SeaFrogs TG Housing vs Olympus PT-058

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Lewis Churnick

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15
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Location
Philippines
# of dives
2500 - 4999
The SeaFrogs housing for Olympus TG5 also works for TG6. The only significant difference I observe between the Olympus PT-058/9 is the clear back is now translucent.

However after using both Olympus PT-058 and SeaFrogs TG there are some differences I'd like to point out that are not in the description...

Here are some of my observations comparing SeaFrogs TG5 housing to Olympus PT-058 and a few notes, having both TG-5/TG-6 cameras;

1) SeaFrogs; lower price, easy to get outside USA

2) SeaFrogs has double o-ring seal compared to Olympus single o-ring

3) SeaFrogs has threads for both 52mm & 67mm external lenses. Had to use a 52-67mm adapter ring on PT-058 for my 67mm supermacro & wide lenses.

NOTE: I did much searching before purchasing a FantaSea UCL-09F 12x supermacro lens (found no info on adding lenses to TG-5 at that time in 2017). After no success I gave up on the lens. Later I found a diver using a similar 15x supermacro lens successfully. I tried mine again. I found the Accessory settings with Telephoto (TCON) to adjust the macro focal point farther from the camera to account for lens length. It worked, my tiny critter photos improved significantly... BUT you can't use TCON in Microscope Mode in the TG-5, only in Macro (fish) Mode. Same is true in the TG-6, TCON is turned off when you access Microscope setting.

TCON is the key to using a supermacro lens with these cameras.

ANOTHER TG CAMERA NOTE: While microscope mode is truly exceptional be aware the Manual Zoom is mechanical optical zoom while the Super-Zoom function (when flash button changes function) is essentially merely a digital crop. While it does give you a better view of your tiny subject it does not truly give a 'bigger' photo. Using the supermacro lens with ACC TCON setting improved depth of field and image size in Macro setting.

4) Larger SeaFrogs lens port matters when I learned that having light shining too close to lens port causes heating of the glass, consequently the Olympus PT-058 port fogs for the remainder of the dive. SeaFrogs is less susceptible but still this can happen. Suggest turning your light off between photos or move it away from the lens port.

5) The flash port on the SeaFrogs housing is not useable as a flash, only for triggering a strobe if you purchase the triggering sensor separately. Sales descriptions do not point this out. Olympus housing has a diffuser over a functional flash port. If you are after a dusk shot of mating Mandarine Fish a flash is important if you use a video light instead of strobe. It could be possible to compensate low light conditions in A (aperture) Mode but you then must set all settings manually and auto-focus may have difficulty in low light catching the very quick moving Mandarines mating.

6) SeaFrogs housing is larger, more bulky. But not horribly so.

7) 1 month into use the return spring for the SeaFrogs zoom lever broke. IMHO this is a significant failure. The housing can still be used if you are careful to line up the camera zoom lever during insertion AND remember to manually reset the housing zoom lever to neutral each use. If you forget the lever stays to the side causing the camera zoom motor to continue humming. There is a dealer in Hong Kong that sells replacements (SeaFrogs.hk). No response from SeaFrogs.cc factory. My repair as yet unresolved.

8) PT-058 has a clear back (PT-059 changed to translucent). I liked clear when on the 2nd day I placed the desiccant pack improperly causing a slow flood. I could see the water level rising inside.That was the day I truly praised the TG-5 waterproof feature. It gave me a warning on screen "beyond maximum rated depth" yet kept shooting while I slowly adjusted to a shallower depth, then the warning message stopped. I rinsed the camera & housing thoroughly, cleaned, lubed & reset the o-ring. Next use it was fine and no trouble since. I counted my blessings. On a good note, the water inside the case cleared the fog from the inside of the lens port, restoring clear photos.

9) SeaFrogs housing is all black, not clear. It has an electronic flood sensor with battery which will eventually fail. Replacement can be purchased from Hong Kong.

10) I have taken photos & video of electric clams with both TG-5 & TG-6. With the 5 in Oly housing no issue, recorded electric currents in both photo & video. The 6 in SF housing would not record the electric light pulses across the clam membrane. I haven't yet figured out why.

I hope some readers find this review useful. I find precious little helpful commentary on this topic. Perhaps more will come in time.
 
Is the Olympus housing (PT 059) worth the difference in price (about $100 in the U.S.)? Also, HK is much more accessible from the Philipines than it is from the U.S. - I think. Am I wrong?

Thanks and
Cheers - M²
 
Specs-wise, Seafrogs housing IMO is definitely a superior option. I was using it for a year and the buttons do not get stiffer like Ikelite. There are 2 minor things I don't like about the Seafrogs though:
- The shutter lever is extended a little too long making it feel like it is prone to brraking
- Its buoyancy is a little more than slightly positive
Other than these, it is perfect especially at a cheaper price point. I would pick Seafrogs any day.
 
T. I found the Accessory settings with Telephoto (TCON) to adjust the macro focal point farther from the camera to account for lens length. It worked, my tiny critter photos improved significantly... BUT you can't use TCON in Microscope Mode in the TG-5, only in Macro (fish) Mode. Same is true in the TG-6, TCON is turned off when you access Microscope setting.

TCON is the key to using a supermacro lens with these cameras.

I don't get it. The only TCON accessory lens that I can identify for the TG series is the TCON-T01, which extends about an inch out the front of the camera. How do fit that inside of the housing?
 
Reading the OP more closely, it appears that he's talking about changing the camera settings to tell it there's a TCON attached, but not actually putting a TCON on. Still doesn't make any sense to me. As far as I can tell, all that the TCON setting does is zoom the camera's lens out in order to avoid vignetting when the TCON is installed.

Mike1967, As far as I know, TCON is a strictly Olympus nomenclature and Olympus doesn't make a TCON that fits on the outside of the housing. Furthermore, I know of no wet teleconverter that fits on a UW housing. But I may be wrong about that.
 
I don't get it. The only TCON accessory lens that I can identify for the TG series is the TCON-T01, which extends about an inch out the front of the camera. How do fit that inside of the housing?
Peterak...
My apologies not responding sooner (I didn't get notice of response posts). Please note I specified the FantaSea UCL-O9F supermacro lens. This is a 67mm wet lens that attaches to the case. The lens is about 2" long. In macro mode the TG can focus as close as 1/2" from lens. Thus the need to extend the focal distance using ACC TCON setting. You might be able to use TCON & manually adjust in Aperture Priority mode, or perhaps in C1 mode emulating microscope. I still need to experiment more in C1/C2 programmable mode to learn capabilities. In any case the goal is to increase depth of field and improve shots in supermacro compositions.
I hope this helps.
Case updates; Oly PT058 housing has flooded several times due to non-regular o-ring maintenance. The SeaFrogs has yet to flood but still coping with no zoom return spring as company is difficult to reach in China.
 
Note; also noticing the latch on the Olympus housing seems to be coming slightly away. After 2yrs it still latches & if I clean the o-ring, groove & lube each dive it has been reliable. TG5 camera has survived housing flood as deep as 143ft without issue. Also noting TG6 has difficulty downloading videos thru Oly app to phone. Must turn off data & bluetooth, put into airplane mode for only wifi signal, download only 1 short video at a time. TG5 no such problems. Gf uses TG5/Oly, I use TG6/SF. Still enjoying both much.
 
10) I have taken photos & video of electric clams with both TG-5 & TG-6. With the 5 in Oly housing no issue, recorded electric currents in both photo & video. The 6 in SF housing would not record the electric light pulses across the clam membrane. I haven't yet figured out why.
Those aren't electric currents, they are just light reflected from a monolayer of silica.
So the difference is more likely in the ambient-light/artificial-light used than in the camera, assuming the settings were the same.
 
Comment on Seafrogs housing. I purchased two of these, one for myself and one for wife. Checked both out in bathtub (as recommended by Seafrogs. Not sure why they do this as a bathtub does not compare to pressures diving, but...), and no leaks. Took to local quarry to put to real test, and both flooded. Reset O-rings and cleaned but both flooded on second attempt. Sending back. I liked the housing, the bottoms on housing matched location on camera without offsets like Olympus housing has. but a flooded housing, or two is worthless.
 

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