Top positive review
151 people found this helpful
Incredibly pleased with my TG-3, with just a couple nits.
on July 23, 2014
First, a confession: I did not buy mine from Amazon. I got it from a competitor because I needed it in time for a Maui vacation, and Amazon's suppliers were playing games with the shipping times. Shame on them!
Now, as for the camera....the REAL reason you're reading this review! Since I got it in time, I had it in my hot little hands for the entire Maui trip. What better way to test something than a trial by fire! And water, but I'll get to that in a second. We were pretty active on this trip, and we went up cliffs, down waterfalls, out on the beach, and deep in the water, and this camera went with us everywhere. The scene modes are wonderful for an average photographer like myself. The macro function on this is stunning...and I mean incredibly so. I got some close-up shots of things like ants on flowers, and bees on lavender, where every hair and segmented joint comes up in clear detail.
This camera got banged up a little. Of course, you never ever want to TRY to test out the whole "shock resistant" claim, but there were a couple times when the camera got knocked around over some rough terrain while it was on my wrist. There are a couple scratches on the case, and some marks on the back display, but the lens perfect and the photo-taking ability never wavered.
For my own use, I would say that the underwater features of this camera really stood out. I love to be in the water, and the reefs around Maui are filled with colorful fish and corals and more than a few Honu. Go ahead, look that up. I'll wait. Back now? Great! Anyway, I wanted to capture some of those wonderful experience, and I have been disappointed in underwater cameras and cheap cases in the past. This camera blows the competition...er.....out of the water (I am SO sorry for that one). Seriously, this is the best entry-level camera I have ever seen for underwater shots. YOu have THREE different scene settings specifically for underwater use, all of which do a good job of preprocessing the white balance of the image to compensate for the blue. I was shooting in different conditions, from crystal clear to 5-foot visibility murky water, and the shots all came out well. A word of warning...turn the flash off in 90% of underwater circumstances. Since this is a standard "cheapie" flash, all it does is illuminate the floating motes between you and your subject, and nobody likes a picture of underwater snow. I spent most of my time using a couple scene modes (landscape, water scenes, sunset, & action), the auto mode, and Aperture Priority mode. I didn't get deeper into the camera settings than that. It's nice that you can switch frm 4:3 dimension to 16:9 and a few others with just the click of a button.
The battery life is good and long, but I'll caution you to have at least one more battery on most trips. When the battery icon goes down to one bar, you tend to not have long before you're done. Always smart to have a spare, and decent aftermarket spares are available here on Amazon (and those I DID get here!). I know it seems silly to review a camera's STRAP, but this one deserves a mention. No flimsy cord attaching camera to strap here! Olympus must really expect you to get some use out of this camera, because the strap is strong and well-secured to the camera body...NO chance of this bad boy coming loose.
I hate to say it, but there ARE some complaints. Not a lot, but these are worth noting:
First and possibly the most important: The LED display screen. Sure, the size is nice. And the image is sharp. But the actual glass screen....well, it stinks! Think early iphone. It scratches surprisingly (and depressingly) easy. My camera is now 3 weeks old, and I have a number of small scratches and chips on the rear display glass from a couple hikes where it was inconvenient to have the camera stowed in its neoprene case all the time. For a camera that was built to be rough and rugged, I did NOT expect this. I admit to being a little disappointed in Olympus for not catching this flaw. This certainly does not affect the camera's performance, but it's irritating to see and worth noting for this review.
Second, and possibly an operator error, but worth noting: the panoramic setting was terrible. I'm glad I know how to stitch in photoshop (ps, it's very easy and there are a lot of online tutorials for it!) because the internal panoramic stitching was just laughable in EVERY SINGLE shot I tried with that setting. And like an idiot, I kept trying.
I am giving this 4 stars because of the glass display issue. Yes, I do think it's that important. Everything else on this camera is great, and if that issue was fixed, this would be a 5-star review. Despite that problem, I would certainly recommend this camera to anyone looking for a good point-and-shoot...with the caution that you should also get a pack of clear display protectors. If they're not available yet, they certainly will be soon.