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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 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.
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on June 25, 2014
I had this for a week and every time I use it, I kept getting more amazed. Previously I owned a TG-1 and later a TG-2. Between both, there was not much practical difference other than the high speed video and a more flexible macro mode. But TG-3 is several steps above TG-2 with the new sensor and ridiculously superb microscope mode. The level of magnification and clarity is just out of the world. Now, I do a lot of macro work on DSLR and OM-D, owning 2 macro lenses but TG-3 put it into another level in terms of magnification. Macro junkies will definitely going to love this.

Another thing I love is the auto image stacking. Once I got the camera I didn't even bother to put it on a tripod. I just parked my hand on a desk and hold the camera steady while it takes several successive shots. The result is very pleasing although it may not compete against manually stacked images using DSLR. It's fun though and easy to use. Best of all I can share it immediately via smartphone. I am going to mass produce stacked images into instagram soon.

The wifi capability is easy to connect but with my Galaxy Note 3 I have to disable my mobile data otherwise the wifi cannot connect properly. Once it is connected, data transfer is seamless and stable. The app in android is a bit cumbersome to select multiple images so I hope Olympus can improve this soon.

If you want to fully utilize the microscope mode, get the ring light reflector add-on. It really helps to give even lighting and you can just place the camera face down on the subject. I could see individual pixels from my Note 3 which is over 300ppi.

Image quality is excellent for a waterproof compact. It uses the same lens as TG-1 and TG-2 which is a bit disappointing but then that helps to keep the price low. The lens is already an excellent f2! I find the grip to feel much better but the zoom toggle is a bit weirdly place, perhaps time will make me more accustomed to that. Other controls are well placed.

I have yet to explore other functions but from the limited time I have to play with it, I did not regret selling off the TG-2. Haven't yet dunk it at the beach but from my excellent experience with TG-1 and TG-2, I suppose this boy is just as good if not better in terms of waterproofing. It's worth the upgrade. For anyone looking for waterproof compact, give this a serious consideration. I will put a more in-depth review soon in zuikoholics.
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on July 4, 2014
I consider myself an intermediate to advanced Macro Photographer. Which means I take a lot of pictures of bugs and flowers. So, when I heard rumors of a camera that could do "Focus stacking" right in the camera and focus bracketing I preordered one. It arrived today. I installed the very substantial wrist strap, a SD memory chip, (32 gigabytes not included) and the battery (Included) and charged it up. In the meantime I read the quickstart guide, and downloaded the software on the provided CD. It includes the full owner's manual. Then I went for a long walk in the woods and along the local river. Even in "normal" focus mode it allows you to get pretty close. "Micro Mode" is where it really shines. There is an array of functions to help you get good macro images and beyond. In micro mode it can magnify as much as 11.1X. In focus stacking mode it acquires 8 exposures, aligns them, and combines them in such a way that the entire field is in focus. (There are some limits to this wizardry.) So does this replace my big DSLR with a designated Macro lens? No. It does allow me one more arrow in my quiver though when I go for a walk in the woods.

Focus stacking
Extreme macro capability
Water resistant to 50 ft.
Shock resistant
Small and compact
Telephoto, fisheye, and macro light ring accessories available.
Wi-fi, GPS capable, with digital compass.
HD Movie capability.
Fits in pocket
A plethora of modes, filters, and effects are available in camera.

View screen is not articulated (which makes getting those low to the ground macro shots of interesting insects harder)
No real manual focus which is often handy in macro situations.
No "RAW" image available.
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on September 10, 2014
i love this camera! got it just before a diving trip and am sooooo glad i did! lucky for me it's quite intuitive, so easy to figure out on the road/ in the field.

- fantastic macro. truly. several friends have asked what kind of camera i use. not bad for a pocket camera!
- easy to use, intuitive controls and menus, generally well placed buttons and whatnot.
- sturdy, and feels it. i kept it in the side pocket of my bag thru 4wks in indonesia, with not a scratch on it.
- nice underwater settings and correction- forgot to put on underwater mode for part of a dive- what a difference!
- nice photos! very respectable all around point and shoot image quality
- underwater! i accidentally took it to 16.8m and though it was flashing an alarm at me, it survived unscathed. i didn't have a computer on a few dives, but the camera acts as it's own depth meter past 12m or so, giving you some warning. at 15m it flashes a warning on he screen, but keeps working.
- quick! i'm not super technical, so i can't give you exact numbers, but i haven't once been annoyed by the lag time on this camera. i suspect i am used to a certain amount of lag, so less sensitive to it than i used to be, but some digital cameras still make me nuts. not this one.
- battery life- it seemed to go forever! never had a problem with it, and i just got in the habit of recharging it when i got the chance, not because i needed to (phone ran dry infinitely quicker). it would 'sleep' if i didn't use it oftne enough on a dive, so i tended to just keep doing enough to keep it awake for the whole dive (60min)- not a problem during the dive, or the rest of the day.
- price- great deal for the quality and features. i've been on a run of problem cameras (crappy image quality, inconsistent charging, delicate, etc) for several years, but the streak has been broken!!!
- wifi- though it was a bit twitchy initially connecting to my phone (required a reboot once or twice), it mostly worked fine and always transferred my pics. super convenient to be able to use my phone to upload pics and not need to travel with a computer!
- size: i found it perfect for slipping into a pocket on my day pack, or the side pocket on cargo pants. i really liked not worrying about it getting knocked around.

cons: these are nit pics, but perhaps worth noting for some
- the mode select button is easy to move accidentally, so sometimes camera gets switched to a different mode inadvertently while in my pocket. since it usually ends up in macro, i catch it immediately because the camera focus is very unhappy (trying to focus to 1in) and it's easy to switch back.
- only 15m! though the pics wouldn't be much good at deeper depths due to no attached flash, it's a drag for me to limit dives to 15m. meant i only took the camera on my 3rd dive of each day and missed lots of cool photos.
- macro underwater mode is weird. it zooms in super close to the subject, which is hard to adjust to at first (as i mentioned, just got the camera). the pics turned out well, but not many underwater creatures want to sit still while your camera adjusts. the other underwater modes were awesome, i mostly stuck to the underwater action mode, seemed to work well for lots of situations.

overall, i'm super happy with this camera after traveling with it for 6wks. it did well both above and below the water, and held up to some rough travel conditions. i was easily able to transfer pics to my phone, then upload them to the internet for friends and family (even stopped using my phone for most pics because the camera pic quality was so much better and the transfer so relatively easy!). this is the best camera i've had for years, and i'm excited that it seems likely to last me for years to come!
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on May 5, 2015
I bought this camera because it was supposed to be extremely durable and waterproof, at the expense of the higher image quality you could get from a DSLR or other nice non-adventure camera. However, I was very disappointed that not only did I sacrifice image quality for durability, but it turned out not to be waterproof as advertised.

I took the camera camping and backpacking several times, and it seemed to hold up great. It being a somewhat expensive camera, I didn't look to test its durability by subjecting it to abuse, but it certainly withstood the wears of my outdoor adventures.

I tried it underwater for the first time a couple months after purchasing it, and it broke. I took it 35 ft underwater and it seemed fully functional, but within ten minutes of getting out of the water it stopped turning on and I could see water under the screen and under the lens. I had cleaned the seal before entering the water, but somehow water leaked in. I let the camera dry out over the next couple of days, but to no avail.

Seeing as the camera is advertised as waterproof up to 50ft, I looked to Olympus, the seller, and Amazon for some kind of repair or refund. All three entities refused. I would highly recommend not buying this camera should you be looking for a truly waterproof camera. At that, if you will be subjecting this camera to actual abuse, I would be extremely wary as none of the entities that sell/make the camera are going to refund you should the camera fail within even a couple months of purchase. Buy with caution.

If you do choose to buy it, be sure to test out that it is indeed waterproof and shockproof as advertised within two weeks of purchase or you might be stuck with a brand new $400 camera that doesn't work, as I am. Very frustrated and disappointed.
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on November 5, 2014
PROS: I cant say enough good about this camera! I am an amateur photographer who has been playing with photography for the past 20yrs. But I have been living behind my camera for the past 7yrs after a head injury. I have tried some of the High end cameras and so not so great ones. I have repeatedly ditched the Nikons because of the price and the limited features. I had an 700$ Nikon 1 j3 that couldn't beat this camera. Same with a friends I tried who has one of the major expensive ones, but they are bare bones. All you're paying for is the glass, which most often makes no difference anyways.

Its FANTASTIC in low light, like weddings! wet/dry, drop it, Its filters are Perfect for all kinds of uses. Videos Great. I can take it Everywhere and not have it kill my neck, its not slow to capture, shaky hands are mostly not an issue but I find I have to take several shots for a clear one with my shakes at times. Its my go-to camera. And everyone who has had the chance to see what it can do wants to dump their much more expensive cameras for mine. Some have made the switch.

Its crisp and clear in high speed movement weather its you moving in a car or the object of your fancy- like high speed water boats or waves. Videos killer as well.

I love being able to adjust the lighting and such Manually. Its easy and make this camera excel when higher end ones fail.

Ive shot some Incredible stuff with it. One of the things I Love is that it has a description of what every filter does and what situations you would use them in. With memory issues this has been Invaluable to me! I dont have to worry too much when I 'forget' how to use something. I Love the wireless addition. Its a Great improvement/addition. And I use it often with my smart phone. Thats a big deal if you travel and dont have your puter all the time. The Dramatic settings incredible! so many applications! as you can see in the image I took with the goat. I love the Diorama, which in the TG1 was called Miniaturize, for garden pics. Pops the colors perfectly and gives a great effect. Taken some stunners with that feature.

CONS: I would recommend buying this camera with a warrantee however. In the TG2 I had, the inner lens got stuck after about 6 or 8mos of use, a factory defect. Then I got a replacement, but it had some kind of 'dirt' particle come in the lens, Now I have to take back my 3rd one because of both an overheat issue, which might be a defective batterie, and an issue where it will shut off and wont come back on unless I pop the batterie. Both issues could be the batterie? It may be a camera with bugs? but its capabilities make it Worth it. I just have all the luck with everything.

I Wish it had more zoom, thats the one issue I have. I like to shoot wildlife for instance. Even with the zoom lens I wish I could have More! I hope they make a Stronger Zoom lens to use with it that can get full range and not be all in or deal with the black circle type. I do miss having a midrange focus capability. Its a hassle to switch between on/off with it, but its faster and easier attach and detach than any other camera Ive touched.

Every once in a while it wont focus on something in bright daylight, Im not sure why. Its happened only a couple of times. one of those times was trying to get the Giant Cactus I included to come out clear. You can get an Idea of its Dynamic range of capability through many of these images I've taken.

None of the pictures Ive uploaded have been doctored at all.
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on August 7, 2014
So far, so awesome. This isn't a DLSR, so expecting similar image quality is a lot like going to a prostitute and then complaining that you didn't feel loved. What this is is a badass, rugged camera for people who get out and get messy. Despite that, the image quality is surprisingly good. It's the Pretty Woman of cameras, I suppose; it'll kiss you on the lips.
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on November 5, 2014
Bought this camera in July for a vacation in October. Planned to take underwater pictures while snorkeling. The camera worked fine at home in the pool and for the first three days of the vacation. The first time I tried to use it snorkeling, the camera won't even turn on. It's completely dead. I'm sending it in for warranty repair, but failure after 3 months of light use, at the very moment I planned to use it for the only purpose I bought it is just inexcusable.
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on November 8, 2014
Update #1 12/14: I am downgrading the review to three stars because of a problem I am having with large areas of the photos blanketed with a black haze. The areas affected are bright sky or snow and it occurs only in some modes, unfortunately including "program" and "microscope" Representative photos are posted in a Flickr set: (along with some of focus stacking). I will update the review and my rating when Olympus has a chance to weigh in on what's going on.

Update #2 12/14: The Olympus customer service rep says they haven't seen this before and gave me a service repair authorization (warranty repair but shipping on me). Amazon, generous as always, was willing to work with me but is out of stock, and may not be getting more in.
The problem looks like a firmware(image processor)issue to me because it occurs only in certain "modes". Unfortunately these include program and microscope so it seriously limits the usefulness of the camera.
I have a snorkeling trip set up for early January. Hopefully I can get the "repaired" camera back before then. I will update the review (and possibly the star rating) depending on my experience with customer service. One more star deducted for all these issues with a new camera, the uncertainty of getting it back, and my having to pay shipping to send it out. Previous experience with Oly customer service B- does not increase my confidence.

Original review 11/14: Solid waterproof compact with superb macro and more!
The TG-3 is my 6th waterproof camera, and I'm pretty excited to own it. The four stars I'm giving it is based on an early impression and I may upgrade that to five stars once I've owned it a bit longer, at least enough to shoot 500 to 1000 pics with it.

Lots of features including the innovative "microscope" (ultra-macro) with focus stacking and focus bracketing, panorama, HDR, GPS, compass, barometer/altimeter, "art" modes, "stereo" sound
Connectivity options including WiFi, HDMI, mini-USB.
Superb fit and finish! Feels very solid.
Gorgeous 3" screen.
Great layout of knobs, wheels and buttons - the best, in fact of any digital camera I've owned! Center-mounted lens less likely to be covered up by an errant finger.
On screen menu assistance - so no need to refer back to the manual all the time.
Option to add on conversion lenses, filters, a modified ring flash and more.
Above average image quality when compared to same category cameras from competing manufacturers. My first 100 or so images suggest that it's very good - better than I expected.

JPGs only - no raw (uncompressed) image option.
Video quality gets mixed reviews.
Limited (4x) optical zoom.
Limited control over aperture and shutter speed in some modes
No shutter-priority mode - a distinct disadvantage when shooting moving subjects in variable light (where settings may be driven by desire to avoid motion blur).
Lots of nooks and crannies to catch dirt, sand and salt
Hard to set camera down without laying it on lens ring or lcd. Scratch-prone screen according to some reviewers. Scratches are specifically excluded from the warranty. Glass cover in front of lens is minimally protected and may also be prone to scratches.
Manual (PDF on CD or via download from Olympus) provides a general description of the camera and features but not real depth of information.
Two doors double the risk of a leak: one for the battery and sd card, the other for charging cable, HDMI and mini usb.
Layout of buttons, wheels, and toggle may be less handy for lefties.
Small battery which, combined with the large screen may result in short life between charges. (Most reviewers don't think this is a problem).
No separate charger included - instead it is charged via the USB cable - ac adapter included.

Comments about the TG-3: Especially interesting to me were the macro capabilities of this camera, as the typical configuration of my full size digital camera in the field does not permit me to get very close up. The TG-3 is a wizard at image stitching technology - a technique used to generate panoramas, HDR (stacking the same image repeated with multiple different exposures to restore detail to deep shadows and bright highlights) and focus stacking (same image repeated with different focal planes - used to dramatically increase the sharpness of a close up subject front to back). My initial experiments with focus stacking - and focus bracketing - suggest that this feature works very well! (See examples following review).
This camera begs to be accessorized: extra batteries, charger, silicon skin, float strap, lens adapter with filters or conversion lenses, ring flash, etc. Plan on spending another $50 or more depending on what add-ons you will want. Starter accessories that I recommend are listed at the end of the review.

Waterproof point and shoots in general, and Olympus in particular: Although Olympus has been in the "ruggedized" waterproof point and shoot segment for quite a while my experience suggests not to count on it outliving its 12-month limited warranty (download the manual from Olympus for full warranty details: p. 109-10). My last camera in this category was also an Oly Tough Series model. I carried it in my life preserver for a 3-week kayaking trip down the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately its tendency to overexpose highlights severely limited its usefulness in the harsh desert light (and anywhere else on sunny days). It was better in overcast conditions but failed while I was snorkeling at a depth much less than its advertised tolerance. Oly did fix it under warranty but the process was neither seamless not friendly. Sony and Pentax cameras I've owned were much better with regards to highlight exposure. Time will tell if Olympus has improved in this regard - if not then hopefully the HDR mode will bail me out on occasion.

Conclusion / initial impression: this is the sixth waterproof point and shoot I've owned (Minolta, Sony, Pentax x2, Olympus, now x2) and in many ways hands down the nicest. It probably has more features than any other camera I've owned. I'm particularly excited about the microscope (macro) modes and many other features. A large screen and minimally protected lens make it vulnerable to scratches from sand and the like, but this is a camera worth taking good care of. It feels very solid and well designed but is not, of course without some design compromises.

Recommended starter accessories:

adapter/lens cover: Olympus CLA-T01 Conversion Lens Adapter for Olympus TG-1 & TG-2 (Red)
or: Fotasy FAT01 40.5mm Conversion Lens Adapter and Lens Cleaning Cloth Kit for Olympus Tough TG-1 TG-2 TG-3 iHS Camera and Olympus Pens LC-40.5 Front Lens Cap for Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Lens
Silicone sleeve which provides a secure grip and some protection for the screen: Olympus V600082XW000 TG-3 Silicone Camera Jacket CSCH-122 (Gray)
Class 10 SD card: SanDisk Extreme Plus 32GB UHS-1/U3 SDHC Memory Card Up To 80MB/s, Frustration-Free- SDSDXS-32GB-AFFP (Label May Change) The TG-3 supports SD, SDhc as well as the new SDxc standard, which will eventually include capacities up to 2 terabytes. Finest resolution is compressed to about 9MB - 3600 images on a 32GB card.
Olympus V600082XW000 TG-3 Silicone Camera Jacket CSCH-122 (Gray)
Image pairs posted to Flickr show comparison of macro shots without and with focus stacking to increase depth of field (focus front to back). All were taken indoors, without flash. Full resolution may be necessary to appreciate the difference. (
Update#3: After half a year of use and maybe a thousand shutter clicks I can say that this camera is a disappointment. Most often it's poor focus issues, other times it's lackluster color, mediocre low-light performance, inappropriate metering, failure to switch menus, not recording pictures, etc. Therefore I find myself reaching for it less and less. I do hope that some of the more innovative features are picked up by cameras which offer more control, better reliability, and higher image quality.
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on September 4, 2014
This is a truly amazing camera. I am an outdoor enthusiast and this camera does everything it is advertised to do. I am most impressed with the macro capability. I have taken outstanding close-up photos of bugs, flowers, toads and mushrooms. The detail is amazing. The photo stacking mode is incredible. In the macro mode the camera takes several pictures and integrates them into a single photo that has great depth-of field. I checked out the underwater photo capability. The camera has separate settings for this. Again the detail is fantastic. In the auto mode the camera takes sharp photos having excellent color saturation. The only drawback is that the camera, with the supplied lens, does not have great telephoto capabiliy. A separate lens could be purchased for that. If you purchase this camera, also buy the Olympus Tough accessory kit. The included battery will more than justify the cost. The wrist strap does indeed float the camera.

I am updating my review of this camera. I just got back from the Caribbean and took many many underwater photos while free diving with the TG3 Tough. I can only describe this camera as amazing! Even though I was not stationary, the camera took perfect, sharp underwater photos of reef fish, reef creatures and corals. The color saturation was fantastic. The photos were crystal clear even when using the digital zoom. The camera also took wonderful beach photos and sunset photos using the presets. Rarely does a product greatly exceed expectations. This camera does.
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