Olympus TG-6 - Honest Review & Test 2024

By Julius
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Olympus TG-6 review

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a best-selling compact camera and regularly makes the top-10 lists of the best underwater cameras for scuba divers.
Like all Olympus cameras, it excels at macro photography but is also a solid choice for getting started with underwater videos.
At such a low price, you will have a hard time finding anything comparable that produces the same quality output.

Scuba diver filming manatee underwater
Olympus TG-6 Review - Table of Contents
(Click to expand)

Of course, we also read other opinions online but in the end, nothing beats real world experience. So we took the time for a thorough Olympus TG-6 test and review! Below you find everything you need to know, including features, specs and what we like, and don't like about it.

Review Summary

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a great compact camera for beginners while being super flexible. It provides good quality macro images and is super easy to use. It is also waterproof to 15m/50ft out of the box which means you don't even necessarily need a housing to get started!

Our Rating

4.4 / 5.0

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof to 15m / 50ft (50m / 160ft with housing)
  • Lots of tutorials and resources available
  • Nice macro shots
  • Good battery life
  • Lightweight and great for travel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Low megapixel value
  • Zoom not great
  • Not as extendable as other compact cameras

Get it here

First Impression

In a hurry and looking for the gist of things? Here is our review in short. Keep reading for the entire version.

The Olympus Tough-TG6 is one of my personal recommendations for beginners and everyone who is just starting out with underwater photography.

It takes great photos, is super affordable, and it’s so popular you will find plenty of resources and tutorials on it.

If you have taken online courses from us, you have seen videos and photos taken with it throughout our theory lessons.

While the MP rating is slightly on the lower side, and the zoom is not perfect, the colors are really bright.

Like any Olympus system, it’s very lightweight and the entire bundle including the camera, housing, and lights can easily fit into a carry-on bag or a dive bag of choice.

Being a compact camera, the quality is not on par with more expensive system cameras, but the build quality on this one is excellent.

In contrast to those, however, you can get by without extra housing, as long as you stay above 15m (50ft) depth. This makes it an even cheaper entry point for novice underwater photographers.

Last but not least, the Olympus TG-6 is kind of a closed system that’s meant to be used as is without many extensions.

The Olympus TG-6 for underwater photography

The Olympus TG-6 was designed with underwater photography in mind, whether you go scuba diving, freediving, or snorkeling.

As a fully waterproof camera, you can charge it, put in a memory card, and start shooting photos and videos right away.

For that purpose, you will love the different underwater modes that the camera can be set to which are optimized for beginner scuba divers.

Being an Olympus camera, special focus lies on macro photography at which all their cameras excel.

For example, the Underwater Microscope mode is excellent for taking photos of tiny critters, small reef fish, and super macro images.

There are 3 more macro modes available – Microscope Control, Focus Stacking, and Focus Bracketing.

Clown fish in anemone
Great quality for such a cheap underwater camera, don’t you think?

The minimum focus distance is a 1cm (!), allowing you to really get up close with whatever you’re trying to capture without focus issues.

Other useful underwater modes include Underwater Wide Angle, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater HDR, and standard Underwater Macro.

Underwater, the Olympus TG-6 automatically corrects the White Balance to produce great colors at depth. The current model supports 3 custom modes – Shallow (down to 3m), Mid-range (3-15m), and Deep (15m and more).

Since the camera is waterproof to 15m / 50ft on its own, you don’t even need to buy housing for two of them.

Underwater housing for the Olympus TG-6

The Olympus PT-059 Underwater Housing is specifically made for the Olympus TG-6 and increases the depth rating to 45m / 150ft.

From experience, I can confirm that the camera itself can be used down to 20-25m without the housing with no problems. However, in order to prevent flooding and keep it intact longer, you do want to buy the housing.

Olympus TG-6 housing

It’s super cheap and also helps protect your compact camera from salt water, impact damage, and other outside influences.

Another advantage is that you can attach strobes, external lights, and more to the housing and take your underwater photography game to the next level.

Conclusion

The Olympus Tough-TG 6 is a great underwater camera for beginners and among the best compact cameras in general. Easy to use and with great image quality, you won’t go wrong with this one.

Specs & Features

TypeCompact Camera
Weight1.2 kg (2.8 lb)
Megapixels12MP
Resolution12MP (photo), 1080p (video)
Good forMacro photography
Zoom4x
Media TypeMicro SD
Other Featureswaterproof down to 15m/50ft (50m/160ft with housing)

If you have any other questions or need advice, leave us a comment below and get the conversation started.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

©2024 Social Diving. All rights reserved. The content presented here is the exclusive property of Social Diving and may not be copied or distributed, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Social Diving.

Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.

Comments

2 comments

  1. How often and how long did you have the TG-6 below it’s depth rating?
    Experienced diver and UW photographer here(predominantly macro, with a Canon in a housing). Last trip, housing died (but! did not lose camera; small favors). Evaluating options.
    Most of my diving is in the 30′-60′ range but on occasion, 75′-100′. Kinda loving the idea of not needing a housing so curious about long term depth exposure.

    1. Hey there,
      thanks for your comment! 😊
      Good job on not losing the camera, btw!

      Official answer: I don’t recommend taking the TG-6 below its depth rating because if it floods…it won’t be covered by the warranty.
      Honest answer: I have used my TG-6 down to 100ft+ without housing on plenty of occasions and never had any issues. As a matter of fact, a tech photographer I know has done dozens of dives down to 120ft or more without a housing and never experienced any flooding. The camera is super well made and I think it is a safe bet at the depth ranges you’re diving at.

      BUT, the big advantage of the housing is of course that you can attach lamps and other useful helpers to it. That’s especially helpful for you as a macro photographer. So I recommend at least checking out the housing options, if only to achieve better pictures!

      Let me know if this answered your question and happy diving!

      Cheers
      Julius

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