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Olympus Tough TG-310 Compact Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Olympus Tough TG-310 which is waterproof to 3m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10C.

|  Olympus Tough TG-310 in Compact Cameras
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Olympus Tough TG-310 Front Angled
Olympus Tough TG-310 Front Angled

We reviewed the Olympus Tough TG-610 in May 2011 and this camera is similar in many ways, the TG-310 having 3.6x optical zoom and only waterproof to 3m. The TG-610 came first in our recent Top 7 Cameras For Active Photographers, let's see if the TG-310 is also worthy of a place.

NB. Due to similarities parts of this review are taken from the Olympus Tough TG-610 review.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Front
Olympus Tough TG-310 Front

Olympus Tough TG-310 Features

As the name suggests, the TG-310 is made to survive conditions which cameras are not normally designed for. It is waterproof to 3m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10°C. There is a 14 megapixel sensor and a 3.6x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-102mm and can focus down to just 2cm. The camera is armed with Dual Image Stabilisation to reduce blur with fast-moving shots or in low light.

Intelligent Auto Mode adjusts the camera's settings, focus and exposure automatically and when shooting underwater, there is also an underwater white-balance setting. Panoramics are stitched together in camera and the Advanced Face Detection focuses and is designed to expose up to 12 faces perfectly.

As commonly featured on Olympus compacts, the TG-310 has a range of Magic Filters such as Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish-eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolour. Pet Detection Mode will automatically take pictures of a dog or a cat when they look at the camera. Using Beauty Mode when shooting portraits will make faces appear brighter and smoother. Other features include Eye-Fi Card compatibility and 3D photo shooting mode.

The camera shoots videos at 720p HD with sound and optical zoom and the camera can be connected to a HD TV via a mini HDMI cable.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Top
Olympus Tough TG-310 Top

Key Features

  • Waterproof to 3m
  • Shockproof to 1.5m
  • Freezeproof to -10°C
  • 3.6x wide optical zoom (35mm equiv: 28-102mm)
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • Eye-Fi Card compatibility
  • 3D photo shooting mode
  • 14 megapixel sensor
  • 720p HD movies and remote operation by HDMI control
  • Automatic Underwater White Balance
  • 2.7 inch 230,000 dot LCD screen
  • In-camera panorama function
  • Intelligent Auto Mode
  • Advanced Face Detection
  • AF tracking
  • Magic Filters for images and HD movies
  • LED illuminator to lighten up underwater or macro sceneries
  • Pet Detection Mode
  • Beauty Mode
  • Battery charging via USB-cable
  • In-camera manual
  • TruePic III+ image processor
Olympus Tough TG-310 Rear
Olympus Tough TG-310 Rear

Olympus Tough TG-310 Handling

The TG-310 doesn't have the same big chunky buttons which are found on the TG-610, the TG-310 buttons are covered by a plastic mould to keep the water out and become slippery when wet.

There is a dedicated video record button and a couple of buttons even have a function when the camera is switched off. When the play button is pressed you go straight to viewing your pictures and videos and the video button activates video recording.

On the rear of the camera is a 2.7 inch 230,000 dot LCD screen which is easy to view from extreme angles and varying light conditions, including underwater.

Continuous shooting mode shoots full size images at 0.5fps and High Speed mode which shoots at 3fps, although image size is limited to approximately 3 megapixels.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Battery
Olympus Tough TG-310 Battery

Olympus Tough TG-310 Performance

The TG-310 takes really well exposed images with great colour reproduction. The wide-angle image below was taken on a really bright day and there is some purple fringing in the trees. Detail, although better in the centre of the images, is good throughout the images. With a minimum focus distance of just 2cm, the camera takes really good macro images when using Super Macro mode.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Lens test images

Noise is very minimal at both ISO80 and ISO100, with only a touch creeping in at ISO200. Noise increases through ISO400 and ISO800, but good sharp images are still produced. There is lots of noise at ISO1600 and images taken using this setting are likely to be best used for small size prints or for sharing on the web.

Olympus Tough TG-310 ISO test images

The camera takes really good portrait pictures, although there is a slight touch of red-eye. Portraits look even better when using Beauty Shot mode, as this softens the skin and reduces the blemishes, although image size is reduced to just 5 megapixels.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Sample Photos

Auto white-balance performs well and under our studio lighting, it handles the fluorescent light much better than the fluorescent preset. Under the incandescent lighting, the AWB setting struggles a touch with the incandescent preset taking a better image.

Olympus Tough TG-310 White-balance test images

Below are example images using each of the eight Magic Filters available.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Digital filters

Video Mode

The camera shoots videos at 720p HD with sound and optical zoom as well as being able to apply the magic filters to videos as well.

Value For Money

The Olympus Tough TG-310 costs £128.00. There are plenty of cameras on the market which are designed to be used in conditions normally considered unsuitable for a camera. At the cheaper end is the Fujifilm FinePix XP30, waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10°C costing £123.00. At the higher end is the Ricoh G700SE, waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 2m and freezeproof to -10°C costing £649.00. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 offers the best performance regarding water and shockproofness at 12m and 2m respectively, costing £248.99.

Waterproof Shockproof Freezeproof Price
Fujifilm FinePix XP30 5m 1.5m -10°C £123.00
Olympus Tough TG-310 3m 1.5m -10°C £128.00
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10 3m 1.5m -10°C £149.99
Olympus Tough TG-610 5m 1.5m -10°C £179.95
Pentax Optio WG-1 / (GPS) 10m 1.5m -10°C £204.00 / (219.00)
Canon PowerShot D10 10m 1.2m -10°C £214.99
Olympus Tough TG-810 10m 2m -10°C £218.00
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 10m 2m -10°C £248.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 12m 2m -10°C £266.00
Sony Cyber-shot TX10 5m 1.5m -10°C £269.00
Ricoh G700 5m 2m -10°C £449.00
Ricoh G700SE 5m 2m -10°C £649.00

Olympus Tough TG-310 Verdict

If you are looking for a low priced digital camera which is waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof you can't go far wrong with the TG-310. At just £128.00 it represents good value for money and it takes fantastic pictures. It's not as feature packed and doesn't handle as well as the TG-610 we have previously reviewed, but it is around £50 less.

The Olympus Tough TG-310 takes great pictures and is good value for money.

Olympus Tough TG-310 Pros

Waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof
Good image quality
Solid build
Good value for money

Olympus Tough TG-310 Cons

No unusual features like the TG-610 has


Olympus Tough TG-310 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.1
35mm equivalent28mm - 102mm
Optical Zoom3.6x
Image Sensor
Pixels14Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4288
Pixels (H)3216
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size2/3 inch
Sensor Size (width)8.8mm
Sensor Size (height)6.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus2cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Spot
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest1/4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting15fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30, 15
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI-42B
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI-42B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, Handstrap, World Wide Warranty Card, Instruction Manual, [ib] Image Management Software

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Tough TG-310

Stormy SeasBut I get sick in the backSunset Beach.Playa "El Agua", BeachWet CrossingLeaving GlencoeGift Shop, Harrisflower close up macro setup manualPaddling in the seaWater NymphChampagne  .... for that special occasion.DomeSmall eiffel

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NL0031 10
10 Oct 2011 12:02PM
"it takes fantastic pictures" , over sharpened with lack of detail.
"it represents good value for money", but I won't wast mine on this one.

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