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Olympus TG-5 versus Olympus E-P3

The Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Olympus PEN E-P3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2017 and June 2011. The TG-5 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TG-5) and a Four Thirds (E-P3) sensor. The TG-5 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the E-P3 provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus TG-5 vs Olympus E-P3

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-5 and the Olympus E-P3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the TG-5 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Olympus TG-5 vs Olympus E-P3
Compare TG-5 versus E-P3 top
Compare TG-5 and E-P3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P3 is notably larger (13 percent) than the Olympus TG-5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-5 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-P3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the TG-5 is water-proof up to 15m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TG-5 has a lens build in, whereas the E-P3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the E-P3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the TG-5 gets 340 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the E-P3 can take 330 images on a single charge of its BLS-5 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus TG-5» 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 8.8 oz 340 Y May 2017 449 i i Olympus TG-5
Olympus E-P3« 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Canon SX740« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm XP130« » 4.3 in 2.8 in 1.1 in 7.3 oz 240 n Jan 2018 229 i i Fujifilm XP130
Nikon W300« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.1 in 8.1 oz 280 Y May 2017 389 i i Nikon W300
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-P1« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Panasonic TS7« » 4.6 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 11.3 oz 300 Y May 2018 449 i i Panasonic TS7
Sony HX99« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 370 n Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
Sony HX95« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 370 n Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95
Sony WX800« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.2 oz 370 n Oct 2018 399 i i Sony WX800

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The TG-5 was launched at a lower price than the E-P3, despite having a lens build in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus TG-5 vs Olympus E-P3

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus TG-5 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-P3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P3 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

In terms of chip-set technology, the TG-5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VIII) than the E-P3 (TruePic VI), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus TG-5 and Olympus E-P3 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-P3 offers a higher resolution than the TG-5 (12MP), but the E-P3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 1.53μm for the TG-5) due to its larger sensor. However, the TG-5 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 10 months) than the E-P3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

TG-5 versus E-P3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Olympus TG-5» 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Olympus TG-5
Olympus E-P3« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
Canon SX740« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Canon SX740
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
Fujifilm XP130« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Fujifilm XP130
Nikon W300« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon W300
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
Olympus E-PL3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
Olympus E-PM1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-P1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
Panasonic TS7« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Panasonic TS7
Sony HX99« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX99
Sony HX95« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony HX95
Sony WX800« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Sony WX800

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the TG-5 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P3. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the E-P3 is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus TG-5 vs Olympus E-P3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The TG-5 and the E-P3 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the E-P3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus TG-5, the Olympus E-P3, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Olympus TG-5»- n 3.0 460 fixed n 2000 20.0 Y Y Olympus TG-5
Olympus E-P3«- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
Canon SX740« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Canon SX740
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
Fujifilm XP130« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm XP130
Nikon W300« »- n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon W300
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
Olympus E-PL3« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
Olympus E-PM1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-P1« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
Panasonic TS7« »1170 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1300 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TS7
Sony HX99« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony HX95
Sony WX800« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony WX800

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-P3 has a touchscreen, while the TG-5 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Both the TG-5 and the E-P3 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Olympus TG-5»-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus TG-5
Olympus E-P3«Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
Canon SX740« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX740
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
Fujifilm XP130« »-monomono--micro2.0Y-YFujifilm XP130
Nikon W300« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon W300
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
Olympus E-PL3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
Olympus E-PM1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PL1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-P1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
Panasonic TS7« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TS7
Sony HX99« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX95
Sony WX800« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony WX800

The TG-5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the E-P3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-P3 was succeeded by the Olympus E-P5.

Review summary: Olympus TG-5 vs Olympus E-P3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus TG-5 and the Olympus E-P3? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus Tough TG-5:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic VIII vs TruePic VI).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the E-P3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x66mm vs 122x69mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the E-P3).
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Water-proof: Can be used in the rain and for underwater photography (up to 15m).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-P3 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-P3:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (614k vs 460k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TG-5 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

TG-5 11:07 E-P3

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TG-5 or the E-P3 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus TG-5»HiRec-4/5rev4/5 May 2017 449 i i Olympus TG-5
Olympus E-P3«83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
Canon SX740« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon SX730« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm XP130« »rev-3.5/5-4/5 Jan 2018 229 i i Fujifilm XP130
Nikon W300« »Rec-4/5-4/5 May 2017 389 i i Nikon W300
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
Olympus E-PL3« »HiRec72/1004.5/5-4/5 Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
Olympus E-PM1« »86/10071/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
Olympus E-P1« »Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Panasonic TS7« »Rec---3.5/5 May 2018 449 i i Panasonic TS7
Sony HX99« »----4.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i i Sony HX99
Sony HX95« »----- Aug 2018 429 i i Sony HX95
Sony WX800« »----- Oct 2018 399 i i Sony WX800

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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