We love the Olympus TG-6 for its extremely simple operation, outstanding macro ability, and the great image quality produced in both photo and video. It’s our pick for the Best All-Around Underwater Compact Camera in 2019, and it’s an ideal camera choice for not only beginners but also SLR shooters that are looking for a backup or macro-specific camera.olympus,tg-5,tg-6,tg6,pt-059,pt059,underwater,scuba,dive,diving,camera,housing,case,review

Olympus TG-6 Review: The Easiest Underwater Compact Camera

You may have seen our first hands-on TG-6 review, but now that we’ve spent a few months testing the Olympus TG-6, we’ve created this all new comprehensive video and article. WATCH OUR REVIEW VIDEO:See why we think the Olympus TG-6 is the easiest camera to get great results with underwater in our video breakdown.WATCH OUR 4K TEST FOOTAGE:Take a look at the beautiful video results produced by the Olympus TG-6 in full 4K resolution. We love the Olympus TG-6 for its extremely simple operation, outstanding macro ability, and the great image quality produced in both photo and video. It’s our pick for the Best All-Around Underwater Compact Camera in 2019, and it’s an ideal camera choice for not only beginners but also SLR shooters that are looking for a backup or macro-specific camera. In this article we’ll break down what makes the Olympus TG-6 so easy to use and how to get great photos and videos with it. We’ll look at some of the advanced features that allow for more control and creativity in your images. We believe that every underwater photographer could benefit by having an Olympus TG-6 in their kit, so read on to learn why! THE PERFECT CAMERA TO LEARN UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHYUnderwater Modes for Point-And-Shoot Simplicity Thanks to the 5 underwater-specific shooting modes, the Olympus TG-6 can be operated as a purely point-and-shoot camera and still yield great results. There are modes dedicated for both wide angle and macro that automatically apply settings to make your underwater shots look way better than just shooting in ‘Auto’ mode. Basic point-and-shoot operation doesn’t get much easier than this while still producing great underwater images. Keep it simple with underwater shooting modes: Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro, Underwater Microscope, Underwater HDR.Images with Great Color, Contrast, & Clarity The Olympus TG-6 blew us away with its great image quality. It packs a new 12 megapixel sensor that produces shots with beautiful color, contrast, and clarity. Dynamic range detail looks good in both bright highlights and dark shadows. Photos can be shot in either JPEG, RAW, or both simultaneously. JPEG is great for instant sharing or posting, while RAW allows you to edit and make non-destructive changes to your photos. The new 12MP sensor makes images from the Olympus TG-6 more vibrant, sharp, and loaded with detail. Olympus TG-6 | 1/30 | ISO 250 | ƒ8 Best Macro of Any Compact Camera The most unique feature of the Olympus TG-6 is its ability to capture the tiniest of critters without a macro accessory lens. The subject can be touching the lens and the Olympus TG-6 will still obtain focus easily, allowing you to get super close to extremely small subjects and capture them in sharp detail. No other camera can focus as close as the Olympus TG-6 can, even when using powerful (and expensive) accessory macro lenses. No other compact camera can shoot tiny subjects like this tiny blenny without a macro lens. Olympus TG-6 | 1/100 | ISO 100 | ƒ18 WATCH TG-6 MACRO VIDEO:Check out some macro clips from our very first dive with the Olympus TG-6.Fastest Super Macro Autofocus The Olympus TG-6 blows the competition out of the water when it comes to super macro autofocus speed and accuracy. No other compact camera can autofocus as quickly and accurately as the Olympus TG-6 can when shooting super macro. Super macro autofocus is one of the hardest tasks for any camera to perform, so the fact that the Olympus TG-6 does it so well is a huge advantage for new shooters and macro enthusiasts. The super macro autofocus speed helps capture fast action like this tiny blenny spitting out sand to clean its nest.Olympus TG-6 | 1/80 | ISO 100 | ƒ18Easy Wide Angle with the Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens Every compact camera needs a wide angle accessory lens to expand the field of view. This allows the shooter to get closer to large subjects and fill the frame. The Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens was developed to be the sharpest and easiest to use wide angle lens for the Olympus TG-6. It simply threads on to the 52mm port of the housing and expands the field of view to 120 degrees with no lens vignetting, even when the camera is fully zoomed out. This lens is hands-down the easiest way to get super sharp wide angle images with the Olympus TG-6. The Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens makes it easy and offers 120 degrees of sharp wide angle coverage.The Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens lets you get very close to the subject but still lets you see this groupers habitat.Olympus TG-6 | 1/500 | ISO 400 | ƒ8Wide & Macro Versatility with the Backscatter M52 Air Lens The Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Air Lens is a less wide but more versatile option. It expands the underwater field of view to 81 degrees by canceling the refraction effect on the flat port of the housing. This is the same field of view that the Olympus TG-6 has topside, so that’s why we call it the “Air” lens. The advantage of the Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Air Lens is that it does not have to be removed to shoot macro. You can still get nice and tight with small subjects by zooming the camera in and autofocusing even with the lens installed. This makes the Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Air Lens the overall easiest and most versatile lens to use underwater. The Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Air Lens provides 80 degrees of wide angle and macro without removing the lens and fit’s easily in your pocket.Take a look at how both lenses compare side-by-side.4K 30p Video with Automatic, Accurate Color The big rule to remember about underwater video is this: If color isn’t right, nothing else matters. The Olympus TG-6 captures 4K 30p video with good underwater color easily thanks to its 3 preset underwater white balances. These presets - Shallow, Mid-Range, or Deep - looked much better than when the camera was just left to Auto White Balance. It’s also easy to achieve even better color results by capturing a Manual White Balance, which we cover below in the Advanced Settings section. Shallow, Mid-Range, & Deep white balance presets are easy and produce good color, as seen in this screenshot from our 4K test footage.Super Simple Set-And-Forget Settings Most of the essential settings that need to be adjusted when shooting underwater can be set once and basically forgotten about - at least until it’s time to shoot a completely different style. The Olympus TG-6 can easily be set up on the shore or the deck of the dive boat so that only minimal control adjustment is required underwater. This set-and-forget operation is great for beginners because it allows for more time to get the shot instead of fiddling with menus and mode dials. Stay tuned for our upcoming Best Underwater Settings for TG-6 guide series. Waterproof For Peace of Mind The Olympus TG-6 is waterproof to 50 feet without a housing. Even so, it is recommended to always use a housing when taking the camera underwater. Not only will this reduce wear and tear on the camera itself, but it also enables the use of wide angle lenses, lighting, and a handled tray for better ergonomics and stability. The Olympus TG-6 makes it easy to eliminate water damage anxiety entirely because even if the housing leaks, the camera itself will be just fine. The Olympus PT-059 housing keeps the camera safe and allows for more accessory compatibility.Entry-Level Affordability With an MSRP of $450, the Olympus TG-6 is the most affordable current compact camera for underwater. The Olympus PT-059 housing has an MSRP of only $299, and it’s our pick for the easiest-to-use housing for this camera. It’s no secret that underwater photography gear can often have a hefty price tag, so the affordability of the Olympus TG-6 and Olympus PT-059 housing is just one more advantage for beginners and SLR shooters who want a backup camera or dedicated macro system. SATISFY YOUR INNER CAMERA NERD WITH ADVANCED SETTINGSAperture Priority Mode Provides F/Stop Control Aperture Priority Mode provides the most exposure control by allowing you to select 1 of 3 variable aperture values based on zoom level. Being able to select ƒ18 for super macro shooting is awesome - especially when shooting with a snoot - because you can entirely knock out any ambient light and get nice dark backgrounds. The Olympus TG-6 can be set to ƒ8.0 when the lens is zoomed all the way out, ensuring that corners are sharp when using the Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens. Aperture control helps create dark backgrounds, sharp corners, and ample depth of field.Olympus TG-6 | 1/500 | ISO 400 | ƒ8Shutter Speed Control for Dark Backgrounds The Olympus TG-6 offers more exposure control than any previous Tough camera by providing access to adjust the shutter speed value. While there is still no Manual Mode, there is a new Minimum Shutter Speed setting. As long as Auto-ISO is also turned on, the camera may be assigned a minimum shutter speed as high as 1/500 second. A shutter speed range of 1/125 - 1/250 second will do great for most wide angle and macro scenes. There are plenty of stops both faster and slower to get the perfect exposure for your shot. Even though the option to adjust this setting is somewhat buried in the menus, it is still quickly accessible and makes changes underwater an easy task. Adjustable shutter speed is great for dialing in the perfect exposure.Olympus TG-6 | 1/60 | ISO 400 | ƒ8Manual White Balance for Great Video Color The Olympus TG-6 is capable of producing great video color thanks to its manual white balance ability. Our test footage produced beautiful ambient light color down to the 40-50 feet depth range. A manual white balance is super easy to execute, requiring only 3 button presses. There are 4 manual white balance banks to assign different colors for multiple depth settings, or shooting with or without lights. While executing a manual white balance may be slightly more advanced than using a preset white balance, even beginners will find it very easy and the color results to be worth the extra minor amount of effort. The Olympus TG-6 creates beautiful, accurate ambient light colors with a manual white balance. Screenshot from our 4K test footage.Use Focus Peaking for Super Sharp Macro Determining critical focus when shooting macro and super macro can be a challenge. If your eyes have a hard time picking out the sharpest part of the subject in the frame, then Focus Peaking will be a valuable tool. The Olympus TG-6 displays Focus Peaking by outlining the sharpest part of the image in a contrasting color on the LCD screen. Now the shooter only needs to look for the peaking on screen, as opposed to having to determine actual critical focus with just their eyes alone. Whether used for photo or video, Focus Peaking will allow you to bring home much sharper macro shots. Use Focus Peaking to get the most critical details of your macro subjects tack-sharp. Olympus TG-6 | 1/100 | ISO 100 | ƒ18 Manual Flash Power for Fast Shooting Speed The biggest limiting factor when it comes to shooting speed is the built-in flash recycle time. The only way to reduce recycle time is by reducing the power output. Not all cameras offer this control. The Olympus TG-6 can be adjusted manually to a minimum flash power of 1/64. This is more than enough light to trigger a strobe, while also drastically reducing the amount of recycle time needed in between shots, providing the fastest shooting speed possible. The 1/64 flash power allows for more shots in less time, making it easy to capture the action.Olympus TG-6 | 1/500 | ISO 400 | ƒ8Custom Modes for Go-To Settings The Olympus TG-6 has two Custom Modes - C1 & C2 - that can be set like any other shooting mode on the camera, with any other settings dialed-in for that mode, including exposure settings and color settings. These two modes can be configured specifically for the type of shooting that you are likely to need for any given dive. These serve as an invaluable asset when pursuing truly set-and-forget jump settings. These modes can be set to your preferred go-to settings for wide angle, macro, photo, video, or any combination of special settings that you may need. Pocket-Sized Backup Camera Even if you already own a DSLR or Mirrorless primary camera system, the Olympus TG-6 can be a great asset to have as either a back-up camera or as a dedicated pocket-sized macro machine. Even when fully loaded with a tray, lights, and wide angle lens, the Olympus TG-6 and Olympus PT-059 don’t take up much room in the gear case, making it an ideal back-up rig when traveling to remote locales. See our lineup of ready-to-dive Olympus TG-6 packages here.FOR EASY OPERATION & GREAT RESULTS, CHOOSE THE TG-6 The Olympus TG-6 simultaneously blends super simple operation with fantastic photo and video results, while also being one of the most affordable cameras currently available. We wish the TG-6 offered full manual control rather than forcing us to use workarounds to make auto modes produce better exposure, and we are hoping that Olympus will finally offer full manual control in the next version. Despite this handicap, we still find the TG series to be the best entry level underwater camera for many reasons. Between its incomparable super macro abilities right out of the box, easy wide angle thanks to the M52 accessory lenses, 4K video at 30 frames per second with great color, and a 50-foot waterproof body, the Olympus TG-6 is an ideal choice for anyone seeking an affordable underwater compact camera. It’s simple enough for beginners to learn easily, and it also offers enough advanced modes and features to grow along with the user’s skill level. It’s also a very practical back-up or dedicated macro camera for DSLR and Mirrorless shooters. Why buy direct from Backscatter?Free lifetime tech support with every purchase. We will beat any advertised price. Free shipping to USA and Canada and low-cost international shipping. Olympus TG-6 Black Camera $449.99ORDER NOWOlympus TG-6 Red Camera $449.99ORDER NOWOlympus TG-6 Plastic HousingsOlympus PT-059 Housing $299.99ORDER NOWIkelite TG-5 Housing $299.00BUY NOWRecsea CWOM-TG5 Housing $525.00 BUY NOWOlympus TG-6 Aluminum HousingsIsotta TG-6 Housing $720.00BUY NOWRecsea WHOM-TG5 Housing $725.00 BUY NOWNauticam NA-TG5 Housing $800.00 BUY NOWBest Wide Lenses for TG-6Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Air Lens $149.00BUY NOWBackscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens $399.99BUY NOWOlympus TG-6 PackagesOlympus TG-6 Minimalist Package $1,599.17BUY NOWOlympus TG-6 Whales & Waves Package $1,587.69BUY NOWOlympus TG-6 Nudi Hunter Package $2,365.02BUY NOWOlympus TG-6 Ultimate Package $4,107.28BUY NOWRelated PostsOlympus TG-6 Review: The Easiest Underwater Compact Camera We love the Olympus TG-6 for its extremely simple operation, outstanding macro ability, and the great image quality produced in both photo and video. It’s our pick for the Best All-Around Underwater C... 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