IchiroCameraGuy: I agree with the comments that the image quality is too poor, sad characteristic of waterproof compacts. You get same IQ of cheap big box store compacts from 5 years ago that were half the price :\ In my opinion the smart thing is get a discounted older waterproof/tough model for much cheaper since IQ is poor regardless.
"I've yet to hear any reason for destroying the IQ with pixel overkill and tiny pixels."
The "tiny pixels" are not destroying IQ. A 16MP shot downsized to 12MP in postprocessing will have more detail and less noise than a native 12MP shot from the same-sized sensor.
One thing that limits IQ in TG-4 is the fact that the lens has to stay inside the body. It's an ingenious design (it uses a prism to fold the light path, so that most of the lens sits in the body sideways), but it's not without drawbacks.
Another reason why the out-of-camera jpegs look like they do, is that they are optimized for full-size viewing. If you tune an image for full-size viewing, it's going to look overprocessed and ugly at 100%. If you tune it for 100% viewing, it's going to look soft and dull when viewed at full size.
snapa: It still surprises me that any camera company is still using the 1/2.3" sensors in cameras, aren't they for cell phones? BTW, the RAW images look just a BAD as the JPEG's.
bloodycape: Fitting a 1" sensor with a zoom lens into a TG-4-sized body would take a pretty big step in lens design. The existing TG-4 is already a very tricky design (the lens includes a prism to fold the light path, so that much of the lens sits sideways inside the camera).
The modern ultra-compact zoom designs (like in Sony RX 100 series, or Panasonic LX100) are way too large to fit into a TG-4 sized body, and don't have room for a prism. If it's even possible, it would be a completely new (and ingenious) optical design.
One technology that shows great potential for miniaturization is the "flat lens", made out of something they call "metamaterials". However, it is years away from prime time.
Unfortunately, the current market situation means that nobody is investing money into the lens design for waterproof cameras. The optical design of the TG series, arguably the best of the bunch, haven't changed since the TG-1.
Barry Stewart: Something I didn't see mentioned is camera noise in the audio track of videos. My TG-3 is terrible for this, in and out of water. I'll guess that it's the auto-focus mechanism; whatever it is ruins the audio quality of the scene.
If this problem continues in the TG-4, don't even think of filming the Christmas concert with it.
There ar a lot of things I love about my TG-3 — but the video mode isn't one of them. Better than nothing… but limited.
Make sure it's the "snapshot 2" mode. The one that won't let you zoom. .That one definitely disables AF.
Some people also described the sound as that of an 8-mm movie projector. Those people are old :)
"You're not aware of the sound while shooting"Actually, you can hear it quite distinctly if you are indoors.
The workaround is to use the "UW snapshot 2" mode. It turns off the AF altogether. However, it also disables zoom and auto white balance (and sets WB to "Underwater). In TG-1, I programmed a custom mode just for video - "UW snapshot 2" with WB set to"sunny".
"In my opinion the smart thing is get a discounted older waterproof/tough model for much cheaper since IQ is poor regardless."If the camera spent three years in a warehouse somewhere, I'd be worried about the waterproof seals going bad.
exm3racer: Got mine a few weeks ago and have taken it on a couple vacations. RAW was the major selling point for me as I only shoot Raw on my D600 and use LR/PS. Pretty happy overall, looking to see what comes next in this segment.
Biggest surprise for me was the macro mode, it takes killer close up photos. It's like I just got a macro lens. And it does wide angle macro, very cool! Image quality while using macro is much better than I expected... as long as you don't crop too much.
Good things:(ran out of characters)
Improvements I'd like to see - realize these may add to a more costly product, but I'd be willing to pay for them:
rear screen needs to be anti scratchLens flare easily - better lens coatingWould like CPLMore aperture incrementsBetter ISO performance starting at 800Don't know if it's possible but I'd love a viewfinderLens is OK sharp and sharpens nicely if you are shooting RAW, but could be better.Burst shooting in RAWsomething approaching RX100 in quality..
"THat said, I think one thing that can help with image quality, low light, etc is lowering the pixel count and increasing the size of the pixels."
Not really. If you take a 16MP file and reduce it to 12 MP using quality software on a computer, you'll actually get less noise and more detail than you would with a native 12MP sensor of the same size (and tech).
My old TG-1 made a sound like a sewing machine during video. Very loud and distracting.It doesn't happen (as much) with the TG-4, but you can still hear zoom and AF motors.
"What is going to crush this camera?"- Haven't you read the specs? It's crush-resistant up to 200 pounds :-D
In still seriousness though, sometimes you just can't worry about what's in your pocket.
yzhenkai: Is this camera suitalbe for my two-year old son? He breaks everything.
"it survived with no damage" - I wasn't worried about the *camera*. It's the 2-year-old himself or the parents that can get whacked on the head. My son at about that age got me by a metal toy car about the same size and weight as a TG. It *hurt*. Good thing he missed the eye, too!
aliasfox: With a 1/1.7" sensor (and lens to match), it would pretty much kill what remains of the Powershot S line of cameras (S110, S120) - similar price, size, and specs, but you can truly throw it in a backpack and carry it around outdoors and not worry too much about how you treat it.
Someone mentioned that people looking in this category are cheap - definitely true. I'd rather damage a $300 device and shrug it off than damage a $1000 device and actually be sad. Besides, for people who really need a good active/underwater camera, there are underwater housings.
I view it like I view my watches - I have a cheap quartz watch and a nicer watch, both are water resistant to my needs, but I'd much rather bring the cheaper watch when I go in the water - just less to risk.
Yes, you can put a TG-4 on a stick, and use a cellphone to show what the camera sees (I tried using this setup for digiscoping, and it's workable). Though a 150-200g camera would be much more comfortable to hold that way.
Yes, there's probably a market for it. Question is, *how much* of a market. Considering the overall state of affairs with affordable digicams (which is, pretty much, down the tubes), probably not enough of a market for Olympus to make money.
aliasfox: Yes, there is movement in the "action cams" and "drone cam" markets. But those have very different form factors from a "tough cam". Action cams are designed to be worn. They are, by their very nature, passive recorders - and their shape reflects it, with semi-permanent mounts and few manual controls.Olympus could release an action cam, but it wouldn't be a better TG-4. It would be a better GoPro.
CekariYH: Great supporting RAW for this kind of cameras.I don't have an Olympus but that might change when I feel the need to ditch my other "pocket" camera.
thx1138: "By the standards I use"
Others use different standards.
Lan: Wow, you people are curmudgeonly bunch. I think the performance is pretty amazing for a rugged underwater compact camera, particularly by the time you add in things like the wireless flash control and RAW support. No, it doesn't give D810 image quality, but you can't expect it to - it costs a small fraction of that.
It's probably the best underwater compact yet. Give Olympus some credit.
@DPR: Were the underwater shots taken using the Underwater WB setting?
"So pocketable and crap or not pocketable and excellent - tough choice."In many "tough" scenarios, it's "pocketable or nothing".
Though some people on these forums use a Sony RX100 in a Meikon housing.
lem12: This cam. loaded with features useful for any outdoor adventurer not just under water photography. But unfortunately its 1/2.3 limits its use for any other outdoor photography.. Some of these new cams. come loaded with features but with tiny sensors - small enough to limit all its photo features. I would buy this cam. but with 1/1.7 sized sensors at least.
"With such cam you don't need huge zoom, but you need a good DR"A camera can never have too much DR, but you end up finding ways to manage.
The TG-1 has in-camera HDR, which worked okay for stationary targets some of the time, but screwed up miserably if anything moved. I haven't experimented enough with TG-4's HDR to form a conclusive opinion, but the first impression is that it's better.
"Shadow adjust" seems to have improved as well (again, first impressions).
When shooting people in midday sun, the built-in flash is surprisingly good for fill light.
Mike FL: Olympus TGs are always bestseller comparing to others' Waterproof P&S, just like SONY RX100s' posions in P&S - zero competitions:
I've TG-2 with fisheye and telephoto conversion lenses which is not bad for less than $600. At least the IQ is slight better than my smartphone camera.
Not sure about TG4, the TG2 has better IQ than TG3 as TG2 is 12MP sensor while TG3 is 16MP.
BTW: If you expect TGs have noticeably better IQ than good smartphone cameras, do NOT buy it.
" If you expect TGs have noticeably better IQ than good smartphone cameras, do NOT buy it."
Well, they do have optical zoom. But still, TGs are "tough" cameras. You take them climbing, swimming, paddling, etc. They are also a lot cheaper than cellphones with good cameras.
Because they are "tough", they make certain compromises, including IQ. A "tough" camera only makes sense for "tough" situations. For regular shooting, get an older "Pen" or a Sony with a kit zoom, and bring an umbrella in case it rains.
IMHO, it's a bit heavy for a 2 year old. Not that he wouldn't be able to lift it, but it might be a dangerous missile, especially with the wrist strap attached. It feels like a solid chunk of metal. I would check out Panasonic TS-5 (or older), or maybe Nikon S33.
JohnEwing: When reviewing "tough" cameras it would be useful to mention (in the specs?) whether the LCD uses Gorilla glass or equivalent.
My Panny TS1 did, and spent years in a side pocket of my handlebar bag with no damage. My TS3 didn't, as I found out after a month in the HB bag.
Had I known of the difference I would have put on a screen protector.
So: what about the Olly? GG or no?
I suspect if they had Gorilla glass, they would've shouted about it from the rooftops.
My TG-1 developed a rubbed-out spot on the glass from the lifejacket pocket.
One of the (very few) things I don't like about the TG-4 is that the screen glass is not flush with the body like it was in TG-1. The glass sticks out about 1mm (1/24 of an inch). I bought the silicone skin to protect it.
Mark B: The body size is very much constrained in the "tough" segment. But the 1/1.7" sensor is only 20% wider than a 1/2.33". Considering the recent advances in optics, it seems plausible that with a redesign, it could fit it into the same-sized body.
"Olympus Air does not include a lens, nor is it water & shockproof" - but it does include a mount (which is at least $150) and a sensor that's over 4x the area of a 1/2.3". That places a 1/1.7" sensor in the vicinity of $50 or so, probably less.
The optical design of TG-1 is identical to TG-4. It was revolutionary in 2012, but haven't changed since.
aliasfox: Across the board, camera manufacturers seem to have stopped investing into R&D in the "tough" segment. The new models add things like additional body colors, new shapes for finger grips, and firmware tweaks. Many companies gave up on "tough" altogether.
Biowizard: Love my first-gen TG-1 ... would buy the TG-4 in an instant if the latter got damaged or stolen.
My TG-1 dropped screen-first on an unlucky pebble, that hit a rubbed-out spot on the glass. The camera still works, but the crack lets in water.Now, my new TG-4 wears both the silicone skin and the screen protector.I must say, the TG-4 is the TG-1, polished to near perfection. Most minor annoyances are fixed (especially the over eager ND filter), some of the new features are quite useful, and some of the "magic" fluff is tucked away.