Olympus TG-3My first digital camera was an Olympus. I really liked it and kept it for so long that it stopped working but still delivered great pictures when it did work. I always look forward to reviewing these models because they are such great cameras. You really can’t help but to like their cameras and the Olympus TG-3 waterproof digital camera is no exception.

My issues with this camera are the price and image quality. It is a bit too expensive, but you have to consider that you are paying for the upgrade, specifically the wireless connection. The image quality is average as it is for most compact cameras. It doesn’t matter if photos are taken at night or in daylight, the image seems to have a haze over it as if the lighting is not bright enough. However, what’s interesting is that video recordings are quite different. The results I’ve seen have yielded true to life, bright and realistic colors.

The TG-3 has all the rugged features as the previous models. There were no major changes made to the camera. The features on it has been updated or expanded from its predecessor the TG-2. These include a redesigned exterior that can still boast the ruggedness features that is known for the Olympus digital cameras. Such as, being a waterproof camera to 50 feet (15m), shockproof to 7 feet (2.1m), freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C), crushproof to 220 pounds (100kgf), and dustproof.

Not only was the exterior was re-tooled, but the camera controls were changed slightly. Also, the TG-3 has a new sensor and processor, wireless connectivity, geo-location features and a distinctive focus stacking function. These enhancements go along with a lower-resolution LCD monitor and a small decrease in battery life.

Features

Monitor: 3.0 inch LCD 16MP, 460K dots
Sensor: CMOS sensor
Zoom: 4x optical/4x digital/16x total zoom; plus 2x super resolution zoom through a high-speed f/2 25-100mm lens for precise zooming and accuracy
Image File Format: Still Image: JPEG; Video: MOV/H.264, AVI/Motion JPEG (High-Speed Movie, Time-Lapse Movie)
Toughness: Waterproof, Crushproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof and Dustproof
Connectivity: Wi-Fi Connectivity: share media on social network sites, Geo-tag photos and more; has GPS & Electronic Compass
Removable Media Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory
Internal Memory: 36MB
Dimensions: 4.4” W x 2.6” H x 1.2” D
Weight: 8.7 oz (with battery)
Battery Life: 380 shots; 120 minutes continuous video shooting
Colors: Black and Red

What’s In The Box

  • TG-3 Digital Camera
  • Wrist Strap & Neoprene case
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (also works with LI-90B)
  • USB Cable
  • AC Adapter
  • Owner Manuals & Software

Olympus TG-3Feature Descriptions

 “Lifeproof” Ruggedness

Olympus likes to describe their waterproof cameras as “lifeproof” because of their sophisticated construction and toughness. For example, the TG-3 is waterproof to 50 feet (15m), shockproof to 7 feet (2.1m), freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C), crushproof to 220 pounds (100kgf), and dustproof. This camera is made to be taken anywhere. You can also mount it on your bike, motorcycle, helmet and any other place you can think of that you want to photograph or record.

LCD Monitor

The Olympus TG-3 has a 3.0-inch LCD monitor. It is the same size as the TG-2, but has less resolution. The TG-2’s screen had a dot count of 610k, whereas the TG-3 has 460k dots. It has a 16MP resolution CMOS sensor versus the 12MP in the TG-2 and both have a 4x optical zoom.

Re-Designed Exterior Body For Camera Controls

The camera controls such as the zoom button on the T3 was re-located from the rear to the top of the camera. Because of this change it frees up space for the new Info button and placing the movie button near the top right corner of the rear panel for a more comfortable reach.  The TG-2 is heavier and a little larger than it’s predecessor, the TG-2.  However, it is still compact enough to fit in your pocket or purse.

WiFi Connectivity

The TG-3 is the only one of the Olympus models that has built-in WiFi, although it doesn’t have NFC. User will need to install the free Olympus Image Share app which turns mobile devices, for example an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet into a remote control for the camera.

Users can  scan a QR code on the camera’s screen to get connected the first time, then simply launch the WiFi mode on the TG-3 and open the Olympus app. Using Wi-Fi, users can share photos with family and friends on social media sites.  Users can also operate the zoom, adjust settings,  AF points and the shutter on the camera remotely.

GPS

The GPS feature can accurately locate the user’s position within 10 seconds. It will also display and record location information to individual images. There is also a built-in e.Compass that offers information on direction, latitude and longitude.  The built-in manometer records elevation and water depth and displays a warning on the camera when the user approaches a depth of 50 feet.

Proprietary Charging Cable

The camera charges over USB, with a proprietary cable.  Olympus doesn’t include an external battery charger, so you’ll have to plug the TG-3 directly into a wall outlet via the included cable and AC adapter in order to recharge the battery.  Also, using a micro HDMI cable, the TG-2 can be plugged into an HDTV to review photos and video.

Olumpus TG-3

TG-3 New Features

Photo Story: New feature that allows users to shoot Instagram size split-photos, with three images in a single frame.

Art Filter:  additional filters used to creatively tweak the look of images

LED Light Guide for macro photography: in-built light guide used to evenly illuminate the subject being photographed.

Underwater macro scene mode: new

Supports interval shooting: Has time between shots of one second to 24 hours, and a 99-frame shot limit.

Focus Stacking function: the first and new Focus Stacking function captures eight different shots continuously, while shifting the focus from the foreground to the background. It extracts and merges only those areas of each image that are in focus and produces a single photo with a focus that spans several centimeters.

Focus bracketing is also available for post-processing of photos and works in a similar manner. It captures ten images, each at a different focal point. It doesn’t blend them together, you will have to do that with  photo editing software. If you choose not to blend, you can choose the image with the best focus point to share with friends and family.

Underwater Macro: a new Scene Mode option, uses the Olympus TG-3’s macro photography to optimize the white balance, color saturation and contrast in underwater scenes.

Consumer Ratings

This is a new camera that debuted in June 2014. There are not many consumer reviews for this model, but those that actually own the camera love it. They are very impressed with the image and video quality. Further, the new features added are a plus, especially WiFi and GPS.   Click here to read more reviews.

                                                                                   The overall rating for the TG-3 is 4.6 out of 5.

Pros

  • Wide aperture f/2 lens
  • Microscope macro mode
  • Waterproof to 50 feet
  • Very quick focus
  • 5fps burst shooting
  • Accepts filters and lens accessories
  • Macro LED light
  • Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Fast turn on, takes photo quickly

Cons

  • Images on the noisy side
  • In-camera battery charging
  • Zoom and focus are audible on video soundtrack
  • Microscope macro mode that supports in-camera focus stacking.

 Accessories

Fish-Eye Converter Lens:allows wide-angle shooting without sacrificing the brightness of the f2.0 lens. Even in darker underwater scenes, you can shoot wider, more dynamic images that reproduce the beauty of the underwater world.

LED Light Guide:   redirects light from the camera to a ring around the lens, allowing the capture of exceptional macro shots

Telephoto Tough Lens Pack: lets you increase the optical zoom ratio by 6.8x – for dramatic close-ups with professional-looking background blur. With the Super-resolution Zoom feature of compatible TG cameras, you can even reach 13.6x magnification. This conversion lens is particularly helpful when shooting long-distance shots enjoying the high brightness even for far away scenes.

PT-056 Underwater Housing: The ultra-rugged TG-3 is waterproof up to 50 feet (15 meters). But if you’re a serious diver, you should pick up the PT-056 underwater case. Its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction extends the TG-3’s waterproofness to a water pressure equivalent of 150 feet (45 meters). Designed to give user complete control of all camera functions.

Colorful float straps: Keeps waterproof cameras from quickly sinking to the bottom

Olympus TG-3

Summary

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3 is being touted as one of the best rugged cameras on the market. This is not something that has been stated by the manufacturer, but by actual consumers or photography enthusiasts. The camera does have a few faults, but not anything that would  negate its effectiveness or operational abilities. It also has several optional accessories that will enhance your picture taking experience and also make your photographs look as if a professional took them.  The TG-3 is expensive at $349, but you can relax knowing that it cost less than its predecessor the TG-2. I think based on the reviews from consumers, the Olympus TG-3 should be given serious consideration.

Granted, the camera has undergone some minor changes in button style and texture. All of it appears to be for the comfort of the consumer. The toggle is ribbed which creates a better grip when shooting. The on/off switch also has a textured feel that makes it easier to turn on the TG-3 while under water.  A new thumb grip makes holding the camera easier. Finally, the finger rail was given a slightly rougher texture that also make it easier to hold.

Video

This video is by the manufacturer and shows the Tough performance of the TG-3. It shows the features of the camera that includes macro performance, the new smartphone app that makes Assist GPS information easy to update when on the go. The ease of use when taking photographs.

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Filed under: Best Waterproof Camera Reviews

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