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mirrorless vs cropped sensor Canon 7D Mkii Olympus EM Mkii

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#1 sskyrm

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 11:54 AM

Looking for recommendations. I have been shooting with a Canon T1i for years and am looking to upgrade my system. I own a Canon EOS 7D Mark ii plus some Canon lenses, and am thinking about getting a housing for it. However, it is heavy and 4 years old, and I have also been looking at mirrorless systems, especially the Olympus E-M1 Mark ii.  Weight is an issue, since I travel a lot, but so is budget and the idea of having to invest in a completely new system with the Oylmpus is a bit scary. At least with the Canon I already own the body and the lenses! Any feedback would be really helpful. I especially like to do macro photography underwater and wildlife photography topside, if that has any bearing on the discussion.  Thanks!!!



#2 casts_by_fly

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:02 PM

Have you priced out dslr housings and ports vs mirrorless ones? Last I checked, the price difference would account for you already owning the camera. I did it looking at my d90 a couple years ago and ended up going to olympus mirrorless. If you are only talking em1 mk2 then maybe not, but worth pricing out a full setup before you decide.

Rick

#3 ChrisRoss

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 04:14 PM

I have a Canon system and to house a Canon DSLR the price was the same to buy a nauitcam housing for the Canon or a Nauticam housing plus the camera body for Olympus.  The other factor is do you have the lenses you need for UW in the Canon system?  The mirrorless lenses are mostly very reasonably priced.  For a comparison I filled shopping cart at bluewater photo, A Nauticam housing plus body plus 60mm macro lens and port was $4299.  A 7DII housing plus macro port for the 60mm Canon macro is $3800.   

 

On the subject of travel the dome ports required for mirrorless system are generally smaller than those required for DSLR.  In general the mirrorless systems are quite travel friendly.  Here's my EM-1 II system packed into a Think Tank Streetwalker hard drive pack:

 

 

In this pack is the housing with body inside, the  ZEN 170mm type II dome, ZEN 100mm fisheye dome, Macro port 65. 2 x INON Z-240,  Oly 60mm macro, 12-40, Pany 8mm fisheye and 7-14mm lens.  Plus spare batteries and other bits and pieces, laptop fits in a sleeve underneath everything.  If you trimmed down to macro and maybe the fisheye there's room for  a longer lens for wildlife. 



#4 Vondo

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 10:48 AM

Same as what others are saying. I am in your boat. I shoot a Canon system on land but Olympus underwater. The bulk of the SLR housing, ports, and lenses is just not for me. Then figuring in that the best lens choices for underwater and general purpose land use don't overlap so much, it's kind of like having two completely different systems anyhow.



#5 sskyrm

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 04:46 PM

Have you priced out dslr housings and ports vs mirrorless ones? Last I checked, the price difference would account for you already owning the camera. I did it looking at my d90 a couple years ago and ended up going to olympus mirrorless. If you are only talking em1 mk2 then maybe not, but worth pricing out a full setup before you decide.

Rick

Thanks, Rick. I have done a little comparison shopping, but probably should do more.



#6 sskyrm

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 04:51 PM

I have a Canon system and to house a Canon DSLR the price was the same to buy a nauitcam housing for the Canon or a Nauticam housing plus the camera body for Olympus.  The other factor is do you have the lenses you need for UW in the Canon system?  The mirrorless lenses are mostly very reasonably priced.  For a comparison I filled shopping cart at bluewater photo, A Nauticam housing plus body plus 60mm macro lens and port was $4299.  A 7DII housing plus macro port for the 60mm Canon macro is $3800.   

 

On the subject of travel the dome ports required for mirrorless system are generally smaller than those required for DSLR.  In general the mirrorless systems are quite travel friendly.  Here's my EM-1 II system packed into a Think Tank Streetwalker hard drive pack:

 

 

In this pack is the housing with body inside, the  ZEN 170mm type II dome, ZEN 100mm fisheye dome, Macro port 65. 2 x INON Z-240,  Oly 60mm macro, 12-40, Pany 8mm fisheye and 7-14mm lens.  Plus spare batteries and other bits and pieces, laptop fits in a sleeve underneath everything.  If you trimmed down to macro and maybe the fisheye there's room for  a longer lens for wildlife. 

Thanks, Chris, and thanks for posting the picture. This may sway my decision quite a bit, since traveling with all the DSLR gear, lenses, housing, etc gets very heavy. I do have underwater lenses for the Canon, but am surprised with how reasonable the mirrorless lenses are. Your comments are very helpful.


Same as what others are saying. I am in your boat. I shoot a Canon system on land but Olympus underwater. The bulk of the SLR housing, ports, and lenses is just not for me. Then figuring in that the best lens choices for underwater and general purpose land use don't overlap so much, it's kind of like having two completely different systems anyhow.

Yes, maybe that is the way to go. Thanks for your input!



#7 ChrisRoss

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 08:06 PM

If you wanted a wildlife lens as well the Oly 75-300 or better if its in budget the Pany 100-400 are quite compact and would fit on the top row readily.    You could also get the camera out of the housing for travel.  and without the extra domes the weight would be reasonable.  That pack will fit under the seat in front even in commuter jets for short hops.  I fitted it into the overhead on a Garuda CRJ1000 on a recent trip.

 

Good luck with your decision making - the EM-1 MkII really does have quite good AF and I use C-AF plus tracking with macro UW regularly.


Edited by ChrisRoss, 14 January 2019 - 08:07 PM.


#8 vkalia

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 09:53 PM

I recently switched to Olympus, after flooding my old Canon housing last year.   Just got back from a week in Raja Ampat with the new rig and here are my thoughts on the switch:

 

The small size is an absolute winner.    And it is a lot easier to manoeuvre the 4/3rd housing in a current.

 

However, I dont like the LCD.   With an optical view finder (I had the 45 degree Inon finder on my Aquatica housing for the Canon), I could see the scene and make my own decisions on exposure.   The LCD of the Olympus doesnt present a realistic view of what i am shooting, and is affected by its own dyanmic range limitations and that throws me off.      Also, the battery life of the 4/3s system is quite poor - I am not a high volume shooter and was able to get 3 dives in fairly easily, but with the Canon, i could go several days before needing to change the batteries.   Lastly, trying to judge macro focus on the LCD screen doesnt work so well for me, compared to the optical finder.

 

Honestly, if size/weight/cost were not an issue, I'd still prefer to shoot with a DSLR.   But in the real world, the practical advantages of the M43 make it worthwhile for me.

 

(Caveat:  i am comparing a system that i have used on land for nearly 20 years, and underwater for 12, with a system that i have taken <1000 photos with.   So maybe after i traverse the learning curve, my opinion of the M43 may improve).


DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Instagram:  @vanditkalia

7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter


#9 DS256

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 04:52 AM

I shoot DSLR on land and mirrorless U/W. Definitely like the smaller size and weight for mirrorless but find the LCD for composition a pain. Also, I have a full prescription lens mask which makes taking pictures U/W a bit more challenging. I've never tried a different type of viewer, like the optical vk talks about above so not sure how well it would work with my prescription lens.

 

One decision I made a couple of years ago was not to buy new but wait until a vendor, like Olympus, sells off older lines. You can save a fortune. 


Edited by DS256, 15 January 2019 - 04:54 AM.


#10 sskyrm

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 06:26 PM

If you wanted a wildlife lens as well the Oly 75-300 or better if its in budget the Pany 100-400 are quite compact and would fit on the top row readily.    You could also get the camera out of the housing for travel.  and without the extra domes the weight would be reasonable.  That pack will fit under the seat in front even in commuter jets for short hops.  I fitted it into the overhead on a Garuda CRJ1000 on a recent trip.

 

Good luck with your decision making - the EM-1 MkII really does have quite good AF and I use C-AF plus tracking with macro UW regularly.

Thanks, Chris, this is good to know. Yes, travel would be a lot easier, as you describe. Do you have any thoughts on composing with the LCD screen? I noticed several people answered this thread and said that it was hard to see what you are really shooting. I don't have great eyesight and wear a prescription mask. Wondering how that would work with the Oly underwater?


I shoot DSLR on land and mirrorless U/W. Definitely like the smaller size and weight for mirrorless but find the LCD for composition a pain. Also, I have a full prescription lens mask which makes taking pictures U/W a bit more challenging. I've never tried a different type of viewer, like the optical vk talks about above so not sure how well it would work with my prescription lens.

 

One decision I made a couple of years ago was not to buy new but wait until a vendor, like Olympus, sells off older lines. You can save a fortune. 

Good point about the LCD and prescription mask. I wear one of those, too, and wonder how easy it would be to see the LCD screen. It sure isn't easy to see through the viewfinder of the DSLR housing sometimes!



#11 sskyrm

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 06:28 PM

I recently switched to Olympus, after flooding my old Canon housing last year.   Just got back from a week in Raja Ampat with the new rig and here are my thoughts on the switch:

 

The small size is an absolute winner.    And it is a lot easier to manoeuvre the 4/3rd housing in a current.

 

However, I dont like the LCD.   With an optical view finder (I had the 45 degree Inon finder on my Aquatica housing for the Canon), I could see the scene and make my own decisions on exposure.   The LCD of the Olympus doesnt present a realistic view of what i am shooting, and is affected by its own dyanmic range limitations and that throws me off.      Also, the battery life of the 4/3s system is quite poor - I am not a high volume shooter and was able to get 3 dives in fairly easily, but with the Canon, i could go several days before needing to change the batteries.   Lastly, trying to judge macro focus on the LCD screen doesnt work so well for me, compared to the optical finder.

 

Honestly, if size/weight/cost were not an issue, I'd still prefer to shoot with a DSLR.   But in the real world, the practical advantages of the M43 make it worthwhile for me.

 

(Caveat:  i am comparing a system that i have used on land for nearly 20 years, and underwater for 12, with a system that i have taken <1000 photos with.   So maybe after i traverse the learning curve, my opinion of the M43 may improve).

All good points, thanks for your input. I'm wondering how the LCD would be for someone who uses a prescription mask, and if the Inon finder would work on the Oly.



#12 vkalia

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:43 PM

All good points, thanks for your input. I'm wondering how the LCD would be for someone who uses a prescription mask, and if the Inon finder would work on the Oly.

 

Inon does have a finder that woks off the EVF.     Havent used it yet.

 

As for the LCD - hmm, good question.  If your prescription mask lets you see clearly within reading distance, i dont imagine it will be an issue.    


DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Instagram:  @vanditkalia

7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter


#13 sskyrm

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 01:38 PM

 

Inon does have a finder that woks off the EVF.     Havent used it yet.

 

As for the LCD - hmm, good question.  If your prescription mask lets you see clearly within reading distance, i dont imagine it will be an issue.    

Thanks again!



#14 ChrisRoss

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:50 PM

A couple of points from above responses:

 

vkalia mentions poor battery life.  Which Olympus model?  The EM-1 MkII has significantly better battery life and the battery charges in half the time.  I can do 3 dives on it with a little spare.

 

Regarding the LCD screen - assume you mean the EVF.  It's not ideal but works OK.  The EM1 MkII came out with a firmware upgrade which significantly improved the EVF image.  Don't forget you have dioptric adjustment available on the EVF so you can dial it in to match your prescription.  If you buy an accessory viewfinder  they usually have dioptric adjustment that works UW.  What will give you a problem potentially is close up lenses in the bottom of your mask which may get in the way of a comfortable view through the viewfinder.  Don't forget it's the housing you need to match your accessory viewfinder to.  Nauticam make one as does INON which is cheaper but looking around I could not see an adapter to use it on a Nauticam housing. 

 

The issue with mirrorless cameras is that if you have the EVF set to show an approximation of exposure it's too dark if you are using strobes as it can't anticipate how the strobes will impact so normally you turn on a boost function so the EVF is brighter so you can see what you are doing.  It will then flash the image just taken for a default 1/2 second (adjustable in menu) of the image as taken.   

 

Using the rear LCD is an option but will chew more battery power than the EVF. 



#15 vkalia

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 05:58 PM

Chris, I have the EM-10Mk3.      Poor battery life compared to a DSLR.

 

Funnily, i was told by the dealer I got my gear from (who is a VERY experienced u/w guy) that the Oly EVF chews up more battery than the LCD.


DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Instagram:  @vanditkalia

7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter


#16 ChrisRoss

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 06:16 PM

Doesn't make sense to me it's smaller screen and does not need to be as bright as the LED screen.  I had the EM-5 MkII before and the EM-1 - II is definitely a lot better on battery life.  The other thing the firmware upgrade on the EM-1 II did was improve battery life.  First couple of dives it ran out very quickly then doing the firmware upgrade  I was coming back with 70% charge after 2 dives.  The other trick is turn your on camera flash down to 1/64 power if you are shooting manual.



#17 trimix125

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 12:31 PM

Hi,
Sony says as well that the view finder on the a6... models need more battery than the screen.
Maybe a problem of more intern software work?
Was wondering as well.

Loved the Oly OMD 5e view finder.
 

Regards,
Wolfgang



#18 dreifish

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 11:38 PM

All of this (GH5 in nauticam housing, WWL-1; macro diopeter, Weefine 3000 Lumen ring light; 2xGates GT14 lights and 2x YS-D2 strobes plus arms and floats to keep it all neutral, battery chargers, etc)

 

WechatIMG159.jpeg

 

Fits in a rolling carry-on bag once fully disassembled:

 

WechatIMG170.jpeg

 

 

My advice is to avoid any system that requires a large dome port if you value portability. The m4/3 systems are a great option for underwater use for everyone but the most demanding pros. 


Edited by dreifish, 17 January 2019 - 11:38 PM.






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