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Member Since 29 Dec 2001
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Olympus E-M1 & New MZ 8mm Fisheye PRO Lens

12 August 2015 - 10:26 AM

One Camera, One Lens - An Ascent from Desperation.

I’m just back from a 10 day live aboard dive trip to the Solomon Islands. I had packed 5 different cameras and systems to do a round table of testing and comparing in order to write some practical reviews.


As usual, I spent time going over each camera system making sure I had packed all the necessary batteries, chargers, lenses and attachments. All was reasonably packed into two cases. One was carried aboard and my Seahorse hard case and dive bag/clothes checked. With everything spread out the day before, I tried to balance their weights, airline requirements for lith-ion batteries etc. What I didn’t do was to make sure that essential chargers, batteries and mounts were all packed together with each camera. Oops.

I got to the airport only to see that my LA flight was delayed 3 hours. What’s up? Thunderstorms in LA I was told. Lighting had closed LAX on and off all day…Thunderstorms? Lighting? In a 3 year drought? Why me?…

Things improved as time went on and my flight was only 2 hours late getting in. I ran to the International Terminal and made it to the flight to Fiji just in time. But my checked luggage didn’t. I was told I could go without my bags or not go. No choice, I had the M/V Solomon Star to meet in Honiara.

So the next time I saw my bags was a week later on a dock in Tulagi. Groan.

When I landed, we hit a thrift store for a few clothes and the boat had great new rental dive gear they outfitted me with (Thanks SIDE!; so that was all good. My backpack had essentials. I had the one camera bag poorly packed with strobes and no mounts, cameras without housings or chargers. But I did have the Olympus E-M1 body, PT-EP11 housing, new mz 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO lens and matching small glass dome port, along with an iTorch v25 1800 lumen video/focus light. So there was hope.

And as luck would have it, friend and customer Bruce Versteegh was on the same boat with his wife Diane. They had brought way too much gear and lent me a strobe, sync cord and arms. So I had the one camera and wide angle lens and for the next 5 days (along with a small TG-4 compact). Thanks Bruce, you saved me!!

battery-1.jpg  One problem; no charger. Bruce only had the charger for his PM-1 system. So we had to “hotwire” leads from his charger to my E-M1 battery in a feat worthy of Rube Goldberg. Most of time it worked with lots of gaffer tape, but sometimes it didn’t; as we were in high wind and fairly heavy seas. Oh well, frustrating.

The Olympus 8mm lens saved the day. Light? Who needs light? I was able to easily shoot available light at 45 meters deep at f/2.2 or even f/4. ... continued on my blog article.


Here's a few pics:












FS: Open Box & Close-out Housings; Nauticam, Aquatica, Ikelite

16 November 2014 - 04:45 PM

We have a number of new, open box or discontinued housings being closed out at great prices!


These are all new, in box, complete and were just used as in-store demos. No wear, as new!

Ports, gears, etc available.

Free ground shipping in the US, cc/paypal ok!



Nauticam Nikon D800 MkI Housing was $3600, now $2995!

Nauticam A5000 Housing, Port, Valve & Sony A5000 Camera Package (2) Was $2370, Now $2099!



Aquatica AD-EM1 Housing with Vacuum System Was $2018 Now $1899!

Aquatica AD-5DMKIII Housing with Vacuum System Was $3360 Now $2999!



Ikelite D800 Housing  Was $1800, Now $1299!


These are just a few, more housings, lights and systems available here.

Jack Connick

Optical Ocean Sales, LLC

Email us for more details

+1 206-284-1142 / 800-359-1295

Free Olympus E-M1 V.2 Firmware Update - Try New Creative Underwater Techniques!

15 October 2014 - 07:32 AM

While at first glance Olympus's new free OM-D E-M1 camera firmware upgrade v2 doesn't appear to offer much for underwater photography, digging into some of it's subtleties and improvements shows that it offers some pretty interesting ideas to expand your underwater universe.

The features added include most all of the latest ones now found on the new PEN E-PL7. It's not often that you can apply these types of upgrades to a camera that's nearly a year old.

Besides some improvements such as speeding up it's EVF display, more and smaller AF points, and improved focus peaking, there are a lot of new in-camera creative possibilities available such as using Keystone Correction to straighten the lines of a wreck, or maybe stalks of kelp, while shooting with a fisheye lens - right on the camera back. Same with it's Live Composite Tool; allowing for multiple exposures to be made creatively without post-processing. Other cool effects like Partial Color are now available, allowing you to shoot a brightly colored subject against a black and white background.

Do you like HDR? This popular technique of shooting and overlaying multiple varying exposures can be set-up and shot right on the camera. Using a high-frame rate, these HDR composites can be previewed on the camera display and then saved into RAW for further manipulation later. New is ev compensation on the HDR frames.

Updates have also been made to the wireless apps and tethering software, along with many other features you'll enjoy using above water. You can also use them to apply filters and create composite "stories" and upload them with your phone; without even opening your housing!

If you have one of these great Olympus micro-four thirds cameras, getting this free E-M1 firmware update is a no-brainer. It is easily downloaded onto a computer, then uploaded to the camera with the mini-usb cable included with the camera.

So enjoy this cool new present from Olympus and think creatively underwater, you might be surprised!

More information on the OM-D EM1 can be found here. You can download the updater here.

Here's a complete list of new features and changes:

8 New Functions:
  • Keystone Compensation (Digital Shift)
  • Tethered Shooting System (OLYMPUS capture)
  • Live Composite
  • Zoom In/Out and Layout have been added to Photo Story. Save (complete partway through), Temporary Save, and Resume functions have been added to Photo Story mode
  • New Art Filters: Vintage and Partial color
  • Old Film Effect in video recording
  • The Aperture Lock function has been added to Aperture Preview
  • The Panning Shot shooting mode has been added to SCN mode
16 Operability Improvements:
  • Image display time lag in the Electronic Viewfiner has been improved to 16 msec (frame rate setting is high speed)
  • Multiple simultaneous settings now available in Live Guide
  • Exposure compensation (±3 EV) is now available in HDR 1/HDR2 shooting
  • A function has been added to cancel Color Creator and return to the original Picture Mode by pressing the MENU button when using Color Creator function.
  • Movie Tele-converter can now be used simultaneously when Art Filter is set to Picture Mode.
  • AF function for each frame was added to Custom Self Timer. In Drive Mode's Custom Self Timer settings, you can now press the INFO button to change settings.
  • MF Assist is now supported in magnified frame position.
  • 3x has been added to high resolution magnified Live View.
  • The Peaking display frame rate has been improved.
  • Electronic zoom speed setting function was added. An icon appears on the LCD monitor when using an Olympus electronic zoom lens.
  • When the arrow pad is set to Direct function, the Underwater/Underwater macro functions can be used with the left and down button on the arrow pad.
  • Double tap is now supported in touch operations on the Super Control Panel.
  • The level gauge and histogram can now be displayed during magnified frame display. The Touch Off icon was added to magnified frame display.
  • A function was added so that shooting information recorded in HDR1/HDR2 can be viewed in the playback screen.
  • Information on composited number of shots for images recorded with Live Composite was added (Can be checked in Olympus Viewer3).
  • When the BKT button is held down, the BKT menu now appears.