You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce the Olympus Tough TG-310's unique selling point from its name. No, it doesn't weigh 310 teragrams -- we're referring to the 'Tough' part. If you have a tendency to inflict punishment on your cameras and you have a spare £150, the TG-310 could suit you down to the ground.
The Toughs get going
The TG-310 is waterproof to 3m, shockproof from heights of up to 1.5m, and freezeproof to -10°C. This may be all the protection you need. But it's worth checking out the specifications of the TG-310's new stablemates, the TG-610 and the TG-810, as these offer even greater levels of durability. The TG-810, for example, is waterproof to depths of 10m and adds crushproofing to its list of strengths.
The TG-310 makes no attempt to disguise its brutish nature. Available in silver, white, blue, red or orange, the Tough proudly displays the reinforced bolts and water-tight rubberised buttons that adorn its chiselled, metallic body. It's not a bad look at all. The device feels modern, accessible and practical.
There are some issues with the design, however. Firstly, the rubber buttons aren't great. They're small and somewhat unresponsive. This can make it awkward to adjust settings -- or even simply zoom in or out -- while you're up a mountain and so on. The shutter button doesn't suffer from this problem, but some people will undoubtedly find the TG-310 fiddly to use.
Secondly, as we discovered during our tests, the TG-310 doesn't float. You'll have to keep a tight hold of it if you're taking pictures in the surf.
Durability aside, the TG-310 is a fairly unremarkable piece of equipment. Its CCD image sensor is capable of capturing a respectable 14-megapixels' worth of detail, and a modest 3.6x optical zoom lens provides focal length equivalents of 28-102mm.
The TG-310's image stabilisation will steady your shots and the camera's sensitivity goes up to ISO 1,600. The video mode records 720p high-definition footage, and an HDMI output provides a way of playing back your clips on a TV.