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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 258
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Olympus TG-2 Super Macro Capabilities
Thursday 27 June 2013   —   Category: Equipment
This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring the capabilities of my new Olympus TG-2 “tough” pocket camera. If you missed the other articles, you can view a list of them here.

Today I’m going to take a closer look at the impressive “Super Macro” capabilities of the TG-2 by commenting on a selection of macro photos I took with this camera, as well as some pictures I took of the TG-2 in action. Just so you know, I did process the original JPG photos in Photoshop, as I would have done if the TG-2 were able to produce RAW images.
Here’s a top view of the Olym­pus TG-2, mounted on a tripod, pointing straight down at a decorative knife in its metal sheath, which my daughter bought as a souvenir during her trip to Morocco earlier this year. The knife is sitting on a big thick book so I could raise it closer to the camera. The photo I was taking at the time is shown below.
Here’s a side view of the same setup. To illuminate the subject being photographed, I used a Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Clip-​On Light which is always hang­ing around on my desk. As you can see, in the TG-2’s Super Macro mode the camera can get REALLY close to the subject — about 1cm away. The lens does not protrude from the body, nor does it extend when zooming in.
This tooth-shaped triangle en­graved on the knife sheath is about 3mm in length. The photo is not cropped, but shows the full frame. I set the optical zoom to 4x, and then added another 4x of digital “super resolution zoom” — which according to Olympus does not reduce the quality nor the resolution of the image — for a total of 8x magnification. The detail is not bad at all for a point-and-shoot camera! (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
No, this isn’t old moss clinging to cement — it’s rust on the blade of the Moroccan knife! Once again, I used 8x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion — 4x optical zoom plus 4x of Olympus' special “super res­o­lu­tion zoom.” As before, the res­o­lu­tion is pretty good for this class of camera. (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
Even though the TG-2 does not normally have an autofocus lock function, when in Super Macro mode it suddenly DOES have that capability! This is especially useful when using focusing rails and/or focus stacking. When activated — by pressing the OK button in the center of the four-way controller to the right of the LDC screen — “AF LOCK” appears under the focusing rectangle. On the LCD screen you can see a section of a nickel coin.
Another coin picture — this time it’s the letters “ME” of “DIME” at the bottom of the coin. I shot this photo hand-held, again at 8x magnification — 4x optical zoom plus 4x of Olympus' special “super resolution zoom.” Because I had the camera set for Auto ISO, it chose ISO 1600 in order to get a fast enough shutter speed! (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
A word on the screen of my iPad Mini as I was reading the TG-2 user’s manual PDF. As you can see, it was not very large text, with the thickness of the letters being only one pixel (with some additional pixels being used for anti-aliasing). Each group of red, green and blue subpixels makes up a single pixel which our eye normally perceives as a single color because the subpixels are so small. The photo is not cropped, but shows the full frame. (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
This is a cropped version of the previous photo at 100% mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. The three black squares are the three pixels forming the upper diagonal stroke of the letter “k.” As I mentioned before, each group of red, green and blue subpixels makes up a single pixel which our eye normally perceives as a single color because the subpixels are so small.
The condensation-bedewed label on a bottle of Trader Joe’s Mission Street Blonde Ale. The height of the lowercase letter “h” is 2mm. Shot hand-held at ISO 1600 with a 4x optical zoom. The photo is not cropped, but shows the full frame. (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
More tiny drops of condensation on a bottle of Trader Joe’s Mission Street Blonde Ale. Shot hand-held at ISO 1600 with a 1x optical zoom. The photo is not cropped, but shows the full frame. (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
Small drops of condensation on the outside of a bottle of Trader Joe’s Mission Street Blonde Ale, with much tinier beer-foam bubbles on the inside of the bottle. Shot hand-held at ISO 1600 with a 4x optical zoom. The photo is not cropped, but shows the full frame. (Click on the photo to see a larger version)
 
Well, that brings to a conclusion my informal survey of the Olympus TG-2’s Super Macro capabilities. Considering what kind of camera it is — a pocket point-and-shoot — I think it does amazingly good close-up photography. All in all I’m very impressed!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 258
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 258
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