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Olympus Tough TG-6 Review

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review - We review the Olympus Tough TG-6, the tough waterproof camera with advanced controls and impressive macro performance.

| Olympus Tough TG-6 in Compact Cameras

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 In The Rain


Quick Verdict

The Olympus Tough TG-6 may seem like a subtle update to the TG-5, but there are a number of welcome improvements that make the camera easier, and more enjoyable to use, helping you get the best results possible. Using a 12mp sensor, noise performance is good, and the camera offers, 4K video, and high-speed video with FullHD video recording at 120fps possible. The camera offers a bright f/2.0 lens, making it more suited to underwater photography compared to other waterproof cameras, as there is less light underwater.

If you're in the market for a tough waterproof camera, then the Olympus Tough TG-6 offers the best "bang for your buck", with the brightest lens of all waterproof compact cameras, high-speed continuous shooting, and particularly impressive macro performance. 

The camera is setup to help you get the best in underwater conditions, and there's a range of appealing accessories available. For those travelling the built-in GPS logging, and action tracking will be particularly useful. Wi-Fi also lets you quickly transfer images, or remotely control the camera.

+ Pros

  • Lower resolution 12mp sensor means better noise performance
  • Brighter than normal f/2.0 lens (wide-angle)
  • Excellent colour reproduction
  • 4K video recording
  • High-speed FullHD video
  • In-camera focus stacking
  • Incredible macro performance
  • Live composite

- Cons

  • Panoramic mode could be better
  • Full manual controls would be nice
  • Some purple fringing visible


Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (8)

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the latest waterproof camera from Olympus, updating the TG-5. The TG-6 features a 12-megapixel sensor, along with high-speed shooting for both stills and video, and 4K video recording. The camera features built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, a bright 4x optical zoom lens, with an f/2.0 aperture, and a number of advanced features. New to the TG-6 is a higher resolution screen, new underwater modes, improved macro photo options, and a new range of accessories.


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Olympus Tough TG-6 Features

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (3)

The Olympus Tough TG-6 uses the same 12 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor as the TG-5, this means that the sensor has larger pixels compared to other waterproof cameras, giving better sensitivity to light, and the camera has an extended ISO range from ISO100 to ISO12800. The camera also offers 4K video recording, 4K timelapse, and high-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps. High-speed video is possible, with FullHD video recording at up to 120fps. 

Also new to the TG-6 is a new digital teleconverter, that doubles the zoom factor of the 4x optical zoom for a maximum of 8x zoom. An Anti-reflective (AR) coating on the image sensor glass now reduces ghosts and flares while the TruePic VIII image processor from the OM-D E-M1X helps to reduce noise levels and improves the resolution in low contrast areas.

There are only a small handful of waterproof cameras to choose from currently available, so let's quickly have a look at the options available:

Panasonic Lumix FT7 Ricoh WG-6 Nikon Coolpix W300 Olympus TG-6
20mp 20mp 16mp 12mp
4.6x, f/3.3-5.9 5x, f/3.5-5.5 5x, f/2.8-4.9 4x, f/2.0-4.9
31m  20m 30m 15m
4K video 4K video 4K video 4K video
10fps 3fps 7fps  20fps 
Wi-Fi, EVF GPS GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth GPS, Wi-Fi
£189-199 £399 £389 £449

The 4x optical zoom lens offers a bright aperture of f/2.0, at the wide-angle end of the lens, which is equivalent to 25mm-100mm (in 35mm equivalent terms). The lens features an anti-fog dual-pane protective glass, as well as an impressive macro focus distance of 1cm even when using the full 4x optical zoom, meaning you can get impressively close macro photos. To take full advantage of this, focus stacking (and bracketing) will help you get more of the photo in focus, with the camera automatically merging numerous shots taken at slightly different focus distances into one. 

The TG-6 is waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof from 2.1 metres, crushproof up to 100kg, freezeproof to -10C, and dustproof meaning it should survive under water, in extreme conditions or from mistreatment.

Pro capture mode can shoot photos before you've pressed the shutter release button and is a feature that was first introduced in the top of the range Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. High-speed continuous shooting lets you choose between 20fps and 10fps, at the full 12-megapixel resolution.

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough Tg 6 Underwater
Olympus Tough TG-6 Underwater

All of the scene modes feature an example photo, giving you an idea of when it's best to use the mode, and there is a built-in help to explain the modes and options on the camera. There are a number of underwater modes available: underwater snapshot, underwater wide, underwater macro, underwater microscope, and underwater HDR. Art filters are available, with a number of different versions of each.

Wi-Fi is built-in, and using Olympus' Image Share app on your smartphone you can remotely control the camera, import photos, edit photos, and more. The camera has built-in GPS so that you can log your travels, as well as add location information to your photos. There's a small switch on top so you can easily switch logging on and off. 

If you hold the INFO button on the back of the camera, when it is switched off, then it will display a compass, the time, temperature, atmospheric pressure, depth, and GPS coordinates. Olympus calls this the Field Sensor System / or the Action Track Sensor System. The camera is also compatible with Olympus' Image Track (OI.Track) app.

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: 5 Tough Tg 6 Family Accessories Shadowed  Mood
A number of accessories are available, with a new fisheye converter, a new underwater case, and a new lens cap. Many of the accessories can attach to the front bayonet on the camera, which is behind the removable front ring. These new accessories are in addition to the existing fisheye converter, tele converter, flash diffuser, light guide, plus floating straps, and silicone cases.

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (1)

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens, 25-100mm equivalent, f/2.0-4.9
  • In-camera sensor-shift image stabilisation
  • 3inch screen, 1040K dots
  • 20fps continuous shooting 
  • Waterproof to 15m, shockproof (2.1m), dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof (100kg)
  • GPS, Wi-Fi built-in 
  • 4K UHD video recording
  • High-speed video, FullHD at 120fps
  • ISO100 to ISO12800, raw shooting
  • Aperture priority mode
  • 1cm macro, macro focus stacking/bracketing
  • Underwater scene modes
  • Available in black or red

Olympus Tough TG-6 Handling

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (5)

The design of the TG-6 remains the same as the TG-5, but with some subtle updates to the colouring making it look a little more serious. There is a large grip on the front of the camera made of plastic. The camera feels solidly built, as you'd expect from a Tough camera, and the camera has a decent weight to it for its size, making it feel substantial. There's a control wheel on top, which helps to quickly change settings, and the zoom control surrounds the shutter release button. 

A LOG switch can be found on top (for GPS logging), and the front accessory ring has a locking/release button next to it. The battery and memory compartment features a dual-lock system so that you can't accidentally open it, and the same for the side USB connection. The mode dial features a dedicated video setting, which makes it easier to access video settings and modes. There are two custom modes on the dial. 

The camera has an aperture priority mode that lets you set the aperture, with f/2.0, f/2.8 and f/8,0 available at the wide end of the lens, and f/4.9, f/6.3, and f/18 available when fully zoomed. The screen resolution has been improved with 1040K dots, and viewing angles are good. You can change the display, and show a dual-axis electronic level on the screen if you want. 

The buttons can feel a little small at times, and this could be particularly worrying if you're wearing gloves. The video button was a little difficult to press at times, however this has the added benefit of meaning you don't accidentally start and stop recording. 

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (4)

Menus – Pressing the middle OK button brings up an on-screen set of controls and options so that you can quickly change settings, without having to go into the menus. The menus are split into logical sections, however, there is an advanced options area, where it can take some time to find the options you want. There is built-in help so that the camera will tell you what the options do. The scene modes have good looking example images that make it easier to find what you're looking for. 

Wi-Fi features - Built-in Wi-Fi gives the ability to use a smartphone for remote shutter release and setting up the connection is very easy as you simply need to scan a QR code on the camera screen using the O.I.Share app. You can download and share images, apply Art filters and other effects, as well as use the app to Geotag images (in case you want to switch off GPS on the camera to save battery life). 

Olympus Tough TG-6 Review: Olympus Tough TG 6 (6)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 340 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is good, although we'd recommend a spare battery if you want to shoot more. The battery can be charged in-camera, with the provided MicroUSB cable.

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Tough TG-6

Peeking throughFetchGet me a SausageSwimming with SealsHide and SeekPaddle BoardTreesTree ShadowsPhacelia tanacetifoliaBorageMushrooms“My God, it’s full of stars”Pepper StalkSolarEncroaching

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rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
15 Jun 2019 2:42PM
This looks like a very interesting camera for me.
One suggestion please - The review is for the TG-6 but the "BUY NOW" click through option is for the superseded TG-5 model.
mediaman 13 14 Scotland
19 Jun 2019 10:46PM
Strange how 2 sets of "pros and cons" fail to mention being able to shoot in raw as well as jpeg. I only found out by clicking onto a link.The ability to shoot raw is one of the top reasons for me to choose a compact for ordinary family stuff.
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2019 8:48AM
Hi Rhody,

This should be showing a link to the TG6 now.

Hi Mediaman,

Raw shooting is mentioned in the review in a number of places, as well as on the specifications page. You can view compact cameras that shoot RAW by selecting it as a File Type (on the left) in the equipment database:

rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2019 10:47AM
Many thanks Joshwa. My comment was not a complaint. I only made the comment as it nearly caught me out. The TG-6 looks like a great camera to have for family days at the beach and given it's build quality, likely to survive anything the kids can throw at it.
5 Sep 2019 2:03AM
Thanks for the informative and thorough review. I am surprised however that 'Value' is only 3.5 stars. Owning a TG-5 and think it's easily 5 stars given all that the camera can do for US$400.
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2019 8:14AM
Hi 8632DOM, when reviewed the camera was £449, an increase in price over the TG-5.
grj Plus
7 8 United Kingdom
26 May 2022 12:11AM
I'd be more impressed if your Amazon UK price plug was anywhere near reality. £299! is actually £369 and out of stock ...
saltireblue Plus
13 14.1k 86 Norway
26 May 2022 2:03PM

Quote:I'd be more impressed if your Amazon UK price plug was anywhere near reality. £299! is actually £369 and out of stock ...

The price tag is correct and shows £369. The price of £299 you refer to is the lowest price it has been, and is preceded by the highest ever price of £449


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