The Olympus tough series cameras are regarded as one of the best in water-proof compact cameras available in the market. The Tough TG-4 is an upgrade to the TG-3 we reviewed in 2013.
The Olympus Tough TG-4 is a compact camera capable of underwater operations. The camera is dust proof and shock proof too. Going by the published specifications, this is a minor upgrade from the TG-3, which also featured a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and a 25-100mm lens. Going by the specifications, the improvements are limited to the inclusion of Raw format and addition of a few more shooting modes. Well, it is time to find out what else has changed.
Design and Build Quality
The Tough-series from Olympus has been hailed as the best waterproof and dustproof compact cameras available in the market. The TG-4 is essentially the TG-3 with a handful of additional features. So the camera has the same tough build quality as that of the TG-3. The lens and openings are sealed and made water-tight. The covers have double locking systems along with rubber gaskets to keep water away. The tough engineering plastic body with a metal reinforcement plate in the front adds to the shock-proofing. The LCD is protected by a thick screen cover, presumably made from tough plastic material. The device features Class 8 (IPX8) waterproofing and Class 6 (IP6X) dust proofing.
The 16 megapixel Olympus TG-4 uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62 mm) CMOS sensor. The lens has a focal length of 25 to 100 mm equivalent and the aperture is restricted to f/2.0, f/2.8 and f/8 at the wide-angle end and f/4.9, f/6.3 and f/18 at the telephoto end. The lens is constructed with 9 elements in 7 groups. In the default mode, it focusses from 0.1m to infinity, while in Super Macro mode, it focusses as close as 1cm. Filter diameter is 40.5mm. Still images can be recorded in JPEG or Raw format while videos are captured in MOV/H.264 or AVI/Motion JPEG (High-speed Movie, Time Lapse Movie) format. The best quality for videos is 1920×1080. High-speed videos can be recorded at 640×480 pixels at 120fps or 320×240 pixels at 240fps. Audio is recorded in Stereo Linear PCM format.
The camera uses Sensor-shift Image Stabilisation for still images, while videos are stabilised electronically by boosting the equivalent sensitivity. The TG-4 uses Contrast Detection method for focussing and AF modes include Face Detection, iESP, Spot, and AF Tracking. Shooting modes available are Intelligent Auto (iAUTO), Program Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), Custom1, Custom2, Underwater, Microscope, and Scene (SCN). Scene modes further provide options of Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Interval Shooting, Hand-held Starlight, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach & Snow, Snow, Live Composite, Panorama, and Backlight HDR. Underwater modes are Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide (2 settings), Underwater Macro, and Backlight HDR while Microscope modes provide options of Microscope, Microscope Control, Focus stacking, and Focus bracketing. Picture styles available are Vivid, Natural, Muted, Fish Eye, Sparkle, Reflection, Fragmented, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale and Light Colour, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, and Dramatic Tone.
The TG-4 uses Digital ESP and Spot metering and shutter speeds range from 4 to 1/2000 sec. Exposure can be compensated up to ±2.0EV in steps of 1/3EV. ISO sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 6400 along with an Auto option. The camera features White Balance modes of Auto, Sunlight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater, and One-touch. The TG-4 can shoot continuous frames at 5 frames per second at full resolution. In High-speed Sequential Shooting mode, it can shoot at 60 or 15 fps at 3 megapixels. Self-timer can be set to 2 sec, 12 sec or custom. Built-in flash has a range of 0.2 to 7.9m at the wide angle end and 0.2 to 3.1m at the telephoto end, at ISO1600. Flash modes available are Auto, Red Eye Reduction, Fill-in, Flash Off, and LED Flash. The camera uses a 3.0-inch, approximately 460,000 dot colour LCD screen. The TG-4 has an internal memory of 55MB and it accepts an SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible, up to 128GB) or Eye-Fi card for external storage. The camera is powered by an LI-92B Li-ion rechargeable battery. The device measures 111.5 x 65.9 x 31.2mm (Wx H x D) and weighs 247g including battery and memory card.
The TG-4’s covers have double locking systems along with rubber gaskets to keep water away.