Congratulations on buying the great Olympus TG-6 camera and YS-03 Stolis strobe underwater compact camera package! We've written these instructions to help you get started.
We also have a review with photos that will show you some practical ideas for using it. Be sure to visit our Handbooks in the Resource Center as there are many free guides to help you get started with underwater photography, and understand techniques to improve your photos.
To assemble the Sea & Sea YS-03 Solis strobe lighting package with the Olympus housing:
- Assemble the tray by screwing the flex arm onto the base of the tray with the tool provided.
- Mount the housing onto the tray by hand tighting the mouting screws onto the housing. There are three mounting points on the housing, we reccomend using the two on either side of the middle.
- You can adjust the position of the housing by sliding the housing to the left so that you can open and close the housing easily. You will have to loosen the scews to allow movement and then tighten the scews down one you have found the desired position.
- Inside of the housing, you will find a U shaped, black plastic sync cord holder that has the two holes through it. Fit this plastic piece over the flash diffuser on the front of the housing. It holds the sync cord onto the housing.
- Put the strobe onto the top of the arm (the flat portion of the arm with a hole through it) and use the handscrew that comes with the strobe to hold it in place.
- Insert one end of the sync cord into the strobe using the socket on the lower left-hand front. Insert the other end of the sync cord in the black plastic holder on the housing diffuser. You can wind it around the arm to hold it out of the way. If you notice that you are having trouble inserting the sync cord into either the strobe or the housing, use the Sea & Sea grease on the o-rings of the sync cord. One dab of grease should help.
- Place camera in the housing, close housing and turn on strobe and camera.
Setting up the Olympus TG-6 camera for Underwater Use
See Olympus TG-6 camera manual available here. It's more robust than the "Quick Help" sheet.
Make sure to set time, date and time zone for your camera.
Using Underwater Modes:
- 5 underwater modes: Snapshot, Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro, Underwater Microscope and Underwater HDR.
HDR does not use flash and when firing in this mode your external strobe will not be triggered.
- Underwater Wide is good to use when you are shooting large schools of fish or a wide angle shot of the reef, so a flash is needed. It also allows for some zoom to take place
- Macro setting allows for you to shoot not only small but larger creatures by zooming in and out. As it allows closer focusing, this is a good mode to use to reduce the amount of water between you and the subject. Using zoom allows you to stay further away from the subject without scaring it or you can get in nice and close and get those headshots of a small nudibranch. But remember the first rule of underwater photography - get close!
- Microscopic mode enables you to shoot the tiniest of creatures. The TG-6 will continue to focus no matter how close you are to the subject, providing unique opportunities to photography critters normally too small to capture.
- Switching between these underwater settings is easy just press the left arrow key. This will bring up the different modes. Use the left and right arrow keys to scroll through the different modes.
The other modes for underwater use:
- Snapshot - great for the pool or snorkeling
- Underwater HDR - Combines images with different brightness together in one image. It does not allow flash or RAW format. This mode may not be successful underwater unless you can hold the camera very steady as multiple exposures are taken at a single press, then combined.
- Sea & Sea YS-03 Universal Lighting Package use the Fill-in Flash. This allows for the flash to always fire.
- If using the Sea & Sea YS-01 strobe and it is not syncing, follow these steps:
Press the right button on the control pad to bring up the flash options.
In Underwater mode you have four different flash settings:
- Fill in - the flash fires regardless of the light conditions. For when you want reliable flash output.
- Manual value - control the flash output. Allows for more creative control and can help save battery life.
- Flash off - for when you want to shoot in natural light.
- Remote control - The dedicated underwater strobe or the Olympus wireless RC flash is used to take pictures. For details, see “Taking pictures with the Olympus Wireless RC Flash System” (P. 125).
Shooting in RAW format
We recommend shooting in RAW. Working with RAW files allows for a greater degree of error - an underexposed shot taken in RAW format can be edited into a stunning image; with JPEG the image lacks the necessary data to allow for this degree of editing. RAW is much more forgiving and gives you much more creative control.
- Can be used in almost any mode except for a few.
- Getting to the RAW format
- Press the OK button enter the onscreen menu settings
- Press the down arrow to get to the size of the images
- Use the right arrow to select RAW
- Press OK to select image setting and return to taking photos
- Set your camera to the A on the dial.
- A new option for aperture settings appears at the bottom of the on-screen menu.
- You can get to this new option by pressing the up arrow.
- The screen will have an A in the bottom left of the screen with an F and number highlighted on the bottom.
- Use the Up and Down Arrows to change the F stop up and down
- While it doesn’t have a lot of settings, it will help you explore depth of field.
- Pressing the left or right buttons will adjust the exposure compensation.
You will also have control of the ISO, White Balance (WB), Flash Control and the Flash style.
Full range of the zoom is also available, so you can do wide-angle and macro all at the same time
- Custom 1 (C1) and Custom 2 (C2) allows for control of everything in the camera. See page 21 and 57
- The camera can remember the setting that you want by saving the info as C1 or C2.
- Make all your adjustments, then to save:
- Press Menu
- Select Menu 1
- Select Custom Mode Setup
- Select Custom Mode 1 or 2
- Press Set
- You can save Scene modes or Aperture Mode to the two different Custom Modes
- This allows you to change to a Scene mode and then go back to either Custom 1 or 2 and has the setting that you want for either underwater or above water ready to go.
- It is a good way of expanding your understanding of the camera and the different functions that it can do.
Program Auto will allow you to do the same thing, but you just can’t save the settings that you have just used.
- You can also manually focus the camera. Manual focus can be used in Microscope mode, Snapshot, Wide, Macro and HDR Underwater.
(Updated for TG-6 model)