Olympus TG-6 vs Sony HX99
The Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2019 and August 2018. Both the TG-6 and the HX99 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 Sony provides 18 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-6 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-6 and the Sony HX99 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-6 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 (21 percent) than the Olympus TG-6. Moreover, the HX99 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the TG-6. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-6 is splash and dust resistant, while the HX99 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the TG-6 is water-proof up to 15m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
Concerning battery life, the TG-6 gets 340 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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, 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-6||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.9 oz||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|Sony HX99||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Nikon W300||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|Olympus TG-5||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.8 oz||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|Olympus TG-4||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.2 in||8.7 oz||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus XZ-1||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|Panasonic TS7||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Ricoh WG-6||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.7 oz||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony HX95||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.2 oz||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|Sony HX90V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|Sony HX400V||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.3 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 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.
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 12 MP of the TG-6. This megapixels advantage translates into a 22 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 1.53μm for the TG-6). Moreover, it should be noted, that the TG-6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the HX99, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus TG-6 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-6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. 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 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 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 also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
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-6 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-6, the Sony HX99, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the TG-6 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-6 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Olympus TG-6 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-6 and the HX99 have zoom lenses built in. The TG-6 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-6 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The TG-6 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-6 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the TG-6 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the TG-6 and the HX99 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The TG-6 replaced the earlier Olympus TG-5, while the HX99 does not have a direct predecessor. 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus TG-6 better than the Sony HX99 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-6:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- 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/3.5).
- 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).
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the HX99).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- 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 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.
- 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 113x66mm) 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX99 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 9 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 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-6 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 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 TG-6 or the HX99 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Olympus TG-6||+ +||76/100||4/5||..||4/5||May 2019||449|
|Sony HX99||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Nikon W300||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||May 2017||389|
|Olympus TG-5||+ +||..||4/5||o||4/5||May 2017||449|
|Olympus TG-4||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus XZ-1||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|Panasonic TS7||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Ricoh WG-6||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|Sony HX90V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Sony HX400V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Olympus TG-6
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony HX99
- Canon 7D vs Olympus TG-6
- Canon T100 vs Olympus TG-6
- Canon T5i vs Sony HX99
- Nikon B600 vs Sony HX99
- Nikon B700 vs Sony HX99
- Nikon D300 vs Olympus TG-6
- Nikon D5600 vs Olympus TG-6
- Olympus TG-6 vs Sony A7
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony HX99
- Sony HX99 vs Sony NEX-5R
Specifications: Olympus TG-6 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-6||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||May 2019||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-6||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||12 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||64.04 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||BIONZ X|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-6||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||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-6||Sony HX99|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||20 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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-6||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|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-6||Sony HX99|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||370 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)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||253 g (8.9 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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