Camera Upgrade Questions: TG-6 to ?

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David Haas

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I think the point tursiops was trying to make is all the gear in the world isn't as valuable as maximizing what you already have or MAY look to change to.

Diving for 53 years and hosting trips seeing all manner of gear and seen some unbelievable instances.......

Example:

On one of my 10 years in a row Philippines trip a group arrived mid-afternoon and took over the camera room with all manner of newest high end housing, latest cybernetic strobes, etc.

Later after dinner I go into the room to change out batteries and here's this nice Swede putting together the lowest cost Canon clear plastic housings (3) each with a slightly different compact camera in them.

I ask "what are you shooting with and hope to capture here at Puerto Galera?"

He says he's mostly a macro shooter and can get these little disposable camera housings into spaces the big rigs can't. He can use any manner of small strobe and shooting at lowest ISO (some older compacts could go to ISO80 or even 50) proceeds to show me some of his pics on his phone.

They were astounding!!!!!

I watched the next several days while this guy outshot every one of the mega-$$$$$ gear folks. He wasn't officially part of their club having just signed on to the group. To say they were gobsmacked is an understatement :)

If one is constantly in "acquirement mode" and don't have any $$$$ left to go dive and increase your photo keepers it can ruin the excitement of making underwater images. Photography web sites call it "GAS" or Gear Acquisition Syndrome" and likely any addiction is hard to break.

I know because I had it for decades LOL.......I always thought "ff ONLY I had this new lens, strobe, or whatever my photos would be incredible !!!!!!!!! " Well folks.........I've made pics that got published in magazine, books and sold some nice big prints too all from "low cost / level" gear......

In 1990 I was lucky enough to take an underwater photography seminar with none other than David Doubilet of National Geographic. We dived at a scuba store that had an 18' deep pool in West Palm Beach, then dived in the ocean daily. This was in the days of FILM.......You even had to bring your top 20 SLIDES for him to review (talk about intimidating!)

He gently critiqued our work, brought tons of gear he used on his National Geographic shoots to play with and taught us many things. But the one thing I took away was what he said how he was successful at National Geographic.

"They gave me time in the water to tell stories with my pictures".

Nothing replaces time in the water!

I've likely logged more pool time practicing especially before trips and it's paid off incredibly for me.

Food for thought from this old guy ha ha ha.....

David Haas
 
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Guitarcrazy

Guitarcrazy

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Thanks David, always appreciate your insights. Fortunately my finances aren't that tight, so a new camera rig doesn't affect the number of dive trips I take in a year. Time away from my work and businesses is my biggest constraint, so I like to maximize the underwater time I get. This last trip I bought a FFM setup, to see if I liked it. While I did like some things, overall I felt like it impeded my photography so I will be selling it. Point is, I will try things, evaluate the results, and if not as desired sell and move on. I have been using the TG-5 and TG-6 for the past 5 years and I am ready to move on. The two trips I did with photo guides to work on technique were well spent. Both guides had the same comment though. "You need to get a camera that can do full manual control". The TG is not that camera.
 

arew+4

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In racing, we say if you want to go faster tighten up the nut behind the wheel. Nothing will teach you faster than having to make every shot count, and wait patiently while the pictures are developed.
 

Tassie_Rohan

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Hi Guitarcrazy - I'm in the same boat as you: looking at upgrade options. My findings to date:


1. The TG-6 is a good compact point and shoot which can take great photos

however,...

2. The more expensive PEN E-PL10 has a full manual setting and you can use interchangeable lenses

however

3. The slightly more expensive Sony a6400/a6600 seems to be a better camera, with better lenses, autofocus and controls

however

4. The more expensive Sony A7C has a full frame sensor in a body nearly as small as the a6400 and I love what I see in the reviews

however

5. A new A7C setup is nearly the same cost as a housing for my land camera - a Nikon Z7

however

6. A TG-6 is much smaller and more robust than a Nikon Z7, so will survive being knocked around on the shore dives I tend to do

7. Goto 1.


I've been stuck in this loop for a while... :)


My disclaimer - I'm replacing a 15 year old 8Mp Oly SP-350, which was not even regarded as good when it first came out. Regardless I took some reasonable shots with it, and was even published in dive magazines a few times. The camera is only a light bucket: lighting and composition are always more important. I still have no idea which of the above I will go for: I can take near identical shots using any of them.

Cheers
Rohan.
 

tursiops

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Thanks David, always appreciate your insights. Fortunately my finances aren't that tight, so a new camera rig doesn't affect the number of dive trips I take in a year. Time away from my work and businesses is my biggest constraint, so I like to maximize the underwater time I get. This last trip I bought a FFM setup, to see if I liked it. While I did like some things, overall I felt like it impeded my photography so I will be selling it. Point is, I will try things, evaluate the results, and if not as desired sell and move on. I have been using the TG-5 and TG-6 for the past 5 years and I am ready to move on. The two trips I did with photo guides to work on technique were well spent. Both guides had the same comment though. "You need to get a camera that can do full manual control". The TG is not that camera.
I agree completely. Manual control is very desirable. But it is not required to allow you (1) get closer, (2) to compose, and (3) to wait for just the right moment to take the picture. Many people learn to do those three critical things on very simple cameras, or....a TG6. Without getting close enough that cropping is not needed, without having a composition that is pleasing and appropriate for the subject, and without that right moment to take the picture (so the fish is angled to you a bit rather than side-on, for example), then the most perfectly exposed and focussed and illuminated picture is likely not worth looking at twice.
 
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Guitarcrazy

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Thanks Rohan, there are a myriad of choices and many different reasons for choosing amongst them. I decided to take David Haas' advice and bought his Canon G7X II with Fantasea housing. It will allow me to go full manual with a larger sensor and see how it goes. If I decide I want to progress further I haven't spent a ton on this setup. I will likely keep my TG-6 for my wife to use and possibly use myself if we do a macro focused trip, as it does excel at that. You do have some great shots there. I appreciate the response.
 

Blackcrusader

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I agree completely. Manual control is very desirable. But it is not required to allow you (1) get closer, (2) to compose, and (3) to wait for just the right moment to take the picture. Many people learn to do those three critical things on very simple cameras, or....a TG6. Without getting close enough that cropping is not needed, without having a composition that is pleasing and appropriate for the subject, and without that right moment to take the picture (so the fish is angled to you a bit rather than side-on, for example), then the most perfectly exposed and focused and illuminated picture is likely not worth looking at twice.

This is not directed at the OP I hope he enjoys his new setup he bought. The points you make 1 2 3 are very valid. On my last 5 weeks of diving September to November this year my I specifically asked that on some dives we do not rush from a to b I want the time to setup photos and video's. To wait at a cleaner station for several minutes. In Lombok at Manta Pot we waited there for a long time in low visibility to get the Manta video. Cold currents bring up the food the Manta feed on so does not really make any difference what camera you have as the vis is not great.

I also don't have any big lenses and I can get my camera into places others cannot for some super macro photos and video.
The OP wants to have shots from longer distance. Getting close to marine life that is passing by needs patience, not chasing the critters, and sometimes knowing well you just can't get some perfect shots all the time.
 

Blackcrusader

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lighting and composition are always more important. I still have no idea which of the above I will go for: I can take near identical shots using any of them. Cheers Rohan.

Sometimes on dive boat trip I meet people with go pro's. I tell them hey when I turn on my video lights come on over and take a video or photo. They are really happy as they get much better video. I paid US$500 for my TG6 with housing, extra battery and charger, 32GB SD card, two tripods, cleaning equipment and soft and hard cases. That is less than many spend on the newer Go Pro's which take excellent video. But can't do macro which is why I bought the TG6. Like the OP money is not an issue. Next year I will do my normal 200 vacation dives a year over several dive trips. One friend I dive with bought all his camera gear second hand which seems to be a better way to upgrade for a lesser cost.

AVAI PHOTOGRAPHY.jpg
 
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