Monday, May 19, 2014

drag2share: Olympus Stylus TG-3: a ruggedized camera that doesn't suck


In the past, opting for a ruggedized camera has required some serious sacrifices. Whether that's meant comically large housings or mediocre performance, you couldn't get a fantastic point-and-shoot camera that you could also safely take on the slopes, the back of a motorcycle or on SCUBA dives. This year's Olympus Stylus Tough is the first such model I've seen that's worthy of your 350 bucks. A fast lens, speedy focusing and solid image quality make the TG-3 a great option even if you only plan to document your backyard rose garden or a child's first steps, but it'll also handle much more sophisticated shooting situations with ease.

The TG-3 packs the standard suite of high-end point-and-shoot features, including a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, a fast 25-100mm, f/2-4.9 aperture 4x internal zoom lens, integrated WiFi and the same processor Olympus uses in its flagship OM-D E-M1 mirrorless camera. On the sensor front, it can calculate altitude or water depth and air or water pressure, all of which can be displayed on the camera. There's also integrated GPS, which can find your position in 10 seconds or less, attaching location info to individual images. My favorite feature, however, is the optional ($40) LED Light Guide, which redirects light from the camera to a ring around the lens, letting you capture macro shots like a pro.