Olympus TG-4 review

This is a review for the Olympus TG-4 tough underwater camera.  I got this camera several months ago.  I took it on vacation, and these are my impressions of the camera.  Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with Olympus or any other vendors.  No one is sponsoring me.  This is a consumer review.

Tough

The Olympus TG-4 is advertised to be waterproof, shockproof, scratchproof, dustproof, mud proof, … etc proof.  Well, it’s definitely not scratch proof.  I had it in my pocket, and the back of the screen is already scratched up from my keychain.  There is no lens cover included with the camera, but I guess that is expected since it’s a tough camera.   It is not going to survive the environment if it can’t handle whatever is in your bag or pocket.

Underwater

underwater turtle close up
turtle

The Olympus TG-4 is rated waterproof to a depth of 15 meters or 50 feet.  Recreational scuba diving goes to 18 meter or 60 feet, so you can definitely take this camera with you on your snorkeling or scuba adventure.

I took this camera with me on a scuba trip, and I was able to take a bunch of really good pictures as well as video.  The buttons were easy to handle in the water.  I was not wearing any gloves.

The underwater mode works great.  The autofocus was fast and sharp.  The only complaint I would have is the white balance.  As you dive deeper underwater, the light becomes more blue.  The underwater mode is supposed to compensate for this with underwater white balance, but even then, the photos came out with a heavy blue tint.  I was able to adjust the colors afterwards in the computer.

Macro

female katydid laying her eggs
grass hopper

The macro feature on this camera is really amazing.  It is probably a side effect of being able to focus under water.  The Olympus TG-4 also has the ability to do in-camera focus stacking.  This is great because you don’t have to buy expensive editing software like Photoshop.  For best results, use a tripod and the self-timer so that you are not shaking the camera with your hands.  Another great feature of the Olympus TG-4 is the in-camera custom white balance.  You should definitely get the ring light attachment accessory for this camera.  It will make your close up and macros look amazing.

Time Lapse

The camera does do time lapse, but you’re probably going to run out of batteries, so you might want to plug it in.

HDR

This camera has an HDR mode.  Don’t use it.  It looks like shit.

Summary

The Olympus TG-4 is the tough, rugged, underwater camera from Olympus.  It has the same hardware and components as the TG-3, but the software, menu, and features have been updated.  Overall, this camera has a lot of cool technology features and gimmicks.  The picture quality is not as good as a professional DSLR, but for a camera that fits in my pocket, I think it’s great.

Protip:  Use natural or muted color setting.

Some people complain that the colors on the Olympic TG-4 are too saturated and unrealistic.  There are three settings: vivid, natural, and muted.  The default is natural.  Natural actually enhances your color a little bit.  So if you want vivid color, you should use natural.  Whereas, if you want normal natural color, you should use muted.  If you use vivid color setting, then you’re going to get really bright saturated color, not quite psychedelic, but more like birthday party bright colors.

 

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