Olympus gets tougher with a rugged RAW shooter

If you’re a bit clumsy with your camera or you like to take a jump in the water to take pictures under the sea, a new model from Olympus will do what it can to make sure your equipment survives with severe ruggedisation while keeping a degree of manual control.

The camera making this happen is the Olympus TG-4, a camera in the “tough” range of cameras that will see store shelves in May, providing a degree of drop protection, water-proofing, shock resistance, and manual control if need be.


You can expect shock- and drop-proofing at around two metres, freeze-resistance to -10º, and water-resistance down to 15 metres protecting everything, with the insides featuring a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, f/2.0 lens offering 25 to 100mm (4x zoom), GPS, and even wireless networking for sending the images back to a smartphone or tablet like some of the other Olympus models making their way into the world.

We’re hearing that RAW file support has made its way into this camera, providing higher grade images than just the standard JPEG mode, while a new “UW” setting will sit on the dial offering a specific underwater mode that will also offer underwater high dynamic range shooting, allowing you to capture all the colours and shadows that the underwater world provides, not just those crunched down for the standard JPEG size, alongside that of an aperture (A) mode for a slight amount of manual control.


But while HDR images are generally provided for people who like to take landscapes, Olympus is also building settings for customers who love to get up, close, and personal with objects, offering a “microscope mode” through the TG-4’s Variable Macro System.

This specific mode will let people engage manual focusing and image stacking to get close-up photos at a maximum of one centimetre away from a subject, with a microscope control mode also allowing up to 44x magnification.

We’re not quite sure how this one works, and suspect this will be some form of digital zoom, but we’re checking, as anyone keen to see how things work might probably like the idea of carrying around an all-rounder compact camera that not only can survive a tumble, but also be used as a portable microscope, particularly students and kids.


Pricing for the Olympus TG-4 comes in at $499 options for red and black, and with electronics retailers grabbing the camera in May.