How do I Choose an Underwater Housing for my Olympus TG6

It’s a question I see so often on my daily feeds from those looking to invest in their first housing for their compact camera. But the question from me to you is whether you really need one?

In today’s post I am going to cover different ideas to hopefully help give you a better idea as to what to look for, and whether you need one at all. This image below of a grey seal at Lundy Island in Devon, UK was captured snorkeling with just an Olympus TG6 with an F-CON1, a wide angle lens which fits directly onto the camera itself. No housing was needed and yes, it came back to the boat completely safe. Just remember to always rinse your gear with freshwater after a dip.

Image taken with Olympus TG6 and FCON-1 (no housing)

Compact cameras made by Olympus and Ricoh are designed to be waterproof up to a depth of 15 ms and 20 ms respectfully. There are housings which are available for the Olympus TG series as well as lenses that you can add on to help you get more creative with your image making. Ricoh does not have any accessories at the time of writing this article, so it’s really important to make sure you pick a camera which will suit your needs before you get to your destination to obtain sharp images which pack colour and punch.

A dedicated underwater housing will make your underwater camera even more waterproof and you can take it down to depths of 45 ms or even more. Personally I am Team Olympus and have an Olympus underwater casing for it. It’s definitely easier to press the controls when I have gloves on in our toasty UK waters. Camera care and maintenance is also super important before popping your camera in the housing, always make sure that the groove of your housing is clean (a make-up sponge tip is a great fit) and that you grease your o-ring smoothly (no blobs) and triple check for stray hairs before closing the case to avoid any unwanted floods.

Image taken Snorkelling with Olympus TG6

So back to the question? How do you choose a housing when there’s such a choice? Seafrogs is a great entry level model and extremely affordable being the cheapest entry level housing on the market. It also goes to 60 ms if you going deeper is your thing. I was very excited about using this housing for my Olympus TG6 and was on boat looking for blue sharks when I realised that it did NOT fit the wide-angle lens that I already had, even though my lens has a 67 mm thread and Seafrogs had both a 52 mm and 67 mm option for lenses. So beware if you are looking to get super creative with your Olympus TG6 in the future, make sure that you buy a housing where you can let your creative juices flow.

So that leaves three other choices, Olympus’ own housing, Ikelite and Nauticam. Let’s explain the main differences between them all.

The Olympus Housing has a depth rating to 45 ms and the housing has it’s controls clearly marked on the back of the housing, making it nice and easy to see which button to press. It is the lighest housing of the three weighing in at 484 kgs and if you decide to add on a wide angle lens, a tray and lights if you get as addicted to taking underwater photographs as I did, the system will still stay relatively light and easy to manage as a snorkeller.

Next up, we have the Ikelite Housing (I also used to use Ikelite) which is more robust and you can go to a whopping 60 ms with it if you so wish. The housing is white which has an advantage if you are shooting in sunnier, warmer climates, as the light colour will keep your camera cooler, thereby reducing the likelihood of your housing fogging up when you are underwater. (This is when your lens of the housing fogs up due to getting warm on the surface and then entering colder water). It is more expensive and it is also slightly heavier than the Olympus Housing. You can add lenses onto this housing and Ikelite is a reputable brand. The only disadvantage that this housing has compared to the others is that the controls on the back of the housing aren’t labelled, so you will need to know your buttons and what they do when you press them inside/out before going underwater.

Finally we have what I call the Rolls Royce of the underwater housing market, Nauticam. Nauticam make amazing housings and am very proud to have worked with Nauticam USA and helped them out on their stand with Reef Photo at a Dive Show in Long Beach, California. They are an innovative brand and make the best underwater housings around. Their housing for the Olympus TG6 is made of Aluminium making it by far the heaviest housing at 0.62 kgs but in return you can venture to 100 ms with it if you so choose. It is also the more expensive costing more than double than the Ikelite housing, but for that you will get reliability and the amazing support of the Nauticam teams wherever you are in the world.

There are so many options, but the important thing to ask yourself is how often are you going to be using your camera underwater, how deep are you going and what is your budget. If you are the occasional snorkeller, then snorkelling with your Olympus TG6 will give you beautiful images without the need for a housing, but if you want to be extra safe and maybe add extra lenses and lights on at a later stage, then an Olympus PT-059 housing is a great entry-level choice.

I hope that this helps you and as always if you have any questions, then please just drop me a message. I’m always happy to help. Maria x

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