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Time to Upgrade: Oly OM-D EM-5 vs. Nikon D7000


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#1 MyLensandMore



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

I have been an avid underwater photographer for about 10yrs. My underwater camera equipment for the last 7yrs has been the Olympus C-5060, Ikelite housing, DS-125 and DS-50 dual strobes. I recently purchased the DS-160 to replace the DS-50. See photography at: http://www.pbase.com/mjeas

While I have been very pleased with the results, the limitations and slow autofocus are finally driving me to upgrade. However, there are simply too many other options on the market. I have narrowed down my upgrade options to the OM-D or going SLR, but I am looking for some feedback from others. Cost is a relative factor, as I am hoping to keep the cost to about $5,000.

Option 1: Make a complete overhaul with the new Olympus OM-D E-5 with Nauticam housing, Sea & Sea YS-D1 or INON Z240 dual strobes with arms, and 60mm and 8mm lenses? Approximately $6,000 upgrade. This is more costly, but it offers a much lighter and travel friendly option.

Option 2: Use my existing Nikon D7000 and purchase the Ikelite housing, port assembly, 105mm, 60mm, Tokina 10-17mm lenses and 1.4x teleconverter. Approximately $5,000 upgrade. This is less expensive, but I can use my existing Ikelite strobes since I just purchased the DS-160. The new lenses can also make above water photography more appealing.

Please assist in providing ideas, options, and alternatives for someone who is interested in macro photography with the flexibility for wide angle.


#2 guyharrisonphoto


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

I have not shot the D7000. I made a very large investment in the OM-D system, with the 12-50 port/gear, which also holds the 60mm macro, and the dome for the panasonic 7-14mm., along with 2 YS-D1 strobes. I just traveled with this rig from the U.S. to Curacao for a week of diving. If fit easily in a rol-on pelican case, with video lights as well and all accessories.

I could not be more happy with this rig. It is superb in all respects. I am very glad I went with the 7-14 instead of the 8mm fisheye, but that is personal taste.

The 12-50 in its dedicated macro port is an amazing all-around rig. The 60mm macro is a truly excellent lens and gives extremely high magnification even without diopters.

I recommend Option 1, wholeheartedly.

Just see the OM-D thread for more (I have photos posted there in the more recent pages). it is the hottest thread here, and for good reason.

#3 KirkD


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:47 PM

The D7000 replacement is rumored to be released in Jan/Feb 2013. If you can hold a little longer, that may be a fantastic camera!

#4 meltdownman



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

Just saw this posted and it looks like a very nice deal:



#5 deepbluemd



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

Tough Decision!

I have both systems, except both are in Nauticam housings: OMD Em5 with Pan 8mm fisheye, Oly 60 macro and Oly 12-50 zoom and the d7000 with 105 macro, 60 macro, Tokina 10-17, shooting with z240s and S-2000s. Ok, I know what you are thinking....so NO I'm not a spoiled gear ho, my wife shoots one of the systems when we go on dive trips --she's rarely underwater without a camera in her hand. Also, I've owned Ikelite systems as well, so I know there is a $ appeal of going that route too.

Anyway, I am honestly am not sure what system I would choose if I had to pick one, they both have their pros and cons. The OMD EM5 just won the dpreview camera of 2012, and I think that honor is well deserved. Certainly the OMD setup is more compact, easier to travel with, and I have to say I'm really impressed with the easy ergonomics of diving with it, especially holding the housing directly with the right hand instead of a handle. Also the EM5 has the most amazingly customizable menu, and I love the large OLED monitor while shooting underwater. You can hold the system out at arms length sometimes to get a shot and still see how you are framing a subject, live! Very cool. I'm leaving mid-January for 2 weeks in Australia but will only be on the GBR for 4 days. We've decided to only take one system and its going to be the EM5, partly cuz its new for me and I want to learn what it can do, and partly because of the reasons I've stated above. But if I were going to be diving the whole 2 weeks, I think I'd deal with the heavier and bulkier system and take the d7000, mostly because I might give a slight image quality nod to that system. Its a proven, high quality system, and has great glass options both above and below water. Plus I love shooting supermacro and the 105 plus a Macromate lets me shoot the really tiny stuff. The optical viewfinder lets you see incredible detail before pulling the shutter.

But I can tell you, the thought has actually crossed my mind to sell the whole d7000 system to downsize the kit to make it easier to fly, travel and dive with cuz lugging two camera setups is a pain. My initial experience with the EM5 has been that positive. But one other thing that is also holding me up, is that I am very impressed with the Nauticam NA-D7000 housing. Its fantastic. There is a big difference in the build quality and feel between the EM5 and D7000 Nauticam housings with a big edge to the latter.

Anyway, there's plenty of threads discussing features of both setups but I think you can get amazing shots and have fun with either system.



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#6 FranzoMCK



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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

I am a long time nikon fan and really Like the D 7000. Great camera with great picture quality BUT…
Travel size does matter!
And that is why I decided to buy the OM D
I can pack everything in a small Backpack ( om-d + nauticam housing + Oly 12-50 zoom and macro port, Sea & Sea YS-D1 dual strobes with arms + Sola 800 focus light and 13” Laptop and I think that I still have more room for the pany 8mm and 4”domeport.( My next purchase )
I use the Temba shootout rolling backpack medium size.
Any decision you make will be the right one, the two cameras are very good

#7 MyLensandMore



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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:14 AM

I greatly appreciate the positive feedback, as I have read so much about both of these cameras. It seems the constant theme is there is not a lot of difference in quality, but the OM-D is much better for traveling. Since I am traveling from Okinawa, Japan, compact is good no matter where I go. It looks like despite already owning the D7000 and knowing that it will still stay in my bag when traveling, I am leaning toward the OM-D.

This is what I am looking at, but I am still trying to keep it about $6k.

OM-D and housing
12-50mm kit and 60mm lens
Macro Port 65, which I am hoping will be the flat lens that fits both lenses??
2-Inon Z-240s
Fisheye focus light (Any recommendations that are within $300-400?)
Diopter for more supermacro shots, but I want the flexibility to do it under water (Any recommendations?)

I really want to get the 8mm or 7-14mm with the 4" dome port, but I think that is going to have to wait. I need something that I can get more flexibility from with macro until I can afford more.

Thanks for any additional input on this initial upgrade. I will be heading to Socorros in April, so I want to get this rig purchased and tested before heading half way around the world.


#8 troporobo


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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

Three quick comments:

The same port will work for the 12-50 and 60 lenses. You can find more discussion of this in the big OM-D thread


Depending on your ambitions for macro, the 12-50 with a Subsee+10 might be enough and you may or may not want the 60 right away. Have a look at the shots Dominque posted yesterday, especially shots 9 and 12 which make this exact comparison:


Finally, if macro is your primary goal, and travel will be frequent, consider the Inon S2000 strobes. They are really fantastic for closeup work and just about fit in your pocket, at 2/3 the cost of the Z240. They are not really up to the job for wide angle work however

Edited by troporobo, 06 January 2013 - 02:30 PM.

#9 guyharrisonphoto


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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

You should get the 12-50 in the dedicated Nauticam macro port/gear for that lens. NOT the macro port 65. The dedicated port/gear allows full functionality of the 12-50 lens' very, very excellent macro function (you can fill the frame with an object the size of an SD card), as well as full zoom functionality. The switching between macro and regular zoom is absolutely instant, no need for dipopters and the awkward carrying them and putting them on and off, You get full access to the zoom range, and use of power zoom for video if that is important to you (it is for me)

You will not need a dedicated macro lens right away with this rig. It is the best all-around combo going, But, when the time comes, the 60 mm macro works perfectly in the 12/50 port and gives even higher magnification. I have images posted in the recent pages of the OM-D thread to show just how well this set-up works.

The macro port 65 will not even give you the ability to zoom the lens unless you by a $100+ zoom gear, but then you still have no macro with the 12-50 unless you buy diopters, adapters, etc and what is the point of that? It is a more awkward compromise that will actually end up costing more.

I offer this because there is a well-intentioned frenzy of cheapness on the boards where people are trying to "beat the system" by getting the cheaper macro port and making do with compromises, instead of paying the $250 more for the dedicated 12-50 port/gear. This makes no sense to me given the overall cost of the system.

You are buying into the top compact system and housing set-up. Why deprive yourself of the absolutely unique capabilities of the 12-50 in its dedicated port?

#10 MyLensandMore



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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

Okay, I am sold... Definitely going to be starting from scratch though and will have to sell my Ikelite equipment. However, after reading all the positive comments, feedback and seeing the amazing pics, now I have to find a way to keep the cost down to around $6,000. Below is a list of items that I am looking at for starters, but I need to reduce or make changes.

Should I stick with the 12-50mm and 60mm since both will use the 12/50 port or should I go with the 8mm fisheye?

Any last recommendations are how to reduce the cost or final changes? Am I missing anything??

Thanks again for all the input!! I look forward to sharing my experience with the OM-D as many of you have shared your input.


Olympus OM-D E-M5 Camera with 12-50mm Power Zoom Lens 1 $1,199.99
Nauticam NA-EM5 Housing for Olympus OMD EM5 Camera 1 $1,350.00
Nauticam Macro Port and Zoom Gear Set for Olympus ED 12-50 EZ Lens 1 $800.00
$150.00 mail in rebate on 12-50 lens good until 1/27/13
LMI Sola 800 Photo Light (no mounts included) 1 $499.00
LMI Sola Photo Ball Mount & D-Ring Combo Kit 1 $35.00
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro 1 $499.99
Nauticam M67 Flip filter holder for 36161 port 1 $220.00
ReefNet SubSee Magnifier +10 1 $225.00
Nauticam Flexitray with Left Handle 1 $130.00
Nauticam Adjustable Right Handle for Easitray or Flexitray 1 $40.00
Nauticam M8 Strobe Mounting Ball for Easytray and Flexitray Handles 2 $32.00
Inon Z-240 Strobe (Z240) 2 $1,598.00
Inon Optical D Cable L Type (17 in) With Rubber Fixing Bushing 2 $182.00
Ultralight Inon Strobe Adapter 2 $49.90
Ultralight New Style Clamp (15 degrees side movement) 4 $119.80
Ultralight 5" Double Ball Arm 2 $95.90
Nauticam M10 strobe mounting ball (Current) for housing 1 $30.00
Ultralight Large Longer Clamp for use with Focus Lights 1 $34.95

Total: $7,140.54

Edited by MyLensandMore, 07 January 2013 - 08:24 PM.

#11 guyharrisonphoto


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

I went through this exact process two months ago and can give you the benefit of my experience on how to meet your budget, experience now shaped by several thousand shots. I am loving my system! Here is what you can do.

First, the 12-50 lens in the dedicated port has excellent "true macro" capability. You can fill the frame with an SD card, literally. In 35mm terms it is 1:1 (filling the frame with a 24x36mm object). So, for now, you do not need the flip adapter or any diopters. I had ordered the exact same set-up with the flip adapter and subsee. After shooting the system, I cancelled both of those. Similarly, you do not need to get the 60mm right now. The better macro performance from that lens just does not add the extra dimension that justifies the money. Because of the versatility on all subjects, I use the 12-50 for many, many macro shots and I use the 60mm a much smaller percentage of the time. If you become an ultra-macro addict, you can add the 60mm or adapter/diopter later on, you do not need both.

So, you save $925 right there (60mm, flip adapter, diopter).

Next, look at the strobes. There is an e-bay seller from Hong Kong that sells the S&S YS-D1 strobes for around 600 including shipping. My experience with him was fantastic. These are truly great strobes and come with all mounts included. They are all the updated version and mine has worked flawlessly for about 1500 shots now. I was urged by several friends to go with the Inons, but I am actually glad I went with the S&S instead because they are very versatile and give great control over lighting ratios, and work perfectly with the OM-D optical sync. Saving well over 400 has paid for about 10 dive trips as well!

So, you save $450 over the Inons and ball adapters.

You have now saved $1375, and your system is costing $5,765 and will do everything you want to start with. Congratulations!!!

For your next step, adding a wide angle set-up (8mm and dome, or 9-18mm zoom and dome) would be much more advisable than adding the 60mm/ flip adapter/ diopter, because it opens a whole new dimension for shooting, as opposed to merely refining your already-good macro capability. The wide set-up would cost about the same as what you have saved, just so you know.

#12 MyLensandMore



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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

Great feedback Guy,

As you have said, I am sure the Z240s are top notch, but even the D2000 3 is a less expensive option. It sounds like you have had great success with the YS-D1s, which is what I orignially was looking at. I did notice these on ebay as well, but wasn't sure about the quality or compatibility. You mentioned the strobes came with the mounts, so I still need to buy the ultralight arms.

It is funny you mention the 8mm because I was actually buying this camera for an upcoming Socorros trip, which is all larger subjects. Even though my passion is macro, I will be buying the starter options for this trip. Therefore, it looks like I will be getting the 12-50 and the 8mm with applicable ports. What port do you have for your 8mm?

Thanks again for your input. It was very helpful.


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