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Member Since 15 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active Jan 03 2014 06:48 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

03 January 2014 - 06:44 AM

As between the 12-50 and 12-40 I am staying with the 12-50.  Like Phil said, the 12-40 is best suited to (1) large subjects like larger fish portraits at a distance, divers, and semi-wide scenics or (2) available light photography without flash where the larger aperture might help, or (3) fill flash photography with the highest sync speeds (think, models in a pool).  The useability of the 1:3 magnification is highly questionable underwater because of the big dome plus extensions.  The glass will be right up on the subject.  I would not expect much macro use out of the lens because of that.  The dome is mandatory due to the very long lens physical extension during zooming, so no flat port for macro use is even an option.


The 12-50 serves a different purpose.  It is the "do anything instantly" lens.  Even in the flat port, it has decent wide angle coverage.  Its macro capabilities are far superior to the 12-40 and the Nauti port-gear makes it instantly accessible (with the port also holding the 60 macro as well).  Personally, I also shoot video underwater sometimes, and like the power zoom.  YMMV.  I can best illustrate with an experience.  A night shore dive in Florida.  Out on the reef, in macro mode, getting shots of flamingo tongues.  A turtle swims by, in three seconds I am shooting wide angle turtle shots and then face portraits.  The turtle is swimming fast and so am I and I have to kick hard for quite a while to keep up.  The compact port is a real boon here (or in a strong current on a reef drift when you have to stop in the current for a shot).  This scenario never could have happened with the 12-40 behind a big dome.


So, consider what you want in a semi-wide zoom and choose accordingly.  Don't let obsessive internet pixel-peeping over lens quality drive the choice because many other things are even more important, like getting the shot!


Also, the image quality differences might not be that great in normal use.  For most u/w shooting, especially with flash and macro, you are shooting small apertures.  All lenses tend to get closer in image quality at smaller apertures.  There will not be a decisive difference in the image quality of the lenses for most underwater shooting.  I have never seen a file from my 12-50 that would not make an excellent large print or be perfectly publishable at magazine scale.


For wide, I use the 7-14 behind the nauti 6" dome for that lens.  Still nice and compact.  the 8mm fisheye even more compact.


The 12-40 is king on land due to quality and speed, but not so much underwater where versatility tips to the 12-50.  I have a 12-40 on order, but it is not going underwater.  I am keeping my 12-50 permanently encased in its gear and dedicating it to underwater.

In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

01 October 2013 - 01:20 PM

After using the heavy and bulky 12-50 with zoom gear on land, I looked on ebay and found a like-new 12-50 for $200.00.  I use that for travel and the lens with gear stays dedicated to underwater.  I find it too much of a pain to take the zoom gear on and off on a daily basis when I travel.  The 12-50 is so tiny it fits in my pocket easily so it is no extra burden to travel with it.

In Topic: OM-D EM-1

20 September 2013 - 07:05 AM

A great camera, but no real incentive to upgrade.  Same resolution, and, must unfortunately, same mediocre video codec, low bitrate, and poor framerate.    I say unfortunately because the Oly image stabliizer is the most amazing thing I have ever seen for video shooting.  They are making a big mistake by ignoring video quality (also, the phase detect continuous AF does not work with video, what's up with that??!!).


Very nice Incremental improvements in the viewfinder and AF system, but no big substantial improvements on any of those. 


I am waiting for the next round:  24+ mp (the sony rx100 shows you can have high resolution and excellent higher ISO quality on an even smaller sensor), a good video codec with 24.30.60 framerates, and even better phase detect af that works on video also.  In other words, real, substantial image quality improvements.


For anyone with 4/3 lenses from the prior Oly systems, this camera will be fantastic.  Might have been tempting for DSLR users, but the price is close to Nikon and Canon full frame offerings and far more expensive than state-of-the art APS-C such as 70D and D7100. 


For underwater, as an upgrade to the EM-5, not necessarily especially if the size and cost of housings are substantially more.  For someone starting from scratch on M43 and underwater, I would consider this, but there might be substantial price drops on the EM-5 that would not make this as desirable.

In Topic: Video Lights, One 4000 lumen or 2 2000 lunens?

04 September 2013 - 08:23 AM

I did not mean to say I disregarded your advice.  But, I bought them from Reef Photo who are close to my house, and I know they will stand behind what they sell.  I have also heard many stories of problem-free use from other users of SOLA's, and of Light and Motion's excellent customer service.  Plus, Reef is pretty good about having demo or loaners if you have to send something in for repair that you bought from them.  I am comfortable that I won't be without a light if something goes wrong.  Time will tell, I guess. 


I liked the Keldans, a lot.  But, the SOLA's were far less money with the deal that I got, which also was a factor.  Getting the 4000s at just over my lighting budget for 2000s was a very nice surprise.

In Topic: Video Lights, One 4000 lumen or 2 2000 lunens?

04 September 2013 - 04:57 AM

Got a great deal on 2 SOLA 4000s.  Surprisingly, although a little big, they do not weigh any more than the 2000s underwater.  Way brighter (obviously) but many more power levels and huge battery life.  Having both of them on "low" still gives 500 lumens each, and more than 8 hours of burn time!!  Very easy to use with my triple clamp set-up.  I had them on a dive last night and I am a very happy camper, I can tell you.