Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus TG-4
The Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus Tough TG-4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and April 2015. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the TG-4 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and a 1/2.3-inch (TG-4) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 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 Leica Digilux 3 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 Leica Digilux 3 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-4 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the Digilux 3 is only available in silver.
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 Leica Digilux 3. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust-proof, while the Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|4.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Feb 2019||229|
|6.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|8.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|9.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|10.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|11.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|12.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|15.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|17.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Note: 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 lower price than the Digilux 3, 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Olympus TG-4 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TG-4 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the TG-4 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the Digilux 3. 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 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the TG-4 is much more recent (by 8 years and 7 months) than the Digilux 3, 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 Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica Digilux 3 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).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|11.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|14.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|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 can also record movies. The TG-4 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Digilux 3 does not. The highest resolution format that the TG-4 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Digilux 3 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 Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus TG-4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||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 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus TG-6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||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 Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 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 Leica Digilux 3 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.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Olympus TG-6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica Digilux 3 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 Leica Digilux 3:
- 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 (750 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 47%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 207k 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 Digilux 3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x66mm vs 146x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Digilux 3).
- 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 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 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 (18 : 11 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 Leica Digilux 3 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the TG-4 perform in practice. 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 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.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|2.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||..||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|3.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|4.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||229|
|6.||Leica M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|8.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|9.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||4.5/5||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|10.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|11.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|12.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|15.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|17.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 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||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus TG-4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9|
|Launch Date||September 2006||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus TG-4|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus TG-4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Digilux 3||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|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus TG-4|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus TG-4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (15m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
146 x 87 x 77 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)||247 g (8.7 oz)|
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