First Impressions: Olympus Tough TG-4

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For years, many of us photographers have asked for a Tough camera (or waterproof) that can shoot RAW. Today, Olympus is announcing the answer to that problem with the Olympus Tough TG-4–but there is quite the caveat.

With a super wide angle lens that starts at f2 and ends up at f4.9 at the most telephoto end, the Tough TG-4 also sports WiFi integration, Aperture Priority, Program Auto mode, can display lots of info about the environment around you, has an integrated compass, and of course it’s quite tough. This camera has withstand 220lbs of force, can go down to 50 feet, can fall 7 feet, and can function down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yes, it still has a small sensor. But while that doesn’t bug us that much, we’re completely puzzled as to why Olympus didn’t give the camera a full manual control mode.

No, we’re not kidding.

Tech Specs

– 16MP 1/2.3 CMOS sensor

– ISO 100-6400

– 25mm to 100mm equivalent zoom range, f2-4.9

– WiFi transmission

– 3inch LCD with 460,000 Dots

– Face detection

– Underwater HDR mode

Ergonomics

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The Olympus Tough TG-4 is a camera that looks very much like the company’s previous TG series of point and shoots. It incorporates the same LED light that can become a ring LED with the right attachment, same bar-like feel, but it’s spec’d to be tougher.

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When you look at the top of the camera, you also find many things that are very much the same as the previous version. The on/off switch is a bit recessed, the zoom rocker is in a great spot and the shutter release is bit enough for most folks to hit it with no issues.

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Come around to the back of the camera and you’ll find a 3 inch LCD screen and lots of buttons on the right side to manipulate the controls. The mode dial is here, as are the basic controls like flash compensation.

Build Quality

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Considering that we did this product shoot under a running sink and that the camera continues to work, we have to say that the build quality is pretty solid. We have yet to really test it to its limits, but so far it seems to be holding true to its reputation.

Ease of Use

For the most part, all you need to do is point and shoot with this camera. Who would have thought it could be that simple?

However, it’s very easy for your hand to accidentally hold down the info button where the camera then displays lots of barometric info and lots more about the environment around you.

Autofocus

Given that the sensor is quite small, we’d expect the focusing to be quick. Combine this with the fact that modern cameras just have insanely fast focusing algorithms and you’ve got yourself a camera that’s quite the contender. Indeed, the TG-4 can focus very quickly and also doesn’t really seem to disappoint in low light.

We have yet to test it when shooting underwater though.

Image Quality

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The images that we’re showing here are JPEGs from the camera resized for the web. Out of camera image quality is really pretty nice for a point and shoot and in general beats most phones that we’ve played with. What we really like so far is the bokeh when you focus very closely in the macro and microscope modes.

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First Impressions

We’ve only spent a couple of days with the camera and at the moment of publishing this piece, the RAW file support isn’t available through Adobe Lightroom. The image quality seems fairly decent, but we think that some of the biggest features that folks will love are the RAW file offering and just how rugged the camera is. Overall though, we still need to test that out.