Olympus Stylus TG-3 review

When the going gets tough, the tough get… an Olympus TG-3

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Most toughened cameras are tough on paper, but few can match the TG-3's exceptional build quality and confidence-inspiring rugged feel. Divers may prefer the Canon D30's 25-metre depth rating or the 18-metre underwater ability of the Nikon AW120, but otherwise the TG-3 will cope with pretty much anything you could throw at it. It's also well equipped to help you out when you're off the beaten track thanks to its electronic compass, easy GPS system, depth and pressure gauges.

The new Wi-Fi addition is also slicker than many competing systems and is useful for image sharing. The newly-revised screen is another welcome addition and a marked improvement over the OLED monitor in the TG-2. It's easily visible in bright sunlight and complements the well-designed controls.

Unfortunately the TG-3's image quality isn't as impressive. It's enough to rival other current tough cameras, but other non-ruggedized cameras equipped with the same size of sensor can produce more detail and cleaner results at high ISO sensitivities. Even so, the TG-3's new 16MP device resolves decent detail in good light, whilst accurate exposure metering and vibrant colour reproduction give images an attractive first impression.

We liked

Rock-solid toughness, carefully-considered controls and ergonomics, plus several useful action-orientated features make the TG-3 well suited to extreme photography. The new sensor and screen are also welcome upgrades over the TG-2's tech and help make the new camera a great all-rounder.

We disliked

A 15-metre waterproof depth rating is now outclassed by the Canon D30 and Nikon AW120, whilst the automatic panorama mode is in dire need of improvement. Image quality is also nothing special, though it's no worse than that of its rivals.

Final verdict

The TG-3 doesn't stand out significantly from the tough camera competition in any one area, but its combination of superb toughness, extensive action-orientated features and ease of use are good enough to give it the edge over its rivals. Image quality is unremarkable but pleasing at lower sensitivities and acceptable up to ISO1600 if you're not too picky.

All this quality and versatility doesn't come cheap though, as at £349.99/$349.99 the TG-3 is pricier than all its rivals. However, if you need a camera that's built and equipped for life well off the beaten track, the Olympus TG-3 is worth the money.