Camera Craniums

Photography Equipment => Compact Cameras => Topic started by: Hinfrance on July 17, 2016, 04:38:18 PM

Title: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: Hinfrance on July 17, 2016, 04:38:18 PM
Got one of these cameras for my birthday and took it and used it almost exclusively on holiday.

First thoughts, with more to follow after I have been through more of the pictures I took.

It is very small, so easily pocketable. It is so far jolly rugged. I used it in the sea and in the pool with no problems, although I did not go more than a few metres deep in either medium. The controls are pretty basic. There is an 'A' mode, but only offers a very limited choice of apertures at any given focal length. With a sensor this size there really isn't much point. There are no manual or shutter priority modes.

The WiFi means that at the end of the day pictures can easily be transferred to a tablet, or in my case a phone. Although it seems that only jpgs are transmitted, of which more later. The 'phone app that is used with the camera also permits live view remote control.

Start up time is very quick, as is focussing after the shutter release is pressed half way. AE is locked with the button halfway down, and the focus can be manually adjusted afterwards if you are so inclined. It is not a 'super zoom' camera, just having 4x optical zoom which I don't find an issue, although others might. There is a digital zoom function tacked on the end of the optical range. My opinion of digital zooms is not for sharing in polite company . . .

Like all the compacts I have used noise is a problem, but this is definitely the worst: apparent at even the lowest ISO rating of 100 if the light is not super bright. Which might help to explain the harsh NR applied to all jpgs. Effectively the jpgs, even on 'fine' from the TG-4 are usable for social media, but really nothing else, as they are seriously over-sharpened, smeared and full of jpg artefacts. So it is jolly good job that the TG-4 has RAW. It is not possible to shoot RAW only, the selection is RAW+jpg, which not only wastes card space, but enables direct comparison between the rather noisy but fixable RAW images and the IMO awful jpgs processed at the same time.

Battery life is exemplary - my Fuji X20 would have had to be charged at least 3 times compared to the Olympus once, and even then that was a precautionary charge as I don't yet how accurate the battery meter is.

I took a few underwater videos, but I have only looked at the resulting footage on the camera screen so far.

Overall impression is that this is a flawed but really useful and fun travelling companion. I especially liked the underwater performance. I shall post some pictures from it in due course.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: jinky on July 17, 2016, 07:45:54 PM
Sounds interesting. Shame aboput the noise though. I must admit that I`ve been disappointed with my LX100 re noise levels since getting it. The gulf between the reviews I rewad and my own experience is quite high.That said I`ve neverreally looked at all aspects of it as I prefer the output from my dslr. need to experiement more I think.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: Hinfrance on July 17, 2016, 08:56:47 PM
I've been mucking about a bit more in LR. I've made myself a preset that does the legwork on editing the RAWs. There doesn't seem to be much more noise at 1600 than there is at 200. I set the ISO at 200 for almost all of the shots. Pretty pleased with the results so far. Will post some images tomorrow.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: jinky on July 18, 2016, 06:55:25 AM
My problem is not having the capacity to process raw images in Lightroom 3.6 and cannot be bothered with with ACR in photoshop for raw conversion. Maybe give it a  go sometime.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: Hinfrance on July 20, 2016, 03:59:00 PM
Sorry for slightly swamping the recent uploads. I've put 14, mostly RAW processed, images from the TG-4 up for you to look at. Two of the underwater pictures are jpgs - the underwater jpgs are generally noticeably better than the RAWs.

Apologies that they are all from around the hotel - I used my Fuji on the couple of trips out we took as there was no need for a camera that could go 'grrr' and I had already noticed that the noise levels from the TG4 were higher than from the Fuji.

Obviously after a bit of gentle NR in LR and reduction in size for the site their is no noise to speak of. Gives an idea of the general all round usefulness of the camera I hope.

I forgot to mention earlier that it also has GPS for geotagging if that's the kind of thing you like.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: SimonW on July 21, 2016, 09:13:13 AM
Hi H,

That collection of shots gives a perfect variety of situations, bright light to near dark, high to low contrast, crowded detail and empty areas. Underwater too - all showing off the camera's capabilities. (And mostly very nicely caught and composed too). A shame they're not like that as straight from the camera jpgs though, it would make holiday snaps much more immediately useful.

A few years back I bought a little Fuji for my wife after reading several reviews praising it. I couldn't believe how very noisy every shot was (it didn't do raw) and assumed none of the reviewers had ever tried looking at a shot on a monitor. or printed anything from it I thought it useless, but I guess it probably did the job it was designed for. As your new toy obviously does, in spades. Thank you for sharing this.
Title: Re: Olympus Tough TG-4
Post by: Hinfrance on July 21, 2016, 04:07:08 PM
The thing is that it is 18mpx, so 100% is quite zoomed in, which doesn't help the way that the jpg processing looks. As always RAW is usually the best option. I don't want to dismiss the jpgs out of hand, it's just that better results can almost always be had from doing just a little bit of PP with a RAW. The fact that the camera offers this in a small compact is more than welcome.

Also I used Photoshop Express on my phone to fiddle with some of the jpgs (copied over using the camera's wifi) and the results were very pleasing (at least on the 'phone screen - I don't have the fanciest of 'phones, just a 720p 5 inch display).

All in all I am very happy with the little Olympus - the lens is sharp enough and fast enough at f2.0 on wide angle - long battery life - small - compass (?!) - so a very useful carry around.

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As you can see, it's much smaller, although thicker, than a 5 inch 'phone.