New Olympus TG-6 Tough Camera Crushes It


Almost two years to the day since they unveiled its predecessor, Olympus has announced the new Tough TG-6 Digital Camera, and it's likely to replace its forerunner quickly as the most advanced waterproof, freezeproof, crushproof, aka "tough," point-and-shoot camera on the market. If you are a fan of the tough cam genus or just need a versatile camera to handle your photo adventures, this announcement should get your attention. Despite its similar form factor and color options, the TG-6 sports noteworthy upgrades to the TG-5 that will preserve Olympus's spot as a leader in the tough camera field.

The TG-5 was already the tough camera with the most impressive feature set, and the TG-6, available in black and red finishes, now adds to its long list of impressive capabilities. It maintains the 12MP 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor but adds a new anti-reflective coating to both sides of the image sensor's sealing glass to reduce flaring, which is particularly important given the conditions in which this camera is often used—snow, dust, sand, and underwater. With its improved sensor, the Dual Quad TruePic VIII image processor, RAW capture, "PRO" capture mode, 25-point autofocus system, and an f/2 maximum-aperture lens, the TG-6 provides imaging capability on par with several "advanced" point-and-shoots, none of which can handle a dip in the ocean or a fall onto concrete.

Olympus Tough TG-6 in red

The zoom lens on the camera has also been given a bit of an upgrade. It maintains the 4x (25-100mm equivalent) optical zoom capability, but new to the TG-6 in Aperture-priority, Program, and Movie modes is its 2x digital zoom, enabling a 35mm equivalent focal length of 200mm. The camera also offers Image Stabilization, a Super Macro function, and Microscope mode, allowing for a close focus of 0.30" (1 cm).

A new addition is the 1.04 million dot resolution 3.0" LCD screen, which significantly updates the previous LCD, providing improved playback and image composition viewing. Its brightness can be adjusted +/-7 levels to aid working in dim or very bright conditions. Given that this camera is often called into service for underwater photography, it offers five underwater modes, including Snapshot, Wide, HDR, Macro, and the new Microscope mode. Three new white balance modes (Shallow, Mid-Range, and Deep) enable improved red and blue image tones. The camera's four Macro modes are Microscope, Microscope Control, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing. For those who like to watermark dates on their images, the TG-6 has a new date-imprint function.

Olympus Tough TG-6 in black

As mentioned, the form factor of the TG-6 has not been updated, but why fix what isn't broken? It has a compact, ergonomic design with convenient dial control, two custom modes, zoom lever, and accessory lock button. Its "tough" features remain the same, as well: waterproof to 50', crushproof to 220 lbf, shockproof from 7', freezeproof to 14°F, and dustproof to IP6X standards. The camera has an anti-fog lens with sealed, dual-pane glass to prevent condensation. Multiple video modes, including 4K and High-Speed Movie, built-in Wi-Fi for wireless sharing and remote control, and a Field Sensor System with GPS, Manometer/Barometer, Compass, and Thermometer Sensor round out the features that make the TG-6 the ideal camera for photographers who require a comprehensive image-capture tool capable of withstanding the bumps, dunks, and drops of the most adventurous of vacations. Included with the TG-6 Tough Digital Camera is a sturdy hand strap, micro USB cable, the LI-92B Li-ion battery and the F-5AC Li-ion battery charger.

New accessories have also been announced for the Tough TG-6, including the PT-059 Underwater Housing, which is custom-designed for the TG-6 and can withstand pressure to depths of 147'. All camera controls can be accessed via the housing unit and it comes with the POL-058 O-Ring, PFCA-03 Optical Cable Adapter, PRLC-14 Body Cap, PFUD-08 LCD Hood, POSR-053 Antireflective Ring, housing strap, silicone grease, PMS-02 Maintenance Set, and O-Ring remover. The unit can accommodate two external flash units and is compatible with the PSUR-03 step-up ring, the PTMC-01 Underwater Macro Conversion Lens, and the PTWC Underwater Wide Conversion Lens.

PT-059 Underwater Housing
PT-059 Underwater Housing

Also new is the FCON-T02 Circular Fisheye Converter Lens, which comes with the CLA-T01 Conversion Lens Adapter and is compatible with the TG-6. This Circular Fisheye Lens is waterproof up to 65' with circular and diagonal fisheye capability. It is nitrogen-gas sealed to prevent fog due to temperature differences and it's dustproof. Other new optional accessories include the LB-T01 Lens Barrier, which is compatible with Olympus TG-1/2/3/4/5/6 cameras and protects the lens surface of the from scratches and dirt. Simply twist the Lens Barrier to open its protective blades for quick shooting. A knobbed edge enables opening with gloves. Specifically designed for the TG-6 is the new CSCH-127 Silicone Jacket to protect the camera. The optional LG-1 Macro Ring Light and the FD-1 Flash Diffuser both can still be attached with the silicone jacket in place. Finally, Olympus has announced the new UC-92 Lithium Ion Battery Charger for the LI-92B Lithium Ion battery. This compact USB charger supplies 800mA charging current and an approximate charge time of 2.5 hours.

FCON-T02 Circular Fisheye Converter Lens
FCON-T02 Circular Fisheye Converter Lens

Let us know your expectations for the new Olympus Tough TG-6 Digital Camera and your most common applications for waterproof and crushproof point-and-shoot cameras. Use the handy Comments section, below.