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How/where to successfully measurebate the UNDERWATER functionality of EVIL set ups ??


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#1 holloways

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:13 PM

Thank you to Alex Mustard for the descriptive terminology!! I would appreciate suggestions on where to find comparisons of the UNDERWATER functionality of the new EVIL systems. Please help point me in the right direction. I can piece together functionality of these systems ON LAND (althoug it is starting to make me go blind :-) however, if I can’t access these features underwater – they are meaningless to me.

I’m anxious to buy a grown–up (but still amateur) camera system which I plan to keep for 5+ years. I’ve rented some nice, multi strobe, DSLR set ups - and have learned (1) even the best equipment does not necessarily make for better pictures and (2) that DSLRs are too big for me.

I want a SMALL set up (smaller than DSLR) with as large a sensor and as fast speed under low light conditions as I can get. I have been waiting for the Sony NEX-7 – but have learned that all of those great features are not necessarily accessible underwater. I plan to shoot RAW much of the time, use 2 strobes and want wide and macro capability and image stabilization. Video is secondary but nice to have. Budget $3-8 K, $5k would be nice. The camera will only be used underwater.

Please help to point me in the direction of comparative info on the UNDERWATER features and functions of the new EVIL camera set ups. Words of wisdom and opinions are welcomed too.

#2 derway

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 08:18 AM

I am in the same boat, except I do want to use it on land as well.

So what are the underwater features and functions of any camera that matters? Image quaility. Raw mode. Killer auto focus. Easy to use M mode User Interface, (easy to adjust fstop and shutter speed without jumping through hoops). Easy to use and adjustable TTL and manual strobe controls, even in M mode. Easy to use A mode with flash, where you can set the slowest shutter speed it will use to 1/100 or 1/125. High flash synch speed, so you have more ability to isolate the subject, and more room to maneuver, before changing ISO.

The only 2 systems out right now are the micro4/3 by panasonic and olympus, and the sony nex 5n or 7.

The nikon 1 inch system is not good enough, nor enough lenses to consider. The new fuji system is way too new, and not enough lenses, and fuji traditionally has less than stellar auto focus systems. Could be great though, and oh those fuji colors!

For me, the sony nex system is still too limited in lens selection. And the nex 7 too highly priced, compared to what you get. The 5n has the perfect sensor, but annoyingly limited user interface, for using M mode, underwater. Folks use it and love it though, and the price is sure right. sony nex AF is not as good or quick as the best micro 4/3 cameras, either, and underwater, that is a crucial difference, for me.

The panasonic gh2 or gx1 have housings, or will have. There are lots of housing choices and lots of lenses including macro and wide angle. The do not have a usable A mode with flash, since the shutter speed will go down to 1/60, which will blur moving subjects too much, and you can't change it. The auto ISO is useless, as you can't tie it to shutter speed, or anything like that. They have "intelligent ISO", which decides for you, after you push the trigger, how high ISO to use, to stop blurring... You can't use M mode with auto ISO either. The panasonic cams do have the best auto focus.

The oly pens are much better photographer's tools. They all have a useful A mode where you can set the slowest shutter speed that will be use when the flash is on, and you can set in a slowest SS that will cause it it bump the ISO in auto ISO mode.

Many folks are using the epl2 and or other, more expensive housings. But like the nex5, the user interface is limited to a very few buttons, so you have to use menu buttons to adjust the fstop or shutter speed in M mode. This works well for them, after getting used to it. And it sure is cheap if you get it with an oly housing.

I tried one for a month, (not underwater), and sent it back. The very limited UI, and the lack of an EVF (without paying a lot more), and the complete impossibility to do any continuous shooting of a moving object, since you cannot see it to track or follow it on the LCD or EVF, they just show the shots you just took!

Now I am very excited, finally, by the new oly omd em5 camera, just coming out. It has 2 dials for adjusting SS and fstop, and the latest M43 sensor, and very very good auto focus, built in evf, M mode with auto ISO, and adjustable slowest shutter speed in A mode, with flash.

Oly is making a housing for this camera, which they never did for the other high end PENs, such as the ep1,2,or3. Which makes it more affordable than buying a fancy alu housing.

The camera is just coming to stores in the USA now, and the oly housing won't be ready until june. We don't have any real reviews out yet, but it sure looks like the killer cam for me! I've been hoping to get an EVIL camera for a long time, and tried a few, and this one is finally going to do enough that I want.

Good luck
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#3 Deep6

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:33 PM

Now I am very excited, finally, by the new oly omd em5 camera, just coming out. It has 2 dials for adjusting SS and fstop, and the latest M43 sensor, and very very good auto focus, built in evf, M mode with auto ISO, and adjustable slowest shutter speed in A mode, with flash.

Oly is making a housing for this camera, which they never did for the other high end PENs, such as the ep1,2,or3. Which makes it more affordable than buying a fancy alu housing.

The camera is just coming to stores in the USA now, and the oly housing won't be ready until june. We don't have any real reviews out yet, but it sure looks like the killer cam for me! I've been hoping to get an EVIL camera for a long time, and tried a few, and this one is finally going to do enough that I want.

Good luck

Good post Don. I am also watching the the blurbs on the Oly em-5 D. Good VF, fast AF (120/240 Hz), tiltable LCD, 1/250 flash sync, many lenses choices with open system for 3rd party, ...

OBTW Holloways, we tend to post MLILs in the DSLR section. You may get more eye balls in that section.

Bob

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#4 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:37 AM

As I've mentioned in a recent post on the DSLR section I am interested in the Oly OM-D EM5 as well for all the reasons listed by Don. I also have the feeling that mirrorless is making the transition from a system for people that upgrade from point&shoot, often just using the kit lens only, to one that really starts to become interesting for more serious DSLR users. That bodes well for the development of better lenses in coming years.

The NEX7 was the first to catch my attention but like Don I don't like the current lens selection and lack confidence that it will improve rapidly enough. M4/3 already has a much broader lens selection and if the OM-D is commercially successful and Panasonic also starts to target a higher-end market then between Oly, Panny and Sigma we can expect more high quality lenses to follow. Oly already announced 60mm F2.8 macro and 75mm F1.8 fast longer focal length primes, with the first being of prime interest for UW use.

I heard rumblings that housing manufacturers are too busy rushing out housings for the Canon 5DIII and Nikon D800, so the OM-D EM5 may not see a custom housing soon. The Oly housing is slated to come out in July, at least on paper, but has miraculously jumped in price to over $1300 compared to the $600-800 range for previous Oly housings. Maybe that will raise interest into bringing out a custom housing earlier rather than later. For instance, Nauticam announced a housing for the Panasonic GX1 for $1200, while the GH2 housing goes for $2100. If they can deliver a housing for the OM-D in that price range it is going to be very competitive.

Bart
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#5 derway

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:54 AM

Phil Rudin pointed out that the price listed on the japanese site is unlikely to stand. It is just the price of the housing in yen, converted to $US. The same site listed correspondingly high prices for all the previous housings, which them came out much lower actual US retail.
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#6 oskar

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:44 AM

Olympus hasn't previously been om my radar, but maybe it should be there.

How do Olympus housings for m4/3 dome ports for WA work? Is there a budget option for Olympus dome ports? My perception is that there has only been third party glass domes which are comparably expensive.

Phil Rudin pointed out that the price listed on the japanese site is unlikely to stand. It is just the price of the housing in yen, converted to $US. The same site listed correspondingly high prices for all the previous housings, which them came out much lower actual US retail.


Edited by oskar, 02 April 2012 - 02:45 AM.


#7 holloways

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

Olympus hasn't previously been om my radar, but maybe it should be there.

How do Olympus housings for m4/3 dome ports for WA work? Is there a budget option for Olympus dome ports? My perception is that there has only been third party glass domes which are comparably expensive.



Thank you so much for the priceless responses and requirements. I am going to create a “requirements matrix” and then rate the possible options against it to help narrow this all down. The permutations are endless and I am starting to go blind. I have a 2 week live aboard trip scheduled for mid June – the whole point of which is to try out my new camera system (which I haven’t decided on yet – yikes… time to get moving).

I’m going to start with Don’s message and add to it as the initial requirements set. Bob pointed me to another section which has some great info (you’re right – maybe more eyeballs there).

Anyone want to participate in developing / honing the requirements set - or - ranking the potential candidates once I get it done?

#8 derway

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

Happy to help out with all of it.
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#9 holloways

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:09 PM

Unfortunately – it seems like my requirements defining exercise is nothing more than a cobbling together of camera specs from various sites on the internet. Not all that useful since I don’t know which functions will / won’t be accessible underwater – and frankly, the more I learn the less I seem to know. I guess that is a good thing.

Based on Don’s message (and comment for Bart and Bob) I read, with great enthusiasm, Robin Wong’s “First Impressions” of the OM-D-EM5. http://robinwong.blo...e-5-review.html

WOW, you’re not kidding. the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 looks like the ultimate answer for my underwater "requirements". I’m thrilled with the ultra fast auto focus, the EVF, the “5-axis” Body Image stabilization (I certainly need that), the great dynamic range, the weather sealing and the beefy yet small camera (beefy meaning solid vs cheapo plastic). Robin was quite excited about “for the first time in history, the effect of the in body image stabilization can be fully seen through the electronic viewfinder”. Although I’m not exactly sure what that all means – I’m sure it is a good thing!!!

A couple questions:

Which manufactures will have housings?
When will the housings really be out?
I booked an easy 2 week liveaboard in June specifically to test out my new (yet to be defined) camera set up. I had planned on going exotic (Raja) – but decided it would be smarter to book an easy trip to test out the new system before going half way around the world with it. If the housing is going to come out later than my trip – I need Plan B. Hummm :P
Which lenses? Which lenses for UW macro and wide angle? I will probably only ever get the 2 lenses – although I may add on diopters and other gizmos.
Which strobes? I have IKE DS-125 now – (which I love) but it’s probably larger than the camera – which defeats the whole purpose.
Video / Focus Lights: I think the camera comes with a targeting light – is that good enough or do I also need one of those fancy sola focus lights? (I may do video – but stills are my primary interest).
LED lights for still and video??? I read Sue and Jack Drafahl’s tutorial – how do you feel about using LED lights for both still and video (they tested Light & Motion 1200 Sola lights) http://www.underwaterphototutorials.com/freetutorials.html Might that be the better way to go since I’m starting from scratch?

ANy help or guidance would be appreciated. I'm researching this into the ground and about to go blind :-)



#10 Deep6

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:24 PM

Unfortunately – it seems like my requirements defining exercise is nothing more than a cobbling together of camera specs from various sites on the internet. Not all that useful since I don’t know which functions will / won’t be accessible underwater – and frankly, the more I learn the less I seem to know. I guess that is a good thing.

Based on Don’s message (and comment for Bart and Bob) I read, with great enthusiasm, Robin Wong’s “First Impressions” of the OM-D-EM5. http://robinwong.blo...e-5-review.html

WOW, you’re not kidding. the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 looks like the ultimate answer for my underwater "requirements". I’m thrilled with the ultra fast auto focus, the EVF, the “5-axis” Body Image stabilization (I certainly need that), the great dynamic range, the weather sealing and the beefy yet small camera (beefy meaning solid vs cheapo plastic). Robin was quite excited about “for the first time in history, the effect of the in body image stabilization can be fully seen through the electronic viewfinder”. Although I’m not exactly sure what that all means – I’m sure it is a good thing!!!

A couple questions:

Which manufactures will have housings?
When will the housings really be out?
I booked an easy 2 week liveaboard in June specifically to test out my new (yet to be defined) camera set up. I had planned on going exotic (Raja) – but decided it would be smarter to book an easy trip to test out the new system before going half way around the world with it. If the housing is going to come out later than my trip – I need Plan B. Hummm :P
Which lenses? Which lenses for UW macro and wide angle? I will probably only ever get the 2 lenses – although I may add on diopters and other gizmos.
Which strobes? I have IKE DS-125 now – (which I love) but it’s probably larger than the camera – which defeats the whole purpose.
Video / Focus Lights: I think the camera comes with a targeting light – is that good enough or do I also need one of those fancy sola focus lights? (I may do video – but stills are my primary interest).
LED lights for still and video??? I read Sue and Jack Drafahl’s tutorial – how do you feel about using LED lights for both still and video (they tested Light & Motion 1200 Sola lights) http://www.underwaterphototutorials.com/freetutorials.html Might that be the better way to go since I’m starting from scratch?

ANy help or guidance would be appreciated. I'm researching this into the ground and about to go blind :-)

I think you will be out of luck trying to get anything other than an Olympus housing by this June. Try quizzing some of the other housing manufactors. The Em-5 D may be available in the USA later this month (4/2012). Take a look at the Inon 2000 & 240 stobes. For wide angle lens 7, 7.5, 9 mm or some zoom beginning at that length. Add a 45 mm for macro. Hopefully faster 7-14 mm or wider zooms in the future.
Bob

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#11 derway

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:03 AM

Hi Holloways.

I think it would be interesting to ask your question about the LED lights for still photos, in one of the top forums, like tips & techniques, or the general chat forum.

For me, the disadvantage of using higher ISO is not only the noise, which that tutorial mentioned as not being a problem. But also the dynamic range goes down, with every increase in ISO.

Also, what about the issue of white balance? How do you WB the LED lights with ambient?
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#12 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:35 PM

Some comments:

I read Robin Wong's reviews as well and liked them as they are rather different and complementary to the standard measurebating reviews, but he does come across as an olympus fanboy so it is good to balance out his findings with some other sites. One review just came out on techradar.com

http://www.techradar...-1075717/review

I didn't know them so can't vouch for their street-cred but I found it useful and the first place I saw some actual sensor performance data and it matches the very positive impression of general image quality mentioned on many sites. Those concerned about reduced dynamic range will be pleased to see that the om-d beats the larger sensor Nex-7 and fujifilm X pro 1, and all other m43 cameras over the entire iso range. At 12800 iso it's comparable to the Panasonic GX1 at 200 iso!
It also beats the competition in signal to noise over the entire iso range, at least in RAW format. It is weaker than the others at lower iso in JPEG format but if that means less noise reduction then it may not be a bad thing.

For more details on resolution, sensitivity and the usual specs and performance stuff check out the link. A little practical point I hadn't appreciated earlier is that the electronic viewfinder lets you take a look at the image you just shot. I assume you need to ask for that so that your viewfinder is not blocked by the last image while you want to keep following your subject, but I can see this being useful UW, especially for macro on shy critters. I normally don't want to take my eye off the view finder to check the LCD to judge the last image as doing so moves the camera and scares away my subject. If I could just call up the image in the viewfinder though that might be interesting.

Wrt to the in-body stabilization, I also find it a useful technology but may not be too important underwater, at least for my shooting style. I normally shoot with shutter speeds fast enough not too worry about motion blur and just relying on my strobes to provide most of the light. If you rely on a substantial amount of ambient light to get nice blue backgrounds when shooting against open water it may be a different story but even then I wonder if motion blur is a common issue.

Wrt housing arrival I am in the same boat and have already resigned to the idea that a housing won't be available before my end of May early June trip. The Olympus housing is not expected until July and it is not clear if custom housing makers will give the om-d high priority as they are working all out to get the new Canon 5DIII and Nikon 800D housings on the market. Ikelite is often fast to market but they do not support any of the existing panasonic or olympus m43 cameras and for the om-d their website states "Under consideration for a housing in the future".

Another fast-to-market player is Nauticam, who have a decent selection of m43 housings already, but I haven't heard anything about their intentions for the om-d. I expect they will make one but not in time for my, and probably your trip.

Same story for macro lenses. The only option right now is the PanyLeica 45mm F2.8 but I haven't been getting the right "vibes" from this lens in both quality and price and I would prefer a little longer focal length. The announced weather-sealed 60mm macro lens from Olympus could hit the sweet spot but won't be ready until later this year.

The Ikelite DS125 may be a bit top heavy on this smallish camera and any housing will not have TTL electrical connector support for it. Maybe on the nauticam you could still use it in manual mode. I won a Sea&sea YS110a a while ago which doesn't fit my ikelite housing but will become my main strobe once I move to m43.

Buying into a new system in a rush does not sound like a smart move to me so I will wait till my next trip to re-evaluate what is on the market and get the om-d or something better that has come along by then.

Bart
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#13 derway

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:58 PM

I'm skeptical of any site that says this smaller sensor cam beats all the latest and greatest APC sensors.

I'm hopeful that the omd will be great for it's size. Perhaps as good or better than a gh2 at low iso and a g3 at high iso.

I'm waiting for the final reviews from the 3 sites I trust, dpreview, imaging-resource, and dxomark, (you have to look at the graphs, not the scores).

They should all be out in another week or 3.
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#14 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:03 AM

point well taken but they have tested many cameras in the past and didn't score the other olympus cameras that highly so I at least had the feeling they were not biased to make the om-d look good. Whether they are competent is another story and I'm waiting for dpreview and dxo mark too, just not that patient :)

It is not so surprising that the om-d edges out the nex7 APS-C sensor since with 24Mpixel the pixel sizes aren't that far apart. I don't expect it to beat all APS-C sensors and it does't have to as long as the total package is competitive.

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#15 derway

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:10 PM

omd review now up at dpreview.

Best AF and IQ of any m43 camera yet.

http://www.dpreview....ews/olympusem5/
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#16 Guitarfish

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

I've also been watching the press about the E-M5 with interest. More details about the Olympus housing seem to have appeared in the last few days:http://www.olympus-europa.com/consumer/pen-camera_pen_21693_accessory_pt-ep08_25870.htm

I'd be interested in any informed speculation about whether this is likely to be any good, or whether you think other manufacturers will produce housings.

I know more info will trickle out in time but I'm traveling overseas in about 3 wks. If I can decide on my next camera before then I can reclaim the tax and get to know the camera before the housings arrive!



#17 derway

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:33 PM

There is a long history of oly making their own housings even for DSLRs. They are very decent quality, and quite inexpensive.

Lots of comments and stories over in scuba labs olympus forum:

http://www.scubaboar...olympus-outlet/

The port can be removed, and lots of companies are making ports for them, including zen.

I have no doubt other companies will make fancy expensive aluminum housings, as this camera appears likely to sell more units than any other mirrorless cam so far.

Maybe even ikelite will come out of the closet!.!.!.!.!.!
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#18 derway

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:39 PM

Ikelite has not said 'no' officially, to the omd, it is 'under consideration'.

http://www.ikelite.c...amolychart.html

All the other mirrorless cameras say flat out no:

http://www.ikelite.c...ess.html#060611

This seems like possibly good news.
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#19 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:31 PM

The oly pens are much better photographer's tools. They all have a useful A mode where you can set the slowest shutter speed that will be use when the flash is on, and you can set in a slowest SS that will cause it it bump the ISO in auto ISO mode.

...Now I am very excited, finally, by the new oly omd em5 camera, just coming out. It has 2 dials for adjusting SS and fstop, and the latest M43 sensor, and very very good auto focus, built in evf, M mode with auto ISO, and adjustable slowest shutter speed in A mode, with flash.

Oly is making a housing for this camera, which they never did for the other high end PENs, such as the ep1,2,or3. Which makes it more affordable than buying a fancy alu housing.

The camera is just coming to stores in the USA now, and the oly housing won't be ready until june. We don't have any real reviews out yet, but it sure looks like the killer cam for me! I've been hoping to get an EVIL camera for a long time, and tried a few, and this one is finally going to do enough that I want.


Thanks for the info, Don.

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#20 holloways

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

Thank you for the great insights! I have decided on the Panasonic GX1 in the lovely Nauticam housing, 2-YS-D1 strobes (sweet), Sola 800 targeting light. PLEASE SPEAK UP (soon please :P ) if you think I've messed up on the configuration. The buy will happen within the next 10 days. I'm leaving for a trip mid June.

I do have some question re: the right lenses. I want to keep it small and easy to pack. I can probably afford to buy and equip 2 lenses but of course I want great wide and macro capability (and flexibility)

General questions: Is the kit lens worth equipping? In other words, would it make more sense to buy both a nice wide and a macro lens set up and skip the kit lens? - or - should I buy the
wide set up and use a diaptor on the kit lens to provide macro capability?

Detailed questions - specifically which lenses:
Wide: Panasonic 7-14 mm lens (w/6" dome port), Olympus 9-18, or 8 mm pancake (any other ideas???)
Macro: 45 mm macro available now, 60 mm macro due out in the Fall, or diaptor on top of kit lens


What do you think about the camera/housing configuration and lenses??? I welcome your advice!