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Sony RX100 IV versus Olympus TG-5

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV and the Olympus Tough TG-5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2015 and May 2017. Both the RX100 IV and the TG-5 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (RX100 IV) and a 1/2.3-inch (TG-5) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 12 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony RX100 IV vs Olympus TG-5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony RX100 IV and the Olympus TG-5 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the RX100 IV – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony RX100 IV vs Olympus TG-5
Compare RX100 IV versus TG-5 top
Compare RX100 IV and TG-5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus TG-5 is notably larger (26 percent) than the Sony RX100 IV. However, the TG-5 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the RX100 IV. It is noteworthy in this context that the TG-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the RX100 IV 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 RX100 IV gets 280 shots out of its NP-BX1 battery, while the TG-5 can take 340 images on a single charge of its LI-92B power pack.

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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV» 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Olympus TG-5« 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 8.8 oz 340 Y May 2017 449 i i Olympus TG-5
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Nikon W300« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.1 in 8.1 oz 280 Y May 2017 389 i i Nikon W300
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
Panasonic ZS100« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 VI« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.6 oz 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.2 oz 320 n May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.9 oz 350 n Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 TG-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 55 percent) than the RX100 IV, which puts it into a different 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony RX100 IV vs Olympus TG-5

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony RX100 IV features an one-inch sensor and the Olympus TG-5 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TG-5 is 76 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 5.6. The sensor in the RX100 IV has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the TG-5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony RX100 IV and Olympus TG-5 sensor measures

With 20MP, the RX100 IV offers a higher resolution than the TG-5 (12MP), but the RX100 IV nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.53μm for the TG-5) due to its larger sensor. However, the TG-5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the RX100 IV, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

RX100 IV versus TG-5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Olympus TG-5« 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Olympus TG-5
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Nikon W300« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon W300
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-PM1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
Panasonic ZS100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367Sony RX100 II

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).

 

Feature comparison: Sony RX100 IV vs Olympus TG-5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX100 IV has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony RX100 IV and Olympus TG-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV»2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Olympus TG-5«- n 3.0 460 fixed n 2000 20.0 Y Y Olympus TG-5
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Nikon W300« »- n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon W300
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-PM1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
Panasonic ZS100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« »- n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100 II

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the RX100 IV features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the RX100 IV and the TG-5 have zoom lenses build in. The RX100 IV has a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic and the TG-5 offers a 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Olympus, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 IV offers the faster maximum aperture.

The TG-5 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the RX100 IV has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX100 IV was succeeded by the Sony RX100 IV.

Review summary: Sony RX100 IV vs Olympus TG-5

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony RX100 IV or the Olympus TG-5 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12MP) with a 32% higher linear resolution.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1228k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 113x66mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2015).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-5:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 16 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 48g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 280) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Water-proof: Can be used in the rain and for underwater photography (up to 15m).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (55 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 IV emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 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.

RX100 IV 10:08 TG-5

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the RX100 IV or the TG-5. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony RX100 IV»HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Olympus TG-5«HiRec-4/5rev4/5 May 2017 449 i i Olympus TG-5
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Nikon W300« »Rec-4/5-4/5 May 2017 389 i i Nikon W300
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Olympus E-PM1« »86/10071/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
Panasonic ZS100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic ZS100
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX100 VI« »-83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Sony RX100 III« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2014 799- i Sony RX100 III
Sony RX100 II« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749- i Sony RX100 II

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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