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The Olympus TG-3 Underwater Camera Review – Amazing Super Macro

Olympus was kind enough to send along a pre-release sample of the newest Tough camera to The Digital Shootout, the TG-3.

Olympus TG-3 Underwater Camera Review

The tough series of cameras are truly tough—waterproof to 50 feet without a housing, crushproof to 220 pounds, drop proof from 6 feet, and freeze proof. Put the Tough TG-3 in a housing and it’s waterproof to 150 feet! Even if you have a partial flood of the housing at depth, the camera will survive. This makes it great for the person who is rough on their gear or for a rental department needing ultimate

© Jim Decker | Olympus Tough TG-3 | 18mm | ISO 160 | 1/400 sec at f / 4.9


The Olympus Tough TG-3 doesn’t have a macro mode—it has microscope mode. In microscope mode you can get crazy close up macro—with no other accessory lenses needed. This camera will focus so close in microscope mode that if you have any lint or debris on the inside of the housing lens, it will focus on that instead of the subject, so make sure your lens port is clean! You can get super close up shots of blennies, so much so that you can see their teeth and their need to floss. All of the photos and video shown are completely uncropped from the camera. While there is a digital zoom capability to enlarge things even greater, all the images displayed were shot with no digital zooming.

A downside to the macro is how close you need to be to pull off these shots. You are practically on top of the subject. This makes it difficult to impossible for more skittish critters that require more distance. The good news is that you can’t get closer than the minimum focus distance of the lens since it will focus on the inside of the housing port!

Macro mode has a focus lock so you can lock focus and take pictures without refocusing every time half shutter is pressed. This is very handy for difficult to focus on subjects and allows you to move the camera back and forth to find the final focus.
Olympus Tough TG-3 Camera - Using a Video Light Instead of Strobe to shoot Macro
Although the macro shots in this article were shot with the RGBLue System 2 light, a Light & Motion Gobe 700 Wide light is powerful enough to get fast shutter speeds and low ISOs in microscope mode.

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