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Alternative to Olympus TG6

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by rabe, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. rabe

    rabe Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    498
    230
    43
    Hi folks, what is a good alternative to the Olympus TG6?
    That also means: which other camera should I look into with similar characteristics and sizes?



    (I'm completely new to underwater photography, so please talk to me like you'd talk to a toddler)
     
  2. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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  3. rabe

    rabe Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    498
    230
    43
    Thanks, that's a good start, but I'd like to hear also personal experiences, that's why I've posted here...

    For example, from the link, they all seem to have pros and cons, so which one has more pros and less cons?
     
  4. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    It depends on the kind of pictures you want to take.
    If it were a simple "this one is the best for all circumstances" then it would be the only one still on the market.
    I doubt anyone has owned all of them, so you are still going to have to sort through likes and dislikes with no cross calibration.
    Many people like the Olympus. Does it suit your needs?
     
    rabe likes this.
  5. rabe

    rabe Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    498
    230
    43
    I've never been a big fan of taking pictures underwater, but lately I have decided that it might worth try...
    What kind of pictures I'd like to take?
    Honestly I don't have any idea: it can be a cute nudibranch, as well as a humpback with her calf. It depends on the situation.
    In other words, the dive and the enjoinment of the dive come first, and taking pictures follows... I plan my dives based on site, depth, etc., not based on what kind of pictures I want to take...
    Also, it could be a 3 hours tec dive 50 meters deep, or a simple 10 meters frolic on a beautiful reef.

    Based on that, they told that the TG6 is what I need, but I like to have option.
    For example: can a Coolpix replace a TG6?
    Yes? No? Why?

    Buying a camera (including housing and basic lights), is not a 50$ investment that if it doesn't fit me I can just say "Screw it, it was only 50$...", therefore I want to be sure to get what I need at the first shot, without regrets and without wasting money...
     
  6. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    462
    155
    43
    Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution, the tough cams other than the Olympus such as the Nikon and Panasonic are somewhat popular because they are rated to 30m without a housing while the Oly is limited to 15m, but is offered with a reasonably priced housing rated to 40m - however the cameras really are consumables without housings if you read the fine print in the Oly manual it tells you you need to have the seals replaced annually. I bought my daughter a TG-850 which had the seals fail once within warranty and a second time out of warranty, now a TG-4 and purchased the housing for it. The seals under the battery doors are accessible and you can inspect them but they seem to have a membrane seal under the control buttons which fails. I know a few others who have had the seals fail in a similar manner after a year or two of use. A housing has an o-ring you can service and all the controls are accessed through the sealed buttons/shafts, so it's a more durable proposition.

    The TG-6 has its limitations but is a great macro camera without needing wet lenses, though once you get out of the shallows you really need a light source - either a strobe of a good video light as pushing the ISO will make the noise quite bad quite quickly and the shutter speed drops to unusable levels. It has two apertures f2/2.8 wide and f4.9/6.3 zoomed in, f8 wide and f18 zoomed are achieved with an ND filter It has no shutter priority or manual exposure. If shooting macro with lights that are bright enough this should not present a problem, there have been many discussions on dealing with this. Your mentioned humpback whale would ideally need a wet wide-angle lens as the field of view of the TG-6 (and all other compacts ) is quite narrow and require you to back off a long way to fit the subject in the field of view. Same for reef scenes, schools of fish etc.

    I notice you also mention tech-dives - that is beyond the rating of any of the un-housed action cameras and also beyond the rated depth of some housings. So you would need to factor that in.

    As far as competition goes there are very few compact cameras offered these days, lines like the popular G16 have been discontinued, the super zoom cameras are really not suitable for UW use as the lenses extend so far, mobile phone cameras have killed them off. Everything is moving to 1" compacts like the G7X, G9X RX100, LX-10 cameras and they do offer more flexibility than the TG-6 but will need wet lenses for real macro and wide angle. Snapshots are of course possible on medium sized subjects without wet lenses. And of course more $$. Something like a G9X in the fantasea housing might be the cheapest option there maybe $1200 in Australia +/-.
     
    rabe likes this.
  7. rabe

    rabe Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    498
    230
    43
    Thanks a lot!!
    I got lost a little bit in the more technical part of your answer, but I'll study...
    My plan includes buying an appropriate housing and some minimal light (and eventually improve the system), especially because I'm more often at depth that in the shallow.
    Since I'm not too fancy, I really don't care to get the last model, therefore I'd be happy also with a TG4 (for example), as long as I can get an appropriate housing that work...
     
  8. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    462
    155
    43
    The TG-6 has some potentially worthwhile improvements including the ability to set a minimum shutter speed to stop it from dropping too low - but really only useful if you use a strobe and it requires at least ISO400 to activate. The idea is to stop motion blur is the shutter speed drops too low
     
  9. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    1,698
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    Keep in mind that Olympus Tough cameras have small sensors, so the quality you get is of an iPhone level. Pictures look cute and with great colors, but only until you try to blow it up. So I use my TG-4 only for snorkeling. It is handy since the camera is small, and shooting in bright sunlight at low depths gives OK results.

    Also, Olympus own photo processor, the Olympus Viewer, is clumsy and slow, and Olympus RAW files are not recognized by Lightroom versions before 6. So if you still use LR5, as I do, photo editing is a pain.

    My primary purpose to buy TG-4 was to take shots of grandkids on the beaches and pools, so using it for snorkeling is secondary for me, "because I already have it". Overall, I had far better results with Canon G1x MkII, though this camera is much havier. If I were you, I'd take G16 or G7 MkII, whatever Cannon makes now in this line.
     
    rabe likes this.
  10. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    808
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    You could always kit yourself up with a used G12 and new housing. The G12's run about $100-$150 USD these days and a new housing is about another $100. There's a full used setup on eBay US for $150 presently. This would just be to see if you like taking photos using a compact camera. The sensor is small and pretty out of date, but you can still take good photos with it as the optics are great. For myself, I'm still shooting with it, but am eyeing the G7x with housing when people start unloading them for cheap. I don't need the latest, just want a better sensor.

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