Tough digital cameras usually serve up second-rate photos and videos, but not the Olympus Tough TG-1 (*Est. $350). Reviews say it's a great point-and-shoot camera wrapped in a waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof package. "We've heard from countless readers over the years who want a family camera that can go anywhere and do everything without breaking. The TG-1 is that camera," says DigitalCameraInfo.com, where the TG-1 crushes six rivals in a tough-cam shootout and wins the title of Best Waterproof Camera.
Best usability of any tough camera. The Olympus TG-1 proves easiest to use in DigitalCameraInfo.com's tough-cam comparison. "It's just as easy to use as any other point-and-shoot out there," tester Liam McCabe says.
Most tough point-and-shoots cram the lens into a little square in the corner, but the Olympus TG-1 wears its lens smack in the middle. That makes it "easy to grip and shoot, even when your hands are wet or cold," says Joshua Goldman at CNET, where the Olympus wins another tough-cam prizefight.
Its pocket-sized body packs a bright, sharp 3-inch OLED screen. It's easier to see in bright sunshine than an LCD screen, says Jim Fisher at PCMag.com.
The Olympus TG-1 is a snap to use in tough situations, reviews say, thanks to simple menus and more physical buttons and dials than most rugged cams. One Amazon.com reviewer was particularly thankful for the easy-access mode dial as he treaded water in a choppy lake, shooting photos of his kids on a floating obstacle course: "If I had to dig through a complicated menu system, I probably would have sunk to the bottom!"
One thing the TG-1 lacks is full manual controls. "If you're after a lot of fine controls, it's not for you," Goldman says. "That said, the Program mode gives you control over ISO, white balance, AF, exposure, and metering, and you can set up two custom profiles for groups of settings you regularly use. Olympus' iAuto works well, too, recognizing up to 30 different scenes including underwater and backlit subjects."ProsWaterproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof and dustproof, Vibrant photos and videos, even underwater, Speedy performance, Loaded with featuresConsCan't shoot RAW files, Limited manual controls