We pit six of the finest tough compacts up against one another to establish which is the most durable when they’re subjected to a series of brutal tests
Olympus Stylus TOUGH TG-4
- Sensor 16MP
- Sensor Size 1/2.3in
- Lens: 4x optical (25-100mm) f/2-4.9
- ISO: 100-6400
- Display: 3in, 460k dots
- HD Video: Full HD 1920×1080
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi
- Dimensions: 111.5×65.9×31.2mm
- Weight: 247g
- Price: £349
The TG-4 is a new model hot off the production line and just like the WG-5 it features a 4x optical zoom lens that’s equivalent to 25-100mm. Rather than being offset like many of its rivals, the lens sits central to the body and boasts a fast and bright f/2-4.9 variable aperture, behind which lies a 16MP sensor offering an ISO range of 100-6400.
While it’s submersible to a depth of 15m, shockproof from 2.1m and freezeproof to -10°C, the TG-4’s headline feature is its ability to shoot in the Raw format as well as JPEG. Manual aperture control is available via its excellent mode dial and it’s equipped with Wi-fi, GPS, and a compass feature that also outputs pressure and altitude information.
There are five underwater modes and 23 other scene modes in total to choose from. At the rear it sports a 3in, 460k-dot screen and a 5fps burst is possible at full resolution. USB charging and seven art filters compliment this impressive spec.
Build & Performance
The TG-4’s textured thumb rest and front grip provides excellent purchase when you’re working underwater or with slippery hands. The zoom lever is positioned on the top plate as opposed to the rear and the general operation and focus acquisition speeds both above and below water were perceptibly faster than its five rivals.The start-up/shutdown speeds are just as quick as those recorded by the Lumix FT5.
Vibrant colour and sharp images were captured, with 26 lines per picture height being recorded by the TG-4’s chip at ISO 100 – an excellent detail performance only matched by the WG-5.
The exposure system delivered good exposures too in tricky scenes, but as you push to ISO 800 and beyond images get gradually softer.
The TG-4’s rapid autofocus response made underwater shooting a breeze and it was a pleasure to use. It latched onto our subject instantly with no signs of hesitation or fuss.
The underwater modes deliver rich, vibrant and faithful colour straight out of the camera and it was only closely matched on test by the underwater performance of the WG-5.
The TG-4 fired into life 28secs after being broken out of a block of ice. 30secs later the on/off button was operational again and we were able to pre focus and shoot.
Olympus claims the TG-4 can be dropped from 2.2m. We dropped it from this height and it switched on and worked without fault afterwards.
Olympus Stylus TOUGH TG-4 – Initial Verdict
Pros – Fast maximum aperture (f/2), Raw, mode dial, autofocus responsiveness, Art filters, compass, five underwater modes, 5fps shooting, USB charging, intuitive menu, image quality, optional accessories available
Cons – Zoom buttons positioned on the top plate, comparatively high price