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Member Since 23 Nov 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 02:31 PM

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In Topic: Underwater settings for the Olympus OM-D E-M5

29 November 2013 - 02:42 AM

Hello, I know this is a bit off topic but I was wondering if there was any experience with the OMD EM-1 and whether the aforementioned settings would be a good way to start with that camera.  I just purchased one of these and am short listed for the Nauticam housing.  Since it is such a new camera there is very little out there online as to advice on where to start.  


Thanks for any advice

I also picked up the EM-1 as soon as it came out and am eagerly awaiting the new Nauticam housing (hopefully before my xmas trip to Roatan).  Anyway, having both the EM-5 and the EM-1 I can tell you this:  they are extremely similar in terms of the menus on the cameras, and they are quite different in terms of the functional buttons/dials/lever configurations on the bodies.  But in terms of your question, yes, the menus look and act nearly the same in every important way, and I would use the settings recommended herein as a starting place for UW.


From an ergonomic layout, the EM-1 has moved the on/off switch up to the camera left on top, and added dual functionality to this for HDR/AF/Metering and shutter release controls. The EM-1 has also added two new controls to the front right (of the lens) which can be customized to whatever you want.  Olympus has also added a 2-position lever to the camera back just to the right of the EVF which controls the AEL as a button, but the lever also toggles controls on top of the on/off switch or whatever you customize it to do.   The Fn1 & 2 buttons and record buttons all exist but are physically spread out a little differently and improve your ability to make rapid adjustments.  I just returned from a week in Peru where I shot 2000 photos with this camera.  I feel that the EM-1 is a solid step up from the EM-5 in every way, but for me, ergonomic design and button layout is smart and intuititive.  I can make changes rapidly without ever taking my eye from the gorgeous viewfinder.(Most of the shots in this collection were with the EM-1 and 40-150 lens- )


good lucky, happy shooting



In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

13 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

As always, your knowledge and willingness to contribute meaningful information about lenses etc to these discussions is greatly appreciated. This forum is a treasure trove to those seeking useful discussion (and opinion) about the equipment they are using or intend to purchase. I often find it interesting to note that many wetpixel participants are scattered around the globe, often without local UW photography stores or experts nearby. This makes a venue like WP one of the few places folks can turn to for in depth discussion on these issues


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In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

11 January 2013 - 04:40 AM

I am not for a second suggesting that the equipment is more important than the photographer. Ansel Adams said " you don't take a great photograph, you make it". And no where is the dependency on the photographer more true than underwater photography, especially if you step back and consider what we do. We immerse ourselves in a foreign medium where a simple mistake can be deadly. We have to learn to dive and become certified before ever pulling a shutter. We ensconce our camera gear in clunky housings to protect it from the elements, but making it cumbersome and unwieldy. And we shoot in a world where the spectrum of available light is so skewed that unless you know how to add it back, your pictures look like crap. And we try to shoot subjects that may dart around so fast you barely have time to fire off a shot. So the UW photographer must overcome many obstacles not faced by our land based counterparts. But all these reasons also reinforce the notion that we can take all the help we can get from high quality equipment....

In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

11 January 2013 - 01:25 AM

I can argue the other way around that if the original poster didn't mention it, you wouldn't had guessed right each time which lens took which photo. I used to read all the reviews and believe in specifications, until I realized real artists don't need to tell you the equipment they used.

I don't understand this sentiment. If not lens specifications and image quality analysis, on what basis would you suggest photographers select their lenses? Are we to believe none of the careful and increasingly quantitative photography equipment reviews from respected sources?

I believe the moderators on this site have requested that posted images include lens and basic EXIF data so that readers may view, compare, and make informed judgements of what they see.

I read a quote the other day that said 'Great photographers are both technical expert AND artist'. I took this to mean that they must possess mastery of the technical aspects of their equipment combined with creative imagination and the ability to recognize inspirational images. This is what I believe but, as I said above, to each his own.

In Topic: Olympus OM-D E-M5

10 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

Just to play devils advocate, or at least offer an alternative view, I think the 12-50 one-size-fits-all solution needs a little deeper consideration. In all honesty, I'm a little puzzled by the support it has received on this forum. It may be a great option for some, but may not be what others are looking for. At the very least, I think potential buyers should do their homework, and consider their own underwater photography background and interests. After reading all the reviews I could find about the 12-50, I wasn't even sure I wanted to buy it but it was offered with the camera body at a decent price and I thought it would be nice to have topside and I was curious about it for UWP. Here was my hesitation: the professional photographers and review sites that have carefully addressed the lens properties have been largely unimpressed with the 12-50 (see reviews by Thom Hogan, Ming Thein, Lenstip, pekkapotka, etc). The lens has been described as having "average image quality, awful distortion, and lacking in microcontrast". Its been called the "jack of all trades master of none", and described as a "swiss army knife- handy, but ultimately does not distinguish itself at any one task". Potka and Hogan have both said that the lens is better suited to video than still photography. While there have been other reviews of the "oh its not that bad" variety (Steve Huffington etc), its still not a lens that has garnered lavish praise from the professional MFT community, say the way the Olympus 60mm Macro has. My own impressions, from my own shots and the ones I've seen posted, are that the the prime lenses (8mm, 60mm, 45mm) offer better image quality. So while the 12-50 probably offers the greatest zoom flexibility, and the Nauticam port probably enables the lens the best, it still won't be my first choice if I'm aiming for top image quality from the EM5 system. Buyers should also recognize that the Nauticam port is one of the most expensive non-dome ports available and is also the only port/gear I know of that requires a detailed set of instructions on the mechanism assembly which involves the installation of 12 tiny screws to complete. This may prove cumbersome if you decide to end diving for the day and shoot the 12-50 topside and removal and replacement of the mechanism becomes a non-trivial decision. Also, shooting at 12 mm wide in a flat port won't be ideal if your goal is true WA images, and 50 mm macro (even with 2x crop factor) doesn't really feel macro enough compared to what I've been used to shooting (nikon 105 +/ - a 10+diopter) . Having performed my own careful comparisons in the swimming pool (shooting a silly orange & green toy), as well as topside comparisons, I'm not totally disatisfied with the 12-50 performance on the EM5. In fact, given the reviews, it was better than I was expecting. But after pixel peeping in Lightroom and examining image quality comparison to my other two lenses, I still would rate the image quality higher from the 8mm fisheye and the 60 macro lenses.

An UW photographer's setup is a deeply personal choice, and should reflect one's diving interests, photography knowledge and skill, and at least for most people, financial considerations. (I've yet to read a post where somebody said, "money is no object, what should I buy?") For me when starting out in UWP, I shot digital compact cameras (G9&11) so I understand the appeal of zoom capability on a single dive. But as time has gone on, and I've taken on DSLR gear, I find myself diving more frequently in locations that favor a single type of UW photography. For example, I spent a month in Indonesia last year, 3 weeks of which was in Lembeh. Consequently, my 60 and 105mm lenses were the only lenses on my d7000 while muck diving. Once I tried shooting WA but the visibility made this a pointless exercise. Conversely, if you are going to Socorro or some other pelagic destination, you may never take off your 10-17, 8mm fisheye, or whatever WA option you have available. Therefore, if you are the kind of diver that typically dives places with a predominant underwater focus, getting optimal image quality from deadicated primes, as opposed to flexibility, may be the best route. So when I considered getting an EM5, my own goal was not to seek a single lens/port solution to all my diving photography needs, but rather to purse the best image quality I could find. I went with 8mm Pan as a surrogate for my tokina 10-17, and the oly 60 mm macro in lieu of my nikon macro glass.

But I also have the 12-50 for the same reasons articulated by its supporters, so please note that this is NOT an anti-12-50 post....this lens offers something unique, I get it. Those that argue that the zoom capabilities of a 12-50 allow you to shoot every subject in a single dive are right..... you can, or at least you can shoot a wider range of subjects than with primes. And thats a good thing. But for me, I enjoy the idea of checking out a diving location, looking at water visibility, the amount of sunlight, the color of the water, and learning about the potential macrolife, and then making a decision of whether to shoot macro, WA, or something in between. This way, when I dive, I'm in the mindset of looking for creative image opportunities for the equipment I'm carrying, and I'll happily watch a beautiful spotted eagle ray cruise by and then resume hunting for tiny critters with a macro lens on my camera. I don't feel shattered that I missed a picture of the ray. For me, I've become more interested in creating interesting images than in documenting what I see underwater. And I know somebody will write back and say they can do that better with a zoom lens, fine, to each his own. As I said at the outset, this is an alternative view to that being repeatedly recommended in previous posts.

So the best advice is to do your research, read the reviews and opinions of those in the know, and assess your own diving and UW photography needs, and get the lens and port options you feel best align with your interests. You can improve your diving skills, learn to do better creative lighting and composition, and learn to adjust the feature set of the camera, all to improve the quality of the images-- but the image quality of an individual lens is a fixed property of that lens.

just my 2 cents.

(Leaving for a liveaboard on the GBR tomorrow....can't wait!)