Olympus TG6: The best settings for Underwater wide-angle Photos
“Which underwater settings shall I choose for my Olympus TG6 camera?“.
This is a question that often reaches me. The Olympus Though TG-6 (and its predecessors the Olympus TG-5) is one of the most popular underwater compact cameras.
This small compact camera is performing incredibly well on underwater macro photography, and I have already covered the best settings to use with the TG-6 for underwater macro photography. It is also very simple to use, making it a great choice if you are starting out with underwater photography and are looking for your first underwater camera.
But since we not only want to take pictures of the small critters we find on our scuba dives, let’s get into underwater wide-angle photography today.
There are designated underwater shooting modes on the TG-6 for both macro and wide-angle photography, but I would highly encourage you to try out some of the slightly more advanced settings.
In this article, I want to show you the best settings to use on the Olympus TG-6 when shooting wide-angle photography underwater.
Wide-angle pictures let you capture larger subjects, such as turtles, sharks, and wrecks, but it is also amazing for reef scenes and capturing the atmosphere of a dive site.
In order to get out the most of your wide-angle images, you might want to add some accessories to your camera:
Accessories for your Olympus TG6 for underwater wide-angle photography
While it is still fairly easy to get great underwater macro pictures with a video light or sometimes even the internal flash of your TG-6, things get difficult when it comes to wide-angle scenes. Adding a strobe (and even better two for wide-angle photos) will allow you to light up your subject, restoring color and contrast and resulting in better images.
Wide-angle wet lens (also called “wide-angle conversion lens”):
Adding a wide-angle conversion lens to your compact camera will expand your camera’s field of view, and allow you to shoot larger subjects and scenes, from a closer distance. And remember, in underwater photography we always want to get in close.
Adding a wide-angle wet lens to your TG-6 will allow you to expand the camera’s field of view to 120°, and thus enabling you to capture larger scenes and subjects while still being close to them.
Here are the best settings to use on your TG-6 camera for wide-angle photos when using strobes:
Start by choosing the file format “RAW” or “RAW+JPG” to allow you more flexibility afterward when it comes to editing your underwater pictures.
Choosing the right mode on your camera is essential, especially in underwater photography. Depending on which mode you choose, you will have different degrees of control over the exposure settings on your camera. Generally, I recommend choosing the manual mode, since it allows you for total control over the three exposure settings ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
If you want to learn all about the settings of your camera and start shooting in manual mode, you can sign up for my online course The Secrets of Underwater Photography, where we cover not only camera settings but all the essentials you need to know in order to start creating breath-taking images on your dives.
Now, for the Olympus TG-6, you don’t have the option of choosing the manual mode, since it does not have one. The next closest thing to manual mode on the TG-6 is Aperture priority mode (A) since it gives you the greatest control over your settings.
For wide-angle photos, choose Aperture Priority mode (A) and set your aperture to f8.
When you are using an external light source in your underwater pictures, you always want to set your White Balance to “Auto White Balance”.
Set your focus mode to “Auto Focus”.
Live View Boost
The Live View Boost helps you compose pictures in low light. And as you know, it often gets dark underwater. 😉 It lightens up your camera display screen, and by doing so helps you compose your images because you can actually see what is happening on your screen, instead of it just being black.
Set your Live View Boost to “On”.
Underwater Wide-angle Settings to adjust to the conditions:
Depending on the conditions you encounter you might want to change your ISO. Start with a low ISO (ISO 100), and turn it up if needed. You might also want to change your Exposure Compensation. Start with Exposure Compensation at -1 Stop.
Settings on your strobe for underwater wide-angle:
I’m a big fan of manual mode because it allows you the most control over your settings. And this goes for your strobe as well. Choose “Manual mode” if you are already more advanced. If you are just getting started with your strobes, start by choosing “TTL mode”
Advanced tip for shooting faster:
Your strobes are triggered by the internal flash of your camera, and when you shoot a fast-moving subject your biggest limitation will be the recycle time of your built-in flash. The TG-6 offers an amazing feature because you can manually adjust the internal flash to a minimum power output of 1/64. Doing so will reduce your recycling time, which means you get to shoot your strobes faster after each shot.
Remember to check and adjust
Now, remember that your settings will change depending on the conditions and subject you are shooting. Those recommendations are a great starting point, but it is up to you to evaluate on your dive which of the settings you might have to tweak a little.
Choosing the right settings for your underwater pictures is just one of the secrets to creating amazing underwater images that will make you proud and suck your viewers in. If you want to learn everything you need to start creating impressive underwater pictures on your dives, check out my online course!
Did you find this article helpful? Let me know in the comments, and share it with your scuba diving friends!