Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic GF1
The Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2017 and September 2009. The TG-5 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TG-5) and a Four Thirds (GF1) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus TG-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-12800||ISO 100-3200|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|20 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Waterproof body (nom)||Not weather sealed|
|340 shots per battery charge||380 shots per battery charge|
|113 x 66 x 32 mm, 250 g||119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-5 and the Panasonic GF1. 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-5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the GF1 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 Panasonic GF1 is notably larger (13 percent) than the Olympus TG-5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-5 is splash and dust resistant, while the GF1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the TG-5 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-5 has a lens built in, whereas the GF1 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 GF1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the TG-5 gets 340 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the GF1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack. The power pack in the TG-5 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Olympus TG-5»||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.8 oz||340||Y||May 2017||449||Olympus TG-5|
|Panasonic GF1«||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon SX740« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||Canon SX730|
|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-6« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.9 oz||340||Y||May 2019||449||Olympus TG-6|
|Olympus TG-4« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.2 in||8.7 oz||380||Y||Apr 2015||379||Olympus TG-4|
|Olympus E-PM1« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus XZ-1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic TS7« »||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449||Panasonic TS7|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH1« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX99« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|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-5 was launched at a lower price than the GF1, 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus TG-5 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GF1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF1 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the GF1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.53μm for the TG-5), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the TG-5 is much more recent (by 7 years and 8 months) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Olympus Tough TG-5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus TG-5||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus TG-5|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon SX740||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX730|
|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-6||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus TG-6|
|Olympus TG-4||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus TG-4|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus XZ-1||1/1.7||10.1||3664||2752||720/30p||18.8||10.4||117||34||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic TS7||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic TS7|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX99||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX99|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the TG-5 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The TG-5 and the GF1 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 GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus TG-5 and Panasonic GF1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y||Olympus TG-5|
|Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon SX740||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP130||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-6||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y||Olympus TG-6|
|Olympus TG-4||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus TG-4|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic TS7||1170||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic TS7|
|Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX99||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
The Olympus TG-5 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 TG-5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards. The TG-5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 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-5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus TG-5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus TG-5|
|Panasonic GF1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF1|
|Canon SX740||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Fujifilm XP130||-||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm XP130|
|Nikon W300||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon W300|
|Olympus TG-6||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus TG-6|
|Olympus TG-4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus TG-4|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic TS7||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic TS7|
|Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GX1|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GH1|
|Panasonic G1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
|Sony HX99||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
It is notable that the TG-5 offers wifi support, while the GF1 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-5 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the TG-5 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the TG-5 was followed by the Olympus TG-6. 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-5 and the Panasonic GF1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus Tough TG-5:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 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: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x66mm vs 119x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the GF1).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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 7 years and 8 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- 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.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 September 2009).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TG-5 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 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 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 Olympus TG-5 and the Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TG-5 or the GF1. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D C vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon XSi vs Panasonic GF1
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Panasonic GF1
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Olympus TG-5
- Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus TG-5
- Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic FZ150
- Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic FZ82
- Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic S1H
- Olympus TG-5 vs Samsung NX500
- Olympus TG-5 vs Sony NEX-5T
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5T
Specifications: Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic GF1
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-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2017||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12800 ISO||100-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||513|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic GF1|
|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-5||Panasonic GF1|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
113 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||250 g (8.8 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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