Canon SX420 vs Olympus TG-4
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and April 2015. Both the SX420 and the TG-4 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9|
|19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-1,600||ISO 100-6,400|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|0.5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|195 shots per battery charge||380 shots per battery charge|
|104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g||112 x 66 x 31 mm, 247 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Olympus Tough TG-4? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 and the Olympus TG-4. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus TG-4 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Canon SX420. However, the TG-4 is markedly lighter (24 percent) than the SX420. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX420 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the TG-4 is water-proof up to 15m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The power pack in the TG-4 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279|
|Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm XP140||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Feb 2019||229|
|Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX420 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 21 percent) than the TG-4, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the TG-4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 12 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX420 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 1.33μm for the TG-4). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SX420 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the TG-4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus TG-4 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Tough TG-4 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the TG-4 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX420 and the TG-4 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX420, the Olympus TG-4, and comparable cameras.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
The Olympus TG-4 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Both the SX420 and the TG-4 have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the TG-4 offers a 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The TG-4 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the TG-4 write their files to SDXC cards. The TG-4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX420 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and Olympus Tough TG-4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the TG-4 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The SX420 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the TG-4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TG-4 was succeeded by the Olympus TG-5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX420 or the Olympus TG-4 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.9MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (21 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the TG-4).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/3.5).
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 78g or 24 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 15m).
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TG-4 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Olympus TG-4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX420 or the TG-4. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Olympus TG-4||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|Canon M6||..||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm XP140||+||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2019||229|
|Nikon W300||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||May 2017||389|
|Olympus TG-6||+ +||76/100||4/5||..||4/5||May 2019||449|
|Olympus TG-5||+ +||..||4/5||o||4/5||May 2017||449|
|Olympus E-M5 II||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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- Olympus TG-4 vs Sony RX1R II
Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Olympus TG-4
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9|
|Launch Date||January 2016||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||TruePic VII|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Olympus TG-4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||247 g (8.7 oz)|
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