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New to underwater photography? 6 reasons to try the Olympus TG6

Updated: Apr 29

The most common question I'm often asked is what camera I would recommend for someone who is just starting underwater photography. Sometimes, it can feel a bit daunting looking at everyone's very heavy and very expensive equipment. But fear not! There are some amazing alternatives, especially if you're new to the scene. For anyone dipping their toes into underwater photography, I would 100% recommend checking out the Olympus TG6. It’s compact, drop and waterproof, and I’ve taken some of my favourite photos using this little camera! So, if you’re in doubt, here are 6 reasons to try it out:

 

Weedy Seadragon: Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6


1. Affordability

For anybody just starting out with photography, the Olympus TG6 is a great, affordable option for beginners. For the price, you really can’t get any better. I bought mine second-hand for around $500AUD on Facebook marketplace (perfect for my student budget at the time)! Brand new they are around $700AUD. 

 

2. It’s waterproof and shockproof!

Like the name suggests, the TG6 Tough is both waterproof, freeze-proof to -10°C, shockproof against drops from 2.1m and crushproof up to 100kg (I haven’t tested these ranges myself but let’s just say it’s reasonably a hardy camera). The camera itself is waterproof to 15m, but mine really doesn’t like going below 10 (around this depth, a warning pops up on the screen to tell you to shallow up, and some of my buttons start jamming up). But essentially, it’s perfect to take snorkelling, and if you do end up getting the housing add-on, you never need to worry about flooding since the camera itself is waterproof anyway!


Green Sea Turtle on Magnetic Island: Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6

 

3. Small, easy, compact

Honestly, although I’ve got a bigger setup I still like using my Olympus a lot. It’s small and easy to set up, and since the body is small you can get close to your subjects even if they are hiding in small crevasses. It’s also a perfect travel companion and doesn’t take up too much space in your carry-on luggage when you are heading on overseas adventures!

 

Shooting at Sunset: Image by Janaka Rodrigue


For scuba divers, Olympus also have an underwater housing for an extra few hundred dollars that allows you to take the camera down to 60m. There are a bunch of other accessories you can add too, like wide angle lenses, a tray and arms, ring lights, etc., but if you truly want to level up your photos, the best investment I made wasn’t the camera itself but investing in a good quality underwater torch.


If you don’t have a torch yet, that’s also fine, because this camera also has a great little built-in flash! I’ve taken some of my favourite photos with just the camera (no housing, no torch, naked) using just the in-built flash!

 

Glitter Squid: Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6

 

4. Amazing macro capabilities!

What really sets the Olympus TG6 apart from other compact cameras is the extreme macro shooting capabilities! The super macro (microscope) setting has just a 1cm auto-focussing distance, making this the perfect camera for capturing those teeny tiny flatworms and nudibranchs!


Dawn Flatworm: Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6


Verco's Nudibranch:  Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6


5. Shoots in RAW

Shooting in RAW will make a huge difference to your photography. But note: It will require post-processing! I use Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop to colour balance and edit my RAW Images.

 

Galapagos Shark: Image by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6

 

6.  Slow Motion Video

For video lovers, the Olympus TG6 can shoot video in slow motion (120fps at 1080hd). Now if you’re only interested in shooting wide-angle videos, the GoPro Hero series might have a better option for you. But if you’re interested in both photos and videos, especially macro images, the Olympus TG6 is definitely the way to go.  

 

Clownfish on the Great Barrier Reef: Video by Tiani Dun using Olympus TG6


At the end of the day, underwater photography doesn’t have to be expensive! If you just want to get started taking photos while snorkelling, start with the Olympus and you can always add some accessories later.


Until next time merpeople!


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Check out some more of Tiani's work here -

Instagram: @tianioceani 

 


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