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What's your Olympus rig, and why?

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#1 KenV


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Posted 25 January 2019 - 02:53 PM

Hi All!


I'm moving up from a Nikon 1 J3 / WP-N2 setup to a Good camera (hint: noise and "expandability").  Instead of a new APS-C or my own D750, I decided to choose the Olympus EM-1 MkII.  Tough decision process, but finally listened to my real needs (fairly portable by airline standards and my own wishes going to and working on a boat).


I'm trying to now choose both the housing and port sets.  I have read a fair amount about the Nauticam, Olympus, Subal, and Aquatica setups, and the "Olympus E-M1 with Olympus or Nauticam Housing?" thread helped.  There was little on Aquatica or Subal or ...


I have the 60 mm macro and 12-40 mm lenses and will expand.  I enjoy both WA and macro.  The macro side is pretty self-evident port-wise.  The WA is less obvious.  I have thought about getting the Oly 7-14 mm for this.


So I'm wondering what people's thoughts are about which they use, as well as what lenses/ports they have.  Any alternative domes out there, lighter but good, etc.


Many thanks for your thoughts!




#2 troporobo


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Posted 25 January 2019 - 03:40 PM

I have the EM-1mk II in a Nauticam housing. I shoot macro with the 60mm lens probably 80% of the time.

When I do shoot WA, I use the Panasonic 7-14 behind the Nauticam 150mm dome. I cant recommend it. It is certainly wide enough and sharp in the center but corner sharpness is quite poor.

#3 Wapiti


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Posted 25 January 2019 - 09:16 PM

I've got the M1 mk1 in an Oly housing, but the following info is the same for the mkII.  I use an Inon 170mm dome which works well with the 12-40, Oly 7-14, Panasonic 8-18, and the Oly 8mm fisheye.  The 3 zooms require a 2" extension, which you would remove for the fisheye.  I'm happy with the results, and I ended up selling the Oly 7-14 in favor of the P8-18.  It's better in the dome, and much more useful topside because of the ability to use filters.  In a pinch, the 60mm macro will work in the dome if you really want to travel light.  In my case, I bought the Oly macro port and I now tend to use the 30mm macro over the 60mm because of the FOV and the fact that it's a little easier to use in surge.

#4 hyp


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Posted 26 January 2019 - 01:14 AM

I own the EM5 (mk1) in a nauticam housing. I own the 12-50 port with the special zoom gear that lets you activate the macro switch and that is very nice, but I would never buy it new. On the wide side I own the Panasonic-Leica 8-18 with the 7" dome port. Just like Troporobo I can not really recommend that setup as corner sharpness is not ideal. I bought the complete setup (apart from lenses) used, but if I was buying new I would be looking at a wetlens setup for wideangle. With the WWL-1 on a lens like the 14-42 you gain more wideangle with sharper corners and the only thing you lose is the ability to do splits. I hear it is possible, but very difficult. Personally I would always take corner sharpness over splits, as it affects many more of your shots.


You could even go for the 30mm macro with the Macro to Wideangle converter, but there is not that much information on it out there yet. In any case, I think that unless you are willing to carry around a huge dome (230mm+) corner sharpness will always be poor on mu43 rectilinear wide angles.

#5 Architeuthis


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Posted 26 January 2019 - 04:06 AM

Hi Ken,


My wife and me have EM5II and EM1II in Nauticam housing. We share the lenses and ports.


Reason for Nauticam:


Nauticam is very good and, more important for us, it is very common and abundant ("Volkswagen" of UW photographers). I hope that we will be able to upgrade several times when new sensor generations with better dynamic range, S/N ratio and resolution may come in the future (but we certainly will not acquire every new camera model, only in case of substantial sensor improvements, maybe every second generation or so)...


On the short term a cheap plastic housing or the original Olympus housings are cheaper, but when you change the camera body the old ports and extensions may not fit also (the port system between the Oly housings for EM1II and EM5II is, for example, not compatible). In addition the vacuum system, that many cheap housings do'nt have, is a good insurance against flooding. At last, in case you want to have a interchangeable lens system with all options, you will find out that the camera body plus housing is the smaller amount of money you have to spend, the major part goes for lenses, ports etc. (except you save on the optics, but then why not go for compact, this is best for transportation?)...

The only problem I see is that sooner or later Nauticam may remain the only company on the market and have the monopole, if everybody buys Nauticam ...

Of course other products are also very good, but for us this abundancy was the argument.



Ports and lenses:


#1.: Macro: we have Panasonic 45mm and Zuiko 60mm Macro, the Nauticam 45 macroport plus 20mm Mini-Extension (for the 60mm). CMC-1 with Nauticam flip diopter, that we have new since Cristmas - it will be tested in Egypt in February only :) .


#2.: Rectilinear WA: Panasonic 7-14mm, Zuiko 9-18mm and Zen DP170-N120. As some others say, it is not the optimal solution. Not because the lenses are rate limiting for optical quality, but because of the corner sharpness. I personally find also the pincushion distortion at 7mm ugly in many cases. If we would decide now we only would have the Panasonic 7-14mm for overwater use, but only #3 for all WA UW and completely omit rectilinear WA (except #4, starting at 12mm rectilinear WA, of course).

In other threads here the WA solutions are discussed and many prefer the WWL1 wetlens that provides similar performance as #3 below (but not the very wide angles as circular or 180o fisheye)


#3.: Fisheye WA: Zuiko 8mm, Canon 8-15mm and Tokina 10-17mm (the latter two with Metabones 1x (seldom 0.71x )adapters and, occasionally the Kenko 1.4x teleconverter). For circular fisheye we have the Sigma 4.5mm circular fisheye with 1x adapter. We use the lenses with the Zen DP170 and the Nauticam 140mm domeports and appropriate extensions/N85-N120 adapters (both domeports have N120 w/o built in extension, so we are flexible). The results are very good and with the Kenko teleconverter all the angles, from circular fisheye to as small as 60o (Canon + 1.4x; same diagonal angle of view as rectilinear 19mm) and 50o (Tokina + 1.4x; 23mm) are covered. The image quality is excellent/very good except the combination Tokina plus 1.4x teleconverter that is noticeable softer as the others (Tokina w/o teleconverter, with 0.71x adapter, even with 1x, is also fine).


#4.: normal range: Zuiko 12-40mm with Zen DP-170. This combination provides excellent image quality but is, of course, not so universal as the Zuiko 12-50mm behind a flat port, where you can mount WA and closeup lenses during the dive and cover the whole range. But nothing is for free, I personally would not like to make 12mm WA photos behind a flat port (my wife was using the Zuiko 9-18mm behind flat port in original Oly housing before - the image quality was a lot inferior even than #3)...


#5.: A note on flashes: we have three Sea & Sea YS-D2 (my wife one since 3 years, the two others since two years), but already two defects: one burned out (never was used over water!) and one with electronics (not possible to switch it on). Both under warranty, but it takes monthes until you get them back. I do not recommend to go for YS-D2...



Edited by Architeuthis, 26 January 2019 - 07:21 AM.

#6 KenV


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Posted 26 January 2019 - 01:03 PM

Thanks for all the comments thus far!  Seems the the VW ... er, Nauticam  ( :) ) still is popular, though Aquatica and Subal ($$$) (others may be even less common?) also pique my interest.  Don't know who may be out there with experience with those. 


No mention of acrylic domes yet either. 


Is it true that the 12-40 mm lens does not work with the WWL-1??  Also, I used an Inon UWL-100 + dome wet lens with my original Nikon setup, and am curious whether anyone had tried that with the Olympus in these setups? 

#7 ChrisRoss


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Posted 26 January 2019 - 03:52 PM

I've got a Nauticam EM-1 MkII setup, the dome is the Zen 170mm used with the 12-40 and the 60mm macro as well in it's own macro port.  I also branched out and bought the Pany 8mm fisheye in the Zen 100mm dome.  The Zen 170mm dome can be used with the 12-40 either of the 7-14 lenses, but the variety to get varies with lens choice.  You can't use the 12-40 or Oly 7-14 in the type 1 dome with extensions.  The Type 2 will do the 12-40 and Pany 7-14.  The N120 dome is needed for the Oly 7-14 and can be used with all the other lenses with appropriate N85-N120 extensions including the Oly 8mm fisheye if you buy a 30mm N85-N120 extension from a third party.  Though the 8mm in that dome will work, it's probably not optimum for CFWA..  What to choose probably depends a bot on the type of shooting you do. 


Another option would be a Panasonic 30mm macro with the new MWL-1 wet lens which turns the 30mm macro into a 150° field of view.  You could get the Macro port 45 for the 30mm macro and adding a 20mm extension would allow you to use the 60mm macro without buying a separate port.  I would suggest comparing overall costs for each option.  I quite like the Pany 30mm macro as it focuses very well and is enough for larger macro subjects, but only really usable up to half life size UW as you need to get so close.  It's particularly good on local dives where there is a mix of Medium size nudis and fish along with bigger subjects like Giant cuttlefish and weedy sea dragons and if I can ever find them red indian fish.  The 60mm lens is too long for subjects like those.


I'm using INON Z-240 and they have been excellent.  With the fisheye port and the macro port for the 30/60mm macro lenses I use INON Mega float arm "S" with 390g  buoyancy, and 200mm Nauticam plain arms as well as 2x long clamps and a single standard clamp each side.     The long clamps allow the arms to fold in close.  That is a little too much buoyancy for the 170mm dome though.


The WWL- lens needs a flat port to attach to and the 12-40 won't fit in any of the Nauticam flat ports plus the WWL has a restriction on lens diameter which would rule it out and is normally used with the 14-42 lenses.  Also remember the wet lenses like the MWL and WWL are quite heavy and may present balance problems with your rig.   Because they are so big and heavy taking them off to get the longer focal lengths means you need a good solution of somewhere to put them and installing them on the arms may unbalance your rig.


This is the compatability table for the INON lens you mention:  http://www.inon.jp/p...patibility.html


It mentions compatibility only for a specific 14-42 lens on the EPL-7 Oly housing.  I suspect it needs a specific lens and port to work to get spacings correct.


Here's my rig packed in a thnk tank street walker hard drive:



Bottom row Nauitcam housing and tray  and spare batteries in plastic clip cases

middle row: macro port 2x INON Z-240, Zen dome 170mm type II

Top row Zen 100mm fisheye dome, Pany 8mm, Oly 60mm, Oly 12-40, Pany 7-14,


The Nauticam housing is really well thought out and the integrated vacuum system gives great peace of mind.