Olympus has form for producing compact and tough everything-proof cameras, and its two-year-old TG-5 is one of the best-specced options on the market. No doubt keen to ensure it stays ahead of the competition, the company has now given that model a makeover to craft a TG-6 successor.
The TG-6 still has rugged specs as its highlight, although these appear unchanged from the TG-5. So, we get waterproofing down to 15m / 50ft, shock proofing to 2.1m / 7ft, and freeze-proofing to -10C, in addition to protection against dust and crushing.
In terms of the imaging side, the model appears to use the same core components as the TG-5, although there have been some changes. The 12MP back-illuminated sensor has been maintained, although it now has an anti-reflective coating on the sealing glass in front of it to help pass more light through, and to quash flare and ghosting. Once again, images can be captured in both raw and JPEG formats.
The lens in front of it, which is equivalent to 25-100mm in 35mm terms and has an f/2.0 aperture, has Dual Super Aspherical, high-refractive and aspherical optics in its makeup to help keep image quality high, together with a dual-pane protective glass on the front to help to keep fogging to a minimum. It also now works with a new Digital Teleconverter function to boost effective focal length by a factor of two to 200mm.
Same processor as Olympus mirrorless models
We also find the same TruePic VIII processing engine that stars in the company’s OM-D E-M1X and OM-D E-M1 Mark II mirrorless models among others, and this allows for 4K UHD video recording – not a common feature on waterproof cameras of this kind. This also brings with it a new addition of three underwater white balance modes.
The four-mode Variable Macro System once again includes Microscope, Microscope Control, Focus Bracketing and Focus Stacking Modes, and it’s also now possible to use the 1cm close-focusing capability outside of the Underwater Macro setting, specifically in program and aperture priority modes.
The Focus Stacking option, meanwhile, allows you to blend your choice of between three and 10 frames, while Focus Bracketing allows 30 frames to be captured, with very slight shots in focus position between each capture.
Those intending to use the camera for close-up work will be pleased to know that the LED lights around the lens have been retained from the TG-5, and that they continue to work with the diffuser and light guide accessories for more even illumination.
The fact that the front of the lens is exposed as standard may worry some who plan on subjecting it to more testing conditions, but the new (optional) LB-T01 lens barrier provides an added layer of protection. This has been designed to be operated even with gloves by simply twisting it around, although it is an added expense.
Also new is an FCON-T02 circular fisheye digital converter, together with a new PT-059 case that allows the camera to venture 45m underwater.
The Olympus TG-6 will be available from June, with a retail price of $449 in the US and £449 in the UK; pricing for Australia is still to be announced.