Canon SX50 vs Olympus TG-4
The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and April 2015. Both the SX50 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 12 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 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 SX50 and the Olympus TG-4. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-4 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the SX50 is only available in black.
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 considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Canon SX50. Moreover, the TG-4 is substantially lighter (58 percent) than the SX50. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX50 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.
Concerning battery life, the SX50 gets 315 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the TG-4 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LI-92B power pack. The power pack in the TG-4 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|9.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|11.||Fujifilm XP140||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Feb 2019||229|
|12.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|13.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|14.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|15.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The TG-4 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 12 percent) than the SX50, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the TG-4 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the SX50. This megapixels advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the TG-4 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50). However, it should be noted that the TG-4 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the SX50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus TG-4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the TG-4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX50 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Tough TG-4 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|6.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|15.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the TG-4 provides a faster frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TG-4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX50, the Olympus TG-4, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1||Y||Y|
|11.||Fujifilm XP140||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus TG-6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||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 SX50 and the TG-4 have zoom lenses built in. The SX50 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 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 SX50 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 SX50 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 SX50 HS and Olympus Tough TG-4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Fujifilm XP140||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Olympus TG-6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX50 has a hotshoe, while the TG-4 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
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.
Both the SX50 and the TG-4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX50 was replaced by the Canon SX60, while the TG-4 was followed 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 is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX50 and the Olympus TG-4? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- 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.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.2 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/3.4).
- More compact: Is smaller (112x66mm vs 123x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 348g or 58 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 315) 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.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (12 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the SX50 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TG-4 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 SX50 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX50 or the TG-4 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||..||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|9.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|11.||Fujifilm XP140||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||229|
|12.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|13.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||4.5/5||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|14.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|15.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 7D II vs Olympus TG-4
- Canon M50 vs Canon SX50
- Canon SX420 vs Olympus TG-4
- Canon SX50 vs Fujifilm X-A2
- Canon SX50 vs Leica M10
- Canon SX50 vs Leica TL2
- Canon SX50 vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Canon SX50 vs Nikon Z7
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus TG-4
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Olympus TG-4
- Nikon D3100 vs Olympus TG-4
- Olympus TG-4 vs Ricoh WG-60
Specifications: Canon SX50 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 SX50||Olympus TG-4|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9|
|Launch Date||September 2012||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX50||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||12 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||179||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX50||Olympus TG-4|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX50||Olympus TG-4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 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||Built-in Flash||Built-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 SX50||Olympus TG-4|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX50||Olympus TG-4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||315 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
123 x 87 x 106 mm
(4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||595 g (21.0 oz)||247 g (8.7 oz)|
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