Tough cameras are the Grizzly Adams of the camera world: rugged and dependable, set in their ways. So manufacturers often wait a few years between updates since models usually change very little. But Olympus has bucked this trend for the last two years with the TG-850 and TG-860, and the company is adding to the TG lineup again this year with the new TG-870 (MSRP $279.99).
The TG-870 is more-or-less the TG-860, but has some modes to improve shooting at night. It borrows the "Live Composite" mode from the OM-D lineup that aids in the capture of light trails and night shots. There's also the "Nightscape Movie Mode" that optimizes video for shooting at night—especially fireworks—and a night time lapse movie mode that captures time lapses with exposures up to four seconds long. Olympus also pitched in 6 new art filters.
Outside of that, the TG-870 looks to be the same as its predecessor, the TG-860, and the TG-850 before it. It's once again waterproof down to 50 feet, pressure proof at 220 pounds, shockproof from up to 7 feet, and freeze proof as low as 14°F. It sports a 21mm lens with 5x optical zoom, a 180 degree tilting LCD that's perfect for selfies, and has both built-in WiFi and GPS. The LCD did get some love though, as it's been upgraded from 460K-dot LCD to a 920,000-dot LCD and is 10% brighter than its predecessors.
The TG-870 will be shipping April 2016 in Gunmetal Metallic, Metallic Green, and Pure White for $279.99.
Olympus also announced a new super-zoom lens, the M.Zuiko ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro Lens (600mm-35mm equivalent). Olympus claims the new lens produces the highest resolution images in the history of the company–passing even the 300mm f/2.8 M.Zuiko ED. That's pretty impressive considering the M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x teleconverter turns the 300mm f/4 lens into an 840mm f/ 5.6. Talk about reach.
Measuring 8.9 inches and weighing in at only 2.8 pounds without the tripod adaptor, Olympus says the 300mm lens is designed to offer users a handheld option for more flexible shooting. Seeing how it's also capable of a 1.4 meter minimum focusing distance macro mode, along with dust-, splash-, and freeze-proofing, the new lens has all the makings of a great choice for wildlife photographers looking to lighten their load.
Shooting handheld always comes with stabilization issues, but the new lens has two gyro sensors that calibrate with each other every time the lens is powered on, and make use of an all new control algorithm. When paired with Olympus OM-D E-M1 (firmware version 4.0) or E-M5 Mark II (firmware version 2.0) the 300mm lens gains five axis sync image stabilization that provides six shutter speed steps of compensation. The lens can also be used with other camera bodies since the in-lens stabilization provides four shutter speed steps of compensation.
The M.Zuiko ED 300 mm f/4 IS Pro Lens is available now for a whopping $2,499.99. A price like that will really make you wonder how important portability is, but we have little doubt the lens will live up to the price point.