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Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?


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#1 cheetohcat

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 10:42 PM

Hello! I am a long time reader, so I wanted to briefly introduce myself..I'm an avid diver and photographer with most of my dives in the socal area since I live in LA, but have been traveled to Bali, Cozumel, Roatan, Bahamas, Baja, and this year I have the Maldives, Cenotes, and Raja Ampat planned. I've been shooting with my Canon S90 set up for about 2 years now, adding more to it as time goes on (Canon S90, FIX housing, 2x strobes, Ring Flash, FIX UWL-04, 2x Inon UCL-165M67, Sola 600, Go Pro).

But, the time has come...I AM READY TO UPGRADE!!

First let me say, while I adore the compactness of my s90 gear, I do find the picture quality, lack of moveable focus points, and slower focus speed (compared to a dSLR) a drawback. I enjoy shooting both WA and macro so ideally I'd like to move to a system that can also shoot both UWA and macro, assuming I have the right lenses and ports of course and address the other needs.

I am really interested in the mirrorless compact systems and am considering the Olympus e-pl3, Panasonic gf2 or Sony nex-5n. If anyone experience with one or more of these for UW, I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on them as I don't know many people here locally using them yet.

It's a tough decision and I don't want to make an expensive mistake!
Sony Nex 5n, Recsea housing/ports, 2x strobes, ring flash, Sola 600, BTS tray, UCLS arms

#2 Longimanus1975

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 12:13 AM

Hi

I'm in the same boat, looking to up grade at the moment, done a lot of research on the 5n, chose this due to he great feedback on the low light capabilities and the full hd video recording. I am looking to purchase in march/April, but keep thinking that the camera will be almost a year old then, and I just know that a new camera will come out after I purchase it!

I now keep looking at the nex 7, nauticam have their housing out for this now, gets good reviews, just a bit more cash to start with. I am concerned about te large megapixels and how it will compare to the nex 5 from an underwater viewpoint.

Interested to see what people say

#3 ghnouer

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 05:35 AM

Hi

I'm in the same boat, looking to up grade at the moment, done a lot of research on the 5n, chose this due to he great feedback on the low light capabilities and the full hd video recording. I am looking to purchase in march/April, but keep thinking that the camera will be almost a year old then, and I just know that a new camera will come out after I purchase it!

I now keep looking at the nex 7, nauticam have their housing out for this now, gets good reviews, just a bit more cash to start with. I am concerned about te large megapixels and how it will compare to the nex 5 from an underwater viewpoint.

Interested to see what people say


I am in the same situation.........I am using a canon G11, two strobes.......and I am researching my new rig.

Debating about : - Nex 7 + Nauticam or new Canon G1X + Fix/Recsea (?) or maybe the new Fuji Xpro 1 + (?)

The nice thing about Nex 7 and Fuji Xpro is that I can use my M lenses (manual focus) on land.....but the lenses for UW (autofocus) are limited.
The nice thing about Canon G1X is the low budget and probably I can shoot macro and WA in the same dive.

Any ideas?

GHN
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#4 loftus

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:08 AM

If you are trying to stay small and compact, and you want probably the best autofocus speed and ability in a mirrorless, take a good look at the Nikon V1 - Nauticam now makes a housing for it.
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=44490

Edited by loftus, 22 January 2012 - 08:10 AM.

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#5 cheetohcat

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:03 AM

Ghnouer, I thought about the G1X, and I am pretty sure a friend is going to go with that to upgrade from an S90. He adamantly doesn't want to deal with multiple lenses for when the camera is used on land though he has macro and UWA wet lenses.(He also has a d90 for land shooting, so he want a 'pocket sized' option --though you need pretty big pockets for the G's!)

I thought about it as well when it was announced, but I've decided I want to go with a system vs. adv compact. With the Gseries housings from Recsea or FIX, I believe you have to swap out the port on the housing entirely for WA. I figured if I was going to lose the wet lens swapability anyway, I may as well look at a mirrorless system with interchangeable lenses so I could get the flexiblity UW and on land.

Leaning towards the NEX 5n at this point, but I have several friends with Olympus Pens who really like them as well so I was hoping to get some input here! Going to check out the housings this week in person. I just got dry gloves installed for my drysuit, so I'm big on the ergonomics and usability of the controls. :)
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#6 ghnouer

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

If you are trying to stay small and compact, and you want probably the best autofocus speed and ability in a mirrorless, take a good look at the Nikon V1 - Nauticam now makes a housing for it.
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=44490



Hi Loftus, I am a big fan of your photos.

I will study this Nikon V1. In your opinion the V1 is better than the Nex 7 for UW?

GHN
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#7 ghnouer

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:35 AM

... so I was hoping to get some input here! Going to check out the housings this week in person.



Cheetohcat: I really want to read your opinion about the housings.

GHN

Edited by ghnouer, 22 January 2012 - 10:36 AM.

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#8 bvanant

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:39 AM

Hello! I am a long time reader, so I wanted to briefly introduce myself..I'm an avid diver and photographer with most of my dives in the socal area since I live in LA, but have been traveled to Bali, Cozumel, Roatan, Bahamas, Baja, and this year I have the Maldives, Cenotes, and Raja Ampat planned. I've been shooting with my Canon S90 set up for about 2 years now, adding more to it as time goes on (Canon S90, FIX housing, 2x strobes, Ring Flash, FIX UWL-04, 2x Inon UCL-165M67, Sola 600, Go Pro).

But, the time has come...I AM READY TO UPGRADE!!

First let me say, while I adore the compactness of my s90 gear, I do find the picture quality, lack of moveable focus points, and slower focus speed (compared to a dSLR) a drawback. I enjoy shooting both WA and macro so ideally I'd like to move to a system that can also shoot both UWA and macro, assuming I have the right lenses and ports of course and address the other needs.

I am really interested in the mirrorless compact systems and am considering the Olympus e-pl3, Panasonic gf2 or Sony nex-5n. If anyone experience with one or more of these for UW, I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on them as I don't know many people here locally using them yet.

It's a tough decision and I don't want to make an expensive mistake!

I have the Sony Nex-5 in a Nauticam housing and for me at least it works fine except that there are not very many lenses for it. The same is true for the Nikon V1 at the moment. I think for picture quality sensor size makes a difference and the Sony Nex series have the largest sensors of this group, the micro 4/3 somewhat smaller and the Nikon smaller still. I am strongly thinking of the Nex-7 as an upgrade but only if they come out with some longer lenses for macro work, the current 30 is just too short. The micro 4/3 cameras have the largest set of lenses at the moment, so if you are in a rush that is probably the route to go.

Bill

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#9 loftus

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 12:50 PM

Hi Loftus, I am a big fan of your photos.

I will study this Nikon V1. In your opinion the V1 is better than the Nex 7 for UW?

GHN

Thanks for the complement. No, I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, and the V1 at the moment does have lens limitations, which will probably change over time.
The advantages of the V1 is that it has the simplicity and size of a point and shoot, and probably the best and fastest autofocus of any mirrorless camera right now. Image quality is a significant step above point and shoot.
The NEX and the 4/3 cameras obviously have the advantage of sensor size, but of course begin to get larger than the point and shoot cameras. Depends what your priorities are - if you want to keep it as a compact as possible, with excellent autofocus and really nice image quality. The V1 is a nice option.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#10 cheetohcat

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for the input Bill. I saw some of your sample photos on another post as well - great photos, and thank you for the thorough review of the 30MM Sony Nex 5n lens you posted.

I think if I go with the nex 5n, I'd start with the 16MM and fisheye along with kit lens, and wait a bit to add a macro lens to see how things shake out. How are you liking the Nauticam housing? I was looking into that option or the new Recsea.
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#11 Cp

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:41 PM

Another new camera to consider, and make the waters all that more muddy perhaps.... the Panasonic GX1.

Having shot several of these camera (though not yet for the GX1 nor G1 X, and not underwater yet for NEX-7 and V1...).... all I can say is is that it is a great time to be an underwater photographer. There are some awesome choices out there.

:)

Cheers,
Cp

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#12 jander4454

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:55 AM

I have been using the NEX-5 for a year in a Nauticam housing and unreservedly recommend this set-up. The housing,, camera etc weigh 400 gms less than my Ikelite and Fuji E900 set up.
Worth considering is the port adapter to allow the fitting of external macro lens - I use the SubSEE +10. Again it's excellent with little CA.

Edited by jander4454, 23 January 2012 - 01:56 AM.

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#13 Kevster

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 04:09 AM

I have the GH2. I posted a review on this forum a few months ago.

I would wait a couple of months.Olympus are about to release the OM-D (Perhaps the 1st pro-level 4/3rds camera if you believe the hype!!).
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#14 DrMark

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:36 AM

I have the GH2. I posted a review on this forum a few months ago.

I would wait a couple of months.Olympus are about to release the OM-D (Perhaps the 1st pro-level 4/3rds camera if you believe the hype!!).


I'm surprised nobody else mentioned the GH2. With the hack, it is pretty much universally agreed to have the best video of any camera priced under $10K, and takes decent pictures too. The only thing keeping me from buying this camera is the rumor of the GH3 coming out soon. I have a trip in April, and I'll likely wait until the last minute to upgrade.

I must admit that the NEX-7 seems to also be a very nice camera. I guess I would go for the NEX-7 if photo were my priority, but would go with the GH2 if video were my priority.

I agree with the lack of lenses for the NEX-7, but realistically you only need 2 underwater: a good wide angle, and a macro.

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#15 chris_l

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:44 AM

It's all a trade off. The Sony Nex stuff looks nice, but the lense choices are limiting. If you only plan on using the kit lense, not an issue.
If you do plan on using mutliple lenses, it's pretty much accepted that the micro 4/3 line has the best lense offerings.
I came from P&S, but a few generations back from your S90. I went with the olympus epl2 in the oly housing(epl3 was not out at the time). I added the 9-18 lense and the zen dome for it. So, in practice, I don't change ports as that port also works with the 14-42 kit lense.
First off, don't compare the olympus housing to the canon OEM housings. It is a much better built housing. It has nice ergonomics. It's really a nice package. With the 2 lenses and the single port, I cover a great range. My only gripe is that the 14-42 at the long end is just not that sharp. It's fine at the wider end, but not when trying to zoom in to get small things. The 9-18 is super sharp and rivals the pictures my bro-in-law takes with his Nikon D300 and tokina 10-17.

there is a very nice panasonic 45mm macro lense which reportedly works well, but that requires another port.
There is also an 8mm fisheye which gets rave reviews, but again requires another port.

I have not priced out what all these things cost and compared to a full nauticam setup. You might want to do that to figure out what you want.
But, if you don't want to break the bank, the oly housing with the epl3/2 is a really nice choice.
Like I said, I'm very happy with my epl2 setup, save the very long end. Reportedly, the panasonic 14-45 is a better lense, so you might want to check that out as well. That could be a very nice general purpose lense and then get a FE later on. You would have very good coverage.
If you go m4/3 and must have a panasonic camera, then you're stuck with costly OEM housings.
But, if you go olympus with a limited lense setup, the oly housing is a good choice.

Be aware that some have reported the epl3 housing doesn't work with the Zen 8mm FE dome without modification. It's basically the switch for the built in LED lights which gets in the way. Someone ground this down to make it work. I don't think there is such an issue with the Zen 9-18 dome.

Lots of choices here.
Depends on what's most import and how much you want to spend.

BTW, focus speed on the epl2 with the 14-42 or 9-18 is not an issue. It feels really fast to me. Not as fast as my D7000, but closer to that than my S95. I use the D7000 and S95 exclusively above water.
The epl3 is supposed to be faster. I also have an older Nikon D50 and I'd say the epl2 is faster.
I also pair my epl2 with a D2000 in full manual with fill in flash. The Inon STTL works really well in getting the exposure right.

Edited by chris_l, 23 January 2012 - 08:49 AM.


#16 derway

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:43 AM

Another important thing to consider is shooting ergonomics. We all like to shoot M mode, or at least A mode.

The nex5n and epl2 and 3 all have menu based systems to adjust aperture and shutter speed. This is onerous, and slow.

The nikon v1 has a menu based system, and almost no lenses. And is way over priced for the sensor size.

The nex 7 is much better, on adjustment controls, but more expensive than a d7000. Still not enough lenses in the nex universe.

The pany gf2, gh2, and gx1 all have thumb wheels which you can turn to adjust fstop or shutter ,rather than using up down or left right buttons in the menu based systems. Many people prefer this.

The fuji x-pro1 is way way over priced, and unlikely to be housed. Not enough lenses.

The canon g1x is really nice, but has 2 big issues for underwater. Canon cripples the G series. Any time you want to shoot in M mode for ambient exposure, the force you to shoot manual flash, even though the 2 systems are completely independent. So if you want to use TTL flash, you are forced to use A mode, and then they do not give you a way to speed up the slowest shutter speed the camera will use, so you end up with 1/60 which gives you frequent motion blur of fast moving fish, or when in any surge. Probably the autofocus is still not up to par, compared to the competition.

My favorite compact today is the fuji x10. It is nice step up in IQ from the nikon p7100 or g12, and has fantastic ergonomics, including a manual twist zoom lens! Great color even in jpgs, which the panasonics all lack. Now all we need is a housing for it!
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#17 chris_l

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:00 PM

Another important thing to consider is shooting ergonomics. We all like to shoot M mode, or at least A mode.

The nex5n and epl2 and 3 all have menu based systems to adjust aperture and shutter speed. This is onerous, and slow.


I take issue with this characterization of the epl2/3 as someone who has actually used it underwater.
There are 4 buttons on the jog wheel as many cameras have.
If you are in manual mode, all you do is hit the top jog button once. This then switches the camera into a mode where the 4 jog buttons control the apperture and shutter. The top and bottom buttons control the shutter speed up and down and the left and right buttons control apperture up and down. It's quite simple and intuitive. You get used to it very quickly. So, if you wanted to adjust the shutter from 1/125 to 1/160, you just hit the top jog button twice. If you want to make adjustments other than upping the shutter speed, you do need to move your finger to the appropriate button, but it's quite easy.
Works like a charm.

I won't comment on the other cameras as I have not actually used them.

#18 gobiodon

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:50 PM

Another important thing to consider is shooting ergonomics. We all like to shoot M mode, or at least A mode.

The nex5n and epl2 and 3 all have menu based systems to adjust aperture and shutter speed. This is onerous, and slow.


Sorry, but this is not true. You have to simply turn a dial to change aperture in A mode. In M mode you switch between changing aperture or speed by pressing a button.
As simple as on any dslr.
On nex5 even to reach the exposure compensation is very simply. No menu needed.
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#19 Drew

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:04 AM

The NEX5n is basically the D7000 stuffed into a smaller body. It's probably the most interesting of the 3 on your list. Eric and I talked about it and he likes the system. I like that there are adapters out for Canon so I can use my legacy lenses, although that will be a challenge for housings. The menu system is a bit confusing but I think that's par for course for Sony. Image quality wise, I think it's up there with the best.

Lens system is limited but given the fisheye, medium and macro rule, the lenses available do fit the requirements.

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#20 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:22 PM

Another important thing to consider is shooting ergonomics. We all like to shoot M mode, or at least A mode. The nex5n and epl2 and 3 all have menu based systems to adjust aperture and shutter speed. This is onerous, and slow.


Don

Have you ever used the NEX system underwater?

I wrote in my review that I've linked here for a couple of months now, the Sony NEX-5's rear command dial will access the shutter speed and fstop of the camera without digging into any menus. I can easily adjust flash exposure as well by assigning a button to it. Not onerous or slow at all.

Here's my review on the NEX and the Aquatica AN-5 housing, operation with the 5n will be essentially identical. Aquatica AN-5 Review

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