You mentioned the TG-6. I picked up a TG-5 in July (used) and it’s what made me decide I wanted to get into macro further. And it’s a very impressive field macro machine. Totally weather proof (and waterproof to 50 ft), very shockproof, fits into my jean pocket, has RAW, 4k video (invaluable for swift moving macro sprinters) and even built-in-stacking. And it looks like (at least from a reasonable distance) like small, relatively inexpensive compact point-and-shoot that compared to a full DSLR, does not seem worth trying to steal.
There’s a few design cons: you can’t change batteries without it coming off a tripod (too close to mount), and there’s really nothing but a token optical zoom (4x) but the worst for me is low-light, full zoom and the well-known purple haze effect that’s hard to predict. Even so, I love this camera and I still take it with me everywhere because of its lightweight and size – and almost instant setup to catch shots of any tiny ‘pleasant surprises’ I come across.
For me, the icing on the cake was that it saved to RAW and that it was supported by DxO PureRaw, my first stop denoiser for RAW. This lets me shoot far into the upper reaches of the ISO range which, in effect gains me some real opportunity extensions (you can also get a flash diffuser or a led front ring).
Eventually though, I needed something with more flexibility in the super macro, especially something that would give me more distance between camera and lens-end.
But, being a low-budget pensioner, I studied for a cheap alternative to a dedicated macro lens for my DSLR (an old Sony Alpha). In the end? In September I went for an old used bridge camera that didn’t have RAW, nor 4k video, but it was still very light and small enough to fit into my jacket pocket. Even with the macro extender, the Raynox-250, which I bought and attached to this little camera using an adapter I found. The whole package–camera, Raynox, adapter, ring–set me back about $200 (USD). And wow, three months later I have had a lot of fun.
As I’ve mentioned in another post, it’s been a lot of fun and for me, a most affordable adventure. Here’s a link to a sample gallery of some of my better shots from the setup I described. (I am hoping to eventually put together a more complete site to show others how to do this.) I’d love to hear your feedback on these.
I know the optics and tiny bridge cam/sub-c sensor of an old low-cost bridge camera are not as razor sharp as a dedicated macro lens on a good full sensor DSLR, but for me, this was the economy ticket that got me in the sandbox I wanted to play in.
And with that kind of ticket price, if a sudden, unplanned downpour or drop into a puddle wrecks the gear, I will not be happy – but I won’t be devastated either.
Maybe it’s not for you, but for my camera-bag toting and in-field lens-changing avoiding bias (and limited budget), it’s been great!