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m4/3 and macro


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#1 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

The latest generation of micro 4/3 cameras, in particular the highly anticipated Olympus OM-D E5, has finally managed to make me consider upgrading from my trusted Canon 20D/Ikelite combo. Full reviews from production-quality cameras are not in yet but from all the chatter and pre-production impressions I think the OM-D is going to be a winner that will keep me happy for the next 5+ years as the 20D has managed to do.

The "problem" is that I have a two week trip to Anilao coming up on May 25 and I need to decide to upgrade now or postpone for one more cycle, which typically means one more year. I would love to have a more compact setup, probably better all-round performance, and especially access to video. I am hesitating because the lens I would really want to go with it is the announced Olympus 60mm macro lens but that won't be available until later this year. If the OM-D is better than the 20D in all aspects except macro I probably stick with the 20D for another year. The other advantage of waiting is that I would be able to at least consider an aluminum housing.

So I have two main questions that I hope current m4/3 users can help me with
- is there a completely satisfactory macro setup for m4/3 right now. (I am not eager to buy the expensive Panasonic 45mm macro as a stop-gap solution but perhaps the Olympus 50mm F2 plus adapter could be considered)
- how capable are the Olympus UW housings. I have been generally happy with Ikelite and my main interest in considering an Alu-housing is to combine it with an external viewfinder which I expect is not an option with an Olympus housing.

If I bite the bullet I anticipate to get the 12-50mm kit lens plus the Panasonic 20mm F1.7. I am not interested in anything wider than that, at least for now. I already have a Sea&Sea YS110a strobe that should work with fiber-optic TTL.

Looking forward to benefit from the social network wisdom on wetpixel.

Bart
Olympus OM-D EM5/Nauticam, 12-50mm & 60mm macro
Sea&Sea 110a, iTorch, GoPro3 BE

#2 Phil Rudin

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:40 PM

Hi Bart,

It looks like the Olympus E-M5 cameras will start to arrive in the US around April 15. In the past the Olympus housings have been about two months or more behind the camera release.

Regarding the Panasonic 45 macro, 10Bar, Nauticam, Zen and others have a port for this lens. With the Olympus 50 macro for 4/3 you will need an adapter, foocus gear for manual because A/F is bad and a custom port long enough for the combo. I don't think it will amount to any savings. As you said the Olympus 60 macro for M4/3 will not arrive until later in the year.

The Olympus housings are quite good for the price, all of the newer housings are rated to 45 meters. I don't think you will be seeing an external viewfinder from Olympus. Nauticaam has has a replacement back for the NA-NEX-7 housing which can be used with a 45 or 180 external viewfinder. At best Olympus may offer a pickup finder for the EVF.

Any way you cut it I don't think you will be seeing a housing for the new OM-D E-M5 camera until after your trip date,

Phil Rudin

Edited by Phil Rudin, 12 March 2012 - 12:54 PM.


#3 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:23 PM

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the reality check. My head told me that this was unlikely to work but my heart was hoping. My 20D just let out a big sigh of relief.

Bart
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Sea&Sea 110a, iTorch, GoPro3 BE

#4 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:41 PM

I just found a link with a section in the lower half talking about the PT-E08 housing including a picture with a slightly different looking port than the image included in the camera announcement. As Phil hinted, the housing will be delayed compared to the camera and they are hoping, but not fully confident, to start shipping the housing in the summer. For details see:

http://gakuranman.co...ta-2012-nagoya/

Bart
Olympus OM-D EM5/Nauticam, 12-50mm & 60mm macro
Sea&Sea 110a, iTorch, GoPro3 BE

#5 Phil Rudin

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:24 AM

The photo on the gakuranman link is the front of the housing WITHOUT a port attached. I talked to the guy that took the photo to see if he had taken rear view of the housing. He said it was a solid block of plastic with no control layout. It was clear to him that the housing was still very much a work in progress.

Phil Rudin

Edited by Phil Rudin, 14 March 2012 - 06:25 AM.


#6 tarjan

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

Anyone have any more contacts with Oly that might be able to get some additional information about the pt-e08? When asked I just get the "what? We don't anything with that model number yet" answers. Not terribly helpful for someone who wants to get his hands on it by june, however unlikely that is to happen.

#7 Deep6

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

New 60 & 150 mm macro lenses from Olympus due. 60 f/2.8 (FX eq. 120 mm) is a little long for u/w, but less than 105 (153 eq.) on a DX.

4/3 Rummors

Bob

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#8 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:01 PM

Focal length is not just about field of view but also minimum working distance which tends to be a bit less than then twice the focal length. Going to smaller sensors requires shorter focal length to get the same field of view but it sucks for macro because you will have to start pressing the port against your subject to get a life-size image. Of course, you can elect to not shoot life-size and still get good macro due to the small sensor but I personally think the 60mm is pretty sweet and I could even be tempted later into the rumored 150mm lens for shy critters.

Bart
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Sea&Sea 110a, iTorch, GoPro3 BE

#9 Deep6

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:51 PM

Focal length is not just about field of view but also minimum working distance which tends to be a bit less than then twice the focal length. Going to smaller sensors requires shorter focal length to get the same field of view but it sucks for macro because you will have to start pressing the port against your subject to get a life-size image. Of course, you can elect to not shoot life-size and still get good macro due to the small sensor but I personally think the 60mm is pretty sweet and I could even be tempted later into the rumored 150mm lens for shy critters.

Bart

Good observation Bart. Consider this: if the macro lens is 1:1 (not life size or some bogus reference), then 1 to 1 is it the ration of the magnification to the diagonal. FX (3:2 aspect) 43 mm, DX (3:2 aspect) 30 mm, and m4/3 (4:3 aspect) 22.5 mm. Soooh, with the smaller m4/3 cameras we don't have to get as close for "life size". You are spot on about the short working distance with respect to illumination and squashing nudis.

Bob

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#10 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:23 PM

Olympus Japan has posted a page on the PT-EP08 underwater housing for the OM-D EM5 camera. Anticipated release date is late July and cost about US$1300 plus another $460 for a port. That is a lot more than previous Olympus housings. Good news for custom housing makers, bad news for those who expected similar pricing as past Oly housings. I have never seen an Olympus UW housing so don't know if this one has some substantial improvements or if this is a case (npi) where price has nothing to do with production cost.

For the Japanese page go to
http://www.olympus.c...0326ptep08j.cfm

For a much more readable translation check out
http://www.theverge....-available-july

Bart
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#11 derway

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:07 AM

Bummer about the price for a housing that is not worth that price.

I'm about to give up on m43.
Don Erway
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#12 Thormar

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:54 AM

Also just check a translation of the Japanese site:
http://translate.goo...j...cfm&act=url

The PPO-EP01 port allows you to use the micro 4/3
14-42mm F3.5-5.6II / 14-42mm F3.5-5.6IIR,
and ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 lenses (although this lens might do better behind a dome)
Note that the new standard port PPO-EP01 does not house the 12-50mm which most people might buy with the E-M5 camera.
However, it might be possible with lens port extensions.

The PAD-EP08 is a port adapter to mount the older FourThirds-ports (which had a screw-thread).
E.g. the "old" PPO-E03 for the 50mm (macro)
and the PPO-E04 dome port for the 8mm fish-eye.
Athena ports for FourThirds lenses should fit with the adapter as well.

There are several other "old" Olympus ports that can be attached, but whether the corresponding zoom rings will work as well, I do not know.
It is also possible the some of the "standard 14-xxmm" lenses below can be housed within the new PPO-EP01 port (but I'd probably just use the new m4/3 lenses).

PPO-E01 for 14-45mm and 35mm macro
PPO-E02 for 11-22mm and 14-54mm
PPO-E05 for 14-42mm
(and the PPO-E04 will also fit the 7-14mm when used with the PER-E02 lens port extension)

What port that will be needed for the upcoming 60mm macro is not yet known. But probably one of the old ones will fit, and if not they might announce a new port.

As for the pricing, yes, a surprising increase. And I don't think there are any mayor changes compared to the previous housings, except for the bayonet mount which I'm pleased to see.
But as for the quality, I would give all my recommendations.
Have used Olympus housings for E-410, E-520, E-620, E-PL1 and E-PL3 and really like the weight, compact shape, buttons etc. (Missed the easily exchangeable ports in the PEN housings).
And I actually prefer them over alu-housings which I would only consider to be able to attach a better viewfinder.
But yes, a pity that they didn't keep within the price level of their previous housings.

#13 Thormar

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:20 AM

To stay on topic with the macro question:

Phil suggested that you would need a focus gear for the 50mm macro.
I've never used a focus gear for my own shooting with the 50mm in the last 5 years.
Instead I program the Fn button to change between AF and Manual focus.
So I focus on my hand in front of the camera with AF on the desired distance, then swap to Manual.
And in MF I don't have the problem with slow AF...
Of course a super fast AF would have been desirable as well, but with MF I can be sure that I get the maximum magnification if that is what I want.

The E-M5 have two Fn buttons. The Fn2 can be set to "Manual focus" DPReview E-M5.

#14 chris_l

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 04:40 AM

Bummer about the price for a housing that is not worth that price.

I'm about to give up on m43.


Have you ever actually owned a m43 or used one underwater?

#15 derway

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

I owned an oly epl2 and a pany gf2 for 1 month each, and sent them back for various issues I did not care for.

Without an EVF, I find them unusable on the surface, in bright sun.

So I was holding out for the em5. But at that price, for the I might as well buy a d7000 and ike housing, and be done with it, or a gh2 and a10bar housing.
Don Erway
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