Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
The Olympus Tough TG-4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2015 and August 2018. Both the TG-4 and the HX99 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-6400||ISO 80-3200 (80-6400)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Waterproof body (nom)||Not weather sealed|
|380 shots per battery charge||370 shots per battery charge|
|112 x 66 x 31 mm, 247 g||102 x 58 x 36 mm, 242 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Tough TG-4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? 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: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
The physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-4 and the Sony HX99 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 HX99 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 Sony HX99 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Olympus TG-4. Moreover, the HX99 is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the TG-4. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-4 is splash and dust resistant, while the HX99 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 battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Olympus TG-4»||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.2 in||8.7 oz||380||Y||Apr 2015||379||-||Olympus TG-4|
|Sony HX99«||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||-||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP140« »||4.3 in||2.8 in||1.1 in||7.3 oz||240||n||Feb 2019||229||Fujifilm XP140|
|Fujifilm XP130« »||4.3 in||2.8 in||1.1 in||7.3 oz||240||n||Jan 2018||229||-||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-5« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.8 oz||340||Y||May 2017||449||Olympus TG-5|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||16.5 oz||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic TS7« »||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449||Panasonic TS7|
|Ricoh WG-6« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.7 oz||340||Y||Feb 2019||399||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sony HX95« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||429||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.2 oz||370||n||Oct 2018||399||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.3 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||499||Sony HX400V|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 TG-4 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 16 percent) than the HX99, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
Sensor comparison: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the HX99 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the TG-4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 6 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the HX99 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 1.33μm for the TG-4). However, it should be noted that the HX99 is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the TG-4, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX99 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX99 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX99 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inch or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inch or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus TG-4 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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.
|Olympus TG-4»||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus TG-4|
|Sony HX99«||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Sony HX99|
|Canon SX730« »||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP140« »||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/15p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm XP140|
|Fujifilm XP130« »||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300« »||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-5« »||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus TG-5|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic TS7« »||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Panasonic TS7|
|Ricoh WG-6« »||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sony HX95« »||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Sony HX400V|
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 HX99 provides a better video resolution than the TG-4. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX99 has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TG-4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus TG-4 and Sony HX99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Olympus TG-4»||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus TG-4|
|Sony HX99«||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Canon SX730« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP140« »||-||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm XP140|
|Fujifilm XP130« »||-||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300« »||-||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-5« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y||Olympus TG-5|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic TS7« »||1170||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic TS7|
|Ricoh WG-6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.0||Y||n||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sony HX95« »||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||-||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||210||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX400V|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the TG-4 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The HX99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the TG-4 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 TG-4 and the HX99 have zoom lenses built in. The TG-4 has a 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9 optic and the HX99 offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony 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.
The TG-4 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The TG-4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the HX99 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
Connectivity comparison: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus TG-4»||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus TG-4|
|Sony HX99«||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Canon SX730« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP140« »||-||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm XP140|
|Fujifilm XP130« »||-||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-5« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus TG-5|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic TS7« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic TS7|
|Ricoh WG-6« »||-||mono||mono||-||-||micro||3.0||-||-||-||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sony HX95« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX400V|
The HX99 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the TG-4 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TG-4 was succeeded 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 Sony websites.
Review summary: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus TG-4 and the Sony HX99? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of 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/3.5).
- 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).
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (16 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2015).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 112x66mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the TG-4 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX99 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 HX99 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.
Expert reviews: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|Olympus TG-4»||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379||-||Olympus TG-4|
|Sony HX99«||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|Canon SX730« »||+||-||4/5||-||4/5||Apr 2017||399||-||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP140« »||-||-||-||-||-||Feb 2019||229||Fujifilm XP140|
|Fujifilm XP130« »||o||-||3.5/5||-||4/5||Jan 2018||229||-||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300« »||+||-||4/5||-||4/5||May 2017||389||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-5« »||+ +||-||4/5||o||4/5||May 2017||449||Olympus TG-5|
|Olympus E-M5 II« »||+ +||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Panasonic TS7« »||+||-||-||-||3.5/5||May 2018||449||Panasonic TS7|
|Ricoh WG-6« »||-||-||-||-||-||Feb 2019||399||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sony HX95« »||-||-||-||-||-||Aug 2018||429||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||-||-||-||-||-||Oct 2018||399||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||+ +||-||4/5||-||4/5||Feb 2014||499||Sony HX400V|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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: Olympus TG-4 vs Sony HX99
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||Sony HX99|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||April 2015||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||80-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VII||BIONZ X|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|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||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-4||Sony HX99|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Type||LI-92B power pack||NP-BX1 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 66 x 31 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||247 g (8.7 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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