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Looking to upgrade Oly 14-42 II kit lens used with EM5/Nauticam


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#1 Byte Me

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 11:33 AM

Hello,

 

Looking for options in a medium zoom lens upgrade from the Oly 14-42 II.  I shoot EM5 in a nauticam housing / ports, dual Z-240's, big blue focus/video lights, ULCS arms.  I travel with all of this in a backpack as a carry on and it all fits great which I'd prefer not change, but if I had to could build out a carry on roller into a camera carry on so all would fit.

 

My lens collection for UW at the moment is:

 

Panny 60mm macro (w/ 36163 port)

Panny 8mm fisheye (w/ 36132 dome port)

Oly 14-42 II (using the Panny 60mm port so I don't have to travel with 3 ports)

 

Just got back from 2 weeks in Philippines where the 14-42 was mainly used and I'm just not super excited about the sharpness and quality of it.  Here are things I'm considering, open to others as well!

 

12-50 Oly - From what I understand this lens isn't that much better than the 14-42 and cost of switching isn't worth it.  Yes, it does give some benefit of going a bit wider and option to do macro as well but the cost for the port to do so doesn't appear to be worth the results

 

12-40 Oly Pro - Great top side lens, haven't heard much about performance underwater.  On the pro side of it should be excellent picture quality.  On the minus side would need another port and have to carry three now (separate ports for 60mm, 8mm and now the 12-40mm) which is going to impact the ability to fit everything in the backpack.

 

WWL-1:  Have heard this wet lens in front of the 14-42 provides some great results.  On the minus side, this is quite expensive and only underwater use, would still need to carry not only this lens but also an addl port (which I have) adding the proper 14-42 port along with the 8mm dome and 60mm macro.  Everything may not fit.

 

What other options are out there to improve this focal range which I haven't considered or are one of the above my best bet?

 

Thanks for the input!



#2 Draq

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 12:14 PM

It depends on your priorities.  The 12-40 is excellent and one of my favorite underwater lenses for reef scenes, fish portraits and semi-macro (close focus, good magnification, but not really a macro lens), but it is sort of an "in-between" lens, lacking the angle of either the 7-14 or 8-18 lenses or the macro abilities of the 60.  But, since you already have the 8mm and the 60, I think it would be a good choice, if you are willing to deal with the 170 or 180 dome.  I hear great things about the WWL and am going to try that out in a few weeks.  The advantage being that with the 14-42 it is supposedly a do-everything lens, except for macro, but you can pull it off the port and use a CMC to get macro, so if the claims are true, it can be a one-lens, one port solution.  It also is supposed to overcome the limitations of an ultrawide (weitwinkel) rectilinear lens underwater.  From what I have been told, if you want to do the WWL, you would want to consider either the 14-42 EZ or the Panasonic 14-42 over the Oly lens, due to port sizes and amount of extension when zooming.

 

I have the 12-50 and it is okay, but I have never been overly impressed with it.  12mm in a flat port just isn't wide enough.  I view it as a macro lens that can be zoomed out to get some portraits and reef scenes if necessary.  I suppose it would not be bad as a general purpose lens in a much smaller port than a dome.  I would rate the 12-40 as a better choice unless macro is really important or you need something more compact than a 170 or 180 dome.

 

Generally, there is some variability in lens quality.  It could be that your particular 14-42 is not as good as it should be.  It might be worth doing some testing on land to get an idea.  But, in general kit lenses are designed to meet a price point more than other lenses and are often not stellar.

 

I hope this helps some. 



#3 troporobo

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 02:27 PM

I used the Oly 12-50 lens with the Nauticam port and gear for several years and was generally happy with the combination.  It's true that it is not the sharpest (and the 12-40 PRO lens is much better) but it is very versatile, and easily surpasses the 14-42 lens which I had previously.  If you want to see some samples I have collected a few here:

 

https://www.flickr.c...157682089583183

 

I now travel with just two lenses and ports for UW, the 60 macro and the 7-14 zoom, and find this covers everything I want to do.   



#4 Wapiti

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 07:53 PM

The 12-40 is significantly better than the 14-42 or 12-50 in every way except weight- to quote Ferris Bueller, I highly recommend picking one up if you have the means.  If you're worried about extra ports, you can make do with a flat port for both the 12-40 and the 60mm macro.  In my case, I go with the old Olympus PPO-E02 flat port with a swing away wet diopter holder for night or low viz dives; ou can get an adapter from Nauticam for the old Olympus ports to use this if you went that route.  That said, the 12-40 really shines behind a dome, giving you the ability to capture kinda wide angle stuff.  If you really, really wanted to travel with just one port, the 60mm will also focus behind a dome, but you would obviously lose more magnification.


Edited by Wapiti, 22 February 2018 - 07:54 PM.


#5 nudibranco

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 09:09 PM

The 12-40 is significantly better than the 14-42 or 12-50 in every way except weight- to quote Ferris Bueller, I highly recommend picking one up if you have the means.  If you're worried about extra ports, you can make do with a flat port for both the 12-40 and the 60mm macro.  In my case, I go with the old Olympus PPO-E02 flat port with a swing away wet diopter holder for night or low viz dives; ou can get an adapter from Nauticam for the old Olympus ports to use this if you went that route.  That said, the 12-40 really shines behind a dome, giving you the ability to capture kinda wide angle stuff.  If you really, really wanted to travel with just one port, the 60mm will also focus behind a dome, but you would obviously lose more magnification.

Wapiti,

 

I am not sure how you can use the 12-40mm behind a flat port.  At 12mm the lens would be way back and would badly vignette.

 

Also the 60mm works just fine behind a dome and it does not lose magnification.   You just need to move in a little closer to you subject.

 

I agree the standard zooms do not have the quality they should.   Both the 12-40mm and the 12-60mm are much better quality lenses!



#6 Wapiti

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 10:07 PM

The Olympus port charts for both the the E-M1 and M1 mkII show the PPO-E02 flat port for use with the 12-40; image quality is ok at 12mm, and it doesn't vignette (I promise).  For conditions with better visibility, I use an Inon 170mm dome intended for the old 4/3 system, and I love it.  The dome works great with the Oly 12-40, Oly 7-14, and Panasonic 8-18 lenses (with 2" of extension) and the Oly 8mm fisheye (with no extension).  The 60mm works fine, but in practice you do lose some magnification because you can't get close enough to your subject without hitting it with the dome.  I use the Olympus housing, but both ports can be adapted to Nauticam.



#7 ChrisRoss

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 03:11 PM

The 12-40 is great behind the Zen dome port, I find it works well for fish and reef scenes and at 40mm you can get in real close to use the 0.3x magnification and the lens is very sharp.   While you may find a way to cram it behind a flat port you are then throwing away a lot of the quality available at the wide end.

 

You can use the Olympus 8mm with the Zen dome, it requires the N85 type 1 dome, but that dome does not fit the 12-40.  One possible solution is to use the Zen N120 dome with the recommended 60mm N85-N120 adapter and a custom made 30mm N85-N120 adapter.  Unfortunately it requires upgrading your Pany fisheyes to do that, but keeps you to a single port for those 2 lenses.  see unterwasserkamera.at for the adapter.



#8 Wapiti

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 07:17 PM

The only advantage to the flat port is the ability to use a wet macro lens.  I use the dome for most dives; the flat port is for low viz situations where I don't want to use the 60mm.  Most of the time I go with the Inon 170mm dome.  It requires a 2" extension for use with the 12-40, Oly 7-14, and PL8-18.  Remove the extension, and the Oly 8mm works great.  It too can be adapted for use with Nauticam housings and it's also pretty cheap, as far as glass domes go:

 

http://www.divervisi...6212143338.html



#9 Byte Me

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 08:41 AM

Thanks for the input.  I ended up picking up 12-40mm pro lens and found a zen DP170 II port.  Haven't gotten it wet yet but above water the 12-40 is really great!  Will try and remember to post back after next underwater trip!