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Canon SX720 vs Olympus TG-4

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and April 2015. Both the SX720 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 20.2 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX720 versus Olympus TG-4
Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 100-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWaterproof body (15m)
250 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 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 SX720 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX720 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).

Size Canon SX720 vs Olympus TG-4
Compare SX720 versus TG-4 top
Comparison SX720 or TG-4 rear

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 (5 percent) than the Canon SX720. However, the TG-4 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the SX720. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX720 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 SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Olympus TG-4 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.2 in 8.7 oz 380 Y Apr 2015 379i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm XP140 4.3 in 2.8 in 1.1 in 7.3 oz 240 Y Feb 2019 229 i
 
Nikon W300 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.1 in 8.1 oz 280 Y May 2017 389 i
 
Olympus TG-6 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 8.9 oz 340 Y May 2019 449 i
 
Olympus TG-5 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 8.8 oz 340 Y May 2017 449i
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
 
Sony HX80 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Canon SX720 and Olympus TG-4 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the TG-4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX720 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the TG-4). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SX720 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 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 SX720 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX720 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX720 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Tough TG-4 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX720 versus TG-4 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Olympus TG-4 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Fujifilm XP140 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/15p........
 
Nikon W300 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
 
Olympus TG-6 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p........
 
Olympus TG-5 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p........
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX720 provides a higher frame rate than the TG-4. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX720 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 SX720, the Olympus TG-4, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Olympus TG-4none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm XP140none n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Nikon W300none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
 
Olympus TG-6none n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/2000s 20.0 Y Y
 
Olympus TG-5none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 20.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 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 SX720 and the TG-4 have zoom lenses built in. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 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 SX720 and the TG-4 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

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 SX720 HS and Olympus Tough TG-4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Olympus TG-4-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Fujifilm XP140-monomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Nikon W300-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Olympus TG-6-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Olympus TG-5-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

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 SX720 and the TG-4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The TG-4 was replaced by the Olympus TG-5, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX720 better than the Olympus TG-4 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 10 months after the TG-4).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus Tough TG-4:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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/3.3).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 250) 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.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX720 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 8 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.

SX720 10:08 TG-4

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX720 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX720 and the TG-4 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Olympus TG-4+79/1004/54/54/5 Apr 2015 379i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm XP140+..3.5/5..4/5 Feb 2019 229 i
 
Nikon W300+..4/5..4/5 May 2017 389 i
 
Olympus TG-6+ +76/1004/5..4/5 May 2019 449 i
 
Olympus TG-5+ +..4/5o4/5 May 2017 449i
 
Panasonic ZS70+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
 
Sony HX90V+ +..4/5..4.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX720:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus TG-4:
Check Ebay offers

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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    Specifications: Canon SX720 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9
    Launch Date February 2016 April 2015
    Launch Price USD 379 USD 379
    Sensor Specs Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 TruePic VII
    Screen Specs Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-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 UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX720 Olympus TG-4
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro 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 SX720 Olympus TG-4
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWaterproof body (15m)
    Battery Type NB-13L LI-92B
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 110 x 64 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    112 x 66 x 31 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 270 g (9.5 oz) 247 g (8.7 oz)

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