Amateur Photographer verdict

For those that what an easy to use, but tough point-and-shoot camera, then the OM-System Tough TG-7 would make a great choice, particularly if you need something that can survive all environments
  • Compact, tough, waterproof 
  • F2.0 4x optical zoom lens  
  • GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth built-in 
  • Range of accessories
  • Impressive macro performance
  • Raw shooting available
  • Small sensor 
  • Price increase
  • Raw needed to get the best results

There aren’t many compact cameras available to buy new anymore, and what’s left are usually high-end, large sensor cameras, or waterproof compact cameras with smaller sensors. The OM System Tough TG-7 falls into the latter category, and is the 7th iteration in a long line of tough compact cameras from Olympus, and now OM System.   

OM System are quite serious about their tough compact cameras, with a range of accessories available, numerous controls and specialised shooting modes, and a waterproof rating down to 15m. You can shoot raw, adjust manual controls, and to help capture as much light as possible there’s an F2.0 aperture at the wide-angle end of the lens.   

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

At the lower end of the market for compact cameras, are budget, mostly unbranded cameras, and most of them best avoided, so it’s nice to see a genuine camera that is aiming to give users something that performs and fills a gap in the market.  

Key features

  • 12MP 1/2.33inch BSI CMOS Sensor  
  • 4x optical zoom lens, f/2.0-4.9, 24-100mm equivalent  
  • In-body image stabilisation (CMOS shift, up to 2.5stops) 
  • 3inch screen, 1040K 
  • 15m waterproof  
  • Drop/Shock/Dust/Freezeproof  
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth  
  • GPS, Elevation, Temperature  
  • ISO100 – ISO12800 
  • 4K 30/25fps video recording  
  • 113.9mm (W) x 65.8mm (H) x 32.7mm (D) 
  • 249g 

The OM System TG-7 is OM System’s tough, compact, waterproof camera. There aren’t many compact cameras left, and even fewer waterproof cameras exist. Luckily OM has continued the tradition of releasing new models, and whilst this camera does have a small sensor compared to APS-C, Full-Frame and 1inch sensor compact cameras, it does benefit from a brighter than average F2.0 lens (at the wide-angle end).   

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

It’s waterproof down to 15 meters, drop-proof, crushproof, dust proof, freeze proof, and whilst it may look very similar to previous versions, this has advantages in the range of accessories available that work interchangeably between the models.   

TG-7 vs TG-6 – Compared to the TG-6

The TG-7 differs from the TG-6 in the following ways: 

  • USB Type-C connection  
  • Vertical video recording support  
  • Time-lapse movie creation in-camera  
  • Remote control compatible (with optional wireless remote control unit)*  
  • Construction mode  

*You can also use the OI Share App on your phone, but this is now also an option.  

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

OM System Tough TG-7 Features

The lens on the OM System TG-7 is a 4x optical zoom lens, starting at the wide-angle equivalent of 25mm, zooming to 100mm (equivalent). It also starts with an F2.0 aperture, which is quite bright, although this does stop down when using the zoom, stopping down to F4.9 at the telephoto end.  

There’s a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor, which is a 1/1.7inch-type sensor, meaning it’s smaller than most other compact cameras, and it’s even smaller than many flagship smartphones. Continuous shooting is available at 5fps with the mechanical shutter, or 20fps when using the electronic shutter, both with fixed focus.  

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

However, the smaller size means the camera can easily fit into pockets, and thanks to the tough and waterproof credentials, it can be attached to a float, or wristband, and be carried anywhere your adventure takes you.

There are a wide range of accessories available that can extend it’s usefulness, including a float as mentioned, as well as flash accessories for macro work, or even an additional underwater case to extend it’s depth range to 45m (with the PT-059 case).  

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo Joshua Waller

In terms of photography features, there are a range of shooting modes, including an incredibly impressive set of macro features, that let’s you get extremely close to your subject for larger than life-size magnification.   

Handling and Design

On the back of the camera you’ll find the 3inch screen, which isn’t a touch-screen. A touch-screen isn’t going to be the most useful thing on a waterproof camera though. The screen gives good colour, and has a reasonable resolution of 1040K dots.  

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

There’s a mode dial, which has a number of settings, including P (Program Auto), and A (Aperture priority), but there isn’t a dedicated M/Manual mode. There are a range of other modes that are designed to make the camera easy to use including Auto, Scene, Macro modes, Underwater (5 modes), Video, and two custom modes. 

All the dedicated macro modes can be found under the Macro setting, and includes: Macro – Microscope, Focus stacking (combines in-camera), Focus bracketing, and a further microscope control lets you use 2.9-11.1x magnification.   

Focus stacking lets you stack photos in-camera, with no further editing required. If you do want to use other software (such as Helicon Focus) then you can shoot a range of images using the focus bracketing mode, for even more control over the process.  

OM System Tough TG-7 in red. Photo JW

The menus are fairly straightforward to use, but could be improved with a little bit of colour coding. Quite a lot of the controls can be found by using the buttons on the camera, so when I was using the camera I managed to avoid having to dive into the menus too much.   

Construction menu enabled “Easy CALS” with CALS and CALS H. This lets you set the image size to the required resolution “that complies with the “Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Digital Photo Management Information Standards.”  


Dynamic range is generally okay, but nothing spectacular, and if you’re used to the auto-HDR shots you get with a smartphone, then you may be disappointed by the apparent lack of dynamic range. However, if you’re used to how compact cameras perform and like the look of images from digital cameras, then the results should please. It’s mostly about managing your expectations.   

OM System Tough TG-7. A fish in water. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/2 · 1/30s · 4.5mm · ISO200

The camera can’t compete with mirrorless cameras, or cameras with a larger sensor, in terms of detail, noise performance, or dynamic range, but it’s difficult to avoid the laws of physics. The camera has a smaller sensor than most cameras available, and this helps keep its size down. If the sensor was larger, then most likely the camera would also be much larger or have to compromise on the lens used.   

OM System Tough TG-7 night photo, edited raw image. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/4.7 · 1/10s · 16.79mm · ISO1600

Considering all of this, we got some nice looking photos, with reasonable levels of detail, and some good colour reproduction. The design of the camera meant I was happy taking this camera with me to places I didn’t want to risk my smartphone, including in caves.

OM System Tough TG-7, shooting in low light, I’ve used Adobe’s AI enhanced NR. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/4.9 · 1/2s · 18mm · ISO1600

Noise can be an issue, but by shooting raw images, you can take advantage of the latest AI noise reduction features found on popular photo editing software

Slow-sync flash used to add light to a live music event. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/2 · 1/10s · 4.5mm · ISO800

Slow sync flash is something that makes compact cameras a great choice for low-light at parties and gigs. Although focus can also struggle in low-light, for example, in a dark cave. 

This landscape edited from raw has extended the dynamic range. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/2.8 · 1/160s · 4.5mm · ISO100

JPEG results straight from the camera give the overall impression of a compact camera from a few years back, with fairly low dynamic range. Especially if you’re expecting something approaching what a smartphone is capable of with auto-HDR on every image.  

Whilst the TG-7 does feature a selectable HDR mode, this is relatively slow while you wait for the photos to be taken, and then wait again for the images to be combined in-camera. To avoid this feature, I shot almost all my images in JPEG+raw.  

JPEG straight from cameraRaw image edited for more dynamic range
JPEG straight from camera (left), and raw image edited to extend dynamic range (right)

Being able to shoot raw (and raw+JPEG) means you’re able to take single shots and then recover highlight and shadow detail at a later date, rather than having to try and remember to shoot using the HDR mode. However, it’s not always possible to recover all of the highlight detail. If you do process the raw files you also get the benefit of being in control of the noise reduction levels, and this can result in increased levels of detail.   

Rainbow colours. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/2.8 · 1/100s · 4.5mm · ISO100

The camera comes with a range of settings and options, including the ability to customise the colour profiles (adjusting sharpness, contrast, saturation, gradation), and beyond this you can even adjust the noise reduction settings to reduce, or increase, this setting.  

Close-ups look good when using zoom. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/4.9 · 1/100s · 18mm · ISO320

Close-up photos taken with zoom mean you can get really close to the subject, and this can give you some nice blurred backgrounds.

Value for money

In terms of value for money, the T-G7 comes up as quite expensive for a compact camera at $549 / £499. However, there are very few alternatives available, with the only other company still playing in the compact waterproof camera market, being Ricoh/Pentax, with the WG-90. The Pentax WG-90 (at $350 / £399) offers very little over the OM System camera, and only offers a 2.7inch screen, as well as Full HD video, making it a camera that is long overdue a proper update. Other than these models, you’re looking at the second-hand market, or a third party waterproof case for a camera with a larger sensor.   

OM System Tough TG-7 Verdict

There’s not been a massive update with the release of the new TG-7, but the addition of USB-C keeps it up-to-date with other cameras, and for those that don’t want to invest in larger cameras and cases, or for those that don’t want to risk damaging a waterproof smartphone, this is a great choice.   

There are some useful computational photography features, but we’d like to see more added, as instant HDR photography would be a nice feature to have to help match the smartphone experience.  

You can get really close to subjects. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/3.3 · 1/25s · 9.65mm · ISO1600

If you’re a more traditional camera shooter, then the ability to shoot and edit raw images can help massively with tweaking photos to your own personal preferences, as well as eek out a little bit more dynamic range in images.   

For those that what an easy to use, but tough point-and-shoot camera, then the OM-System Tough TG-7 would make a great choice, particularly if you need something that can survive all types of adventure, whether that’s wet or dry.  

Amateur Photographer Recommended 4 stars
Hall of mirrors, Tooting. Photo Joshua Waller
TG-7 · f/2 · 1/15s · 4.5mm · ISO800