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Nikonos lenses on an Olympus body-- the first photos and videos


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#1 davelew

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:21 PM

I just returned from a trip to Little Cayman to test out a housing I designed to work with an Olympus EP-1 camera and Nikonos lenses (the housing also has adapters to use a Zuiko 8mm fisheye lens with an Aquatica 6" dome port). I'll write more later, but here are some of the photos:

Nikonos 28mm lens with Nikonos closeup adapter:
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Nikonos 80mm lens (the blue tint is due to the distance of 40 feet from the eagle ray, as well as the depth of 50 feet)
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The first digital photo I took with with Nikonos 15mm lens:
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More playing with light and shadow with the 15mm:
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Some selective focus wide angle macro with the 15mm:
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Another macro shot with the 15mm:
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A 15mm shot of the turtle that surprised me so much that I forgot to turn my strobes on:
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There are more images on my "Little Cayman 2010" flickr page here.

Of the Nikonos lenses, the 15mm was far and away my favorite lens to use, but my favorite photo of the trip was shot with the 28mm (the photo of the hermit crab above). The 80mm was an interesting lens-- that is easily the best photo I've taken of an eagle ray, because I've never gotten close enough to fill the frame with an eagle ray before. On the other hand, it's also a blue tinted fish butt. The drawback to photographing shy creatures from 40 feet away is that it can be a long, long swim to get a shot from the front. I also tried my hand at supermacro with the 80mm and the closeup kit, but was unable to a get a really sharp photo (I did post an only-slightly-blurry photo of half a lettuce sea slug on my flickr page).

The housing worked well, with two exceptions. First, I tried a giant stride off the dive boat holding the housing in the worst possible direction, slamming the rear window into the ocean. I did this as a test, knowing that I had packed several spare windows and could repair any damage, and without a camera in the housing. Well, that test showed that the rear window is not quite robust enough to take that abuse, as it developed small cracks that leaked below 40 feet. Also, all of my spare rear windows were sitting on my dining room table a few thousand miles away, not in my bag where I thought I had packed them. After some repairs with RTV silicone provided by the helpful dive operation at Southern Cross Club, the housing became ugly but once again watertight. I'm going to make some modifications to the rear window to avoid that cracking problem in the future.

The other issue I had was that I designed the housing to be idiot-proof, so that no pieces would cause damage if mis-installed. Then I made a change, adding a one-way valve so that I could pump a vacuum into the housing and check if the old Nikonos lenses were still water-tight. As I found out on my second to last night, if you try to close the housing with the rear piece rotated 180 degrees, that valve hits the LCD screen of the camera, and if you try to force it, you crack the LCD screen of the camera, making a sound like a very expensive potato chip breaking. I dove the last day without the LCD screen, with the camera set to aperture priority and guessing at distances for the manual focus lenses. The fix to this problem is fairly simple, just a tube off the back of the valve so that it's obvious that the resistance is from mis-assembly, and so the latches won't engage to give people like me the leverage to crack their LCD screens.

#2 davelew

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:25 PM

One addition to my post above:

I believe this is the first video ever taken with a Nikonos 15mm lens.


#3 jmauricio

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:36 PM

Cool, any pics of the housing with lenses attached?

#4 davelew

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 02:55 PM

Cool, any pics of the housing with lenses attached?


I'm still not fully unpacked yet, but here are some pics of the housing

With 28mm lens, ULCS base, ULCS grips, ULCS 8" arms, Inon S-2000 strobe and Inon D-2000 strobe:
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With 15mm lens:
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With 80mm lens:
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With 80mm lens and closeup kit:
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The original photo set is available here.

The white crust that can be seen around some of the buttons on top, the tapped holes in the front of the housing, and along the rib in the adapter between the Nikonos lenses and the camera, is dried salt. I'm interested in seeing what happens to the plating when I don't rinse the housing-- all the platings are supposed to be able to withstand being sprayed with saltwater and then air dried over a thousand times in a laboratory test, and I want to see how that holds up in a real world test. The red RTV around the front flash port isn't normal, I put it there as part of an experiment (there was a leak, and I wanted to prove it wasn't coming from the flash port).

#5 fotoscubo714

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 10:25 PM

I just returned from a trip to Little Cayman to test out a housing I designed to work with an Olympus EP-1 camera and Nikonos lenses (the housing also has adapters to use a Zuiko 8mm fisheye lens with an Aquatica 6" dome port). I'll write more later, but here are some of the photos:


I knew there was a reason why I held to my Nikonos stuff :) . I love the 15mm lens. Looking forward to more information and more pictures of the housing.

Quick question: Why the Oly EP-1 camera? DP dos not recommend this camera for action/nature stuff and seems to be too slow for our underwater needs. But your pictures show otherwise though.

Bo

Edited by fotoscubo714, 10 May 2010 - 12:09 AM.

7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.

#6 davelew

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 04:57 AM

I knew there was a reason why I held to my Nikonos stuff :) . I love the 15mm lens. Looking forward to more information and more pictures of the housing.

Quick question: Why the Oly EP-1 camera? DP dos not recommend this camera for action/nature stuff and seems to be too slow for our underwater needs. But your pictures show otherwise though.

Bo


I picked the EP-1 because it has a lens mounting flange in the right place to enable a Nikonos adapter (this is true of every other micro four thirds camera as well, and probably the Samsung EVIL camera and the Sony EVIL camera that will officially be announced tomorrow) and because of the position of dials on the back of it. The dials let me make a housing where I turn one knob for focus, one knob for aperture, and one knob for shutterspeed. There's also a handy readout of the exposure value on the LCD screen. That's my definition of ergonomic, without the clutter of buttons and menus required to control some cameras .

I believe that DP doesn't like the EP-1 because of slow autofocus. Autofocus speed isn't an issue when using manual focus Nikonos lenses, or when using something like the Zuiko 8mm fisheye lens that has a nearly infinite depth of field. There was also an issue with the original firmware for the camera and the kit lens. While some initial reviews were written using the 1.0 firmware, I found the image quality really improved when I updated the firmware on the camera and the kit lens.

#7 fotoscubo714

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:31 AM

I picked the EP-1 because it has a lens mounting flange in the right place to enable a Nikonos adapter (this is true of every other micro four thirds camera as well, and probably the Samsung EVIL camera and the Sony EVIL camera that will officially be announced tomorrow) and because of the position of dials on the back of it. The dials let me make a housing where I turn one knob for focus, one knob for aperture, and one knob for shutterspeed.


I'm confused. Wouldn't the focus and aperture be controlled manually from the nikonos lens' control knobs? I see camera control access to shutter speed and ISO be handy for proper exposure.

Just thinking here. Could any camera with a APS-C chip be modified with an adapter, or does it have to be a four thirds chip camera? I have an adapter to use my old Hassy lenses in manual on my Canon EOS system, but have never done anything with it.

Be kind of cool if there was a sealed port adapter to fit on my Ikelite and use the old Nikonos lenses. Not sure if these old lenses still hold up to the newer high resolution chips (15Mp+). Just thinking out loud, but clueless.

Bo
7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.

#8 davelew

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:02 AM

I'm confused. Wouldn't the focus and aperture be controlled manually from the nikonos lens' control knobs? I see camera control access to shutter speed and ISO be handy for proper exposure.


Yes, focus and aperture are controlled on the lens-- sorry if I implied otherwise.

Just thinking here. Could any camera with a APS-C chip be modified with an adapter, or does it have to be a four thirds chip camera? I have an adapter to use my old Hassy lenses in manual on my Canon EOS system, but have never done anything with it.


You can't put a Nikonos lens on just any camera with an APS-C chip. The main requirement is that the camera have interchangeable lenses and a lens mount less than than 28mm from the sensor. At the time I started this project last August, that limited my choices to four cameras: Leica M8, Panasonic DMC-G1, Pansonic DMC-GH1, Olympus EP-1. I picked the EP-1 for image quality and ease of use. (To get an idea of how quickly the mirroless camera / interchangeable lens architecture is catching on, as of tomorrow that list will have expanded to 13 cameras: Leica M8, Leica M9, Samsung NX10, Sony NEX3, Sony NEX5, Oly EP-1, Oly EP-2, Oly EPL-1, Panny GMC-G1, Panny GMC-G2, Panny GMC-G10, Panny GMC-GH1, and Panny GMC-GF1).

If you try to put a Nikonos lens on an SLR body, you will end up with either an interference between the lens and the mirror, or a lens mount that works like an extension tube and makes it impossible to focus at infinity. Most Canon EF lenses need to be 44mm from the focal plane, while Nikon F-mount lenses need to be 46.5mm from the focal plane. Nikonos lenses need to be 27mm or 28mm from the focal plane, depending on which part of the flange you measure from (I'm not trying to be vague here, it's just that the Nikonos mount system is so different from the Canon or Nikon mounts that it's hard to say which surfaces are directly comparable).

#9 fotoscubo714

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 09:45 AM

"....The main requirement is that the camera have interchangeable lenses and a lens mount less than than 28mm from the sensor."

Ah. OK. Now I understand. Thank you!



...... as of tomorrow that list will have expanded to 13 cameras............


Damn! Have to look into this. I think this approach is really cool.

Thank you for sharing your information and expertise! :)

Bo
7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.

#10 fotoscubo714

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:38 AM

Just finished reading the DP review on the Oly E-PL1.

I think it's simplified controls in the back make this camera more suitable for a housing adaptation. Besides being less in cost, it has build in flash for optical cable triggering, dedicated video button, internal Image Stabilization, very good image quality in high ISO's etc.

Although I like the Sony APS-C chip use, I think the controls lay-out in the back is a housing design nightmare -no?

I would consider this camera as a compact topside and underwater option if it allowed me to get some use back for all my manual lenses via an adapter. :D . We'll see what the after market comes up with here.

Bo

Edited by fotoscubo714, 18 May 2010 - 07:44 AM.

7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.

#11 fotoscubo714

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:06 AM

I would consider this camera as a compact topside and underwater option if it allowed me to get some use back for all my manual lenses via an adapter. :D . We'll see what the after market comes up with here.


I love Google!

Found this interesting post how to DIY on a Oly Pen lens adapter for most brand lenses (example is for Nikon).

This option for my old lenses is looking better yet :D .

Bo

4/19 Update: Never mind the DIY adapter. I can buy the adapter (Canon FD to Oly 3/4) ready-made on E-Bay for $40 from a local vendor. I think I will buy one and see if I can get to try it on an Oly Pen E-PL model, before investing in a E-PL1. But the ability to breath a digital life into my old manual lens collection (Canon FD plus the Nikonos lenses) is very intriguing to me, despite the obvious manual limitations of such a set up.

Edited by fotoscubo714, 19 May 2010 - 07:35 AM.

7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.

#12 fotoscubo714

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:11 AM

This Nikonos Lens housing adaptation was first discussed last year here.
7D and Oly E-PL1 (yet 2b housed) , D10 in upgraded Ike;
Sigma, Tokina and Tamron lenses.
Vintage film NikIII, 35mm & 2.1/4 housings.