Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic TZ90
The Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (labelled Panasonic ZS70 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2017 and April 2017. Both the TG-5 and the TZ90 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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-5 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90? 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-5 and the Panasonic TZ90 is provided 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-5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the TZ90 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus TG-5 and the Panasonic TZ90 are of equal size. However, the TZ90 is markedly heavier (29 percent) than the TG-5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-5 is splash and dust resistant, while the TZ90 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.
Concerning battery life, the TG-5 gets 340 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the TZ90 can take 380 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLG10 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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 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-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||110 mm||71 mm||28 mm||207 g||240||n||Jan 2018||229|
|7.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|8.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|9.||Olympus E-M1 II||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|10.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|11.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: 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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the TZ90 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the TG-5. This megapixels advantage translates into a 30 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the TZ90 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.53μm for the TG-5). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TZ90 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic TZ90 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the TZ90 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus TG-5 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Tough TG-5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 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 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|9.||Olympus E-M1 II||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|11.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the TZ90 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TG-5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus TG-5, the Panasonic TZ90, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Olympus TG-5||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon W300||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus TG-6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/2000s||20.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-M1 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
|10.||Olympus TG-4||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||2330||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic FT7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TZ90 has a touchscreen, while the TG-5 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The TZ90 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-5 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the TZ90 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
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.
Both the TG-5 and the TZ90 have zoom lenses built in. The TG-5 has a 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9 optic and the TZ90 offers a 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic 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-5 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TG-5 and the TZ90 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 DC-TZ90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus TG-5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon W300||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Olympus TG-6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-M1 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus TG-4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Panasonic FT7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
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 TZ90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The TZ90 was replaced by the Panasonic TZ95, 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 how do things add up? Is the Olympus TG-5 better than the Panasonic TZ90 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Tough TG-5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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/3.3).
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 72g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k 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.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TZ90 emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 8 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 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-5 and the Panasonic TZ90 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the TG-5 and the TZ90 in practical situations. 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.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|6.||Fujifilm XP130||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Jan 2018||229|
|7.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|8.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||4.5/5||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|9.||Olympus E-M1 II||5/5||+ +||5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|10.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||..||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|11.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|14.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 400D vs Olympus TG-5
- Canon 650D vs Panasonic TZ90
- Canon XTi vs Olympus TG-5
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Olympus TG-5
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Leica M10 vs Olympus TG-5
- Leica Q2 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Nikon D4S vs Olympus TG-5
- Nikon D60 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Nikon D750 vs Olympus TG-5
- Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony A7S II
Specifications: Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic TZ90
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 TZ90|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|Launch Date||May 2017||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic TZ90|
|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||12 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||36|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||19.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||106|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic TZ90|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic TZ90|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic TZ90|
|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|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-5||Panasonic TZ90|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
113 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||250 g (8.8 oz)||322 g (11.4 oz)|
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