Olympus TG-6 vs Pentax K-S1
The Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Pentax K-S1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2019 and August 2014. The TG-6 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-S1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TG-6) and an APS-C (K-S1) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Pentax K-S1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus TG-6 and the Pentax K-S1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the K-S1 is available in four color-versions (black, grey, orange, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-S1 is considerably larger (51 percent) than the Olympus TG-6. It is worth mentioning in this context that the TG-6 is splash and dust resistant, while the K-S1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the TG-6 is water-proof up to 15m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TG-6 has a lens built in, whereas the K-S1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the TG-6 gets 340 shots out of its LI-92B battery, while the K-S1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its D-LI109 power pack. The power pack in the TG-6 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus TG-6||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||253 g||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|2.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|5.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus TG-4||112 mm||66 mm||31 mm||247 g||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|9.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|11.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Pentax K-500||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||646 g||710||n||Jun 2013||549|
|13.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|14.||Ricoh WG-6||118 mm||66 mm||33 mm||246 g||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|15.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|16.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|17.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The TG-6 was launched at a lower price than the K-S1, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus TG-6 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-S1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-S1 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the TG-6 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-S1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the K-S1 offers a higher resolution than the TG-6 (12MP), but the K-S1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.28μm versus 1.53μm for the TG-6) due to its larger sensor. However, the TG-6 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 8 months) than the K-S1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the K-S1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-S1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-S1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus TG-6 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-S1 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the TG-6 provides a higher video resolution than the K-S1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-S1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TG-6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus TG-6 and Pentax K-S1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
The Olympus TG-6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TG-6 and the K-S1 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus Tough TG-6 and Pentax K-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the TG-6 offers wifi support, while the K-S1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the TG-6 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The TG-6 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the K-S1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-S1 was succeeded by the Pentax K-S2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus TG-6 better than the Pentax K-S1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus Tough TG-6:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-S1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x66mm vs 121x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the K-S1).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 15m).
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the K-S1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-S1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TG-6 emerges as the winner of the contest (15 : 12 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus TG-6 and the Pentax K-S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TG-6 or the K-S1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Olympus TG-6||..||+ +||76/100||4/5||4/5||May 2019||449|
|2.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|5.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|7.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|8.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|9.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|10.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|11.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|12.||Pentax K-500||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||549|
|13.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|14.||Ricoh WG-6||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|15.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|16.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|17.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Olympus TG-6 vs Pentax K-S1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-100mm f/2.0-4.9||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2019||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||4.28 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||5.45 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||PRIME MII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1061|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||5.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S1|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
113 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
121 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||253 g (8.9 oz)||558 g (19.7 oz)|
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