Olympus TG-5 Spider Images

This may surprise a few readers, but I recently added a new camera to my kit… an Olympus TG-5. The reasons for adding this new gear are sprinkled through this new posting. This article features a selection of Olympus TG-5 spider images captured handheld today at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario.Β 

Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/25, ISO-1600

I’ve been operating my client video business without having a ‘tough’ camera in my kit for a few years now. From time to time I need to mount a camera on a tow motor or other type of moving industrial equipment. I’ve never felt comfortable putting my Nikon 1 gear at risk and decided it was time to fill this void in my kit. Being able to shoot at the wide end of the zoom at f/2 was another factor for me.

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/40, ISO-1600

Another consideration was occasionally shooting still photography in very wet conditions. During our most recent trip to New Zealand we dealt with quite a bit of rain. Rain sleeves do offer some protection, but in hard, driving wind and rain it was difficult to ensure my gear wasn’t going to get wet.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/40, ISO-1600

So, I started doing some research and actually read some camera reviews for the first time in over three years.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/50, ISO-1600

The Olympus TG-5 quickly jumped to the top of my list. Having shot with my Nikon 1 gear for over 5 years I knew enough not to rule out a camera based on sensor size. I liked the idea that Olympus had reduced the megapixels in the TG-5 (i.e. 12 MP) down from the TG-4 (i.e. 16 MP). I also liked that the small 1/2.3″ sensor utilizes BSI design. These two factors caused me to think that the noise would likely be acceptable to about ISO-1600. As you review the images in this article you’ll see quite a few of them were shot at that ISO.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/100, ISO-1600

The Olympus TG-5 allows me to shoot in RAW which was another capability that I wanted. Obviously I’m still experimenting with how to handle these files in post. Do they take more work than my Nikon 1 files? Yup, for sure… but that’s what I expected.

Olympus TG-5 @ 12 mm, efov 66.7 mm, f/3.8, 1/13, ISO-1600

Make no mistake, this is a point-and-shoot camera that does not offer the level of controls that I would have ideally liked. As is often said… every piece of camera gear comes with some sort of trade-off. The Olympus TG-5 only has P and A settings… no manual shooting. And, even then the amount of flexibility with the A setting is very limited. All of this will take some experimentation so I can better understand how to effectively use the camera.

Olympus TG-5 @ 12 mm, efov 66.7 mm, f/3.8, 1/50, ISO-1600

One of the capabilities that really intrigued me was the ‘microscopic’ shooting feature. This allows you to basically put the camera almost right on top of something when shooting in this macro mode. I used this setting for the bulk of my images in this article. The depth-of-field is very narrow when in this mode, but the camera does grab focus quite well.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/60, ISO-1600

As you can clearly see in the image above, the depth-of-field is so narrow that the claw on the left is slightly out of focus. So… lots of practice and experimentation ahead for me.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/60, ISO-1600

The shooting conditions today were crazy with a bunch of grade school children, along with their parents, crowding the small exhibit area. Tons of reflections. Fingerprints all over the glass. Constant bumping and squealing. Spiders and other critters hiding in their glass enclosures. Overall it was perfect for a test photo session! I figured if I got anything usable today, the TG-5 had promise.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/100, ISO-1600

As part of my test today I shot these same specimen with a Nikon 1 J5, some extension tubes, and 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 and 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 non-PD zooms. To my surprise it was no contest for this type of extreme close-up work. The Olympus TG-5 produced far more keepers shooting in ‘microscopic mode’ than I was able to get with my Nikon 1 gear. There’s no question that shooting right up against glass, while being extremely close to a subject is a very specialized, niche application. It is one that the TG-5 handled well.

Olympus TG-5 @ 10 mm, efov 55.6 mm, f/3.5, 1/50, ISO-800

The final images in this article are of ‘spider parts’ shot using the TG-5’s microscopic mode. The subject spider for the balance of the photographs was aΒ  Goliath Bird Eating Spider. This spider is quite large… about the size of an average man’s hand. As you can see in the photograph above… a big spider with very small eyes.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/40, ISO-1600

The Goliath Bird Eating Spider was very active in its enclosure and only remained still for a couple of seconds at a time. This allowed me to test how quickly I could change focus points (there’s only a block of 25), frame my shot, and capture it.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/2.3, 1/50, ISO-800

Here’s a few of the spider’s legs. I had never seen the joints in a spider’s legs before… so I explored a bit further.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/30, ISO-1600

And, then even further…

Olympus TG-5 @ 12 mm, efov 66.7 mm, f/3.8, 1/40, ISO-1600

I also captured a glimpse of the back of a leg joint…

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/80, ISO-1600

And likely my best capture of the day… a leg image showing two joints.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/60, ISO-1600

I had a lot of fun today with my first attempt mucking about with the Olympus TG-5. It will take some time to learn how to get the most out of the camera.Β The Olympus TG-5 will never replace my Nikon 1 gear… but it does bring some niche capabilities that I need, to my camera bag.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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16 thoughts on “Olympus TG-5 Spider Images”

  1. Great article. It inspired me to search google for any similar articles and I came across this exact article on a website called “Photography Ideas – Together We are Stronger”. It was posted February 9th, 2019 by Piseth. The website includes other articles that originated on Photography Life – so maybe there is a connection there? Anyway, the post includes your copyright notice in the last paragraph. But I thought I would let you know in case they are not actually respecting your copyright.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      You have come across a pirated article. This is quite a serious problem when I write articles for Photography Life as the site is regularly pirated. If you see such things please feel free to post a comment on the offending website advising readers there that the owners of the site are intellectual property thieves. It is very hard to deal with this issue… other than to call out offending sites, and contact Google asking for these sites to be blacklisted.

      Thanks for the support!

  2. I like the nice close up pictures. Is there any built-in software in the camera to easily do focus stacking? Often I mess up the overlap of at least several pictures when I do focus stacking manually so that they do not overlap well and this can give strange looking pictures.

    1. Tom,
      This is a follow up on my previous message about focus stacking. I downloaded the TG-5 manual, and it states that there is focus stacking available. I would be interested, if you are so inclined, to find out if focus stacking could, for example, be used on your spider pictures or could be used only on completely non-moving subjects. Maybe you could potentially make one of your blurbs on this. Thanks for looking at this.

      1. Hi Bob,

        There is a focus stacking function with the TG-5. I didn’t have a chance to use it with the spider images as it was my first outing with the camera. I did have a chance to use it a bit on a recent, short holiday. I am planning on doing an article on this topic.


      2. Hi Bob,

        I’ve been doing a bit more experimentation. The focus stacking feature is not really designed for subjects in motion. If there is too much motion the focus stacking will simply fail. I found this out when trying to use this feature to photograph some flowers subject to some breeze. It worked well when the flowers were still, even when shot hand-held. As soon as the flowers swayed in the breeze, focus stacking would fail. In defence of the camera it is recommended that a tripod be used with focus stacking. I’m getting closer to having enough sample images for an article… hopefully by next week.


    2. Hi Bob,

      I just checked my initial images using the focus stacking function with the TG-5. Unfortunately the focus stacking is done with jpegs, not RAW files. There is some noticeable improvement with the amount of the image that is in focus… but since the function produces jpegs the PRIME noise reduction feature does not work with the focus stacked image. My initial impression is that I will likely not use the focus stacking feature very much as I would rather have PRIME… especially with the tiny sensor in the TG-5.


    1. Thanks for the supportive comment Joni – I’m glad you enjoyed the photographs! I still have quite a bit to learn about how to best use this new camera… so I’m far from mastering it πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to this new gear opening up more image opportunities for me.


  3. Hi Tom,

    I may have overcome my arachnophobia somewhat due to my mountain forays but I’ve got to say, those are really lovely/beautiful/incredible macros you’ve shot. I harbor fascination for the details of insects and arachnids, their abstract patterns show the handiwork of the Creator.

    With due respect to the first commenter, I don’t understand the brand bashing πŸ˜€ Oly has some great heritage going for it. Maybe I’m just brand-oblivious but hey, the pictures are all that matter at the end of the day, not the camera brand. Of course, the camera manufacturers wouldn’t want you think that way. Just my humble two cents.


    1. Hi Oggie,

      My hands were so close to the spiders I don’t think I would use that kind of ‘close-up’ distance without glass between me and them! While the TG-5 has its limitations, as all cameras do, I think it will serve the niche applications I have planned for it well.

      I didn’t perceive the comment as brand bashing at all… rather Bill just using a little humour with me. πŸ™‚ I think a number of folks have me labelled as ‘that Nikon 1 guy’, rather than a photographer who just happens to use Nikon 1. I hope I haven’t committed heresy in their eyes by buying an Olympus product! πŸ™‚

      Like you, I’ve long been a proponent of finding camera gear that meets our unique needs, regardless of brand, sensor size etc. You’re right – the images we capture are all that really matters. Cameras are simply the tools that enable our creativity.


      1. Tom,

        Hahaha, I get it. No offense meant also to Bill.
        Anyway, I may have switched to Sony but I still use some Nikon glass as well as the B700 for birding so I’m really brand-oblivious. Whatever gets the job done, and done well, would be welcome.


  4. I don’t know if the TG-5 is buoyant (a simple test that can be done in a sink or tub). If not, you might consider looking for a way to attach something that is. If you do drop it in the drink, then it won’t sink. I saw a guy on a boat that did that for his sunglasses (he just had a string with a couple of corks). He had lost several pairs before coming up with a simple solution.

    1. Hi William,

      Given my very limited swimming ability I likely won’t be using the TG-5 in any water more than chest deep… or more than the camera would be going blub… blub… blub…!

      Having some kind of floats does make sense. Looking at the camera there’s no doubt in my mind that it would sink like a stone.


  5. I’m shocked. Branching out to a lowly Olympus. What does this portend for the future? I was just today sauntering about on the Bay Trail opposite San Francisco with my Olympus OM-D Mk II with a Leica-Pany 100-400mm lens (eqv. 200-800mm). I know of nothing that can match it for portability, IQ and reach. I say that knowing that I have a Nikon 1 V. 2 with the wonderful Nikkor VR 70-300 on the shelf next to the Olympus. I love both. I would give up neither.

    1. Hi Bill,

      As far as my ‘main kit’ goes it means nothing for the future. I’ll be shooting with Nikon 1 for many years to come. πŸ™‚ I needed a rugged ‘go-anywhere’ camera for some specific needs that have not been addressed since I sold an old ‘action cam’ a few years back. I’d rather have the Olympus TG-5 fall off a tow motor rather than some of my Nikon 1 gear… after all the TG-5 is designed to handle that type of scenario. Hmmm… not that I’m wishing that it falls off!


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