Canon T1i vs Olympus TG-4
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (called Canon 500D in some regions) and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2009 and April 2015. The T1i is a DSLR, while the TG-4 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T1i) and a 1/2.3-inch (TG-4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 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 EOS Rebel T1i 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 physical size and weight of the Canon T1i and the Olympus TG-4 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-4 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T1i 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 (42 percent) than the Canon T1i. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the T1i 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 above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TG-4 has a lens built in, whereas the T1i is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the T1i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the T1i gets 400 shots out of its LP-E5 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|7.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|9.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Fujifilm XP140||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Feb 2019||229|
|14.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|17.||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The TG-4 was launched at a lower price than the T1i, despite having a lens built in. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T1i features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus TG-4 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TG-4 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the T1i has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the TG-4 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the TG-4 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the T1i. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 4.69μm for the T1i). However, it should be noted that the TG-4 is much more recent (by 6 years) than the T1i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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 assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the TG-4 provides a faster frame rate than the T1i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/20p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T1i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TG-4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T1i and Olympus TG-4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|17.||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.
The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the TG-4 uses SDXC cards. The TG-4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T1i 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 EOS Rebel T1i and Olympus Tough TG-4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the T1i 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 T1i and the TG-4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T1i was replaced by the Canon T2i, 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 the Canon T1i better than the Olympus TG-4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- 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 March 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/20p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T1i requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x66mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T1i).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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 introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the T1i launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TG-4 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 T1i and the Olympus TG-4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T1i 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon T100||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|7.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|9.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Fujifilm XP140||..||+||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||229|
|14.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon T1i 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 T1i||Olympus TG-4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9|
|Launch Date||March 2009||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T1i||Olympus TG-4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/20p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.7||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon T1i||Olympus TG-4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T1i||Olympus TG-4|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.4 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T1i||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 T1i||Olympus TG-4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||247 g (8.7 oz)|
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