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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Olympus TG-4 Preview

Olympus TG-4 Preview (The First Big Step?)
July 2015, Carl Garrard
So I'll be evaluating the TG-4, just in time for summer... it's the first compact that I've seen from any manufacturer that allows for raw shooting and shooting modes that enthusiasts normally like to use (sans full manual mode however). And while Olympus bravely step where none have stepped before, here's hoping that the TG-4 is only the first step of many to come in the serious waterproof/durable pocket camera segment that enable the shooter to have more and more control. All the while I hope that they will be including better and better image quality in these models. I've seen an empty market for this kind of camera for enthusiasts for quite some time.

Olympus TG-4 Quick Best Price Results

You can call it a bit gaping hole in the camera market because that's exactly what it is.

With its bright lens, raw capability, and shooting modes, the TG-4 is the most enthusiast friendly waterproof compact to date. It even looks nice. The grip is substantial on the front, too.

Oly's TG-4 is important because it's apparent that Olympus is listening to us consumers (finally someone did). While I can already think of many ways the successor of the TG-4 could improve, what Oly have done is to take a brave step into a "new" market- and much pickier audience. So while I give them props for doing so, I hope they are listening closely to us photographers about the TG-4 because I think Oly have struck gold and may not even know it yet. Simply put, the TG-5 absolutely needs to be improved greatly.

A decent host of buttons and controls- but it can be improved :) Nice that a thumb rest was included.

Potentially, this section of the camera market could grow even larger if a manufacturer produce a slam dunk waterproof enthusiast camera. Enthusiasts are like free salesman, and the word of mouth advertising from this group of photographers is historically very strong, deeply penetrating,  and far reaching into the camera market.

With most amateur folks going to the smartphone to capture precious memories, I don't think manufactures have much choice these days but to listen to enthusiast and professional photographers needs.

So if you are listening Olympus, pay special close attention to what professionals, reviewers, and enthusiasts say about the TG-4- especially in regards to just how it can be improved. My full review will be posted if I like the camera, and if not, I'll promise to at least post a critical piece about it detailing the areas it will need to be improved.

If GPS is your thing, Oly is boasting about its capability here, speed mainly. The power switch, zoom toggle, and nice size shutter release are within easy reach.

That said, it's a perfect summer for the TG-4 for testing. The water temps in the Pacific here in Southern California are the warmest they have been for this time of year in 15 years, and I'm highly looking forward to taking it into the surf to make some images. Weather has already been dramatic and record breaking (hello hurricane Dolores remnants making landfall here in So Cal, what the!?), and skies and oceans are beautiful. Time for a new kind of photography for me, and the TG-4 is the right camera to get my feet wet with.


Carl Garrard

P.S. I'll be getting one of these if I like the TG-4 enough- it has far reaching applications for my outdoor enthusiast self.


  1. Hi Carl,
    I wondered what happened to you after AlphaMountWorld. Have you completely stopped reviewing the Sony brand? I was hoping to find something about the new A7Rll.
    I wish you the best in your new endeavor but I sure hope to see some Sony reviews in the future. I do think they are finally surpassing the others with this new camera.
    I see you have been testing Fuji. I started out with a Fuji years ago (s2Pro). It was a great camera for its time. I need to take time to read your reviews for their new models.
    Anyway I'm rambling on so I'll catch you later. Hope things are going well for you.

  2. Not at all! I have lots of Sony articles on this site, just search the archives on the right pane :). I've been using this site for QUITE some time now, its my sole outlet now. I still talk to peeps at Sony, they are nice as ever.

    Much appreciated. Next up is an XT1 review.