Olympus TG-4 vs Panasonic LX7
The Olympus Tough TG-4 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2015 and July 2012. Both the TG-4 and the LX7 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TG-4) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX7) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 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 Olympus Tough TG-4 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-4 and the Panasonic LX7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-4 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the LX7 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX7 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Olympus TG-4. Moreover, the LX7 is markedly heavier (21 percent) than the TG-4. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust resistant, while the LX7 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 TG-4 gets 380 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the LX7 can take 330 images on a single charge of its DMW-BCJ13 power pack. The power pack in the TG-4 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along 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.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|2.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|3.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||Y||Feb 2019||229|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||n||Jan 2018||229|
|7.||Fujifilm XP120||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||203 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||229|
|8.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|9.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|10.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|11.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|15.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|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 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 TG-4 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the LX7, 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Olympus TG-4 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic LX7 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX7 is 50 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 4.65. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The LX7 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Olympus TG-4 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Panasonic LX7. 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 2.05μm for the LX7). However, it should be noted that the TG-4 is much more recent (by 2 years and 8 months) than the LX7, 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 Panasonic LX7 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Tough TG-4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the LX7 provides a faster frame rate than the TG-4. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The TG-4 and the LX7 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. That said, the LX7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus TG-4, the Panasonic LX7, and comparable cameras.
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
The Olympus TG-4 and the Panasonic LX7 both have 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 TG-4 and the LX7 have zoom lenses built in. The TG-4 has a 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9 optic and the LX7 offers a 24-90mm f/1.4-2.3 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Olympus, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The LX7 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TG-4 and the LX7 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 LX7 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 Olympus Tough TG-4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the TG-4 offers wifi support, while the LX7 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
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 TG-4 and the LX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The LX7 was replaced by the Panasonic LX10, 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 Olympus and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus TG-4 and the Panasonic LX7? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Tough TG-4:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 10MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 51g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the LX7 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7:
- 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.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.4 vs f/2.0).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 12 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 Olympus TG-4 and the Panasonic LX7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TG-4 or the LX7 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|2.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|3.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Fujifilm XP140||..||+||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||229|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||..||o||..||3.5/5||4/5||Jan 2018||229|
|7.||Fujifilm XP120||..||o||..||3.5/5||4/5||Jan 2017||229|
|8.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|9.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|10.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|11.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|15.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Olympus TG-4 vs Panasonic LX7
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||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||24-90mm f/1.4-2.3|
|Launch Date||April 2015||July 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||7.44 x 5.58 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||41.5152 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||9.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||2.05 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||24.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VII||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||147|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based 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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-4||Panasonic LX7|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
111 x 68 x 46 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||247 g (8.7 oz)||298 g (10.5 oz)|
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