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Storker

Member Since 05 Dec 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 08 2014 06:45 AM
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Topics I've Started

A year with the OM-D E-M5 and the M Zuiko 9-18

02 August 2014 - 10:59 AM

About a year and a half ago, I got myself an E-M5. I've been taking pictures topside for more than 30 years, and when I certified and started to take pictures underwater I soon realized that my Canon G9 compact with onboard flash just wasn't going to cut it in the murky Nordic waters. Macro and strobe only isn't my cup of tea (I like to use flash sparingly, balancing my flash with existing light), so to get decent exposure at depth, below the algal soup layer, the puny compact camera sensor with its pretty crappy high-ISO performance just couldn't deliver.

Enter the E-M5. Noticably more compact than a dSLR, but with a performance that more than matched my Nikon D300 I currently use topside. Lens and port choice was difficult, but I decided on a rectilinear WA, the 9-18mm f/4-5.6. Topside, fisheye really isn't my cup of tea, macro would be too cruel for my diving buddy, and I decided that the 12-50mm was too narrow for me. Besides, the Nauticam 12-50 port was outside my budget at the time. Also, the 9-18 is fairly low cost and is really compact, making it a good lens for topside use as well.


The first stage in my UW photo gear spending spree was an OM-D E-M5, the 9-18, the Nauticam NA-EM5 and the 4" semidome port. No strobe due to budget considerations. Just learning to utilize the WA perspective was a challenge for a guy who for several decades has clearly preferred the portrait tele perspective.

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2nd strobe on Nauticam NA-EM5: Where to mount the strobe arm?

07 June 2014 - 05:56 AM

I'm seriously considering a second strobe for my NA-EM5, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to mount the arms. The rig right now is kinda semi-compact, with a single handle tray, and I've mounted a handstrap on the right side of the housing, which I'm often using to be able to hold the camera safely in one hand while using the other for something else than holding onto the camera rig.

As far as I can see, I've got two options for mounting the arms for the second strobe: Either buying a right side handle for my tray and mounting the arms on the top of that, or screwing a strobe mounting ball into the M10 hole on the right side of the top of the housing. I kind of like the latter option, as I believe I'll be able to continue using the handstrap and have somewhat easier handling of the rig, and my right hand will still be close to the control buttons and dials on the right side of the housing. However, I'm not sure if there are any problems with such a setup.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to the two alternatives that I've overlooked? Any strong reasons to choose one of the options over the other?


OM-D E-M5 video: Annoying background noise

23 March 2014 - 01:41 AM

When recording video with my E-M5, I've noticed I have a weird background noise to all of my videos. It can be heard here. First time, I believed it was the engine of the boat we were diving from, but as I've been taking more videos, I hear it on every video. It's not there when I take videos topside, without the housing.

 

I've been experimenting a bit topside, and it seems as if the sound comes when the camera is moved. When I'm supporting the housing on my knee, it disappears shortly, but as soon as I'm panning it returns. It seems to be the same whether or not I use stabilizing, so I'd appreciate tips on possible causes and ways to avoid the noise. It's pretty annoying, and I'd like to be able to use the underwater sounds as a background to the soundtrack.

 

 

 

Gear setup: OM-D E-M5 in Nauticam NA-EM5, M Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6, 4" dome port, Inon Z240.


Only a couple of weeks left...

04 March 2014 - 06:03 AM

...to algal soup in the surface and crappy viz. If the local waters behave as they use to, for which, incidentally, there's no guarantee given the freaky weather we've had this winter. But that's another issue.

Right now we're thoroughly enjoying the last remainders of winter clear water, with the light finally coming to the high North. Here at 63 degrees North, the day is five and a half hours longer than at New Year, and the sun is actually rising significantly above the horizon again. Bliss! Too bad it's only a few weeks left to the spring algal bloom with pea soup viz, but right now we're enjoying maybe the best conditions of the whole year: 4-6 degrees (Celsius) water, 15-20m viz, good light. And I've been lucky to be able to work on my WA compositions the last couple of months:
 
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Where/how do you stow the neoprene dome cover?

20 February 2014 - 11:35 PM

Even if I thought I'd been rather careful with my camera and housing, I've gotten a few light scuff marks on the glass of my (Nauticam m43 4") dome port. It's probably happened on entry/exit during shore dives, when I occasionally have had to have the housing just hanging from my BCD, and I guess the dome has rubbed against my BCD on occasions. So far I haven't noticed any image deterioration underwater, so the scuff marks are probably masked by the similar refractive index of the water and the dome material. However, from now on I'm keeping the cover on the port until I'm safely in the water and have descended, and I remove it when I recover buoyancy, do the post-descent check on myself and the gear and extend the strobe arms which I keep "wrapped" around the housing while I'm on the surface.

 

The problem is: Where do I stow the port cover while underwater? My suit's thigh pocket is occupied by my dSMB and spool, and I'm worried I'll lose the port cover when I pull out the dSMB to shoot it. My BCD harness is already pretty cramped with "stuff" (octo on the right shoulder D-ring, backup light clipped to the left shoulder D-ring and bungied to the shoulder strap, SPG - and camera safety tether - on left hip D-ring and right hip D-ring is a bit unaccessible due to a gear pocket mounted on my right side). What do other people do with the cover when they're diving - unless they leave it topside?

 

Also, since I'm diving dry, my current suit is... let's say "not too big" (I've ordered a new one, by the way) and I'm wearing a rather thick hood and 6.5mm 3-finger wetgloves, my dexterity and freedom of movement is a bit restricted compared to you guys diving a 3mm shorty with no hood or gloves. That calls for a simple solution which I just haven't been able to find yet.

 

Any tips or ideas?