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Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 Review

We review the latest Olympus Tough camera, the TG-4, the waterproof shockproof camera with raw shooting and advanced macro modes.

|  Olympus Tough TG-4 in Compact Cameras
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Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (4)

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 is the fourth update in the line of premium tough cameras from Olympus, replacing the TG-3, and features a bright f/2.0 lens, aperture control, raw support, and full HD video recording. The TG-4 is waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof from a height of 2.1 metres, as well as crushproof, freezeproof, and dustproof. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 Features

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (3)

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 features a 4x optical zoom lens, with a bright aperture of f/2.0, and is equivalent to 25mm to 100mm in 35mm terms. The sensor is a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, with sensor-shift image stabilisation to help keep shots sharp in low light or when using the optical zoom. 

The TG-4 has a removable front ring, once removed you can attach accessories including a fisheye adapter, teleconverter, and LED light ring flash. You can also get an underwater case to extend the waterproof depth to 45 metres, and with this there are further accessories available including electronic flash units, underwater wide conversion lens, and an underwater macro conversion lens

Waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof from 2.1 metres, crushproof up to 100kg, freezeproof to -10C, and dustproof the TG-4 should survive under water, in extreme conditions or from mistreatment, which makes it suitable for lending to even the most careless children (and adults!). 

The TG-4 features a number of advanced features including Interval shooting, Live composite, Panoramic, Two custom modes, 5 underwater modes (including underwater HDR), as well as newly added raw shooting. There is an intelligent Auto mode, as well as numerous scene modes and Art filters to make the camera easy to use. 

The camera has a number of macro modes: Autofocus stacking macro mode (8mp), Focus bracketing at 16mp that you can stitch together yourself later, microscope macro, and microscope control. When shooting using focus bracketing advanced options let you change the number of shots taken from 10, 20 or 30 frames, as well as adjust the focus range.

Live composite mode has been introduced from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, E-M10, and E-M10 II, and lets you take long-exposure scenes like starscapes and night photographs without the photo becoming over-exposed. Using this you get to preview the result while shooting so you can see exactly what's happening.

Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share files with iOS and Android mobile devices, geotag photos with GPS location information, remotely compose the shot, adjust camera settings, and trip the shutter, apply custom signatures, Art filters, and stamps, using the Olympus O.I.Share app.

Built-in GPS give you GPS tagging, auto time adjust, GPS tracking, and A-GPS data. Pressing the INFO button on the back of the camera with brings up a display with compass, latitude / longitude, barometer, altitude / water depth, and the date / time. Other features include Tap control, manometer, and LED illuminator. 

FullHD video is recorded with stereo sound at 30fps, with optical zoom and image stabilisation. The camera has a number of high-speed video modes, recording at 240 or 120fps, although at a reduced resolution. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (1)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel BSI 1/2.3inch CMOS sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens, f/2.0, 25-100mm equivalent
  • Sensor-shift image stabilisation
  • 3inch screen, 460k dots
  • Waterproof to 15m, Shockproof to 2.1m, Crushproof to 100kg
  • Wi-Fi, GPS & Electronic Compass
  • 1080p Full HD Movie and HDMI Control
  • High-speed video 240fps
  • 5fps continuous shooting at full resolution, 60fps at 3mp
  • ISO 100-6400, Raw shooting
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Aperture priority mode
  • HDR Backlight Adjustment
  • In-Camera Panorama
  • Manometer, Tap control, LED illuminator
  • 4:3, 1:1, 16:9, 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Available in red or black

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 Handling

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (5)

The Olympus Tough TG-4 feels extremely well built with a chunky front grip made out of tough rubber and the opening compartments feature a dual locking system to ensure they aren't accidentally opened when using the camera underwater. The back of the camera has a textured area for your thumb to hold onto, and there is a wrist strap provided in the box.

The mode dial has been updated compared to the previous model, with two custom modes, plus an underwater setting. The rest of the buttons feel large enough to use when wet, as well as being clear to see. The camera has an aperture priority mode that lets you set the aperture, with f/2.0, f/2.8 and f/8,0 available at the wide end of the lens, and f/4.9, f/6.3, and f/18 available when fully zoomed. The camera has zoom rocker on top of the camera, along with the on/off button and shutter release. The screen resolution is reasonable at 460K dots, and viewing angles are good. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (6)

Menus – The options and settings are clearly laid out and easy to navigate with a press of the left arrow bringing up the photo options on screen, so that you can see the changes the options make straight away. To access the full menu options you scroll to the bottom of the list, or press the menu button, where you'll find more advanced options as well as setup options for GPS, Tough, Wi-Fi, Interval, Focus bracketing, and Custom settings.

Wi-Fi features - Built-in Wi-Fi gives the ability to use a smartphone for remote shutter release and setting up the connection is very easy as you simply need to scan a QR code on the camera screen using the O.I.Share app. You can download and share images, apply art filters and other effects, as well as use the app to geotag images (in case you want to switch off GPS on the camera to save battery life). 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 4 (7)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 380 shots according to CIPA / Olympus testing. The battery is a 1350mAh rated unit, so provides a decent amount of battery life, although extended use of GPS and Wi-Fi will reduce battery life.

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Tough TG-4

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