It might be very tempting to categorize the Tough 3000 as nothing more than an average compact digital with a bit more survivability than most others, and the camera's basic specifications don't do much to counter this proposition. A sensor with 12 megapixels, a 3.6x optical zoom covering the 28 to 102mm focal range, 720p HD video and a 2.7-inch monitor can be found in many cameras. But I'd prefer to think of it (and, for that matter any purpose-built camera with an underwater/cold weather/shock resistant character) as a specialized instrument with the survivability as the first priority and the image capture performance as somewhat secondary.
Image quality is good and the one-button video capture is a definite advantage considering the places and activities where the camera may see use. Shutter lag and AF acquisition times could be better but are not fatal. Battery life may be problematic as the 160 shot capacity really mandates at least one additional battery for all day shooting sessions.
The camera is not particularly quick when capturing on a shot-to-shot basis, and to manipulate image colors requires post processing. If you don't need a camera to go in the water or out in the snow there's any number of choices that will provide as good or better image quality with better shutter, AF and battery performance. But if you do need something to take along when you're headed in harm's way, the Stylus Tough 3000 is worth a look.
Design/Ease of Use
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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