Olympus TG-6 for botanising and occasional insects

I’m currently using a Finepix XP140 - bought after grit got in the lens of my previous camera, which had been used a lot over 5 years. When I get things sharp, the image quality is fine, and it’s good to know I’m unlikely to break it. However it is difficult to photograph many of the plants I come across, due to the autofocus going for the background, not the wispy plant in front. I’ve got some tactics to address this, such as focussing on my left hand which I then move out of the way - but holding the camara with one had isn’t the best for sharp shote either! So any other tips would be welcome.
The camera also gets through battery quickly - recently I’ve run out during a day’s botanising where I took about 100 photos, and I think part of the issue is checking photos for sharpness… I do have a spare battery but that wouldn’t help when I’m away camping for a week. So I’m thinking of upgrading to a better camera and the TG-6 has good reviews. I wondered if anyone on here uses one and what do you think? Also any other suggestions - I’m not keen on getting a DSLR despite the obvious advantages as I hike and cycle and one would be too heavy. And breakable! Thanks!

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I don’t know much about photography or cameras, but I use a Panasonic DC-ZS70, which I’m very happy with. The automatic settings are great, you can pinpoint stuff to focus on with the lcd screen, and the macro pictures seem pretty good for the price of the camera. They seem fairly durable, but probably not as durable as the camera you suggested. Might be worth checking out.

I have one of the older models (Stylus Tough 8000) and it took ok photos. Mine was 10 years ago, and there have been a lot of changes under the hood and the TG-6 looks like a decent camera for a point-and-shoot.

They’re durable and the waterproof aspect allows for some additional spontaneity.

They don’t allow a lot of user control, but few cameras in that size do.

The big issue for me was the battery, and it looks like that’ll may be an issue with the TG-6 as well as it uses the little Li-92B battery, which is definitely an upgrade from the older batteries, but it’s still pretty small. They claim 340 shots on a full battery, nearly 100 more than average for a camera that size, but in my experience it makes a really big difference how you’re using it, how long you’re keeping it on, if you’re using the GPS, etc. Depending on your use style, and GPS use you may get substantially fewer shots.

That’s an issue shared with all small form factor cameras though, and the TG series is great in that it can take a beating and is waterproof.

I’d suggest getting a couple of extra batteries and keeping them with you when you’re out and about with it.

Personally, I’ve pretty much moved away from point-and-shoot cameras entirely. A decent smartphone is nearly as good, and has multiple uses as well. For most of my photos I use DSLRs and Mirrorless, but those definitely take more management, space, cost (lenses, etc), and all that.

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I use the TG-6 with the light guide attachment. It has been amazing for me.
The worst part though is definitely the battery, it doesn’t last as long as you’d expect.
Still worth the price in my opinion.
If you need to see macro observations with it for example, all of my recent observations use it.

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I’ve been underwhelmed with the TG-6 for photos above ground – the image quality isn’t much better than my camera, and I’ve been spoiled for zoom by my mirrorless. But its macros are pretty decent (I find they work best when zoomed in) and its underwater photography ability is a whole new world I’m exploring – I spent hours yesterday trying to get river fish.

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I am using the Olympus TG-5 (the previous model of the TG-6) since 2019. The TG-5 is a great camera for taking pictures of insects and plants and the camera is very suitable for wet environments like rainforests. And it is a very good but simple camera for documenting marine life while snorkelling. I am also quite happy with the capacity of the batteries which may last for several hundred pictures depending on how often I use the flash. With one or two spare batteries I virtually never run out of power. However, I keep the GPS-function turned off during most of the time I am using this camera. Most of the observations I posted on iNaturalist at were taken with the TG-5. In case the TG-6 should be comparable to the TG-5, it would be very suitable for documenting plants and insects.

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I bought the Olympus TG-6 in April, specifically for its macro ability for photographing plants and insects.
I am a professional photographer so I have all the good gear, but that is “work”. For bushwalking and exploring nature I wanted something small and light that I could use with one hand. (Previously I used my iPhone for photographing plants and insects, but I found I was missing too much really small stuff that I just couldn’t capture with the phone.)

I have found that pre-setting the focus on the TG-6 helps for some small things or tall/thin grasses which the auto focus has trouble with. I simply hold my finger in front of the lens at about the required distance and once focus is achieved press the OK button, which locks the focus in. I can then approach to subject matter to the same distance and view on the back screen when it is in focus.

Despite what others have said, I have found the battery life exceeds my expectations. I have two batteries, and on two consecutive days this week I shot 659 and 852 photos. The only day I have completely exhausted both batteries I shot 945 photos. I’m using the LED ring light attachment for extra illumination, and I usually check the back of the camera to make sure I’ve achieved focus. I’m also using the GPS function, so that location information is uploaded to iNaturalist.

I totally recommend the Olymous TG-6. In red…

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I use a TG-6 and would recommend it. Similar to @dirkm, i keep the GPS log turned off otherwise the battery can drain very quickly. For sample photos, almost all the photos and all the macro photos i’ve posted to iNat in the last year or so have been w the TG-6, and before that many photos i posted were w an older TG-2

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I purchased a TG-5 a number of years ago - for underwater photography (in a housing). But I quickly discovered the amazing macro capability for botany fieldwork. You can capture the hairs on basal leaves of Draba for great ID. :) Definitely use a diffuser for macro.
When I decided that the TG-5 was getting a little weary, I bought the TG-6. It has the same great features.
The battery-life can be extended in your settings by prioritizing battery life over GPS accuracy. Or carry an extra battery for multi-day fieldwork.

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My first camera for nature was… the Finepix XP140.
My new camera now is… the TG-6.
The difference is massive for macro and underwater, and there’s no problem with plants. Go for the upgrade.

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Yes, the GPS log drains the battery, even when the camera is not on! I learnt that the hard way the first time I charged up the battery to go on a trip. The next morning I got up ready to take photos and the battery was completely flat.

So keep the log switch turned off, but I always keep GPS turned on.

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For plants and insects you really need manual focus on the camera for the reasons mentioned - but that will be very hard to find, if indeed it’s available at all, in a pocket camera however good the sensor and electronics. Look for a camera with manual focus that couples it with “focus peaking” (Sony have some) because that makes achieving sharp images almost as fast and sometimes more accurately than autofocus. Otherwise you might as well use a smartphone.

My recommendation is a quality bridge camera - I use the Sony RX10 and can’t fault it.

I have the TG-5, which is mostly the same as the TG-6, and I highly recommend it if you want a lightweight camera that does good macro. Most point and shoots are terrible for macro as they can’t focus at full zoom. Obviously, you want full zoom if you are trying to get close. The TGs get much closer than any other point and shoots I’ve seen. They also have built in focus stacking, which is pretty awesome.

To get light on the subject when you are ridiculously close, you probably want the FD-1 flash diffuser or LG-1 LED light guide. I use the FD-1, which probably makes for better photos but uses more battery. Flash is somewhat annoying with focus stacking as well as there will be pauses between each flash if you try to do a bunch of stacked photos with flash in a row. The first flash stack usually works great though and you just have to let the camera have a rest for it to be fast again. The LG-1 is presumably better with stacking and will save battery power.

To further save battery power, I keep the GPS on the camera off and run a tracklog on my phone, which I sync in Lightroom later. I carry two extra batteries and rarely use the third. Doing a check in Lightroom, I’ve taken over 700 photos in a day, so presumably could take more.

If you want to see examples, most of my photos on Instagram are taken with it and most of my plant and insect photos on iNaturalist are as well. Also, I posted a set of test photos on Facebook when I got the camera, which has some comparisons with and without focus stacking.

Here’s one example of how close you can get:

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I have a tip for you for your autofocussing problem
Take your camera and focus on the thing your camera can focus on and surface should be rough, so you know camera is focusing. (My camera focuses on clicking button and if I kept my finger that way it keeps same focus as before) so bring camera what you want to focus on adjust your camera to check focus and click that button deeper. I have used my cyber shot and it clicks wonderful photos that almost looks like of DSLR.
Try it and tell does it work for you?

I live in the middle of nowhere with no accessible internet. I read about the TG-6 battery drain so I bought an extra charging set and 2 batteries for about $40. However, I don’t even know where my extra batteries are because I haven’t needed them. I keep my GPS on, but have never connected my TG-6 to the internet or wifi. Keeping just the GPS log on doesn’t seem to make much of a difference on battery drain. I just transfer my photos with the cards or a cord. Love this camera!

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For living things (not my dead, focus-stacked stuff), 99% of the time I’m using autofocus for plants and insects–works great for me! But maybe my particular camera is just good at autofocusing (it has a spot autofocus setting that I keep it on).
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&user_id=pfau_tarleton&verifiable=any

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After a year on iNat using my phone & knowing nothing about photography-I decided I had a new hobby and my phone wasn’t cutting it. I started doing wildlife documentation, surveying and research. I did A LOT of research and went with the TG-6 because it met my needs: Tough, Waterproof, and EASY to use. Both a college wildlife photography professor and a park ranger recommended it.

I break everything I own and I only buy Rugged or Life-Proof gear. I have dropped this camera down a rocky cliff, bounced it off my moving bike tire, sunk in in quick mud along with myself, used it underwater, left it on the charger for three days and left it out in the rain overnight-still good as new. It weighs about the same as my phone and fits in a cargo or bike jersey back pocket.

I bought the whole camera set, all the extra lenses and accessories. I didn’t need to, the camera itself standing alone is beyond expectations. Especially for MACRO and moving insects. I do use a silicone protective case, a screen protector, I bought the front lens cover that closes and a floating wrist strap. I have the diffuser and take most of my pics at night-but don’t use it much.

As I said I am no expert and am delighted with the ease of use. There are literally basic photo icons for all settings, including bug and plant life settings. While learning to use it, the screen tells you when to use which settings. MOVING BUG, NIGHT, ON PLANT= microscope, focus bracketing, face detection, etc. If you know more you can adjust absolutely every setting and save it. The auto setting alone works quite well. I am slowly learning all this camera does and I don’t take advantage of half of it. It does not take long zoom pics all that well, but if you learn all the right settings you can capture flying birds, dragonflies, etc.
I address the battery issue in a thread above. Amazing Macro. I eventually bought a superzoom camera as well and it’s a chore compared to this one. The TG-6 lets me take pics that are so amazing they make me happy for days…

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TG-6 has good auto-focus because of its small matrix. It’s pretty pricey for the quality it produces, but it’s great for other things, we purchased it for undeerwater photography, but macro is very nice, little bit better than what smartphone can, so we use it when we can’t take second DSLR with us.

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The TG-6 camera absolutely has a Manual Focus setting you can leave it on. I’m a shaky, often one handed amateur, so I don’t use it. It’s there though and you can leave it on default.

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Hello,

I’m also a recent (16 days, 10 sessions) TG-6 user, focusing on plants and insects (as an amateur), and so far I’m pretty happy with it.
I have no experience in photography, before bying the TG-6 I was doing plant photography with a Google Pixel 3a smartphone, I still rely on autofocus and since it’s not really easy (for me) to validate pictures on the screen I switched to a strategy of taking the same photo multiple times (invoking autofocus each time).
I usually get enough good pictures for each observation, at least on plants.
On insects I tend to have less good pictures but I don’t think the problem is on the camera side :-p (I still hasn’t received the light guide accessory, I suspect things will be better with it).

Battery tends to last for almost 3 hours, with the camera always on (but often in sleep mode) in order to avoid waiting a few seconds for the camera to get the GPS position and to keep the zoom position.
I use GPS in accurate mode, but not the GPS log feature.
I switched jpeg quality to Super Fine (+RAW), I don’t know if it have a high impact on power consuption.
This is OK for my usage since I don’t do hiking but only “short” walking sessions, but I’m also waiting for an extra battery and charger since once I get the light guide accessory I will use the camera LED more often.

To take pictures I mostly use two custom presets (C1/C2), the first being the Auto mode with flash disabled, the second one being the unmodified microscope mode (this way it’s just one wheel step away, with no submode prompt).
This weekend I started using focus stacking when I can lean on something nearby the insect, and even had some relatively good result without support : https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/203349871

So far I’d say TG-6 is a good camera, at least for someone without experience with more advanced hardware like me, but I haven’t had any experience with other compacts (including non-rugged models with better zoom).

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