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Alternative to Olympus TG6

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

  1. rabe

    rabe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    Thanks for the tips on the Cannon, I'll check it out!

    I wasn't aware of the quality-like-phone images of the TG6, but I knew that there are problems with the file type...
  2. Tippytoes12

    Tippytoes12 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    Used camera equipment is a great option.I bought a new housing for my Canon S110 and flooded the camera on the next trip.So I bought one on Ebay and it is still going strong. Instead of buying another as a spare I bought a new TG5. The difference in the quality of the shots is amazing, the colours and the detail are way better. But as everybody says , you need to be reasonably experienced to get really good pictures
  3. drk5036

    drk5036 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sapporo, Japan
    I mean, this is 12 MP phone-quality level. I would say it’s more a testament to the high quality of camera phones now, more than a put down of the TG series.
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Wide-eyed nube in the Pub ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Orlando, FL
    I have a Canon G-15 in an Ikelite housing; I think the G-15 was the 'next' model in the series after the G-12. It has full manual controls, 1080p video (at 24 fps), electrical TTL with Ikelite strobes. It is definitely an alternative to the TG-6, but the sensor size in the older G series Canon cameras is small too. As it happens, I also have a TG-6. I bought the TG-6 primarily for video, but I am using it more and more for still photography. In some situations I prefer the Canon; in some situations the TG-6.
  5. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    Sensor size rather than MP is the main criteria for image quality(specifically noise) , the TG-6 is a 1/ 2.3" sensor and the G16 1/1.7" that's 30mm2 for the Oly and 43mm2 for the G16. An iPhone X by comparison is 1 1/2.5" which is about24 mm2.

    This means the Oly all other things being equal will be fractionally better than and iPhoneX and the G16 fractionally better again. They all produce pretty decent results if you keep the ISO down but rapidly fall apart as ISO rises. The differences between the compact sensors really are quite small when you consider the next step up is to a 1" sensor like a G7X or RX100 has 116 mm2 and a micro43 camera 226mm2. The bigger sensors have an order of magnitude higher surface area, which means an order of magnitude better signal to noise ratio.

    Sure there are other criteria like how efficient each manufacturer's sensors are, the newer ones have less inherent noise , but for cameras around the same age, similar sized sensors will have reasonably close performance, the difference between them being less than the difference to the next class up. To me this means the compact sensors like the Oly and G16 are close and probably hard to pick apart if well exposed, the 1" sensors noticably better and the m43 better again,. You might struggle to pick between a g16 and TG-6 but readily see the improvement with a 1" and certainly with a m43 sensor.
  6. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    First, being new to u/w photography, I cannot recommend enough to get and read Martin Edge's book, The Underwater Photographer.


    The TG-5 and TG-6 will take very nice photos. The key to getting good photos with any camera is having adequate light. You can get great photos with a TG-5/6 and a good pair of strobes. Better than even the most expensive DSLR, if it doesn't have strobes and you're in anything less than shallow water with good ambient light.

    The path I have taken is the same path I would recommend to anyone. Start with a camera and housing that are $1000 or less (together) - as long as the camera can produce RAW files and can trigger strobes. The TG-5/6 can do both. If you want to shoot wide angle, you'll also need to buy a wet wide angle dome lens to add on. Then, spend any additional money that you can afford (when you can) on really good strobes. If your budget demands it, buy one good strobe and save up for another later, rather than buy 2 cheap strobes to start.

    The TG cameras are a good option. The Sony RX100, possibly an older model, like the Mk IV, in a SeaFrogs housing might be another good option. Or find a good used camera that has an inexpensive housing available. When I stepped up from a GoPro, I bought a nice m43 camera, used, for $400 (that was much more, new) and got a $250 Meikon housing for it, which has worked pretty much flawlessly for me for the last 4 years. I started with the inexpensive Meikon wet wide angle dome for it and got pictures I was pretty darn happy with. Eventually, I upgraded that dome to a Nauticam WWL-1 and have been very happy with the photos I've been getting with that.

    I like incremental approaches that don't require junking expensive bits to upgrade them later. :D

    Anyway, any of those will take great u/w photos, if you learn how to use them halfway decently. Get something like that and shoot it until you have found the limitations of what you're shooting, rather than your personal limitations. By that point, you'll probably have a pretty good idea of what to upgrade to, if you want, without having to ask anyone. :)

    From the level of the TG or an RX100, the steps up (in order of increasing sensor size) are to m43 (Micro Four Thirds - which is mirrorless), crop sensor (APS-C, DSLR or mirrorless), or Full Frame (DSLR or mirrorless).

    You can find an inexpensive (Meikon or SeaFrogs) housing for some m43 and APS-C cameras. If your budget for your first camera is higher, a Sony a6400 or a6600 (both are APS-C) and a SeaFrogs housing (around $280 - 350, I think) would be an option. The SeaFrogs housings for those have lens ports and support a variety of the different Sony lenses (i.e. for doing better macro or wide angle).

    Once you step up past the Meikon/SeaFrogs housing level, you're now talking about real money just for the housing. At that point, to ME, it makes sense to spend your money on your long-term-keeper camera and the housing for that. And, to ME, that means Full Frame. Pretty much every time you get a new camera, you have to get a new housing for it. So, you don't want to be spending big bucks for a camera or a housing that is already borderline obsolete.

    There are people getting great photos - I mean GREAT - on m43 and APS-C. But, for what it costs for the camera plus the housing that you need to get those level of photos, I would (did) choose to spend the extra money to have FF. A Full Frame sensor is always going to be better for wide angle and for low light (comparing same generation tech). If I were only interested in macro, then I might consider investing that much money in a m43 or APS-C setup - but that is not me. And I think too many other u/w photographers ONLY shoot macro.
    Lewis88 likes this.
  7. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    @rabe once you start going beyond 40m the cost of the housing is likely to rocket, plus you'll need light unit that can withstand the higher pressures.

    I’ve seen professional units where the (land) camera was £500, but the housing and lighting was £20,000; it was rated to 60m.
    rabe likes this.
  8. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    I think the advice to look for a 1" sensor camera is correct, better AF, much better dynamic range, speed, sharpness and low light ability.

    We have the Fantasea G7XMKII housing and camera on sale for only $849. It is rated to 60M/200' and has a double oring construction, leak detector. You can order it with their new vacuum leak check system for only another $100.

    The G7XMKII is an excellent camera, easy to use. You can add a wide angle or macro lens or lighting package to it easily.

    stuartv likes this.
  9. rabe

    rabe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    ...for what I know (but I could be wrong) Ikelite housing is guarantee to 60 m, and if I'll do the investment, I think I'll go with Ikelite.
    I'm aware of the light issue: I might build the kit slowly, depending on how much I enjoy taking pictures underwater.
    At the moment, I'm "training" myself with a gopro (which I found at the bottom of ex-HMAS Brisbane) to see if I like the underwater-photography-mood...
  10. rabe

    rabe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    It looks like a nice camera, but why is better than the TG6 (or other models)?

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