Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling – Should I choose this waterproof compact camera?
Excellent underwater photography features make the Olympus Tough TG series today’s best waterproof cameras. With each new model release, the company is adding new features to favor underwater photographers. The latest TG-6 also got some minor, yet brilliant updates that further strengthen Olympus’s winning market position among the rugged point-and-shoot compacts. If you need help deciding whether the Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling is a good choice or not, in this article, we discuss what functions it has to make taking photos underwater effortless and show you some sample images. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Do we recommend the Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling?
- Olympus Tough TG-6 underwater modes
- Underwater white balance modes
- Olympus Tough TG-6 specification
- Olympus TG-6 vs TG-5 comparison
- Olympus TG-6 underwater accessories
Do we recommend the Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling?
The Olympus TG cameras have been always popular among outdoor adventurers thanks to their all-weather usability, but with the last few models (TG-4 and TG-5) the company put the focus on users who look for a compact camera for underwater use.
On top of the ordinary tough capabilities (waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof, dust-proof and crush-proof features) several refinements and underwater photography-related changes ensure that the latest model will be your ‘must-have’ camera in all weather conditions.
- upgraded all-weather point-and-shoot camera with 12MP photo and 4K video quality
- advenced waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof, shockproof, anti-fog features
- 5 UW shooting modes, 3 UW white balance modes
- recommended for hobbyist and professional underwater photographers
The whole TG series is famous for its superb underwater image quality, especially when shooting macro subjects, and this is valid for the TG-6 model too. But with an even more user-friendly menu, handy control buttons and easily accessible underwater modes, the Olympus Tough TG-6 waterproof camera clearly became a top-pick for snorkeling and diving.
Olympus TG-6 features for underwater photography
Whether you are a hobbyist or professional underwater photographer, let us quickly guide you through some features and functions that will help you to capture the best ocean images if you decide to buy an Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling or for your diving adventures:
- waterproof up to 15m/50ft without additional housing
- underwater housing (PT-59 case) available to buy
- anti-fog design: double-layer protective glass construction to prevent lens fogging
- 5 underwater shooting modes
- underwater microscope mode
- new selectable underwater white balance modes
- whole range of accessories available
Related: read our snorkeling photography tips that will teach you how to improve your underwater pictures! Learn how to take care of your photo equipment from our underwater camera maintenance guide!
Olympus Tough TG-6 underwater modes
The Tough TG-6 waterproof camera features 5 pre-set underwater modes: Snapshot, wide, macro, microscope and HDR that allow the user to take clear and sharp images. Each mode is designed for specific depths and conditions; study these brief explanations so it will be easy and clear to decide which mode to use:
The underwater snapshot mode is the best to choose when using your Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling. It is ideal in shallow water where there is enough natural light. This mode offers light compensation of red color loss resulting in clear, natural-looking images.
A general underwater mode that can be used up to medium depths while freediving, diving or while duck diving when snorkeling. It works well when shooting bigger structures such as coral pinnacles or marine animals underwater since this mode offers a wider range of view.
Do you want to capture nudibranchs, critters, invertebrates, small fish, or coral polyps? Choose the macro mode that allows taking highly-detailed photos of tiny sea creatures.
The microscope mode with the closest focusing distance of 1 cm / 0.39 inch will help you to capture sharp, detailed close-up images of even the tiniest subjects at up to 7x magnification. However, this function is not easy-to-use while snorkeling since taking such images require extra stabilization.
You can enjoy the HDR mode advantages the best when taking photos of creatures that are in shadow but the background (sea surface) is bright. This mode takes several shots with different settings and then blends them into one picture.
Underwater white balance modes
Compact cameras’ auto white balance mode results in unnatural, bluish-greenish images when shooting underwater. Underwater cameras, therefore, have special pre-set white balance modes to compensate for the loss of color underwater. While the previous TG-5 had only one underwater white balance option, the TG-6 offers 3 preset modes for underwater shooting: shallow, medium and deep.
- Shallow: for swimming/snorkeling in shallow water (3 m /10 ft). This mode offers light color correction.
- Medium: general underwater white balance setup to restore the natural colors on your images and videos. Use it between 3-15 m / 10-50 ft.
- Deep: improves blue tones when diving deeper than 15 m / 50 ft. Select this white balance mode when using the TG-6 camera with the PT-059 dive housing.
Olympus Tough TG-6 specification
- 12 MP Backlit CMOS sensor
- 4K/30 fps, 4k time-lapse, high-speed 1920×1080 120fps FHD videos
- TruePic VIII image processor
- 4.5mm-18 mm focal length f/2.0-4.9 lens (equivalent to 25-100 mm)
- ISO 100-12800
- 1/2000 sec – 4 sec shutter speed
- 4x optical, 2x digital zoom
- close-up range of 1 cm
- RAW image shooting capability
- focus stacking
- focus bracketing
- Pro-capture mode: 10 frames per second shooting starting 0.5 seconds before shutter button is fully pressed
- Field Sensor system including GPS, manometer, compass and temperature sensor
- WiFi functions
- built-in flash
- waterproof down to 15 m / 50 ft
- freezeproof up to -4C / 14 F
- shockproof to 2.1 m / 7ft
- dustproof, IPX6 rating
- crushproof to 100kgf / 220 lbf
- lightweight yet sturdy design, weight approx. 250g
- Lithium-ion battery (fully charges in less than 2 hours)
Tip: make sure to read our Best snorkeling cameras article too where we feature some more waterproof models we like!
Olympus TG-6 vs TG-5 comparison
The Olympus Tough TG-5 (released in June 2017) entered the compact underwater camera market featuring major improvements that made the model one of the most popular ones among divers and snorkelers. The TG-6 (released in May of 2019) kept all the winning features of its predecessor but got some small, yet brilliant updates in order to continue the success story.
TG-6 improvements compared to TG-5:
- updated underwater modes
- more UW white balance pre-sets
- videos and microscope modes are available in aperture priority and program, no need to move the ring dial
- super macro autofocus 4K videos
- TruePicTM image processor
- anti-reflective sensor coating to reduce flare
- 1.04 million dots LCD screen instead of 460K dots
To decide if you need the Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling or if the previous Tough TG-5 will also meet your needs, have a look at this comparison table that highlights the models’ main differences:
Olympus TG-6 underwater accessories
To use your Olympus TG-6 for snorkeling, you don’t need any additional accessory since the camera is waterproof and ready to use underwater, but to protect it from dirt and scratches, or to use it while diving you might consider buying some extras. Olympus is proud to offer a whole range of accessories to support you on your underwater adventures!
Primarily I always recommend purchasing Olympus accessories because original items have the best fit ensuring all functions work as should, but nowadays there are more and more reliable accessory manufacturers offering products at affordable prices, so it is always worth checking alternative options too.
PT-59 Underwater housing
To use your camera deeper than 15 m / 50 ft, you need to get extra housing. In the original PT-59 Olympus case, your camera will be safe up to 45 m / 147 ft deep. With the original case, you will enjoy access to all camera control buttons. Moreover, 2 external flash units can be attached to the housing. SeaFrogs (Hongkong based underwater photography accessories manufacturer) also offers TG-6 housing at a slightly lower price.
Personally, I usually use the case often when snorkeling too since I feel more comfortable that the camera has extra protection. If you can afford to purchase it, I highly recommend it.
- original underwater housing for the Tough TG-6
- can be used for diving up to 45 m / 147 ft
- compatible with macro and wide conversion lenses
- external flash can be attached
Fisheye lens converter
Take your underwater photography to an even higher level, expand your equipment with circular and diagonal fisheye capability. Get the FCON-T02 fisheye converter (waterproof up to 20 m / 65 ft) and enjoy taking images in a new style. The kit includes the necessary CLA-T01 adapter too.
- more possibilities to capture ocean scenes
- waterproof up to 20 m / 65 ft
- anti-fog features (interior of the lens is filled with nitrogen)
The LB-T01 lens barrier comes handy in on rocky shores or sandy beaches when the lens needs to be protected from dirt and scratches. It can be easily opened or closed even if wearing gloves by simply rotating the lens barrier.
- protection against scratches and dirt
- opening and closing by rotating
- one hand operation
TG-6 silicone case
Use this extra silicone protective case during water sports, climbing or any other activity when the camera body can be scratched. Also, it provides the user with a better grip when the device gets wet. The CSCH-127 silicone jacket was designed to fit perfectly the new Tough TG-6 series and you can attach the light guide lg-1 or the FD-1 waterproof flash diffuser even with the silicone case on.
- better grip and control in wet conditions
- protects the camera from scratches
- all function buttons available when the case is on
Waterproof flash diffuser
FD-1 is a useful accessory when shooting underwater macro photos that is not only illuminating your subject but also allows you to use lower ISO as well as faster shutter speeds in order to achieve the best possible results.
- the flash diffuser improves light distribution
- can be used underwater too
- 2 to 30 cm illumination distance
If you are at the point now when you decided to invest in a compact waterproof camera that is able to deliver high-quality images and videos and will serve you for years, I definitely recommend considering choosing the Olympus TG-6. We found this model easy and straightforward to use so even those who have no experience shooting underwater will be able to capture clear, natural images and videos using the pre-set options. Also, we like that there are many accessories available for it so if you want to get serious about underwater photography, you can do it with this camera since the model can deliver high-quality footage.
This is not a commercial article; I bought the camera and housing myself, the article contains my own images and shares my own experience.
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