TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Started Aug 17, 2017 | Discussions
rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?
1

About halfway zoomed

Same spot, full zoom

Underwater.

If I use any zoom I'm getting horrible purple spots in my pictures. I'm not facing the sun full on. Even happening under water. What's the point of zoom if I can't use it?

Olympus TG-5
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Allen in Bethesda, MD Contributing Member • Posts: 553
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Offhand, I was about to say lens flare as the camera is susceptible to that.  But the underwater shot threw me.  What do you see when you look at the lens under a light?

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OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Nothing jumps out at me. I did take some pics from the exact same spot with my back to the sun and I don't see it

Enders Shadow
Enders Shadow Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

If I use any zoom I'm getting horrible purple spots in my pictures. I'm not facing the sun full on. Even happening under water. What's the point of zoom if I can't use it?

It's a known and frequently mentioned issue. You don't need to have the light source directly in front of the camera. Like most lenses, strong off axis lighting can also cause the problem. Flare can occur if a strong light source is located just outside the wide angle field of view. The folded optics design of these cameras appears to make them especially susceptible.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4028811#forum-post-58056523

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Phil

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OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

This just stinks. Any shots I have using the zoom underwater have this. The zoom is worthless. I debated between this and the new SeaLife camera with a 1" sensor but fixed focal length. I thought the zoom might help me get in closer to some of these sea creatures. I thought the zoom would be a step up from my iPhone on land.

Does the tele lens accessory have this same limitation? I can't use it for scuba but it might salvage the camera for land use  but it would add bulk too

would a polarized/UV filter screwed onto the dive housing help?

i guess I now have a fixed focal length underwater only camera.

Bummed.

Allen in Bethesda, MD Contributing Member • Posts: 553
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

It's possible that you have a defective camera.  Your earlier examples appear to have been  lens flare.   Then you posted some satisfactory images.  What is your concern now?

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Enders Shadow
Enders Shadow Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

This just stinks. Any shots I have using the zoom underwater have this. The zoom is worthless. I debated between this and the new SeaLife camera with a 1" sensor but fixed focal length. I thought the zoom might help me get in closer to some of these sea creatures. I thought the zoom would be a step up from my iPhone on land.

Normally you don't want to use that much zoom underwater. Even if the water is very clear, you want to minimize the water between the camera and subject. For best results, shooting distance should be limited to the 3-5 ft range. As it is, the TG-5's 25mm focal length is barely adequate for underwater use. The fixed 31mm lens on the Sealife DC2000 is almost useless for underwater use. The bad reviews prompted Sealife to start including a free wide angle lens.

From your picture I see the TG-5 continues their strange behavior of significantly underexposing when using the wide underwater mode. Many of us start with +1/3 EV compensation for very shallow water and switch to +2/3 EV if shooting below 3 ft with normal low contrast scenes. I've recently started following the practice of some of my friends by using normal Program mode with UW white balance selected. It removes the UW scene mode tweaks that appear to do more harm than good to JPEG IQ.

I also noticed you used a custom white balance. It appears it wasn't correctly registered. I'd suggest sticking to the standard UW white balance for those shallow water shots. It uses auto white balance with a bias to warm up the colors. It works better than expected in removing the typical blue color cast. Of course, shooting RAW is a better technique.

Does the tele lens accessory have this same limitation? I can't use it for scuba but it might salvage the camera for land use but it would add bulk too

Probably not as bad. I've never heard of anyone testing that configuration. You probably could minimize the problem by kludging up a lens hood. That would somewhat negate the compact nature of camera.

would a polarized/UV filter screwed onto the dive housing help?

Adding a filter could make flare worse. Using a PL filter underwater doesn't seem practical.

i guess I now have a fixed focal length underwater only camera.

Again, you really shouldn't be using much zoom (if any) underwater. And due to so much light scattering, it's normal practice to keep the sun behind the camera. Underwater photography has its own techniques to master.

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Phil

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RetCapt Regular Member • Posts: 269
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Although I have a TG-4, I figure it is similar enough to the TG-5, especially in the lens configuration, to be applicable to me.    I am not a diver, but we live in the mountains, so I am in the water (wading to fish),  on the water (in my float tube), hiking, cross country skiing, etc.   Hence the utility of a rugged camera.    The TG-4 was/is intended to supplement and perhaps eventually replace my 1030SW, if/when it ever gives up on me. I also wanted it for the f2 lens at the wide end for when I want to do night photography without carrying a lot of gear.

Shortly after I got the TG-4 we went to San Francisco on family business, but I had some opportunity to test the camera, both day and night and all zoom lengths.    When I initially read this or some other thread dealing with flare I carefully checked my photos from that trip (which is the only time the camera has been out except for the test I will set forth anon).     There was no flare.    This morning I read the inquiry about the tele converter.    I bought a tele converter last winter.    I took the camera with converter out for a short walk shortly after a snow storm, so there was ample reflective ground surface. In one series of photos the flare is there.   It is much more difficult to see than in your samples, but it is there.    In another series of photos, taken from a different direction, there is absolutely none even though that  series has more direct sun exposure.     The main difference appears to be that in the images with flare the sun was closer to a 90 degree angle to me, while the photos with no flare the sun was more directly to my back. So, at least for me (and possibly for you which I why I am posting this) it can happen with the tele converter.     Had I taken some of those same winter images w/o the converter it might still have happened.    It is too late now to find that out.

Herewith the speculation, bearing in mind YMMV.    It would appear that there is some susceptibility towards flare with this series of cameras, but it varies in individual cameras (that is the YMMV part).     I don't know if there is a solution.    I keep the conversion ring on the TG-4 since that allows me to use a lens cap.    That may serve as a partial lens shade or the wide end, or I could buy a lens shade of 40.5mm threat diameter and use that.    That would also apply to the tele converter since it is threaded.

OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

I'm certainly no pro with underwater photos. Just trying to catch a few decent shots for the memories and kids back home. This trip was drift diving- strong currents, I couldn't always pick my vantage point or angle. I had the easiest time shooting into the current so I could maintain my position.

That picture is dark- I was a good 10-15 feet from the fish- thus the tele. Most of my other pics aren't that dark but I do agree- I need to bump the exposure a bit. Sometimes that turtle doesn't hold still long enough to swim up, check the position of the sun, and dial in my settings. I was hoping the zoom would help me cheat a bit but maybe I'm better off just cropping the pics.

I'm  using a custom WB taken from the sand each dive. The built in underwater WB may be good for snorkeling but it's worthless at depth. Every picture was deep blue. Even the pics with the flash were blue. The next upgrade will be a strobe. I'm adjusting the RAW files with Lightroom. That one I posted above with the dot was fresh off the camera.

The last dive I tried the P mode and setup the two custom modes- one with a custom WB and no flash for general shots, and the other with underwater WB and fill flash for closer shots. I haven't looked at those yet.

Enders Shadow
Enders Shadow Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

I'm using a custom WB taken from the sand each dive. The built in underwater WB may be good for snorkeling but it's worthless at depth. Every picture was deep blue. Even the pics with the flash were blue. The next upgrade will be a strobe. I'm adjusting the RAW files with Lightroom. That one I posted above with the dot was fresh off the camera.

Setting WB off the sand IMHO is BS. I've tried it multiple times on some extremely white sand. It produced inconsistent results. I do have a WB slate, but it's incredibly difficult to use correctly without the help of another diver. Anyway, you were only 2-3 ft down. UW WB has worked well for me at that shallow of depth and down to 10-12 ft. Manual WB needs to be adjusted every 5-10 ft. And, you need to include the distance to the subject. With the built-in flash being so close to the lens, backscatter can negate any benefits. I've had some success at short distances (1.5-3 ft). By the time you drop below 20 ft, it's time to consider at least 1 external strobe.

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Phil

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OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Custom WB off the sand. 60ish feet.

The reported depth is not accurate inside the case. Most of my pics have been at 40- 50+ deep. At the beginning of the dive I go to the sand at the planned depth and set WB. Today I set the WB at 60ft.

First pic, straight off the camera (iPad airdropped to iPhone) taken around 60ft (+\- 10ft) ,with that custom WB. Thank goodness no purple spots.

second pic with the underwater WB, with built in flash, probably around 40ft but same dive

Default Underwater WB. Probably 40ft or so.

Enders Shadow
Enders Shadow Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

The reported depth is not accurate inside the case.

Right. It should read something close to zero depth. Otherwise, your housing is flooded.

That first picture is great. Really incredible lighting for 60 ft.

First pic, straight off the camera (iPad airdropped to iPhone) taken around 60ft (+\- 10ft) ,with that custom WB. Thank goodness no purple spots.

Not a chance of lens flare at that depth. Plus, these shots were at wide angle.

second pic with the underwater WB, with built in flash, probably around 40ft but same dive

Actually, it was shot using standard AWB. At 40 ft UW WB would have provided only partial color correction. The flash fired, but it didn't provide enough light to even cast a weak shadow. I've never checked how much light passes through the housing's flash diffuser. I mostly snorkel and free dive and only get down to 25-30 ft. If we go scuba diving, I rent a housing. I always get a bundle with a strobe and video light. Without a housing, I've had some luck using the built-in flash at short distances.

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Phil

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OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

We had incredible 100+ ft visibility and some very bright days fortunately. After going through my shots the UW WB just doesn't do much at any depth. My last dive I switched back and forth between the custom and UW in P mode and the custom was better until we were really shallow (20-30ft). I'll keep playing with the WB but setting it for each dive was better than nothing. I may look at a red filter like I have on my GoPro.

The flash is just miserable unless you're right on top of your subject or in a dark cave/ledge (I have a great crab pic fired under a ledge with the flash) . I'll definitely need a strobe at some point.

The current was too much to mess with the macro mode but I'm dying to try that out

Thanks for the tips. I think as I learn the limitations of the camera it will be more satisfying. No more underwater tele though.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,265
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

The flash is just miserable unless you're right on top of your subject or in a dark cave/ledge (I have a great crab pic fired under a ledge with the flash) . I'll definitely need a strobe at some point.

The current was too much to mess with the macro mode but I'm dying to try that out

Thanks for the tips. I think as I learn the limitations of the camera it will be more satisfying. No more underwater tele though.

Using flash in these sensitive areas seems very intrusive and must have some affect on the animals. Is it really so necessary to capture perfect images at all costs. I get really annoyed when people use flash in Zoos as it must be disconcerting enough for animals under constant scrutiny from inquisitive humans without bright flashes of light taking them by surprise. Probably the same in any coral reef which is probably under enough stress nowadays as it is without the human company. Do the animals trying to get on with their daily life need the strobe is the big question?

Having sat in a school play with a DSLR user flashing every photo I do feel for the fish and the crustaceans etc. who have people swimming around their home doing this. Especially as any distraction or temporary blindness can make you something's lunch in an instant.

OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

It definitely makes it easier to spear the hogfish if they are temporarily blinded by the flash.

I don't think the coral minds so much.

Enders Shadow
Enders Shadow Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

rprice54 wrote:

It definitely makes it easier to spear the hogfish if they are temporarily blinded by the flash.

If you want a different experience, try spearfishing after dark. Only a few of my dive buddies are up for night dives. Even experienced divers can find it a bit disorienting.

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Phil

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loupiote Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

FYI I have the same type of lens flare with my TG-5, in similar lighting conditions.

OP rprice54 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

Yea. I’ve just had to accept if I use any zoom, in any lighting condition that purple spot is there. Had a recent trip and with the sun at my back it’s there. Sun from the side it’s there. Indoors with overhead lighting it’s there. It basically renders the zoom useless.

loupiote Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: TG-5 lens flare or defective camera?

and yes, that purple spot only appears when zooming, it does not seem there with wide angle. and it is only visible if the center of the image is dark and there is some very bright light in the periphery.

it's the kind of artifact that's quite easily corrected with photoshop if it only happens occasionally, but it would be problematic if you shoot mostly in situations that causes this flare.

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