Canon T3 vs Olympus TG-4
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 (called Canon 1100D in some regions) and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2011 and April 2015. The T3 is a DSLR, while the TG-4 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3) and a 1/2.3-inch (TG-4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3 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 T3 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-4 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T3 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 (43 percent) than the Canon T3. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the T3 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 T3 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 T3 and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the T3 gets 700 shots out of its LP-E10 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 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 T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Fujifilm XP130||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Jan 2018||229||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389||amazon.com|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449||amazon.com|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 lower price than the T3, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus TG-4 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TG-4 is 91 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 T3 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 higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the T3. 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 5.15μm for the T3). However, it should be noted that the TG-4 is much more recent (by 4 years and 2 months) than the T3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
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 T3 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The Olympus Tough TG-4 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
In terms of underlying technology, the T3 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the TG-4 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|6.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|17.||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 are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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 better video resolution than the T3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T3, the Olympus TG-4, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon T100||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T6||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Fujifilm XP130||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3 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 T3 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 T3 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 T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon T100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon T6||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Fujifilm XP130||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the T3 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 T3 and the TG-4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The T3 was replaced by the Canon T5, while the TG-4 was followed by the Olympus TG-5. Further information on the features and operation of the T3 and TG-4 can be found, respectively, in the Canon T3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus TG-4 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T3 and the Olympus TG-4? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3:
- 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.
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
- 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 February 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 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 T3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x66mm vs 130x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T3).
- 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 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the T3 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 (18 : 10 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 T3 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the T3 or the TG-4. 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], 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 T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||..||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T100||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon T6||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon XS||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Fujifilm XP130||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Jan 2018||229||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389||amazon.com|
|15.||Olympus TG-6||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449||amazon.com|
|16.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon T3
- Canon 550D vs Olympus TG-4
- Canon M50 vs Canon T3
- Canon T3 vs Fujifilm XP140
- Canon T3 vs Leica C-LUX
- Canon T3 vs Sony A68
- Canon T3 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica M10-P vs Olympus TG-4
- Leica SL vs Olympus TG-4
- Olympus TG-4 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Olympus TG-4 vs Sony A6500
- Olympus TG-4 vs Sony RX10 IV
Specifications: Canon T3 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 T3||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||February 2011||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3||Olympus TG-4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.0 x 14.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||323.4 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.5 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2848 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.15 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.76 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||755||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3||Olympus TG-4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3||Olympus TG-4|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 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||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3||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 T3||Olympus TG-4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 100 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||495 g (17.5 oz)||247 g (8.7 oz)|
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