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Member Since 05 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Feb 19 2013 03:02 PM

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Thoughts on Sony Nex 5n & Recsea Housing

15 March 2012 - 12:36 AM

Thought I'd post a review of the Sony Nex-5n Recsea housing now that I've had it for a month or so, and gotten to dive with it several times. I've been getting a few PMs here and on another board about the set up, so I tried to cover off on any of the questions:

First Impressions:
I upgraded from my beloved Canon s90 to the Sony Nex 5n in the Recsea housing, dome port, 18-55mm port, 16mm port, and 67mm snap on wet lens adapter for the 18-55mm port. I was able to first see the housing in person and bought it up from Bluewater Photo near where I live in LA. For the camera system itself, I have the Nex 5n body with 18-55mm kit lens, 16mm WA pancake lens, and the fisheye WA adapter for the 16mm.

The biggest overall benefit I've found thus far is that I am seeing significantly better picture quality, while my actual set up is virtually identical in size. It was important to me to keep the size compact since I do try do several dive trips a year and always bring my full camera set up. For reference, my original set up is the Canon s90 in FIX housing, BTS tray, ULCS arms/clamps, 2x Inon z240 strobes, sola 600 light.

LEFT: Canon s90 FIX Housing with UWL-04 lens
RIGHT: Sony Nex 5n Recsea Housing with dome port
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Build Quality:
The housing just feels rock solid in terms of construction. I have never been a fan of the polycarbonate type housings (I had a few in the past for other cameras and I always ended up replacing them); I do believe you get what you pay for and I prefer the feel and security of the aluminum housing. Nice big fat o-rings securely seal the back cover and the interchangeable ports.

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All controls were clearly marked and the housing has full access to the Nex 5n control wheel and buttons, flash on/off & zoom. Using the camera IN the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is OUT of the housing. Controls were still easy to manipulate as I wanted to change shutter speed, aperture, iso, and focus points on the fly, even with 3 to 5mm gloves on. There was a lot more spacing between buttons etc which was nice to see vs. my s90 which has a rather cramped layout.

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Expansion Flexibility:
I fully admit that the need to switch ports struck some fear and anxiety into my heart as someone use to sealing up my compact camera at home during prep, and then not touching it again until I either 1) needed to changed the battery or 2) I was safely back home again post diving. And lens changes? I used to gleefully swap back and forth with using the Dyron quick adapters on my s90 so I could go from UWA to stacked macro wet lenses in seconds.

I am greatly relieved to say the Recsea alleviated my fears by being very user friendly, but very secure. Port changes were simple with a release button on the front of the housing and then you twist the port off. The ports feel very secure when attached, and I have not experienced any leaks nor seen any vignetting with any of the 3 ports.

For lens changes I did of course have to give up the full flexibility of both WA and macro wet lenses, but that has more to do with changing from compact to a mirrorless compact system. The housing does allow to also easily change lenses at the same time you are changing the port (without removing the entire camera from the housing via the back door). There's a button on the bottom left of of the port opening that allows you to push the camera lens release button so you can simply remove and swap lenses when you are changing ports.

Compatibility with existing parts:
Because the housing is so compact, I easily mounted it to my existing same tray and arm set. There is a strobe mask that mounts on the exterior of the housing and blocks the internal flash. It has two pre-drilled holes that securely hold your strobe fiber optic cables. The top of the housing also has a 1/4" hole where you could add another mounting adapter of your choice or accessory.

I also picked up the snap on adapter that fits onto the 18-55mm port and allows you to mount m67 type lenses & accessories. I am using it to hold my athena ring flash, or single or double stacked macro wet lenses that I carried over from my s90 set up. It's very convenient to be able to bring the wet lenses along and just pop them on/off depending on your subject.

Sample Photos
Note: I almost always shoot with manual camera settings and strobes, so any issues with exposure are mine. :drink:

Wide Angle - just absolutely wonderful. The Nex-5n + 16mm pancake and Fisheye adapter inside the dome port offers such an incredibly wide angle of view. I believe it's pretty much a 180, and I can definitely see the difference vs. the UWA on the Canon s90 with reached approximately 150 degrees. I'm having to adjust my 'go to' positions for my strobes with the extra view. ;)

16mm + fisheye in dome port - ambient light
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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Macro - I haven't done as much macro shooting vs WA thus far with it, but my initial thoughts are the combo of the 18mm-55mm + 2x macro wet lenses are fine for the majority the shooting I do (I don't do super macro ...don't know how the heck those guys and gals spot those tiny things!) I am however hoping Sony or a 3rd party comes out with longer focal length macro lens later this year.

18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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Mid - the 18-55 mm lens is pretty useful as well. You do need to use a zoom gear on this lens, but I simply leave it on the lens at all times so I don't lose it, even if I am shooting topside with it.

18-55MM - strobes
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Video - I tend to prefer stills, but I know many of you have questions on this so I shot some video on a recent wreck dive. Will update this review later once I actually get around to editing it...

Overall, I am really enjoying shooting with the Sony Nex 5n and Recsea housing system. For me it just feels like a great combination of capability, flexibility to grow, quality and price point.

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

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!

For Sale: New 10bar Olympus E-PL1 Housing

15 January 2012 - 10:43 PM

New 10bar Housing for Olympus E-PL1 - $625

-E-PL1 Aluminum Housing
-Semi-dome port
-All accessories shown:
-2 spare O-rings (along with the installed o-rings)
-manual focus and zoom gear rings for 14-42MM lens
-unopened tube of silicone lube
-o ring removal tool
-universal tool
-swabs & polishing cloth
-accessory bag

Go to 10 Bar Underwater Housings for full specs. http://www.10bar.com...t/EPL1/EPL1.htm

I was given it as a gift, so I have never even used this housing since I don't own the camera. MSRP for this housing new is ~$940

Attached File  DSCF1166_2.jpg   984.56KB   93 downloads

I will accept cash (local buyers) or Paypal (Paypal +3% fee). You can pick it up from me in the Los Angeles area if you prefer, or if you aren't local, buyer pays insured shipping.

Thanks, and happy shooting!