Olympus Tough TG-310 Review

Waterproof

14 Megapixels    3.6x Zoom

Dimensions: 96.3 x 63.4 x 22.7 mm    Weight: 155g

Good Points: Robust features, in camera help guide, key settings appear on LCD screen

Bad Points: LCD screen quality, picture quality, weak flash


Olympus Tough TG-310 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Olympus Tough TG-310 can be used around the pool and on the ski slopes. It can also cope with the odd bump and bruise. It is waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof. In terms of operation the Tough TG-310 works as a simple point and shoot digital camera. This gives you a combination of an easy to use, robust digital camera.

This camera will fit into a pocket, but the pocket needs to be pretty large. Olympus has made the Tough TG-310 in five different colours. These are orange, silver, white, red and blue.

Why Buy the Olympus Tough TG-310

The main attractions are the robust features. This type of digital camera tends to be popular with two types of buyer. These are people that travel and are likely to use a digital camera in testing conditions and families that are looking for a camera that can be used around the pool and can survive the occasional drop from small hands.

Features

Robust features include being waterproof to 3m, shockproof to drops from heights of 1.5m and freezeproof to temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade.

The 3.6x zoom lens has wide angle capabilities. Its focal length is equivalent to 28 - 102mm in 35mm format. Olympus have built in image stabilisation to the lens to help protect your photos against blur caused by any camera shake.

One feature included on this camera that has recently started to find its way into digital cameras is the ability to shoot 3D still images. You can also shoot High Definition movies.

For composing shots there is a 2.7 inch LCD screen.

You also have the ability to upload your photos and video clips wirelessly through this camera's compatibility with Eye-Fi memory cards. These are a special type of memory card that is able to transmit your photos to a computer that has wireless capability. The Tough TG-310 is also compatible with more standard SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

Most of the other features available are fairly typical for this type of camera. They include a wide range of preset scene modes, the ability to fine tune white balance and select an ISO rating.

Image Quality

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

This photo is over exposed. This results in detail being lost from the lightest areas of the shot. As you will be able to see there is little detail showing on the boats. The upside is that shady areas are brighter than usual and quality in those areas is better than I am used to seeing. On balance though, a worrying amount of detail is lost from large areas of the photo. This photo does have a lot of contrast with the white boats and darker foliage. It looks like this combination is difficult for the Tough TG-310 to deal with.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Without the white boats dominating the scene the Tough TG-310 finds it easier to get the exposure right. There are a number of plus points in this picture. Sharpness is above average, there are no signs of purple fringing and vertical lines towards the edges of the shot remain upright. These are all problems that I see from other digital cameras from time to time, but have been avoided by the Tough TG-310.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

As with the second shot this photo scores well for overall sharpness. There is evidence of focusing beginning to soften as you move towards the more distant right edge of the photo, but otherwise sharpness is again above average.

Outdoor Building

The Tough TG-310 does well when it comes to producing sharp photos. This shot shows sharp focusing from edge to edge. The colours produced are a little lighter than those from a lot of other brands.

Outdoor Portrait

Exposure levels on this shot are good. There were no problems with this shot. I like the natural look of the skin tones.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Either the flash is not strong enough to light this picture or it does not fully fire. This gives us an under exposure problem rather than an over exposure. The lack of light makes areas of the hair dark and lacking detail. Olympus digital cameras tend to give hard shadows. This happens with this camera too.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

This is a better effort. Without flash the photo is lighter, with more detail showing. Definition levels compare well with other similar priced digital cameras.

Macro

Despite the specification stating that the Tough TG-310 is able to focus from 2cm in Super Macro mode I was unable to achieve sharp focus at that distance. Moving back a little away from the subject the Tough TG-310 is able to produce a macro shot of a similar standard to most standard compact digital cameras.

Colours

The problem with the Tough TG-310 is not so much with the colours it produces, but the result of over exposure means colour can be washed out of some shots. This can be seen if you look at the sky in the first shot. I also noticed that some blues take on a purple tinge. This is something that happens with other Olympus digital cameras too.

Noise

Noise is not really an issue with this camera. I'm sure if you are taking photos in lowlight noise will creep in, but on the whole it is not an issue for you to be concerned about.

Picture Quality Summary

Picture quality is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some areas where the Tough TG-310 appears to be weak. It is o.k. for snapshots, but better quality is available from other tough style digital cameras.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Olympus TG-820 Rating 83/100

There are a number of robust digital cameras with similar features and general qualities. The Olympus TG-820 is priced a little lower than most of its direct competitors, so if you are looking for a good quality, robust digital camera and you would like to keep a few pounds in your pocket then this camera could well be the one for you.

Read Review: Olympus TG-820 Review

Nikon Coolpix AW100 Rating 82/100

The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is up against some stiff competition. It does a decent job, has a good range of features and can handle plenty of different photo opportunities. It may not possess a knock out blow that marks it out as clearly better than its rivals, but it is good enough to make your shortlist if you are looking for a more advanced robust digital camera.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix AW100 Review

Canon Powershot D10 Rating 82/100

The Powershot D10 has a distinctive, fun look that means it will not get mistaken for any other digital camera. It has a number of robust features and is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof to varying degrees. It takes a good snap and is well worth a close look.

Read Review: Canon Powershot D10 Review

Related Pages

Olympus Tough TG-310 Specification

Olympus Tough TG-310 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: April 2011

Verdict

The robust features of the Olympus Tough TG-310 are likely to prove a big attraction to many people. Unfortunately picture quality does not match the features. You might find the picture quality acceptable if all you are looking for is a camera that can take simple snapshots, but there are much better robust cameras available from other brands.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

8
9
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

7
8
7
8
8

79

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

14
3.6x
2.7 inches
96.3 x 63.4 x 22.7 mm
155g
2cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD / SDHC / SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.67 seconds
13.17 seconds
0.93 seconds
19.22 seconds
4.27 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

One of the negative points I found with this camera was the quality of the LCD screen. I assume a special coating has been used to seal the screen and make it waterproof, but this makes the screen a lot harder to view in bright light than the vast majority of digital cameras.

The lens is situated in the top corner. This does not make a great deal of difference when it comes to using the camera compared with a more central placement, but you do need to be a little more careful when it comes to a stray finger across the lens.

Running through the positioning of the controls the shutter and power buttons are on the top of the camera as standard.

The back of the camera looks a little busy and the buttons are quite small. At the top are buttons for zooming in and out followed by a button for shooting movies. Beneath this is a button for reviewing photos you have already taken. Further buttons control the information displayed on the LCD screen, confirming a setting, deleting images and accessing the in camera help guide.

Olympus digital cameras operate a little differently to other brands. I like the display of key settings such as flash, macro, mode and white balance in a strip down the side of the LCD screen. This makes changing one of these settings very easy. If you prefer not to display this information on screen you can remove it.

The menu system runs to eight pages. This includes the setup pages, pages for shooting, movies and reviewing images. In total there are 39 options available to you.

Product Shots

Front View

Olympus Tough TG-310 Front View

Back View

Olympus Tough TG-310 Back View

Top View

Olympus Tough TG-310 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4