Olympus TOUGH TG Tracker review - Quality


To test real-life performance, I shot this scene with the Olympus Tough TG-Tracker using its 8 Megapixel JPEG setting which captures 16:9 shaped images with 4k / 3840×2160 resolution. The TG-Tracker was mounted on a tripod and set to its Wide mode which provides a 204 degree field of view equivalent to a 14mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Senstitivy and exposure control are completely automatic on the TG-Tracker and in bright sunny conditions it selected an exposure of 1/4000 at its fixed f2 aperture with the sensitivity at 100 ISO. The 100 percent crops below are taken from the areas marked in red below.


Generally I think the level of detail in the crops is a little disappointing and falls short of what I’d expect from an 8 Megapixel compact sensor. Looking at the crops individually, the first crop from the extreme left edge of the frame shows quite a bit of distortion. The detail is quite sharp here, but the finer detail in the roof tiles, buildings, trees and cars is just not there. The second crop from close to the middle of the frame is not distorted and the larger details in the foreground are nice and crisp, but as you travel upwards and into the distance the smaller detail in the churches and buidings around the harbour start to look fuzzy.

The third crop from the opposite edge of the frame is again fuzzy. I’d expect to be able to read the text on the blue road sign even on a budget compact. The TG-Tracker does a little better in the final crop from the bottom edge – remember, with its fixed focuis lens even at f2 the TG-Tracker renders everything from 20cm to infinity in focus.

So to sum up, the TG-tracker’s overall image quality is not great, but it does best with larger detail thats closer to the lens – say between 0.5 to 10 meters. Given that’s where the majority of subjects you’re shooting with it are going to be that’s no bad thing.

To find out how it performs at higher sensitivities head for my Olympus TG-Tracker noise results, skip to my Olympus TG-Tracker sample images, or head straight to my verdict.


Above: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 100% crop at 1.6mm (14mm equivalent), f2, 100 ISO


Above: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 100% crop at 1.6mm (14mm equivalent), f2, 100 ISO


Above: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 100% crop at 1.6mm (14mm equivalent), f2, 100 ISO


Above: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 100% crop at 1.6mm (14mm equivalent), f2, 100 ISO

Olympus Tough TG-Tracker noise results

As the TG-Tracker sets the sensitivity automatically I’ve omitted my usual noise results. The specifications simply state the sensitivity as ‘auto’ without specifying a range but examining the EXIF data reveals all my shots were between 100-1600 ISO. As you can see from my outdoor quality crops, at 100 ISO the TG-Tracker isn’t noise-free, in fact there’s a surprising amount of texture in these crops for an 8 Megapixel sensor.

As the ISO sensitivity increases the quality worsens, as you’d expect, but the TG-Tracker gets noisy very quickly. In place of my usual noise results the table below shows a range of shots at different sensitivity settings that I took during the course of my review. On the left is the full image and on the right a 100 percent crop.

While they’re not as informative as my usual low light high ISO noise tests, these crops do show that noise levels increase quite considerably as the sensitivity increases beyond 100 ISO on the Tough TG-Tracker. There’s quite a lot of noise visible in the 200 ISO crop and by 400 iso the texture is obscuring quite a bit of detail.


Above left: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 1.6mm (14mm) at 100 ISO. Above right: 100% crop.


Above left: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 1.6mm (14mm) at 200 ISO. Above right: 100% crop.


Above left: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 1.6mm (14mm) at 400 ISO. Above right: 100% crop.


Above left: Olympus Tough TG-Tracker 1.6mm (14mm) at 640 ISO. Above right: 100% crop.

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