Olympus really seems to have stepped up its point-and-shoots lately and the new Stylus Tough TG-3 and Stylus SH-1 are further proof.
The third-gen model is just as rugged as the TG-2: waterproof to 50 feet (15m), shockproof from 7 feet (2.1m), crushproof up to 220 pounds (100kg), freezeproof to 14 degree Fahrenheit (-10C), and dustproof.
The camera also has the same 4x f2.0-4.9 25-100mm lens with an adapter ring for add-on waterproof lenses that's been used since the TG-1.
However, with the TG-2, Olympus introduced a Microscope function that digitally boosts zoom magnification from 7x to 14x while shooting as close as 0.4 inch (1cm) from a subject. The TG-3 takes this a step further by adding a focus-stacking macro mode.
Typically when you take close-up photos with a point-and-shoot only one small area will be in focus while the rest is blurred. If the camera has aperture controls, you might be able to increase your depth of field, but then you'd likely need to slow your shutter speed or increase your ISO.
The TG-3's Focus Stacking function gets around this by taking several shots shifting the focus from foreground to background and then layering them into one shot. (It's similar to what some cameras do for exposures for HDR photos or handheld night shots.) Olympus says the resulting picture has a focus area covering several centimeters.
To go along with its enhanced macro capabilities, Olympus developed an LED ring light guide that attaches around the lens. It uses the camera's built-in LED lamp and evenly distributes its light for shooting close-ups.
The Focus Stacking option as well as new time-lapse and sequential shooting modes are likely made possible by a new 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor (up from 12 megapixels in the TG-2) and a faster Olympus TruePic VII image processor. The camera also has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.
The Olympus Stylus TG-3 is due out in June for $349.99, but you can check out the full details right now on Olympus' site.
Landing in stores before the TG-3 is the new Wi-Fi-enabled Stylus SH-1. Taking its design from the Olympus PEN interchangeable lens cameras like the E-P5, this updated version of 24x compact zoom SH-50 iHS gets the same sensor and processor combo in the TG-3.
To help handle any shake while using its f3.0-6.9 25-600mm lens, the SH-1 has Olympus' 5-axis image stabilization for both photos and video originally developed for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (the SH-50's was available for video only).
Look for the Olympus Stylus SH-1 in May for $399.99.