Introduction

The Olympus Powerful TG-6 is the corporate’s sixth-generation premium underwater digicam. It encompasses a 12 Megapixel sensor, 4X optical zoom lens, quite a few sensors and, after all, severe safety towards the weather.

Key specs

  • 12MP, half of.3″ BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 25-100mm equal F2.0-4.9 stabilized lens
  • Waterproof to 15m (45ft), shockproof from 2.1m (7ft), crushproof to 100kgf (220lbf), freezeproof to -10°C (14°F), dustproof
  • 3″, 1.04M-dot show (non-touch)
  • Uncooked help
  • 1cm (0.4″) minimal focusing distance
  • 20 fps burst taking pictures
  • Professional Seize mode saves pictures earlier than and after the shutter launch is pressed, that can assist you seize the proper second
  • 4K/30p video
  • Constructed-in GPS, altimeter, compass, thermometer and accelerometer
  • Optionally available conversion lenses and flash equipment

The TG-6 is available in black or pink and is priced at $379.

What’s it?

The TG-6 is a pocketable, ultra-rugged digicam with a mix of options that can enchantment to many alternative audiences:

  • On a regular basis shooters and oldsters who need one thing that may be dropped or get moist, in contrast to their smartphone
  • Critical underwater photographers who need to dive deeper and use off-camera flashes
  • Hikers and different outdoorsy people who need to monitor their progress and incorporate issues like location and altitude into the metadata of their pictures

For these within the first group, the TG-6’s auto mode can deal with nearly each scenario, and its quite a few scene modes are effectively organized. Going underwater? Simply select the ‘fish’ spot on the mode dial, the place you will discover 5 decisions that match the scenario you are in. It’s a disgrace that Olympus didn’t create a simplified model of its menu system for extra novice customers, who’re more likely to be overwhelmed by the choices and group.

Out of digicam JPEG. ISO 100 | 1/800 sec | F5 | 58mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

For the fanatic, the TG-6 presents some handbook controls, however not the total suite you’d anticipate on a higher-end digicam. When you can alter the aperture, there are solely three decisions at anybody time. That is additionally why there aren’t shutter precedence or handbook publicity modes on the digicam. It is price mentioning that you just can not alter publicity compensation in auto mode, so you will want to modify to program or aperture precedence mode to take action.

Olympus presents an enormous variety of equipment, together with an underwater housing that lets the digicam go 15 meters (50 ft) deeper, wide-angle and fisheye conversion lenses, the power to wirelessly hearth Olympus’s flashes (which must be in housings too, after all) and way more.

Conversion lenses, lens caps and a hoop flash adapter for the TG-6

Hikers and different adventurers can benefit from the digicam’s sensors and monitoring talents to allow them to see precisely the place they had been on their journey after they took a photograph. The environmental sensors embrace a GPS, altimeter/depth gauge, compass, accelerometer and thermometer (which wasn’t near correct on the digicam we examined, however the different sensors had been fantastic). Once you’re out and about, urgent the ‘information’ button shows all the knowledge the digicam is capturing.

Urgent the Information button when the digicam is off helps you to see all the knowledge the TG’s environmental sensors are selecting up.

Lastly, the TG-6’s host of close-up options not solely enable for capturing topics 1cm (0.4″) away: the ‘digital microscope’ mode helps you to zoom in as much as 4 instances extra, although with a discount in picture high quality. Olympus sells a hoop gentle and flash diffuser so as to add flexibility to your macro pictures.

Out of digicam JPEG. ISO 160 | 1/125 sec | F2.3 | 30mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

What’s new?

As of late, updates to compact cameras are very minor, and that features the TG-6. Little or no has modified in comparison with the TG-5, with the primary issues being a better decision LCD, extra macro and underwater modes, and focus bracketing. Enhancements have additionally been made to cut back ghosting and flare.

The upper decision LCD is actually good, although Olympus didn’t tackle probably the most irritating factor concerning the display screen on the TG-5: it scratches approach too simply. Shopping for a display screen protector is extremely really helpful. It is price mentioning that the display screen is not touch-enabled, however consider this characteristic is all-but-useless when screens (or your fingers) get moist.

A TG-6 with a tempered glass display screen protector

The place the TG-5 solely had one underwater white steadiness mode, the TG-6 has three, for shallow, mid-depth and deep water. Two extra underwater taking pictures modes had been added: macro and microscope.

What stands out?

What actually separates the TG-6 from its friends is its capability to seize knowledge from its environmental sensors and fix it to pictures, as described earlier on this evaluation. Another rugged cameras have some sensors, however no person does it higher than Olympus. Having GPS knowledge in your pictures helps you to seek for pictures by location in software program like Lightroom and Apple Pictures.

Having the monitoring characteristic on (which is how one can create the map just like the one under) does drain the battery, which is why I stored the digicam plugged right into a automotive charger whereas driving round.

A map created with the OI Monitor app exhibits you the place you took every picture.

The TG-6 is a little bit of an outlier in that Olympus continues to make use of a 12 Megapixel sensor, relatively than the 16 or 20 Megapixel sensors discovered on its opponents. On a chip this small, the TG-6’s decrease pixel depend may assist its efficiency at increased ISOs, however the a lot greater profit is its lens’ capability to go to F2.Zero at its widest-angle setting, letting in twice as a lot gentle as its closest rivals will. And, for many functions, a 12 Megapixel sensor is greater than sufficient.

The construct high quality of the TG-6 continues to be the best-in-class. Its chassis is strong sufficient that you just’d assume it might chop wooden, although that might in all probability void the guarantee. Each of the doorways (one for the I/O ports, the opposite for the battery and reminiscence card) have twin locks, a characteristic which has disappeared from its opponents. The digicam’s dials are fairly plasticky although, and the buttons are mushy (the film recording button is the worst offender), however that is possible because of the in depth sealing.

Be aware the twin locks on the battery/reminiscence card compartment door. The identical as true for the door that protects the USB and HDMI ports.

Whereas the TG-6’s rugged specs are very spectacular, in relation to going underwater, a number of of its friends can go fairly a bit deeper, with the Nikon Coolpix W300 (arguably the TG-6’s closest competitor) in a position to operate all the way down to 30 meters (100 ft). Should you’re a snorkeler, that is no huge deal, however for scuba it is a very fascinating trait.

Whereas the lens on the digicam would not have as a lot telephoto energy as a lot of its friends (a lot of which attain 140mm equal at their lengthy finish), it’s the widest accessible, which is admittedly useful when underwater. The lens can also be the quickest on this class, which can maintain noise ranges down as gentle ranges drop.

The TG-6 will get blended opinions when it comes to usability. As talked about earlier, its auto mode works effectively and shortcut menu is pretty wise, however the primary menu is way too complicated. The shortage of publicity compensation within the auto and scene modes can also be a bummer, since it is a generally used, easy-to-understand characteristic.

The digicam’s 25-point autofocus system works effectively, each above and under sea degree. It could detect faces, although the topic must be wanting straight on the digicam. Whereas the TG-6 has an AF monitoring mode, it takes too many button presses to activate, and we advocate avoiding it.

One characteristic that no different rugged digicam in the marketplace has is Uncooked help. Whereas the small sensor would not have the dynamic vary of fanatic cameras, you may nonetheless brighten shadows with first rate outcomes, fine-tune white steadiness (important for underwater taking pictures), and get extra element than JPEGs present. Whereas the TG-6 has in-camera Uncooked conversion, it is poorly applied. You need to set the digicam’s taking pictures settings to what you need after which apply the edits to the Uncooked file, versus adjusting them for every Uncooked picture individually.

Whereas the picture high quality from the TG-6 is okay, fashionable smartphones will surpass it in most conditions, although as soon as downsized to social media resolutions, it is much less noticeable. However, keep in mind, your cellphone is not precisely rugged. Whereas out-of-camera JPEGs have nice colours*, the lens simply is not very sharp and an excessive amount of noise discount is utilized. Turning down the ‘noise filter’ choice helps a bit, however if you happen to’re as much as the problem of processing the outcomes, taking pictures Uncooked is the best way to get probably the most out of the TG-6.

* Tip: Attempt to shoot in ‘P’ mode if you happen to can, because the ‘i-Improve’ colour profile in Auto mode is over-the-top, to say the least.

We discovered the TG’s white steadiness was correct, even underwater, which is at all times difficult. The digicam tends to overexpose, so it’s possible you’ll end up needing to make use of publicity compensation pretty usually. As talked about earlier, you may’t use publicity compensation in most modes (together with Auto), so you will must P or A mode to regulate it.

Out of digicam JPEG. ISO 200 | 1/30 sec | F2 | 25mm equiv.
Photograph by Dan Bracaglia

The digicam’s 4K video is okay although, once more, no higher than that from a smartphone. The ‘film IS’ does a great job of stabilizing issues, although there’s a noticeable crop when it is on. Audio ranges are adjustable, and a wind filter can also be accessible. The TG-6 can shoot (silent) Full HD video at 120 fps, with even quicker body charges accessible if you happen to drop the decision.

The TG-6 makes use of the Li-92B lithium-ion battery, which turns in a decent 340 pictures per cost (CIPA rated), although you will in all probability do even higher than that in most conditions. That is assuming you are not utilizing the GPS, although, so a spare battery is a should if you happen to’re utilizing it or the logging operate. The digicam could be charged over its USB 2.Zero connector. There isn’t any exterior charger included within the field, however Olympus can be blissful to promote you one for a whopping $70.

Regardless of all of its cool monitoring options, the TG-6’s wi-fi implementation is not nice. There isn’t any Bluetooth, so it’s important to put the digicam right into a smartphone connection mode after which manually discover the community it is created in your cellphone (a QR code is used for preliminary set-up, however that is it). Olympus’s OI Share app is easy to make use of, although not at all times dependable. To get monitoring knowledge and put it on a map, you need to use one other app, OI Monitor, which downloads log recordsdata that sync with up with pictures that you’ve got already downloaded by way of OI Share.

Conclusion

Out of digicam JPEG. ISO 100 | 1/80 sec | F2 | 25mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

The Olympus Powerful TG-6 continues to be the highest waterproof digicam in the marketplace. We like its ruggedness, expandability, monitoring options, and Uncooked help. Its lens is quicker on the wide-angle finish than its friends, and its macro capabilities are top-notch. Battery life is superb, assuming that you just’re not hitting the GPS too exhausting.

The TG-6’s most important destructive is just about the identical as for any small-sensor compact digicam as of late: picture high quality simply is not that nice, particularly in comparison with best-in-class smartphones that seamlessly mix a number of pictures to spice up picture high quality. Having Uncooked help offers TG-6 customers extra flexibility to squeeze probably the most out of the digicam, however you may solely achieve this a lot with a half of.3″ sensor. In comparison with its friends, we want the TG-6 had a bit extra vary at its telephoto finish (however you’re getting F2 on the broad finish in trade), and the dearth of Bluetooth is disappointing.

There have been a number of references to smartphones all through this evaluation, and to be clear, the TG-6 is not meant to switch one. Moderately, it is designed to resist precisely what you do not need taking place to your smartphone: being dropped, stepped on, or dunked in water.

Out of digicam JPEG. ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F9 | 28mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

In the midst of penning this evaluation I took the TG-6 to Olympic Nationwide Park in Washington State. With its mixture of rock-strewn seashores, temperate rainforests and snowy mountain peaks, the park is strictly the type of place the place you need to stuff your cellphone in a pocket, get out the TG-6, and never fear about what it could smash into. And with the ability to see the place you took a photograph is not simply fascinating: it makes organizing pictures simpler, as effectively.

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