TG microscope mode limitations?

Started Aug 30, 2019 | Discussions
SirLataxe
SirLataxe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,909
TG microscope mode limitations?

I have a TG-4 which I've recently started using more than heretofore to capture close-ups of fungi, mosses, lichens and similar stuff. (I recently moved to a new home next to very extensive woodlands).

The best pics need a deep DoF, which generally needs focus stacking or focus bracketing mode. The TG-4 has limitations in these modes:

* Inability to use delayed shutter firing after the button press, which can induce camera shake, even when a tripod is used.

* No RAW, only jpeg.

* No ability to use flash.

I get the impression, from reading other threads about the TG-5 and TG-6, that these later models may not have the above limitations. The limitation of the TG-4 that bothers me the most is the lack of RAW in stacking mode.

+ Does the TG-5 or TG-6 allow this? One thread of this forum seems to suggest so.

+ There also seems a way to set a delay between shutter press and shutter firing on later TG models....?

+ Can flash (I'd use the FD-1 as well) be used with focus bracketing modes in the TG-5 or TG-6, or are they still confined to use of the LED light?

*******

I also struggle to find any hard information about how to best set focus before setting off a bracketing operation. The manual gives no real advice about how to do so; or how the camera does it when one half-presses the shutter button. Anybody have knowledge of this? Should initial focus use area or spot-focus on the foremost. middle or backmost part of the subject one wants wholly in focus?

Thanks in anticipation for any information you can give me.

SirLataxe

Olympus TG-5 Olympus Tough TG-4
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smithaa02 Regular Member • Posts: 211
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?
2

SirLataxe wrote:

I have a TG-4 which I've recently started using more than heretofore to capture close-ups of fungi, mosses, lichens and similar stuff. (I recently moved to a new home next to very extensive woodlands).

The best pics need a deep DoF, which generally needs focus stacking or focus bracketing mode. The TG-4 has limitations in these modes:

You can get good DOF using other tricks.  Not using zoom or arranging your composition carefully can help.  eg taking a sideways pictures of a dragonfly instead of headon.

I get the impression, from reading other threads about the TG-5 and TG-6, that these later models may not have the above limitations. The limitation of the TG-4 that bothers me the most is the lack of RAW in stacking mode.

+ Does the TG-5 or TG-6 allow this? One thread of this forum seems to suggest so.

I just checked...with my TG-6, I can set LSF + Raw and still shoot microscope > stack.  This does appear to product a jpg and orf...so I think yes...you can stack and still get raw.

+ There also seems a way to set a delay between shutter press and shutter firing on later TG models....?

I'm not an expert on the TG-4...hopefully an owner can chime in here.  But with the TG-6, you can set a shutter delay.  You just press the bottom sequence/frame button (or from the quick menu) and then select custom delay.  Change this to 1 second...and you should be set.  Note another way around shutter shake is to shoot burst mode.

+ Can flash (I'd use the FD-1 as well) be used with focus bracketing modes in the TG-5 or TG-6, or are they still confined to use of the LED light?

Neither the flash or the FD-1 can be used with focus bracketing, focus stacking, burst mode, or microscope movies.

However...the led light and the LG-1 adapter can...

So if you really want to stack, bracket or take micro movies...choose the led light and the LG-1 adapter.

If you take macro stills, I suspect the FD-1 is much better (and rated for waterproof user unlike the LG-1).

It is a tricky trade-off.  I love the FD-1...but sometimes really wish I had the ability add stack and use artificial light...which the FD-1 can't do.

*******

I also struggle to find any hard information about how to best set focus before setting off a bracketing operation. The manual gives no real advice about how to do so; or how the camera does it when one half-presses the shutter button. Anybody have knowledge of this? Should initial focus use area or spot-focus on the foremost. middle or backmost part of the subject one wants wholly in focus?

I'm not sure about this...maybe somebody else can chime in.

I do like the TG-6 for macro...the following are some shots I recently took.

SirLataxe
OP SirLataxe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,909
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?

Thanks for that useful info; and for those fine macro shots.

The TG series of cameras do seem a very practical way to get very good macro pics without a ton of specialist gear that also needs to be lugged about and laboriously set up. The lack of those few features I'd like in the TG-4, though, means I feel the need for that TG-6, which seems to be the version containing all the fixes to those TG-4 lacks. Selling the TG-4 on ebay to help fund the purchase of a TG-6 still seems to be the most effective option (cost and practicality-wise) to pursue my new-found macro-lust.

I also discovered a bit of useful info in the PR blurb issued by Olympus for the TG-6, concerning the focussing when in focus stacking or focus bracketing modes:

"Focus stacking mode captures multiple shots while automatically shifting the focus from the foreground to the background.

With a single shot, this function [focus bracketing] captures up to 30 images while shifting the focus from the foreground to the background".

So, in both modes, the best technique will be to make sure the half-press of the button gets initial focus of the wee square on the bit of the subject that's closest to the lens. I'll be using the focus bracketing mode in preference, as this seems to be the mode that allows use of RAW in the TG-6, as you mention. Photoshop tools for resolving a group of focus bracket shots into one deep-DoF pic via layers are quick and effective. RAW will give loadsa editing scope.

I notice that the TG-6 also has a larger microscope magnification mode (44X max as opposed to the TG-4's 11X). The claim is that this captures details that the human eye alone can't resolve! A true microscope, then.

Perhaps Olympus will also have got rid of the lens' inclination to paint a purple splotch on the pic when certain lighting conditions are encountered? With care (and RAW manipulations of various kinds) half decent landscape pics can be got out of the TG-4 - if the purple splotch stays away. I'm hoping the TG-6 will be equally capable or better.

Once more, thanks for your help.

SirLataxe

smithaa02 Regular Member • Posts: 211
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?

SirLataxe wrote:

Thanks for that useful info; and for those fine macro shots.

I also discovered a bit of useful info in the PR blurb issued by Olympus for the TG-6, concerning the focussing when in focus stacking or focus bracketing modes:

"Focus stacking mode captures multiple shots while automatically shifting the focus from the foreground to the background.

With a single shot, this function [focus bracketing] captures up to 30 images while shifting the focus from the foreground to the background".

So, in both modes, the best technique will be to make sure the half-press of the button gets initial focus of the wee square on the bit of the subject that's closest to the lens. I'll be using the focus bracketing mode in preference, as this seems to be the mode that allows use of RAW in the TG-6, as you mention. Photoshop tools for resolving a group of focus bracket shots into one deep-DoF pic via layers are quick and effective. RAW will give loadsa editing scope.

You could...you might not give up on stacking though.  The nice thing about the TG-6 is you can control the stack depth.  So shoot for say 3-4 frames on a moving insect or on a windy day...but go for say 10 frames when you have a still subject.

I notice that the TG-6 also has a larger microscope magnification mode (44X max as opposed to the TG-4's 11X). The claim is that this captures details that the human eye alone can't resolve! A true microscope, then.

Kind of...It's my understanding that the TG series only has 4x optical zoom and any larger microscope magnification is just digital cropping.  That's not the worse thing...as digital cropping can help with focus and metering...but...those big digital zoom images will look a bit blocky.

Perhaps Olympus will also have got rid of the lens' inclination to paint a purple splotch on the pic when certain lighting conditions are encountered?

No that still happens.   But I don't think as often.  I only get the purple orb in dark situation with off axis light, when at max zoom and if the very center portion of the frame is very dark.  It does happen in macro...but...  The flash seems to always kill the purple orb and you can easily see the purple orb now in the newer view finder so you can easily recompose or use a flash.  It does happen occasionally in low light macro at max zoom...but again the flash cures this.

SirLataxe
OP SirLataxe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,909
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?

With the help gained from this thread I've been experimenting with the various TG4 microscope modes along with the LED and flash ring lights. There've been some decent results but I need to stabilise the camera better, which can be difficult when it's parked low down on a mossy bank trying to focus on a strange fungus, even on the mini tripod.  The lack of a tilt screen doesn't help.

I've acquired also the wrap-around wired shutter release cable & button, which works quite well if the wrap-around strap is kept tight. It does make it slightly awkward to change settings though on the camera, where the strap overlaps the 4-way control toggle.

One aspect that's a bit hit and miss is getting the right DoF in the two multiple-shot microscope modes. I focus on the leading edge of whatever I'm photographing, as the Olympus blurb indicates that the refocusing of each shot moves the focus point outwards from the initial focus point. This generally works but sometimes the DoF is too great. It would be best if the mushroom, for example, was in focus front to back but still differentiated by a blurred background.

There's no hard data about how much the focus point is shifted in the two multiple shot microscope modes and for the various settings (10, 20, 30 shutter releases with narrow, normal and wide changes). So, my question:

Does anyone know of any hard data giving the values for the focus changes from the initial focus point, for these various focus stacking modes on the TG4? I can't find any at Olympus websites nor anywhere else.

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to buy a TG6. 

SirLataxe

vegasdood
vegasdood Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?
1

smithaa02 wrote:

Really, really great pics....once again...so many people scream for a 1" sensor for this particular camera...I disagree....people that know how to use this camera can really achieve fantastic results.  Nice work!

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 vegasdood's gear list:vegasdood's gear list
Olympus TG-6 Sony a7R II Sony a7R IV GoPro Hero9 Black Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS +12 more
smithaa02 Regular Member • Posts: 211
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?
2

vegasdood wrote:

Really, really great pics....once again...so many people scream for a 1" sensor for this particular camera...I disagree....people that know how to use this camera can really achieve fantastic results. Nice work!

Thanks!  It's part of a larger TG-6 macro collection I have at:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmEY4zVB

I agree with you about the sensor size.  Small sensors actually have some advantages over large sensors which most don't realize.   My dad has a Sony RX10 IV (1 inch sensor) and it is very difficult to take macro photos with that.  The minimum focus distance is often very far from the subject which forces you to use strong zoom (which hurts focus) and makes the flash much less effective.  Then of course there are DOF issues with bigger sensors because they use wider fields of view.  With the TG-6 I can get extremely close to the subject and get a great flash fill that I can't with other cameras.

vegasdood
vegasdood Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: TG microscope mode limitations?
1

Great flikr page.  I am "following" you now....from my jetski page where I am mostly shooting from my TG5.

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“A little bit of this town goes a very long way.” - Hunter S. Thompson http://www.robertbaker.photography

 vegasdood's gear list:vegasdood's gear list
Olympus TG-6 Sony a7R II Sony a7R IV GoPro Hero9 Black Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS +12 more
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