Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Replacement: Part 2

It's here!
My long awaited replacement for the old, battered, dead Fuji X-5 has arrived. The Olympus Tough TG-3. I will give ya'all my initial impressions here and later, after I've used it as intended on gravel road and off road rides, I will come back with some more "in the field" impressions.

First, before I dive in, I am going to say the following:

This camera is being reviewed from the perspective of a man that is a cyclist, blogger, and writer of words. I am NOT a professional photographer, nor a professional photography equipment reviewer. There are enough of the "photo-geek" sites out there which should satisfy your desire for pixel-peeping and whatnot. This will not be one of those reviews. For the rest of us that just want a damn camera that works for where we ride and live, read on!

Okay, so I pre-ordered this beast and it was about a month later than projected, (sound like the cycling industry at all?), but I'm okay with that. I figured that was a "best case scenario" guesstimate on the part of the manufacturer. The Tough TG-3 is supposed to be dust proof, freeze proof to about 14°F/-10°C, submersible to 15m/50ft, impact resistant to 2.1m/7ft, and crush-proof to 100KG/220lbs of pressure. In other words, it's one tough camera compared to others you have to maybe be a bit more careful with and handle gingerly.

The manual comes on a disc for your computer.
It's definitely going to be tougher than that old Fuji, which really took a beating! This is why I wanted to get this camera, for the claimed durability. If the specs and features hold true, it will be worth the price of entry to me right there.

Anywho.....The box had everything in it and the quick start instruction sheet was easy enough to get me started on my way. The battery needed a charge and it took about 3 hours to bring it up to a full charge. This was a partially charged battery, so charging time from a fully drained battery will be longer, most likely. I got a 16 gigabit card and that was the only extra thing I purchased. The cord used to transfer images doubles as a charging cord in tandem with a wall wart. (See diagram at left)

Some camera reviewers grouse about manuals being on a disc, or available on-line. You know what? I like it. I like it because I can make the images and type as big as I want so I can actually read it, and I can dispense with having to physically hold a booklet that is enormous due to having to accommodate 10 languages, and instead relax while I read the manual. Not that camera manuals are exciting, but......what's so wrong with a disc manual? Saves paper, the way I figure, and I think it works just dandy. The manual is pretty clearly written and if you choose to geek out, the info is there for you. I skipped over a lot of that stuff for now, but when I am ready, I will come back and digest those bits. (No pun intended.)

A look at the backside
The controls seemed to be laid out pretty decently. I think one handed engagement on a bicycle should work well. The size of the TG-3 is substantial but not too big. It definitely feels stout in the hand with its plastic and aluminum case and it has a nice grip shape, albeit perhaps a bit too slick. We'll see on that front soon. The main buttons that I am concerned with are on top and include an easy to activate On/Off button, the Shutter control button, and a rectangular shaped toggle for zoom function. Everything else is on the backside and are features I would only use off the bike anyway. On that front- big thumbs up.

The one thing that I'll have to get used to is the weight. This camera is not near as light as the old Fuji was, but again- it is better in everyway than the Fuji. You have to trade something off, and weight is what that is here. This red camera weighs in at 220 grams ready to roll. Compare that to my Panasonic LX-3 which is a clunkier shape and weighs in at 280 grams, with a long strap attached. (Oddly enough, If you could take off the protruding lens on the Panasonic, these two cameras are very similar in size and shape!) This one will be felt in the jersey pocket!

My paw wrapped around the TG-3
The TG-3 fires up really quickly and can take a shot within a moments notice, so if your friend is pulling off a stupid human trick on a bicycle out of the blue, you've got a fighting chance to capture that. Images can be edited in the camera, for those who want to do such things, and this gizmo is WiFi empowered, so you could edit those trick-pics and fire them off to Facebook before the blood hits the ground. I won't be that fast, but somebody else probably could be. At least the camera shouldn't slow you down.

I've fired off some test images around the Guitar Ted Laboratories already, and I haven't downloaded those just yet, but I will do that soon. I definitely will be getting out and about now with this camera to test out my theories on its plusses for the image taking cyclist.

The TG-3 is available in this red, or black. I got red because I can find "red" easier than I can "black". That it is a shiny red is a bonus, since I always go for shiny objects. Price is $349.99USD for now. It's a brand new camera on the market, so I wouldn't expect any deep discounts for a while on this guy.

Note: Guitar Ted paid his own money for this camera and is not being bribed, nor paid for writing about it. So there.

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