Olympus Tough TG-3 Review

Because it combined rock-solid construction with various action-oriented features and the category’s widest aperture lens, the TG-2 that Olympus released the year before has proven to be a difficult act to follow for the company.

Therefore, the TG-3 does not deviate too much from this formula since it has the same lens and ruggedness credentials but adds a new 16-megapixel CMOS sensor instead of the TG-2’s 12-megapixel chip.

The new sensor included in the TG-3 has a sensitivity range that extends from 100 to 6400 ISO. In addition, it is equipped with the optics from the TG-2, which gives it a 4x optical zoom, a maximum wide-angle aperture of f/2.0, and a focal length range equal to 25-100mm on a 35mm camera.

Olympus Tough TG-3 Price

See: Best Memory Cards for Olympus Tough TG-3

Olympus Tough TG-3 Build Quality

The TG-3 is a big, rather hefty camera by compact camera standards, measuring 111.5 x 65.9 x 31.2 millimeters and weighing 247 grams when it is ready to shoot. But, on the other hand, the mobility you sacrifice comes at the expense of a greater degree of durability.

The Canon D30 and the Nikon AW120 can go deeper underwater than the TG-3, but neither of them can equal the TG-3’s crushproof rating of 100 kg or its general sense of being utterly solid.

The act of dropping specific robust cameras from a height of two meters is an unsettling experience, yet, the TG-3 instills confidence that it can withstand such abuse.

However, you shouldn’t expect the gorgeous paint job on the red-cased version to do an excellent job of hiding scratches, and the text printed on the front panel won’t stay legible for very long, either.

To your good fortune, dropping the camera will probably not happen very frequently. The chunkiness of it provides you with more to grab onto than the majority of compacts, and the front and back hand grips are the most noticeable and ergonomic in the class as a whole.

The battery and card compartment, as well as the cable connection connectors, are hidden behind two doors. Both feel more robust and have better hinges than those on many of the TG-3’s competitors, and both are double-locked to prevent opening by mistake. Both of these features are standard on the TG-3.

The camera controls have also been thoughtfully crafted, with accurate movements without being overly rigid. As a result, even while wearing gloves, it is possible to use the camera’s most important functions, including the power button, the zoom rocker, the shutter release, and the mode dial.

Although, unfortunately, the button to record video on the TG-3 is on the smaller side, the other functions on the camera are well-suited for action photography in challenging environments.

Olympus Tough TG-3 Performance

Unfortunately, the TG-3 is not the fastest camera out of the blocks since it is only ready to shoot in around two seconds. This is disappointing because the camera’s purpose is to capture fast-paced action. However, it falls short in its slow-focusing technology, which takes an extremely long time to lock onto most targets.

Only in the darkest of situations and when using longer focal lengths does the system begin to have trouble keeping up with the pace. This is because the solid AF-assist beam maintains the speed even in low light.

Even when photographing very high contrast settings or pointing directly into the sun, the camera’s exposure metering is of the highest caliber. As a result, it consistently achieves the ideal balance between highlight and shadow detail in the images it captures. Similarly, the automatic white balance may be depended on in a wide variety of lighting settings because it does not tend to produce unusual color casts.

Olympus Tough TG-3 Image Quality

The Olympus Tough TG-3’s low ISO photographs aren’t a good indicator of how the higher settings will turn out. However, the photographs seem fantastic, especially in the highlights and mid-tones, thanks to their crisp edges, clear clarity, and vibrant colors. Some noise suppression is already in effect in the darker sections.

Despite having a back-illuminated sensor and an f/2 lens, this was nevertheless achieved. The results are the same up to ISO 200, but there is a more significant decrease in noise, and some color noise appears in places with low-key contrast.

At an ISO setting of 400, there is a much more significant rise in noise in dark places, and even the mid-tones are beginning to be affected by a breakdown on the sharp edges. In the shadows, distinct blobs of a blue color may be seen.

The subsequent noticeable rise in noise occurs at an ISO setting of 1600, and it manifests as a mixture of salt and pepper in the mid tones. Aside from that, the noise level gradually becomes louder as you progress through the stages.

Olympus Tough TG-3 Specs

Body typeCompact
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Image ratio w h4:3
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorTruePic VII
ISOAuto, 100-6400
Boosted ISO (maximum)12800
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatNo
Focal length (equiv.)25–100 mm
Optical zoom
Maximum apertureF2–4.9
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive Vie. w
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Normal focus range10 cm (3.94″)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39″)
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots460,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed4 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityNo
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject/scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, redeye reduction, fill-in, off, LED
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec, custom)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatH.264, Motion JPEG
Storage typesSD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory
Storage included36MB
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with remote control
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes (waterproof to 15m, shockproof to 2.1m, crushproof to 100kgf, freezeproof to -10C)
DurabilityWaterproof, Shockproof
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLI-92B lithium-ion battery & USB power adapter
Battery Life (CIPA)330
Weight (inc. batteries)247 g (0.54 lb / 8.71 oz)
Dimensions112 x 66 x 31 mm (4.41 x 2.6 x 1.22″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPS noteswith GLONASS, e-compass, landmarks

Olympus Tough TG-3 Verdict

Most hardened cameras have a rough appearance, but very few can match the TG-3’s superb build quality and the sense of assurance that its rugged design provides. However, divers may prefer the 25-meter depth rating of the Canon D30 or the 18-meter underwater capabilities of the Nikon AW120, but the TG-3 can handle just about everything you throw at it.

Because of its electronic compass, user-friendly GPS, depth, and pressure gauges, it is also well suited to assist you when you are off the usual path and in need of assistance.

The new Wi-Fi component is handy for sharing images and more streamlined than many competing systems. In addition, the freshly updated display is a nice feature and a significant advancement compared to the OLED panel seen in the TG-2. It is not only easy to see in direct sunlight but also compliments the controls that have been thoughtfully developed.

Olympus Tough TG-3 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Ergonomic controls
  • Excellent standard of construction
  • Excellent screen
Need improvements
  • Disappointing panoramic mode
  • It is not as waterproof as some of its competitors.
  • Image quality is about average.

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