Olympus Tough TG-3 review

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LCD has 3 inch diagonal and 460,000 dots. It is reasonably good, but one could always wish for a 900,000 dots. Viewing angles are excellent; you can see the LCD from almost any angle.


The 16 megapixel sensor in TG-3 is a bit bigger than in most cheap cameras – 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm). Sadly, noise reduction in still visible in images even on low ISO values but it is not a disaster – I have seen much worse.  Still, I’ve seen better and Nikon P340 comes to my mind first (review coming soon) but that is not a waterproof camera so it can’t be compared directly. The sensor in Olympus TG-3 also has mechanical image stabilization built-in: it moves to compensate camera shake.

After a bit of experimenting, I found best results can be produced in P mode, taking care of white balance manually if not on a sunny day and selecting “Vivid” color option since the images at the default “natural” look to anemic for my taste.


Olympus TG-3 uses Li-Ion battery which is strong enough for around 200 shots what is average in compact camera class. Standard SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards are supported. TG-3 has micro HDMI output and USB connector. USB is not of the standard kind – you need a special Olympus cable which may be hard to come by when the original gets chewed by your hamster.


Auto focus is very fast for compact camera standards. It focuses under a second in good light and takes a bit more in lower light conditions. Overall operational speed of the TG-3 is also good. It does take a second or two to turn on, but everything else like image playback and menus is displayed in under a second or even instantly (quick menu) so I don’t think anyone should have major complaints on this camera in terms of responsiveness.


Video can be recorded at maximum quality of 1920×1080 at 30fps. Two lower resolutions are also available – 1280×720 and 640×480, but the most interesting might be the slow-motion options: 120 fps at 640×480 and 240fps at 320×240. Stereo microphone is built-in.

Video quality is quite good actually, especially at low light. You can see videos are recorded with a small compact but it is above average and my expectations. Details in videos are mostly preserved and auto focus is very fast. Main downside to videos is the slight instability, like the image stabilization cannot fully stabilize the picture, but check the samples and judge them youself.

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