{Review} Olympus TG-4 Tough Camera | So TOUGH That It’s Hard To Let Go!

I recently was raving about my caveman discovery of Olympus TG-2 Tough Camera when I went to Redang Kalong Resort.  OK! OK!  It’s a 2013 “new” model, as I found out eventually.  I used to hold my beloved Oly-5060 everywhere I go.  12 years ago, it was Da’ Best prosumer model on the market with Olympus making a breakthrough in Singapore market then with fast lens and readily affordable underwater housing for divers.   From this aspect, Nikon/Canon lost out a big market share back then.  *Actually even until now, I do believe they still are unable to fight in the market for compact cameras.  Unless somebody can prove me wrong, this will remain my personal view.  I went diving with my Oly-5060 on every trip with proper underwater set up.  However, it had been sitting in cold palace ever since the kids came along and I found it too bulky to handle together with the other baby luggages.  By the time I fished it out last year, it was apparent that the camera speed and technology is desperately outdated compared to my smart phone.  And so, back into the cupboard it went again!

Following my earlier review of TG-2 as a lady-user and from a mummy’s point of view, I was blessed with a loan set of the latest model ~ TG-4 from Olympus.  It has since been two weeks and I have fallen in love with the camera although I had just a wee bit of inconvenience but I would just shrug it off for the better wonders of the camera.  I won’t say that it’s the best camera in the world.  There are $10-30k cameras out there but I am no photography professional and shall not try to be.  This TG-4 is good enough for a photo-taking lover who is keen on preserving memories on prints.  From practicality angle (like how an Engineer always tend to be and are trained to be), I find that it is very user-friendly, yet is no longer the low-quality idiot-proof device that the compact cameras are commonly associated with.  And here I will try to list down some points with accompanying photographs for information.

Extremely Love Max To The Moon & Back ~ Capturing Images Indoor

I raved about the the most attractive feature of this camera – having a fast-speed lens with a large aperture of f2.0.  This means that the lens aperture opens bigger for more light to enter the camera in order to capture a nice image under dimmer indoor condition.  I also need not live with the inability to focus properly when indoors.  I would say that amongst my attempts to make photos under indoor conditions, only less than 5% of them are not focused properly.  Almost every shot is perfect with sharp focus and I need not stay next to the window for maximum light.  My challenge now is photo composition rather than blurry images.


A sample of photo comparison with indoor lighting condition using the ABC chart in my room.  I chose my Master Bedroom as it is the dimmest place in my house with blinds down 24/7 and the windows set back by a few metres compared to the windows in the adjacent room.  That few metres of protruding wall outside my Master Bedroom windows means generally lesser amount of light compared to other rooms in the house.  The above photos were not edited and were merely resized.  To prove that the photos are taken exactly the same time, see below screen shot.


Just look at the vast difference in the images captured by different devices at the same moment and judge for yourself.  I have another one here pointing at my smaller bedroom window (where the light source is).  Olympus TG-4 balanced the exposure sweetly such that objects infront of the light source can be captured clearly.


I have lived with my Samsung Note 1, Note 2 to current Note 3 with regret at not being able to take nicer pictures when indoor.  😦

Extremely Love ~ Very Fast Lens & Recording Speed

I no longer face the problem of blurry images when photographing the active children.  I tried it at the Begonia Road playground when the children were in constant motion.  I was testing the speed and reaction of the camera in continual shooting mode (note : NOT burst mode but continuously pressing the shutter button non-stop).  To minimize stress over camera setting, I just conveniently set the camera on Scene Mode (Sports).  All the photos were not edited in any other way except resizing, cropping and collaging.

Oh my, I was really impressed that I could keep snapping without having to wait for donkey moments before I can shoot the next frame.  Of course, there were also many photos with eyes closed, back facing me, or half the body not in the frame, etc.  That’s because the camera have managed to capture every single moment in almost like one second apart between shots.  Anyway I’ve deleted them and these are some of the photos that I managed to capture and really liked.


Remember the good old Turn Table we grew up with?  There was a huge one (it was at least 4-5m diameter) at Taman Jurong where I grew up at.  This is a much smaller one and K enjoyed running and then jumped onto it for a spin.  With such speed, my Samsung Note 3 would only be getting blurry images  😦


I don’t know how they could stand the spinning.  I attempted to be “heroine” and took photos of them while I myself joined in to spin with them in order to have shots from a “different angle” (below photo on the right).  I nearly died there and couldn’t properly recover until at least a good hour thereafter.  I didn’t even have appetite for dinner that night and was glad that hubby’s office is just very close nearby.  It was a #giddydieme #neveragain moment for me. 😦


And this structure here below is a typical playground with shelter, crawling tunnel, climbing poles and small slides.  *yawn* So boring?  But the kids are still kids.  They love it when they’re allowed to run wild, get to explore, climb and crawl.  It simply fulfills their insatiable thirst for sensory discovery.



I was glad to be able to capture these journalistic moments in vivid colours and sharp lines.  Here’s more taken during Sports Day at R’s kindergarten as part of annual National Day celebrations.


My family also went to catch the performance by our very own Black Knights at the Marina Bay Pier on the eve of National Day.  Honestly, I am very impressed with what this small and compact camera can produce.  Not bad at all for amateurish shots.  It’s a pity that I don’t have a tele-converter lens.  Though I have not gotten the chance to test it, it should produce sharper images without the need to zoom in all the way to the maximum limit ya?  Anyway here’s one of my favourite shots from the outing.  There’s more over at this blog post here – Jubilee SG50 RSAF Black Knights Aerial Performance.


Love It, Love It! ~ Waterproof to 15m Depth

I’ve always been relying on waterproof pouch for my Samsung phone for the past two years and mostly had to struggle with fogging and condensation within the waterproof pouch.  I am also constantly worry of leakages too.  When I learnt that Olympus TG-4 can go “diving” up to a depth of 15-metres without an underwater camera housing, I was pretty much amazed at how much advancement there was in camera innovation.  This means that the camera can be used freely in swimming pools and there is no wary of water splashing directly at it whether purposely or accidentally.  I brought the camera to RWS Michael Hotel during a staycation with friends over the Youth Day holiday and had pretty good photographs taken at the pool.  Photos were very sharp and in vivid colours too despite it being a cloudy late afternoon.  From these photos, you’d thought it was bright & sunny, didn’t you?

Much Love ~ Night Photography

Much to my delight, my hubby agreed to go squeeze with the crowd on our Jubilee National Day to experience live fireworks.  It’s a pity that we were unable to reach Marina Bay Sands (MBS) much earlier.  By the time we got out of the jam and found parking (at URA Centre, Maxwell Road!!!), and two MRT stations later, we reached MBS at 705pm.  The timing was just nice for viewing the mobile column before we hurried for the fireworks which was slated to start at 740pm, 750pm and the last finale at 815pm.  I am very happy with these pictures taken without tripod (no space to set up too).  They are totally not bad right?!!


Tried with building light while waiting for more fireworks.


We could not get out of the human jam after the fire works display.  Every road was barricaded and traffic was very well controlled by the volunteers and traffic police.  We happened to come across this group of street performers doing a dance act with lighted devices and decided to sit down for a moment of fresh air hoping that the crowd could clear soon.


It was just a short 1.9km away but we took a whole hour before we finally WALKED back to where our car was parked at.  That night, I was on my feet for a grand total of almost 3 hours and my back and knees were really painful by the time I reached our car.

Love ~ Shockproof from 2.1m Height

I remember I was amazed (and very much relieved) when my Nokia N95 survived a jump from 2nd storey back then while I was working at construction work site in Year 2000-2002.  However in my household, my hubby had bought 3 cheap compact cameras for the kids over the past 2-3 years.  Prices ranged from $75 to $220 each.  They have broken every single one of them.  Simply with butter fingers.  Right now, they are using Nikon Coolpix Kids Camera which costed $110.  Even though it is also shock proof (1.2m), but it does not take high-quality photographs.  For kids to play and take kiddy shots at good resolution but not true colours (think washed out colours), it is perfectly fine.  But it’s definitely not for adults who are keen in keeping memories on photos.

Frankly speaking, I have not dared to carry out this drop test so I am unable to give a feedback except to trust that it must be that impressive >.<   With a TOUGH camera like TG-4, many worries could be eliminated.  For outdoor excursion, family holidays, sports, water play or even accidental drops, typically it should be able to function as per normal with a small drop.

Loving #InstaMoments

Earlier when I wrote about the older TG-2 which does not have a built-in WIFI, the TG-4 succeeded in making instant photo-sharing possible with it’s built-in WIFI feature.  I can still use my old SD Card without the need to buy a new one.  With just a one-time setup to link up the camera and my smartphone, I am on my way to daily instant photo-sharing should I want to shout out on social media.  Just by simply turning on the WIFI on the camera, my smartphone will import one or a selection of photos into my smartphone within minutes via OI. Share app.  Not only that, the app also allows remote control via smartphone, photo enhancing and GPS tagging.  This is one of my regularly used function for that moment when I want to share with better quality photos.

My kitchen is getting more exciting! I hardly buy premix pastes for home cooking. But without this, I wouldn't have been able to cook my 1st pot of curry on my own. With no trans-fat, I guess its no harm doing this more often for my sanity's sake. Photo taken using Olympus Tough TG-4! Maximising its awesome capabilities before returning it. With built-in WIFI, transferring pix to my HP for posting is such a breeze ♡ @Toastboxsg celebrates #SG50 with the launch of Asian Delight Ready-to-Cook Pastes. Each single packet of Toast Box Ready-to-Cook paste (good for 2-3 servings) is retailing for $6.50 – except Mee Rebus, which is $6.80. SG50 PROMOTIONS From 8 July to 10 August 2015, enjoy special promotional prices in-store. T&Cs apply, while stocks last! ♧ $0.50 off purchase of any Asian Delight Ready-to-Cook Paste (U.P. $6.50 – $6.80) ♧ $5.00 off purchase of Coffee Brew & Coffee Powder Set (U.P. $27.90) Customers can also purchase a box of any 4 packets of Asian Delight Ready-to-Cook Paste at $25 (U.P. $26 – $27.20). #ToastBoxSG #ToastBoxAsianDelight #sponsored #curry #currychicken

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Just a Little Imperfection ~ No Lens Cap/Cover

Each time I reach for the camera in my sling bag, my finger will touch the lens.  I really didn’t like that there wasn’t a lens cover.  Perhaps I feel it particularly so because the loan set did not come with a camera pouch except for a dust bag.  I googled for some details and found that there seems to be a lens cap available for the TG-4 base on this picture from Olympus USA.  However it is not available for sale at the same website, neither is it sold at Olympus SG.  As far as it goes, I am still learning to be more mindful when I reach for the camera.  Or perhaps Olympus can advice if there are compatible lens cap from their existing big selection.

Lens Cap

TG-4 with silicon jacket and lens cover

Somewhat Dislike ~ Position & Feel of Zoom Lever

I remember it was much easier to control the zoom lever on the TG-2 model.  A comparison showed that the position of zoom button on the TG-4 has been shifted to the top right beside the shutter button.  Previously when it was convenient to zoom using thumb and shutter is controlled using index finger.  Now with the zoom lever next to shutter, it means having to use index finger to control it which makes a certain inconvenience somehow.  I also find that the lever control on TG-4 is not the most comfortable to the finger.  But well, I can get used to it.Zoom Level

Just A Tiny Thought ~ Battery Charging

I realize there is no dedicated charger even though the camera uses external, removable lithium battery.  Maybe the reason why I noticed this is because my old Oly-5060 has a separate charger so that there is no down time should I need to recharge.  However despite so, I noticed that charging is fast from dead to full in 4hrs, and a fully-charged battery is EVERLASTING!!!  For those who must-haves, a spare battery is S$61 and an original external charger is S$79.  NEVER ever use OEM batteries or charger!!


It had been a fun month going about my daily life as a SAHM with the compact and light camera neatly tucked in my sling bag.  I can so get used to this luxury.  Now to decide – when to take the plunge??  The COMEX 2015 (IT Fair) will be held at Suntec Convention Centre from 3 – 6 Sep 2015.  Do look out for bundled deals then!

About Olympus TG-4

The Olympus Stylus TG-4 Tough is right now, the pinnacle of the Tough series.  It is equipped with a variety of features that perfectly capture the most amazing moments in any environment, including a bright f/2.0 lens, Microscope Mode, a variety of underwater modes, and GPS.  New accessories including a converter lens and Sport Holder is also available for the sports buff.  This is a highly recommended camera for those who enjoy outdoor sports such as diving, mountain climbing, and hiking.

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Disclaimer : This is NOT a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed remain our own.  Photographs, unless otherwise stated, belong to SAys! Happy Mums.  Please do not reproduce without prior permission.




About SAys! Happy Mums

We are a Singapore Mum Blog hosted by BFFs Shirley & Audrey. We blog about our children, parenting and family lifestyle. Most often than not, we find ourselves immersed in family and kids entertainment and can't escape from the lure of great food!

15 thoughts on “{Review} Olympus TG-4 Tough Camera | So TOUGH That It’s Hard To Let Go!

  1. Biaojie, let me know if you have good lobang for this camera. I’m looking for 1 waterproof tough camera and like your review of this TG4. 🙂


  2. I started with canon, then to nikon, then back to canon, and event for a little while I was on the olympus camp, but after all the big round over the years, i’m back to canon and now stuck with my first true love. LOL! Guess which brand of gadgets one prefer is a very person thing, like how Apple is always compared to PC etc. Nice photos you’ve got from in the post. 🙂


  3. Hi Shirley, I’ve learned a lot by just reading your honest review. The qualities of your photos are really nice. I was anticipating some underwater pictures but realized I’m asking too much hehehe.


  4. Thanks for an honest and detailed review! I happen to be looking around for a camera that’s user-friendly and good for all those action shots of the kids, so this is quite timely. Although I do feel bummed about the no lens cap deal. I wonder why they designed it that way? Anyway, I shall look out for this model when I’m camera shopping! 🙂


    • Thank you for your kind words Dotz! I’m still saving for it. Well if its for my kids to use (if their skills are good enough to warrant a > $400 camera) I wouldn’t hesistate to upgrade theirs. Right now their Nikon kiddy S31 will do though I will never use it for myself. Hahaha!


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