The Olympus TG-5 Tough is an excellent rugged, waterproof camera. It’s perfect to have around when a smartphone won’t do, but a DSLR is too much. Or when you just need a heavy-duty camera. But like with any electronics, that doesn’t mean you should mistreat it. The best way to make sure your camera is always protected and ready for action is a good camera case. Here’s the best camera pouch I’ve found for the Olympus TG-5 Rugged waterproof camera – the Lowerpro Portland 30 Camera Bag. It’s also a perfect fit for the TG-4 and TG-3, the Nikon W300, the Rikoh WG-50 as well as the vast majority of compact cameras out there.
Note – If you have the Olympus Tough TG-5 camera, did you know you can use it to geotag images from other cameras? Or even just use it as a GPS tracker? If you wanna learn more, check out how to use the TG-5’s GPS log.
Best Case: Lowepro Portland 30 Camera Pouch
After buying (and returning) more camera cases than I care to admit, the Lowepro Portland 30 Bag is the best option I’ve found for the Olympus TG-5 Rugged Camera. If you’re looking for a case for this camera, or a similarly sized device, definitely give it a try.
If you want to see why I chose it or what other bags I tried, keep reading.
What I look for in a compact camera pouch
I’m picky for camera bags, what can I say. After buying my new rugged camera – which I love – I had a hard time finding a suitable carry pouch. I was looking for something that accomplished all of the following:
- Properly fits the camera – If I’m going to buy another camera bag, it better be the perfect size. I don’t want to have wasted space because it’s too big. Much less have to stretch the zippers every time I close it because it’s too small.
- Quick attachment to belts – A camera bag is a necessity, not a fashion statement. I want to be able to slap it on my belt when I need it quickly and easily. Without removing my belt. I also want to be able to remove it just as easily.
- Easy access – Though a magnetic flap with a secondary zipper is my favorite setup, besides that dual zippers are fine.
- Secure storage even when left open – When taking pictures in the middle of a project, I want to be able to stash the camera with one hand. I also need to know the camera won’t fall out if I bend over without closing the pouch.
- Multiple compartments – Multiple zippered compartments is another must-have. If the pouch self-identifies with cargo pants, all the better.
- Organization options – While large compartments are great, slots and internal pockets for accessories, batteries or SD cards make life a lot easier.
- Padded to avoid accidents – If I’m actually “using” my camera pouch on my belt, it’s gonna get bumped and abused. I need to know it’ll protect the contents.
- Rugged and water-resistant for long-term use – While soft neoprene pouches feel nice, they don’t last. Likewise, I don’t wanna end up with a soggy camera if it rains, like with some textile pouches.
Why the Lowepro Portland 30 is the best pouch for rugged cameras
Most camera bags aren’t sized for rugged, waterproof cameras. Especially given how they’re bulkier than most point-and-shoots. As such, compact camera pouches are too small, and DSLR bags are too big. The main reason why the Lowepro Portland 30 turned out being the best case is a simple one – it fits the camera the best.
Plus, this case has space for all the additional TG-5 accessories you might want to carry with you, like the LED Flash Diffuser. It has one main storage compartment, an auxiliary exterior pocket and a few extra slots for accessories. That’s more versatile than the majority of other options. And the divider for the main pouch can be used to store two spare lithium batteries plus an SD card. Not too shabby.
Personally, what I found most useful is the removable belt loop. I hate camera pouches that make you take your belt off to put it on. With this camera bag you can open up the loop via the double-velcro, slip it on, and secure it – all with your belt still attached. And it’s secure, too. I’m not worried at all about it falling off or theft.
The main downside would simply be that it isn’t the prettiest or most modern-looking camera pouch out there… but hey, I can live with that. If I had my way, I wouldn’t mind another exterior pocket either, but at this point we’re just nitpicking.
All in all, of all the cases I tried, I like this bag the best. If you’re looking for a bag for your rugged camera, you might wanna give the Lowepro Portland 30 some consideration. Or, if you wanna see what else I tried, keep reading. If you have different needs – or a different camera – they might serve you better.
Lowepro Dashpoint 20 Camera Bag
The most interesting thing about the Lowepro Dashpoint 20 is the belt attachment system. But besides that, it’s a pretty barebones case. It fits the TG-5 pretty well, but the fact that it only has one storage compartment gets old, fast. The only other significant feature is a small slot for a spare SD card. Besides that, what you see is what you get.
The “T-lock” feature allows you to position the bag both horizontally and vertically. But as far as my experience went, it’s a complicated way to do a simple job poorly. It just didn’t fit my belts right and left the bag at an angle.
On the bright side, it looks pretty nice and the fabric is water resistant. Openining and closing it is easy and fast, and the padding combined with the smooth, soft interior makes it very protective. If you don’t need more storage compartments and are satisfied with the pouch mounting options, you might find it a suitable alternative to the Portland 30.
SONY LCSCSU/B Black Carrying Case
The Sony LCSCSU compact carrying case is pretty nice, but a bit too small to reasonably use for bigger cameras. If there were a larger version, that would be awesome. And though it does fit if needed, it certainly takes some persuasion to stuff it all in and zip it up.
Another odd thing about this bag is the odd shape. Rather than a traditional “box”, it has a sloped front side with leaves the bottom much wider than the top. That complicates organization. Besides that, the storage options are interesting with so many pockets and slots.
At the end of that day, I liked the bag but didn’t think this was the right job for it. It’s a pity, but oh well.
Lowepro Portland 20 Camera Pouch
The Lowepro Portland 20 camera bag is identical to the Portland 30 – but smaller. If you never intend to carry any accessories, and you value compactness above all, then it might be a good option. But for most people I’d recommend simply choosing the Portland 30 instead. It’s going to be more versatile in the long-term.
Sony LCSCSJ Soft Carrying Case
The Sony LCSCSJ is another pouch that’s okay, but tight and awkward in practice. I returned it before I thought of taking a picture with the TG-5 inside. In any case, it does fit, albeit tightly, and the organization features are nice. But on the other hand it looks like it was designed for a 90’s Camcorder, and the access slot is inconvenient. I wouldn’t recommend it for mid-sized rugged cameras.
Other worthwhile accessories for the Olympus TG-5
When I first bought the camera, I thought it was just a capricious novelty. Now I use it almost as much as my main mirrorless Sony a6000. The Olympus Tought TG-5 is simply a great camera. Here are a few things I have that make it even more useful:
- Tempered Glass Screen Protector – Protecting the LCD is a must. It will certainly raise resale value to have a pristine screen if you ever decide to sell your camera later on.
- Spare Batteries & Charger – Per Murphy’s Law, you will run out of battery right when you’re lining up your best shot – Like when your drunk cousin yells ‘Grab my beer’… Having a few spare batteries is the best contingency plan. Plus, batteries are consumables. Any you’ll probably want a standalone charger, too.
- Spare SD Card – The SanDisk Extreme Pro is one of the best cheap cards out there, and the pouch has a slot specifically for it.
- Olympus CLA-T01 Lens Adapter – One of the best features of the Olympus TG-5 is that it accepts lens accessories. Given how the camera doesn’t natively have any lens protection, I’d recommend getting the adapter and a Hoya Multi-Layer 40.5mm UV filter. It’s the best way to avoid destroying an expensive camera when you get too close to the action. And even without a UV filter, the Lens Adapter will allow you to mount standard 40.5mm lens caps.
- Wrist Strap Lanyward – The included wrist strap nice, but too stiff and heavy-duty for casual use. I’ve personally found this wrist strap better for day-to-day use. It’s softer, more flexible and still plenty strong.
- Silicone Jacket – A camera-condom in case it needs extra protection from herpagonasyphilaids. Or bumps and scratches.
Maybe you bought a rugged camera precisely because you don’t care for cases. If that’s you, then you’re a braver man than I. But for the rest of us God-fearing mortals, a nice camera pouch is just cheap insurance. And in the case of the Olympus TG-5, the Lowepro Portland 30 is the best fitting pouch in town. But hey, if you’ve found and tried something better, definitely let me know in the comments below!
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