Great compact waterproof camera – Olympus Tough TG-6

One of the main reasons the Olympus TG-5 tops our list of the best waterproof cameras was its impressive range of features for a robust camera.

There really is no big difference between the Olympus TG-6 and its predecessor, the TG-5, which is an indication of how well the latter was. But at a time when video is becoming increasingly important, some key updates have been added.

Another novelty is the Underwater Microscope mode, which complements the existing range of underwater shooting modes and makes this choice obvious for anyone with an inclination to photograph small sea creatures while diving or diving. Or, in fact, any kind of macro photography.

The 3-inch fixed screen is still the same size as the TG-5, but includes twice the resolution. This makes it much better to compose your shots and see them playing. There’s no sensitivity to tapping here, but for a camera that’s designed primarily for underwater use (where touch sensitivity wouldn’t work), it’s no surprise.

What remains the same is its 12-megapixel and 1.33-inch sensor. These days some smartphones actually carry larger sensors, so don’t expect super-stellar performance, but this Olympus TG-6 camera is all about the places where you can take pictures that your phone wouldn’t dare step on. There’s also a 4x optical zoom, which gives you the practical equivalent of a range of 25-100mm.

The camera’s Tough credentials include 2.1-meter-high shock resistance, waterproofing up to 15 meters,freeze and crush-proofing.

In general, the image quality of the Olympus TG-6 can be defeated by some of the high-specification smartphones. But the goal of this model, and the like, is that you can take it to places where your smartphone just can’t go. These include deeper underwater, extreme cold, or just a family vacation where you don’t want to worry about cracked screens or sand damage.

When you consider all this, you can forgive yourself for not giving super-impressive images in all conditions. This is not to say that images are scarce – in general, they are vibrant and powerful with a fair amount of detail.

The TG-6 also offers solid video performance, with new frame rates offering some extra versatility. If your main concern is the video, you could say that you will be more suitable for an action camera like the black GoPro Hero7. But for those who like to mix still images and movies, the Olympus TG-6 makes a lot of sense.

Putting the camera against a high-end smartphone will probably result in very similar images – in fact, sometimes the computational magic of the smartphone could also give you the advantage. However, there will be a lot of scenarios that you wouldn’t be able to take your smartphone in the first place – diving 15 meters underwater, for example – and smartphones also generally can’t take good macro photos without additional lenses.

  • Price: £449.99
  • 12MP 1/2.33-inch CMOS sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens (25-100mm equivalent), f/2.0-4.9
  • 3-inch, 1040k-dot fixed LCD screen
  • Waterproof to 15m
  • Slo-mo modes include 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps
  • GPS and Wi-Fi