanical focus lever and sell it. No one will have high IQ expectations so it can’t dissapoint, it will be a cool gadget to have and the smallest usable lens for mirrorless system. I guess development cost was next to nothing, and production cost must be a joke. So let’s see how it performs.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12mm f/2 is the fast wide-angle prime lens for micro four-thirds system cameras. With 2x crop factor it has the equivalent field of view as 24mm lens. It works on any camera with micro four-thirds lens mount, such as Olympus PEN and OMD or any Panasonic G series cameras. M.Zuiko 12mm is suitable for low-light work and a wide range of shooting scenarios from landscape, interiors and street photography.