Well, how fab was it to be back teaching again at the glorious venue of our lovely guesthouse with it’s very own private pool on Sunday. It was time to welcome Simon, Jo and their Canon S120 Powershot camera with a brand new Sea & Sea YS-03 strobe and a spotting light all ready to help Simon brush up his knowledge and prepare him for his forthcoming trip to the Maldives with Emperor Divers next month.
And I was looking forward to playing with an Olympus TG4 and it’s very own housing for the first time.
What I’ve always loved about Olympus housings ever since I first started shooting with it’s much older brother, the 5050 model back in 2003/4 and then the Olympus 350, is that the buttons on their housings are always clearly marked on the back, therefore making it so much easier for beginners not to push the wrong ones when they are starting out!
Another point for Olympus goes for keeping its various Underwater Modes. The TG4 has four different ones, one for Close Up Subjects where the flash goes off, one for wide angle scenes where the flash will also go off, one again for wide angle scenes without the flash and the last one for HDR scenes. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I get super passionate about the Underwater Mode without the flash as it gives a lovely natural colour to shallow subjects, helping to enhance the beautiful corals near the surface (within about 5 metres) and give stunning vivid hues to fish in the shallows.
It also has the ability to record in both RAW and JPEG, so that if your colours don’t quite evolve the way that you anticipated, there is always the ability to colour-correct over a cool refresco later after dive time.
In the pictures below, you can see that the left one brings out Simon’s more pinky tones by using the Underwater Mode with the flash. In the photo on the right, Simon’s tones look more natural, although maybe cooler by simply choosing the Programme Mode and the camera’s own flash.
The TG4 has the ability to change it’s aperture for those looking to get a little more creative with their shots with a limited range of f2, f2.8 and f8. These work well with either reefscape scenes or with close-up subjects where depth-of-field is important. The exposure value mode can be used on it’s minus setting to change the blue background behind the subject to a much darker blue, or even black, depending on the lighting around and to it.
Olympus has also brought in two Microscope modes, one is Standard and the other is Super, which in effect acts pretty much the same as Macro Mode, and helps the camera to focus sharply on close-up subjects. You just need to make sure that your ISO is set high enough to keep your picture sharp and in focus, and if you are using the Super Microscope mode, to be careful not to get too close to your subject if you are using the camera’s flash, as you may get shadow falling across it.
There is the ability to add a stepping ring so that wide angle and close-up lenses can be added if you so wish to grow with your photography at a later date.
For those looking for a camera with manual controls or to grow with photography step-by-step, you may be tempted to swing towards more advanced models such as Sony’s RX 100 or Alpha series or the Canon G or Powershot series.
However, for those looking to start with a solid camera which delivers great results in an easy-to-understand way, without breaking the bank, nor getting too complicated, this camera is definitely a fabulous choice.
A newer version, the Olympus TG5 will be due out next month – we can only wait to see how this camera’s new cousin will outperform it.
How did Simon get on with his Canon S120 and Sea & Sea YS-03 strobe? All will be revealed very soon … the cakes and fabulous setting definitely went down well 🙂