Olympus has announced the latest addition to its line of rugged compact cameras, with the Stylus Tough TG-4. Along with the usual tough credentials which can see the camera submerged in water, dropped, or used in freezing cold temperatures, the new shooter brings photographer-pleasing RAW file support for better image post-processing potential. Also announced by Olympus is the wider availability of the previously Japan-only Stylus 1s high-end compact camera.
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4
As with previous Olympus Tough TG cameras, the big selling point of the TG-4 is its ability to withstand whatever you throw at it and allow users to take images in situations that other compact cameras are scared to go. As such, the latest model is waterproof to 15 m (50ft), shockproof for drops from up to 2.1 m (7 ft), crushproof to 100 kgf (220 lbf) and freezeproof to -10°C (14°F). Adventurous types will also be pleased by the inclusion of enhanced GPS and an e-compass.
The camera uses a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm) BSI CMOS sensor paired with a 25-100-mm equivalent F2-F4.9 lens and a TruePic VII image processor. Sensor-shift image stabilization is on hand to help cut the number of blurry shots, and the TG-4 can churn out bursts of full resolution images at 5 fps (frames per second). It's also capable of recording Full HD 1080p or HD 720p videos at 30 fps, along with high frame-rate footage at lower resolutions for producing slow motion video.
However, while those are all fairly standard specifications for a high-end tough camera, Olympus has also added a number of features in a bid to make the TG-4 stand out for adventurous photography enthusiasts. The first welcome rarity amongst tough cameras is the ability to shoot RAW files, which allow for better editing than simple JPEGs. Shooting modes also include options like Aperture Priority for more creative control, though unfortunately there's no full manual option.
Other specialist photography features include Live Composite, a selection of macro and underwater modes including things like underwater HDR, and an AF Area feature which allows users to focus on specific areas or objects in the frame by toggling the buttons on the back of the camera. Built-in Wi-Fi is also on hand to make it easy to share images, or remotely control the camera from a compatible smartphone.
Size-wise, the TG-4 is very much in small compact territory. It measures 111.5 x 65.9 x 31.2 mm (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in) and weighs 247 g (8.7oz). On the rear there's a three-inch LCD monitor with 460K dots, but the camera is controlled via big chunky buttons which should be easy to operate even if wearing gloves and hurtling down the side of a snow-covered mountain at the same time.
The camera is compatible with a number of action-oriented accessories from Olympus including a sports holder, neoprene case and an underwater case which allows the camera to be used at depths of up to 45 meters (150 ft). There's also optional fish-eye and teleconverter lenses, and a macro light guide for better illuminating close-up subjects.
The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 will be available in red or black from May, and will sell for US$380.
Olympus Stylus 1s
Olympus has also announced that the previously Japan-only upgrade to the Stylus 1, the Stylus 1s will now get a wider release. The new camera is a very minor upgrade to its predecessor, which itself gained most of the new features here via a firmware update earlier this year. As such, the camera still boasts a 12-megapixel 1/1.7-inch (7.6 x 5.7 mm) BSI CMOS sensor, a 28-300-mm equivalent F2.8 lens and a built-in 1440k dot EVF and Wi-Fi.
Boasting the latest Stylus 1 firmware, the 1s has new features including Small AF Target, enabling pinpoint focusing, Step Zoom which provides nine preset zoom positions, while a Timelapse mode has also been added. The camera is also compatible with the optional Olympus wide angle and telephoto converters, giving it a potential 22.4-mm to 510-mm equivalent focal range.
Physical changes are very minor and include a redesigned grip, the use of new textures which are said to make the camera more pleasant to hold, and the addition of a blue ring like that on high-end Zuiko Digital lenses. The camera will also now come with a higher-capacity BLS-50 lithium-ion battery which should enable more shots on a single charge.
The Olympus Stylus 1s is set to arrive later this month and will cost $700.
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