Olympus TG-6 vs Pentax K-S2
The Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Pentax K-S2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2019 and February 2015. The TG-6 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (TG-6) and an APS-C (K-S2) 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-S2? 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-S2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TG-6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the K-S2 is available in six color-versions (black, grey, pink, orange, green, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-S2 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Olympus TG-6. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments. 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-S2 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-S2 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Olympus TG-6||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.9 oz||340||Y||May 2019||449|
|2.||Pentax K-S2||4.8 in||3.6 in||2.9 in||23.9 oz||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|3.||Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Nikon W300||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|5.||Olympus TG-5||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.8 oz||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|6.||Olympus TG-4||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.2 in||8.7 oz||380||Y||Apr 2015||379|
|7.||Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-1||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|9.||Panasonic TS7||4.6 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||11.3 oz||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|10.||Pentax KP||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-70||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.9 in||24.3 oz||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|12.||Pentax K-3 II||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||19.7 oz||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Pentax K-3||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|15.||Ricoh WG-6||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||8.7 oz||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|16.||Sony HX99||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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-S2, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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-S2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-S2 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-S2 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the K-S2 offers a higher resolution than the TG-6 (12MP), but the K-S2 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 3 months) than the K-S2, 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-S2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-S2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-S2 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-S2 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|7.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|12.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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-S2. 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-S2 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus TG-6, the Pentax K-S2, and comparable cameras.
|12.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
The Olympus TG-6 and the Pentax K-S2 both have 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-S2 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-S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|12.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the K-S2 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The TG-6 does not feature such a mic input.
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.
Both the TG-6 and the K-S2 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The K-S2 replaced the earlier Pentax K-S1, while the TG-6 followed on from the Olympus TG-5. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus TG-6 or the Pentax K-S2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor 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.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-S2 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x66mm vs 123x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the K-S2).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 3 months of technical progress since the K-S2 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-S2:
- 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.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- 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.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the K-S2 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 12 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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-S2 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TG-6 or the K-S2 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 expert reviews 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-S2||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|5.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|6.||Olympus TG-4||..||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2015||379|
|7.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|9.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|10.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|11.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|12.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|15.||Ricoh WG-6||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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
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Specifications: Olympus TG-6 vs Pentax K-S2
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-S2|
|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||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S2|
|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|
|Screen Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S2|
|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||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S2|
|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||Intervalometer built-in|
|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-S2|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Olympus TG-6||Pentax K-S2|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (15m)||Weathersealed body|
|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)
123 x 91 x 73 mm
(4.8 x 3.6 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||253 g (8.9 oz)||678 g (23.9 oz)|
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