Wanted: Macro, highest ISO, RAW files from Olympus TG-6

So I’m being drawn closer and closer (naturally) into macro/super-macro land and given my penchant for easy-to-carry-and-use photography, I’ve been swayed to join the TG-6 owner club.

But I would really love some decent RAW files to run some image editing tests with before I part with any more of the kids’ college fund. (Kidding! Mostly.)

Specifically, shots taken at the highest ISO levels and if possible, the highest magnification. All I need is a three or four. I’ll share the results here if I get some.

The problem is that I can’t share RAW files on the forum here, but I can set up a temporary cloud drive folder if you have something you wouldn’t mind sharing with me. By the way, it doesn’t have to be your best shot – in fact, if you have something that you’ve always thought – a nice shot, but the noise is terrible-- that’s more or less what I’m after. Or anything that has good detail and is at least well in focus.

If you have something, then please let me know.

Many thanks!

I mean, I try to avoid shooting in the highest ISO for obvious reasons. But after a quick search of my lightroom catalog, I do have some not-so-great shots of this caterpillar that you’re welcome to:

If you want some examples of more reasonable high ISO files in the 1000+ range, I can certainly share a lot more so you can get an idea of the noise at different ISOs on the TG-6.


I’ll be honest. I have a TG-6 and shoot raw. I’m happy with the camera (I have others) and – in general – happy with the results I get from it, but it’s not exactly a superstar when it comes to noise. Even at ISO 100, raw captures have a lot of noise (well, I think it’s a lot of noise). The noise is terrible and that’s why, I think, that some reviews say that the TG-5/6 captures are “soft”; i.e. because after you (or the camera) apply noise reduction there’s often not a lot left to sharpen; lots of noise reduction = “soft” final image in general (although depending on what you’re photographing that may mean nothing at all). The quality is not going to compare with a DSLR, mirrorless or maybe even my phone. That said, maybe it doesn’t need to. It excels at capturing closeups, it’s waterproof, it has GPS and it fits it my pocket. For web-sized images I am constantly amazed by what it can achieve: at the same f/stop it has heaps more depth-of-field compared to my other cameras. But, noise? Yeah, the raw files have a lot of noise. Whether that means anything or not is dependent on what you’re trying to achieve I think

Edit: I just had a quick look at my LR catalogue and ISO 100 are not too bad. But, most of my shots with the TG-6 seem to be ISO 800 and noisy. But not so noisy that they’re unusable; most of them were taken in the pouring rain and I’d not have got a photo at all otherwise


I knew from posted JPG samples of the noise levels, I just wanted to see what DxO PureRaw could do with those.

For instance, here’s a ‘standard’ noise shot setup captured in a DxO PureRaw (1) at ISO 200 for the TG-6.

Same test shot at 12800.

Artifacts from the process? Sure. But for iNat identifications? I wanted to see what PureRaw would do with a real life sample of the tg-6, when it’s pushed.

Both of these are with the default ‘deep’ mode of PureRaw.

Which is why I’m hoping to get some decently focused, but very noisy, high ISO stuff. I’ll post them back (as links) if I get anything to play with.

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Thanks Willside and… welcome to the Forum!

Here’s a screen grab of the results from DxO PureRaw with the default ‘deep’ processing mode applied (obviously) on the right.

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Great examples and thanks for sharing. Yeah, that’s what I mean about noise. And it’s colour noise as well. But does that make the photos unusable? I don’t think so. In fact despite the noise I think they’re more than usable and I apologise if I didn’t make that clear (hahaha, no pun intended) in my initial reply. The tg-6 photos are great, especially for close-up/macro. It’s difficult for me to get similar results with gear that costs a lot more. Would I buy a TG-6 again? Yes, for sure. But I don’t think it’s worth kidding ourselves about the noise… the images are noisy, there’s no getting around that, even if software can do amazing stuff and it doesn’t really matter once scaled down to image sizes from even just a few years ago. I guess I was comparing apples to oranges. ISO 800 on the TG-6 has more noise than ISO 12800 on a very expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera. Does it matter for iNat? No. Would I buy a TG-6 again? Yes, in an instant. But I do think it’s important to say that the images it captures are noisy. Compared to a phone? I dunno, never used one of those new fangled things

That’s why I wanted to test them through PureRaw. I was very impressed with PR with my Sony A6000 RAWs, and wondered if I could get similar results with the TGs. So far, only willsides has supplied me with a ‘field’ RAW to try but I think the results are, at least for me, a dealbreaker. Having the extra ISO noise under control is like gaining a couple f-stops and for macro lens work, that more than pays for the software.

PureRaw gives you an option to sharpen edges in the processing, and you can batch process a folder easily too. Each image takes, on average (on my old machine) about 20 seconds to run and you can choose to output to a JPG or a DNG.

As for sizing, good upsampling software, like Topaz Gigapixel, can add some extra clicks to your zoom extent too. So if all I have is a 4X zoom on the TG, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to push it without too much noticeable artifacting, to the equivalent of a 8-12X zoom.

I’m not shooting for prettiness, but if it comes – great. But if I need detail, and low noise, my most affordable option is to rely on good imaging software. Plus, I don’t have to lug all that expensive gear around.

Thanks for your input! Cheers.

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Not to mention how heavy that expensive gear usually is!

Waterproof and light (fit in ya pocket) the tg-6 has lots going for it. Seriously, the TG-6 is great (just don’t compare it to a Canon EOS R5 or something). It’s not a bad camera; in fact it’s pretty good and I’d buy it again. But yeah, usually noisy (but manageable depending on what you’re wanting, and the great depth-of-field really is awesome). If you want heaps of raw file examples, most ISO 800, message me on iNat and I’ll upload a bunch to my dropbox and give you a link (I don’t really want to do that here publicly)

Thanks craig-r! Really, just one or two will do. The higher the ISO sample the better, but it would be nice to compare the results between say 800, 1600, and the very top, 12800.

I’ll message you. Thanks again!

Hi @broacher , I also have the same camera and could probably supply some high ISO images if you need them. Why in particular are you asking about high ISO images? Because they represent the extreme end of the spectrum (i.e. worst case scenario)? Reason I ask is because I don’t really think it’s representative of what you can expect during routine use of the camera. The aperture is pretty fast for hand-held stuff, and with the internal flash (there are a couple diffuser accessories as well) you shouldn’t need a fast shutter speed even if stopping for a greater DOF. There’s also internal focus stacking which is pretty handy (although I have only ever had success with stationary subjects for obvious reasons).

I think, from a routine use perspective, noise won’t be the limiting factor. I also love my TG-6 but it is digital and as such expectations are managed. It takes great photos for what it is, and is insanely versatile. The camera has a 4x zoom lens (not digital zoom) which works quite nicely. I haven’t looked at the difference in cropping potential at 1x vs 4x so I can’t comment on that. Anyway, at 4x you really don’t want to crop at all ideally, but with some post-processing you might be able to crop 75% or maybe a little more. But you really shouldn’t need to under most circumstances. Take for example these photos I took of a gall wasp. These are straight out of the camera JPGs on the default macro setting, I was hand holding both the camera and the leaf that this wasp was on, in diffuse sunlight in the forest with no supplemental light. The wasp is in the photo is only 2mm. For reference, the aperture for all of these is f4.9, ISO 640-800 in the shade, 200 for the one in sunlight, and shutter speed 1/400 sec. The minimum focus distance is 1cm so it theoretically could have been magnified further, but I needed to keep a bit of a distance as to not flush the wasp. I think anything smaller than this, or even arguably this sized organism you start getting into the realm where microscopy might be more appropriate if you need finer-scale details than these photos provide.

Anyway, I hope these insights and example images might be helpful in your decision process. If you still want more photos let me know what settings and I’ll take a few for you.

In short, because I routinely use a product called PureRaw (from DxO) to process my RAW files from a Sony Alpha 6000, with great success. And this software also supports the RAW files from the Olympus TG-6 (and 5 and 4). I find that I have come too depend on this workflow to allow me to push the ISO setting much, much higher than others do and in effect, this gives me at least 2 or more exposure stops to play with, without worrying about noise levels.

If you check up the thread here you’ll see one of my responses included links to some simple tests I made with a classic camera noise testing sample that I found on a photo review site. Those showed a lot of promise but I was really hoping to do some testing with actual macro observation files that were shot at the tg’s higher and highest ISO range.

I received so far one RAW file that I could test (from willaides) and I posted the result here. It was shot in the 1000+ ISO range. What I would still like though is a few more real world macro shots (in RAW) from say 1600 and up (to the max) to see what happens.

Thanks for your interest and help. I hope I made it clear what I’m after.

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Gotcha, that makes sense. I did see the one you cleaned up and it looked pretty good despite all the noise in the original photo. I’ll be able to get you some shots in the next couple days.

It’s not ISO related but one thing that you should be aware of, which is VERY deceptive of the Olympus marketing department, is that it offers you 3 basic f-stops … not true. For macro photography higher f-stop values give you the greater depth of field. When I’m shooting macro with my Canon DSLR gear I’ll usually be shooting at f/14 or greater with small targets. The third and highest setting that the TG-6 has will allow for, at least what it displays, is f/18 at 4x zoom (the f-stop value automatically goes up as you zoom in). That’s actually mostly a lie. For the third f-stop setting the camera just essentially drops down a 3 stop neutral density filter and darkens the image. The maximum f-stop you can get is actually f/6.3 on the second setting (which you can only get to if you’re running in Aperture Priority mode). That’s pretty crappy for macro photography. So make sure you account for having some really thin depth of field shots if you have a tiny subject that you get really close to. The main benefit of this camera is that it’s waterproof. Using it outside of a water environment I’d have my reservations. Using high end DSLR cameras that have good ISO performance, I’m hesitant to go past ISO 400 MAX or it starts getting really ugly. DXO is great, but the general rule is crap in is crap out … take a good shot in the first place, there’s no free lunch. The other awful thing about this camera and it defies any common sense is the fact that it has no full manual mode. No idea why not. So you’re going to have to do a crazy dance with modes and dials and preferences to get the settings that you know you want.

~Chris T.


Hi christrent. Welcome to the forum and thanks for jumping in here.

From my research, I thought it was actually even lower, at 4.9.

You seem to know your macro stuff very well, and your right, of course about all the shortcuts and deceptions that the Olympic marketing folks have spun into this little compact, and I completely agree with you that this camera is no way as technically close to the quality you can expect from a much larger, and more expensive full system.

But see, for me, and I expect many others, it comes down to adapting to the risks and opportunities and results equation. Much like evolution!

The place I most have a chance to frequent is a trail that’s pretty dense, hilly, and full of wet, slippery rocks, roots, logs and lots of other hikers. And quite often wet or foggy. I have tried lugging in a good camera and better gear but frankly, I found myself most of the time just pulling my camera phone out of my pocket to take advantage of a shooting chance, and to avoid an accident or delay.

I think for me, I have learned to let go of the idea that I am after ‘Photography’ and to work more along the lines of discovery and photo-ID level of imagery. And it’s frequency vs quality to a large extent too.

Sure, I could set up a tripod, a DSLR on a rail, work out a flash setup, plan on great post stack processing, or perhaps a 600 dollar macro lens… or I could if I could afford all that in time, space and money.

But I am after more than pictures. I am after the experience of exploring and discovery. Will I mess up, miss making a great shot and have to settle for mediocrity or even failure? Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s true.

But I plan to have a lot of fun in just doing so without too much work because I am not risking perfection, loss of expensive equipment (the used model I’m looking at tomorrow is going to cost me under 200), or scheduling difficulties. It’s about having some real photo fun with what you can put in and take out of your pocket, rain or shine.

I’m not looking at DxO and other software post tricks as a magic solution to making silk purses—it’s mostly just to give my lower photo quality expectations a bigger sandbox to play in and thus more time to play.

As a Frizzled hair teacher once said, “it’s time to get messy, make mistakes, and have fun!”

(If only I had a magic shrinking bus!)

I can agree with others about awful noise (but idable photos) and very thin dof, spend 5 mins near a moth and then just shot it with a phone because with it was so hard to get it right. I got it for easy underwater photos and for my husband to use, so it’s not critical for me, but if you want more than that, dslr would be better on many levels.

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And just so you know where I’m coming from, I’ve been lugging a Canon 90D with a 100-400V2 and 40mm of stacked extension tubes down the side of a cliff with rope to the slippery tide pools at night in the fog. Heh heh, so yeah, that’s why I now have a TG6 (90% because of the waterproof feature so I can get underwater shots too). However, I was thinking the same thing that I could just take this down there and leave the heavy gear at home. Well … now I cary the TG6 AND the Canon gear both. Be careful what you get yourself into. You think you’re solving and issue but it turns into an even bigger one if you’re not careful. To get to the f/6.3 setting … you have two aperture choices in Aperture Priority mode at 1x zoom, 2.0 and 2.8. If you select f/2.8 and zoom out to 4x (do not ever use digital zoom as you know) it will put you at f/6.3. But you can only do this if you have the TG6, not the TG5, the TG5 won’t let you do super macro focus from Aperture Priority mode. If you can get a used TG6 for $200 you should definitely do it as they usually don’t go for less than $350 on eBay. If you’re going to use the built in flash on macro shots you’ll need the FD-1 diffuser attachment … the flash isn’t lined up properly when you get super close, it’s $50 new.


Be aware that if the diffuser attachment is attached it changes the f-stop the camera chooses when in some modes

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Correct. That’s why you have to run in Aperture Priority mode, it’s the only way I’ve found to keep the f/6.3 locked in (but still only at 4x zoom which creates difficulties if you’re photographing something large close up, when you start zooming out that f-stop number gradually goes back to f/2.8 automatically). In the preferences I set the minimum shutter speed to 80 (1/80th), the default ISO to 100 and the max ISO to 400 and run in Auto ISO. For me, since I’m shooting in low light at night and underwater usually with those settings every shot I take with the built in flash set to FILL ends up at f/6.3, 1/80th, ISO 400, which is about the best you can hope for and what I’d choose in manual mode (if it existed). Your daytime use might vary but I’d expect with those settings your ISO would be down near 100 and it would just vary the speed setting faster to get the proper exposure … that’s what I would be adjusting but since the damn camera has no manual settings you have to do these stupid mode and preference games to get it close to where you know the settings should be.

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I didn’t get the TG6 (too late) but I did find a TG5. At $100 CDN I couldn’t resist. The (ironically named) anti scratch coating on the lens is really chock full of scratches which why it was going so cheap. But I’ve spent the last couple hours playing with it in natural light situations and I’m starting to think it’s the best 100 I’ve ever spent. I might consider removing all the coating to prevent night glare problems, but for 95% of what I’m shooting I think it’s going to be my main goto.

I also got to test the DxO PureRaw software out a bit on the shots and it looks like it’s going to make those higher ISOs very useable. I’ll post up some test results tomorrow, maybe.


My rule of thumb with a sensor size that small is to not go above 800 iso…I use the photoshop raw features to smooth noise / keep sharpness so I’m not familiar with your workflow; but I probably have some of those and maybe higher since it took me way too long to figure out how to set things (new to the club myself). I will look and message you if I have anything. I can’t promise focus…I was actually a little confused at the lack of DoF in field even having really high aperture setting. My old Lumix Lx3 can outperform it easily; so I’m in the ‘slightly disappointed new user’ category after my first time underground with it (cave biologist). I really wish it had an “m” mode it would solve so much…

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