Olympus TG-5

New Compact Camera

posted in: Photography | 0

After making a splurge in the summer on a new digital camera, I felt pretty satisfied with my collection of cameras and had no intention of buying anything else for a while.

I did make one impulsive purchase of a Flexaret Automat in September. It wasn’t a totally impulsive purchase in that I had been curious about a twin reflex lens camera for a while and getting one had been on my wish list. I found this one through the You Love Photography Shop on Etsy.

Flexaret Automat
Flexaret Automat

The learning curve, for me at least, was pretty steep. I accidentally ruined the first role of film but successfully shot a second roll. I don’t have the results yet due to some frustrating delay with the photography store where I get my film developed. I’m hesitant to shoot anymore with it until I see those results.

At that point, I was feeling even more satisfied with my collection. The only other camera I was contemplating was a compact camera that I could have with me nearly all the time. Yes, my phone takes very good pictures but still not as good as a “real” camera. But I didn’t feel any particular urgency to get one.

My commitment to not buy anything else for a while almost caved in when a friend of mine contacted me wondering if I would be interested in buying some of his old film camera equipment.

He sent me a list of the 35mm gear he had. Although I wasn’t intending on buying anything at that point, I found myself tempted by his Canon A-1 body and the several lenses he had for it. Unfortunately, he had forgotten that he had already sold all that equipment a few years prior so I was out of luck.

He also had some medium format gear, including a Bronica ETRS Body with some lenses and backs. My current medium format cameras are a Diana F+, which is more of a novelty camera, and the aforementioned Flexaret, which I may or may not be able to use with any proficiency. I was very tempted to make an offer on the Bronica but decided that I really need to use and master the film cameras I already have before getting anything else. In a rare display of willpower, I declined to purchase any of the medium format equipment.

Once again, I felt committed to the cameras I already had.


We have a trip to Montreal coming up over our Thanksgiving break. I have never been to Montreal and am very excited to visit for a variety of reasons one of which is that being somewhere new is always a great opportunity for picture taking, and Montreal looks to be particularly photogenic.

My intention was to bring my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. When we first began planning this trip, I checked the Weather Channel for the temperature in Montreal in November. It looked cold but not unreasonably so: highs in the upper 30s or lower 40s and lows in the upper 20s (Fahrenheit). However, the actual forecast is quite different: the high when we arrive will be 16, and it won’t get above freezing the entire trip.

Given that information, I researched what to due to use a camera in that kind of cold (also with a chance of some snow). There are plenty of suggestions as to how to handle shooting in winter, the primary one being to put your camera in a sealed plastic bag before going indoors to reduce the chance of condensation. That’s certainly not a difficult task, but I began to wonder how willing I’d be not only to take the care to wrap my camera but also to take the time and care to use a full frame camera when it’s so cold out.

I know my limitations.

Which brought me back to thinking about a compact camera. When I had done some previous research into smaller cameras, one of the higher-rated cameras was the Olympus TG-5 which is a water and weatherproof camera. Initially, I was not all that interested in this camera because it’s geared toward more adventurous people. But considering the cold weather I am heading into, I decided to give it another look.

It is rated for as low as 14 degrees and shouldn’t have the same condensation issues. Since it is also waterproof, I wouldn’t need to worry about using it in any snow we get. One of my reasons for wanted a compact camera is to carry it with me all the time. The TG-5 is shockproof and crushproof (up to a point). I can just throw it in my backpack or pocket and not worry about beating it up. It should be easier to use than my more sophisticated Canon so I could take pictures quickly and get my hands back in my pockets before they freeze.

I quickly convinced myself that this was the camera I need for our Montreal trip.

It arrived on Thursday, and we leave for our trip on Tuesday so I have a little time to get used to it before we go.

Olympus TG-5
Olympus TG-5

I took it to work with me on Friday and took some pictures of our still under construction new library.

The pictures are better than any of this building I’ve taken with my phone although, not surprisingly, not as good as my Canon. A big advantage over my phone is that the Olympus can save in RAW format which gives me a greater range of options for editing.

I think I’ll be pleased with having this camera for our trip and having it with me most of the time otherwise. I sometimes avoid going out with any of my current cameras in iffy weather so it will be great having a camera that I don’t have to think twice about getting wet. As they say, the best camera you own is the one you have with you.

Despite the weather, I hope to take plenty of photos in Montreal which I’ll post here and/or on my Flickr page.

OK, now I’m satisfied with my collection of cameras…


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