Will Olympus’s all-new TG-4 be this year’s best tough compact?

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Olympus Tough TG-4 Review: First Impressions

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On the same morning that Olympus announced their latest flagship Tough compact, a sample of the all-new TG-4 arrived on our doorstep here at the AP offices ready for its review.

The timing of its arrival couldn’t be better. With the summer months fast approaching and talk of a three-month heat wave said to hit the UK on Wednesday as temperatures start to soar towards 23°C, it’s the time of the year when many start to research which tough compact is the best model to take away on a summer break.

Though smartphones continue to be the most popular pocket compact for general snapshots, they’re not the best choice when it comes to taking photos off limits. As anyone who’s dropped a smartphone in the sand or by the poolside will tell you, they’re just not rugged enough to survive the inhospitable conditions that can present themselves on a holiday.

Tough compact cameras however are designed to withstand whatever is thrown at them and are even designed to survive a drop from arms length onto a solid concrete floor! For these reasons, they’re among the most popular compact cameras in existence today, and play a vital role in getting the memorable type of shots you never thought were possible underwater.

The arrival of the Olympus Tough TG-4 looks to improve on the excellent models we’ve seen before in the Tough TG-series.

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Insulated against the elements, the Tough TG-4 is also packed with features

The big news is it shoots Raw – something missing from many of its rival tough compacts on the market and a feature we’ve long been waiting to see on a camera of this type. Enabling better control when it comes to post-processing, Raw capture definitely seems the way forward for tough compacts and the TG-4 brings it to the table along with other impressive specs.

At its heart is a 16-million-pixel back side illuminated CMOS sensor providing a maximum ISO 6400 sensitivity. With a 3in, 460k-dot screen at the rear, 7 Art filters, dual image stabilisation and 5fps sequential shooting complimenting its stylish design it has a lot going for it, but how will it fare up against its closest competition?

 

The Competition

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With plenty of tough cameras available, the TG-4 will have to fight to keep its space in the market

With the likes of the Nikon AW130, Canon PowerShot D30, Pentax WG-5 GPS, Fujifilm XP70 and Panasonic Lumix FT5 all chomping at the bit to fight off the new Olympus Tough TG-4, we can’t wait to put it up against them in the next few weeks to find out which camera will be crowned the best Tough Compact Camera for 2015.

Based on the fact that the two-year old Olympus TG-2 was an equal winner alongside the Panasonic Lumix FT5 when we last ran our group test of the tough compacts in 2013, the TG-4 certainly looks like it’s going to give the FT5 a run for its money this time.

On the back of the success of our hugely popular Tough Compact Group Test video we’ll also be bringing you a video to show you how the TG-4 performs against its rivals on test in the environment for which it’s made. Yes, that’s right we’ll be sinking it underwater, dropping it and freezing it so watch this space!