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Product Review – Field camera: Olympus Tough TG4

©Dan Brown

In this article, Dan Brown reviews the Olympus Tough TG4 camera…

For a long time I pondered the best camera to carry with me as a field ecologist. Undertaking commercial ecology fieldwork doesn’t generally permit the time for taking wildlife photos and my DSLR and lens were too heavy to lug over mountain and moor anyway. The iPhone seemed a good option for taking record shots of target note features or general scenery shots, but after two ‘death by drowning’ events on phones, something had to change. A waterproof camera was required.

After some careful research and a lot of very useful comments from other ecologists and adventure sports enthusiasts, one camera came out on top: the Olympus Tough TG4.

Little did I realise that this camera would become my new favourite bit of kit, travelling everywhere with me. Why is it so good?

  • Quick and easy to use – literally a point and shoot.
  • Waterproof down to 15m (you never have to worry about flooding ever again!), and doubles up nicely if you’re into snorkeling and diving.
  • Small and compact- it fits into your pocket or clips onto your belt.
  • Superb macro – the macro capabilities of this point and shoot are outstanding and great for snapping passing invertebrates, or flowers.
  • GPS tagged images – ideal for incorporating into GIS layers but remember not to upload tagged images of protected species to public sites!
  • It takes SD and SDHC cards and cards from a USB drive.
A Bog Orchid macro taken with the TG4, incredible quality for such a tiny camera.

A Bog Orchid macro taken with the TG4, incredible quality for such a tiny camera (Photo credit ©Dan Brown)

A Black Darter with a rain drop on its eye taken with the TG4

A Black Darter with a rain drop on its eye taken with the TG4 (Photo credit ©Dan Brown)

And the downsides:

Very few to be honest – the biggest for the wildlife enthusiast is the limited zoom (4x), however, for folk that want to take good, long distance wildlife shots, a DSLR is essential.

The TG4 has now been superseded by the TG5 and by all accounts this camera is even better.

For anyone who needs to take field images at potentially wet sites and also enjoys getting high quality macros, then the Olympus Tough is a must-have!

If you want to have a look at more macro images taken with the Olympus Tough TG4, check out our Facebook Page: The Field Ecologist.

Header Image: ©Dan Brown

About the Author: Dan Brown is a professional ecologist and owner of Natural World Consultants. He is a biodiversity specialist undertaking work around the world on biodiversity impacts from roads and wind farms in the UK to mines and hotels much further afield. He is also a lecturer and guide for Heritage Expeditions and Sunbird tours, provides field support for natural history TV production companies, and is an author at New Holland recently publishing ‘Great British Birding Experiences’. He has been a passionate naturalist all his life and enjoys nothing better than being outside looking for hoverflies, catching moths, birding or trying to find an elusive mammal!


The Olympus Tough TG4 can be purchased, via Amazon, HERE and the Olympus TG-5 Tough Camera can be purchased, via Amazon, HERE.

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