For photography aficionados, there’s nothing more exhilarating than taking the perfect shot. However, long before you get in position for the picture, you must choose the right camera. Among the factors to consider when choosing a camera is the capacity to function in extreme conditions.
In this regard, Olympus has become renowned for its top-range Tough line of cameras. However, their sixth-generation premium underwater camera, the Olympus Tough TG-6, is one that stands out not only because of its functionality but also the crisp design.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 comes with a 4x optical zoom lens, 12-megapixel sensor, and other sensors and unique features. True to its name, it has protection against harsh environmental elements that allow it to function underwater, in freezing temperatures, when covered in sand, and it can even withstand the occasional drop of hard surfaces such as concrete.
All in all, the TG-6 is an everything-proofed camera with a wide range of unique features. However, it also has some limitations.
Designed to Last
There are many cameras available on the market, and smartphones can also offer excellent photography features for the everyday user. Unfortunately, most can easily get damaged after impact and cannot function in extreme conditions.
These are the primary concerns the Olympus TG-6 addresses for its users. It has a frame of 2.6 x 4.5 x 1.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 8.9 ounces. Despite its small pocketable frame, it is robust, making it resistant to impact to a tune of 100kg/220lbs, shockproof to 2.1m/7ft, and freeze-proof to -10 degrees Celsius.
Based on its structural integrity, the TG-6 was either designed for extreme use or for the extremely careless. Either way, it offers you unparalleled durability. Additionally, it comes with a dual-pane protective glass that offers exceptional anti-fogging. Compared to its predecessor, the TG-5, it has a much thicker glass on its rear LCD screen, making it more tolerant to impact.
However, its robust build is not a license for being reckless with this device. Even if it is resistant to cracks and breaks, it can still get scratches that will ruin its pristine look. Another feature that does not necessarily add to its sturdy nature is that the lens does not hold on to the occasional fingerprints left when you take shots. This means you won’t miss a shot because you were wiping smudges off the lens.
Olympus Tough TG-6 Key Features
Besides its sturdiness, the Olympus TG-6 has a wide range of features that enable its functionality in less than ideal conditions for regular cameras.
Low-Light Performance Sensor
As with the TG-5, the Olympus TG-6 comes with a 12MP backlit 1/2.3″ sensor. Compared to the TG-4, which has a 16MP sensor, this may seem like a downgrade, but it’s actually not. Due to the fewer pixels, the TG-6 has a bigger photosite that enhances the sensor’s performance in low-light conditions.
This not only makes it a functional camera when the sun goes down but also underwater or in other situations with significant lower ambient light. This is one of the primary features that makes the TG-6 suitable for extreme conditions.
Images and Video
As with previous versions, the Olympus Tough TG-6 uses a 12MP sensor ensuring image quality remains good. Along with RAW capture, it also supports JPG. As long as you do not zoom in, the TG-6 can take good low-light photos thanks to its relatively low pixel density.
When it comes to videos, you can expect excellent 4K videos from the Olympus Tough TG-6. However, due to a crop, you’ll lose a bit of wide-angle coverage. Though it tops out at 30fps, you can record at 60fps by switching to 1080p or use the 720p at 30fps. With the TG-6, you can also record cinema-like videos by switching to the 25fps capture rate as with PAL systems.
Fast Aperture and Excellent ISO
With the TG-6, you will get a lens that offers a fast maximum aperture of f/2 that spans 4.5-18mm (25-100mm full-frame equivalent). You can only capitalize on the maximum speed while shooting at 25mm.
Along with this, you will also get a 100-12,800 ISO range that ensures the Olympus TG-6 delivers high-quality images in normal light conditions and great pictures even when the lighting is not ideal for photography. However, you should note that noise may impact the quality as the sensor is small. Even still, the files are usable and more details can be recovered if you shoot in RAW.
Image Stabilization and Autofocus
Once you spot something you want to take a snap of, you will only wait for 1.6 seconds for the camera to power on, lock focus, and take the picture. Though the autofocus feature is nothing to brag about, it’s undoubtedly effective. It only takes 0.1 seconds from the time you press the shutter button to take a picture. You will also enjoy the image stabilization feature that enables you to take stills and movies.
3 Additional Underwater Preset White Balances
Olympus has added three preset white balances for the TG-6 that are depth-specific to enhance the functionality and make it stand out from other underwater cameras. They are:
- Shallow – Suitable for up to 10 feet
- Midrange – Used at depths 10 to 50 feet
- Deep – Suitable for depths beyond 50 feet
Connectivity and Power
The camera is GPS enabled, so it can track your location. To turn on the GPS, use the Log toggle switch on the camera body’s upper side. Make sure you turn it off when you are not using the camera as it still uses up battery power even when the camera is switched off.
You can charge the TG-6 using the HDMI port or USB port. Based on the CIPA standards, you can take up to 340 shots with a fully powered Olympus Tough TG-6.
Using Wi-Fi and the Olympus Image Share, which is available for Android and iOS users, you can connect to your smartphone and transfer files.
How Does the Olympus Tough TG-6 Compare to the Nikon W300?
The Nikon W300 is also a notable mention in the water and extreme condition resistant cameras. But, how does it stack up against the Olympus Tough TG-6?
|Olympus TG-6||Nikon W300|
|Sensor||12 MP, 1/2.3”||15.9 MP, 1/2.3”|
|Shutter||20 frames per second||7 frames per second|
|Power||340 shots per charge||280 shots per charge|
Who Is the Olympus Tough TG-6 Designed For?
Due to its structural integrity, functionality, and portability, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is ideal for a wide range of photography enthusiasts. This ranges from everyday shooters who want something more reliable than their smartphones to the outdoor photographers who need memorabilia for their hikes and underwater excursions.