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Draq

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Everything posted by Draq

  1. I recently came back from my first dive trip using the E-M1 mkii in its Nauticam housing. It was also the first time I used the Olympus 7-14 lens instead of the Panasonic. Without going into a lot of detail, here is what I found: I am very happy with the camera. I experimented with the autofocus tracking and came away very impressed. Sometimes it was just slightly slow to lock focus in that mode, but it did a good job of tracking even juvenile fish with their tendency to dart around. Very few images that were not in focus due to the camera miscalculating the intended target or losing lock. I have not heard anything about Olympus changing metering behavior, but I used the TTL metering with the Inon Z-240 strobes and whether wide angle or macro, it was consistently excellent. I had good experiences with Inon STTL with the E-M1 and other Olympus cameras but it somehow seemed even more reliable now. Frankly, I was having such success with it, I pretty much shot ttl the entire time. I think the cloudy or shade white balance may work a bit better than auto wb, but it was easy enough to adjust all images in Lightroom. I used auto iso quite a bit while shooting manual or aperture priority and was happy with how that worked out. The camera battery could usually get me through about 6 dives before I changed it because it was reading less than 50% capacity. I don’t know about the new batteries but prior experience was that Olympus batteries would run down pretty fast once they were showing 45% or less capacity. I suspect I could have gotten another dive out of each battery charge. I know the modest increase in the sensor’s MP count should not make much difference, but I found that I have just a bit more latitude in cropping images when I want to and the images in general are just slightly cleaner. I was hoping the Olympus 7-14 would provide better corner sharpness than the Panasonic, but that does not appear to be the case, or if it is better, it is only slightly better. I shot mostly around F8 in a 170 dome and I guess I will try shooting around F11 next time. It seems this focal length is hard to work with and may need an even larger dome, if you need sharper corners. On the other hand, the Panasonic tended to produce some unpleasant color fringing that was hard to edit out in post. That does not seem to be present with the Olympus lens so I still consider it a better choice and will stick with the Olympus for that reason alone. The lens is fine if you don’t need sharp corners or can crop them out. I had wanted to play with the pro capture feature using a video light, but I did not get the chance, so that experiment is going to have to wait until later this summer. As expected, the 12-40 in the 170 dome, the 60mm in a macro port and the 8mm in a 100 dome all produced great results with no complaints. Overall, I would say I am very pleased. I did not shoot any video with the camera. I would be tempted to try a 200mm dome for the 7-14 if that option existed. I would not want to deal with anything larger than that.
  2. Architeuthis: I am interested to see how that adapter works out, but I have no idea what it costs or how it will perform. As I understand it, you will not get yours until June or July. I think it It is hard for people to make a purchasing decision on an expensive dome based on the possibility that a custom part might be available to make it work. What is the cost of the adapter? Please let us know how it works out for you after you get it.
  3. Do they have you put the lenses and bodies in one of those plastic bins or would it work to leave them in something like a Pelican case if nothing but camera gear was in the case?
  4. Jetor: I don't know that anyone has conducted any comparison tests underwater to see if either 7-14 is better than the other. Typical comparisons between lenses on land are not always helpful to underwater usage and the faster speed of the Olympus lens probably does not mean much in most underwater situations. Also keep in mind that variations form one lens to the next may be greater than any inherent differences between the brands, so even lens tests may not be helpful. However, these days Panasonic and Olympus seem to be increasingly diverging in their features and I think it can be beneficial to try and stick with the same brand lens and body. I did not used to feel that way and have several Panasonic lenses for my Olympus cameras. I am sure I will continue to buy some Panasonic lenses, but to give one example, Olympus has the new "pro-capture" feature that does not work with Panasonic lenses. That said, the Panasonic 7-14 is less expensive than the Olympus and you can save quite a bit by avoiding adapters, so it may be worth it to get the Panasonic, especially if you are hoping for a single dome to use with the 8mm and the 7-14. Keep in mind that dome does not work with the 12-40. You may want to wait and see how the 8-18 lens form Panasonic performs and what domes work with it. It is very close in size to the Panasonic 7-14. I chose to go with the N120 dome that works with both the 7-14 and 12-40 and I use a small dome for the 8mm.
  5. Both the Zen and Nauticam domes are optically coated. The 170 would be fine I am sure, but unless you are concerned with doing over-under shots, or have some other need, the size is not necessary for that lens in that format. I use a 100 dome because I wanted small size for close focus purposes, and I am happy with it. The 140 might/should provide sharper corners, particularly at larger apertures and would probably be better if you wanted to do some over/under shots. Pretty much a toss up depending on your interests. Either would be an excellent choice with no strong pros or cons to either.
  6. The version ii Zen dome you are describing does not fit the Oly 7-14, only the Panasonic 7-14. If you want a single optical glass dome from Zen for both the Oly 7-14 and 12-40, you need to get the 120 dome with appropriate adapters. That is what i use for those lenses. Going back to the items priced by your nauticam dealer, I would change things up a little and not get the extension with screws. You have to remove and reinstall the screws any time you wish to install or remove the extension ring. I don't recall for sure, but I think that means you need to get the Zen dome and not the nauticam. Check with a dealer before relying on that, however. I could be wrong. I don't know about your local dealer, but most of the well known US dealers who sell nauticam also sell Zen and can help you with this. For example, Optical Ocean Sales, Bluewater Photo, Backscatter and Reef Photo.
  7. Since the risk is reportedly related to explosives that can look like the battery, it seems like it should not include lenses, but I don't know. I suspect the rules will not break things down with sufficient specificity, and even if lenses are not the intended target or included per se, unless they are specifically excluded, I would hate to rely on airport security or airline employees to get that right. I would not want to have this argument with some security guy at an airport somewhere and suddenly find I have to check all my lenses when I have not planned to do so. I understand about packing a case within a case, and if I have to go this route I guess I will look into that if I have to go this route and will definitely improve my insurance situation. I am as concerned about damage and mis-routing of bags as much as theft. I don't think I would trust thousands of dollars in lenses to be safe just bundled up in a suitcase. I have seen way too many destroyed luggage pieces to be comfortable with that.
  8. FYI, I just got back form a trip and got hassled about batteries. I had the document Jack refers to or something very similar and pulled it out and was told by the gate agent that this was a homeland security issue and not an FAA issue. I disagreed as politely as possible and eventually prevailed, but almost lost some expensive batteries. Also, be aware that although FAA rules prohibit lithium batteries in checked bags, Mexican airport security will seize any batteries they find in carry-on and will tell you they should have been in checked bags. They will also take not just lithium, but eneloops and energizers too. I speak from experience. I now have several "devices" I take with me to Mexico, with batteries installed, to get through Mexican airport security on the way back (primarily cheap flashlights that I do not use, that will hold AA, AAA, 18650 and similar batteries. I also leave such batteries installed in working lights and other devices when I go through security. Camera batteries are tougher challenge but if left in the charger they will often be ignored.
  9. Over the past couple of days, Homeland Security has been talking about extending its cabin electronics ban to all transatlantic flights. If that happens I assume it won’t be long before it gets applied to more flights such as from Indonesia, Philippines, maybe even the Caribbean. I expect that if that happens, our British and EU friends would utilize the same restrictions. I am hoping they will find a way to carve out some exception for cameras but I sort of doubt it. So, I am thinking I need to begin working on a contingency plan to check my camera and lenses when I fly. I am not happy about that, but I certainly don’t want to find myself at an airport and have them insist my shoulder bag with camera body and lenses has to get checked. Besides looking into better insurance for theft and damage, I am thinking of getting a Pelican 1610 case and using trek dividers, or perhaps the Kaizen foam that looks to be an upgrade from the pluck foam stuff. I was also thinking of trying the new Pelican “Elite” luggage in a similar size for the TSA locks and more streamlined design, but worry it may not be as protective. I will undoubtedly have to pay extra checked bag fees and have more of a hassle getting through airports, but if indeed, cameras and lenses are banned in the cabin, I won’t have an option. I would love to hear what others do about luggage choices and strategies for checking cameras and lenses, since I have so far avoided that (except for one unpleasant incident at Gatwick years ago that resulted in a damaged camera body and two destroyed lenses). I will just add that since the problem seems to be ability of bad guys to disguise explosives as batteries, anything with a removable battery should be able to fly in the cabin. I wonder if there are any camera industry or photographic industry lobbyists or politicos who could try to influence this issue. Anyway, I would love to hear suggestions, techniques, etc, fr dealing with this if it comes true.
  10. The soft corners issue with the 7-14 isn't really a lens problem,it is a common problem when using rectilinear wide angle lenses in a dome. Stopping down the lens and paying some attention to what is in the corners helps a lot and beyond that it is just something that comes with the lens/port combo. I doubt the 8-18 can make any change in that. A wider dome helps. I would not use a 6". One benefit with micro four thirds is that a 180mm dome mitigates the problem pretty well while if you were shooting full frame, you would be looking at a 230mm dome to minimize corner softness at that field of view. Those things are hard to pack. Luckily, since we typically use strobes, closing the lens down does not really present much of an issue. I think I have heard the WWL 1 can produce better corner sharpness than perhaps any other ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) rectilinear option, but that comes at the $ price of a traditional glass dome port, significant weight, and for micro four thirds, it really only works with the various kit lenses, that are not usually known for their quality as far as distortion and corner sharpness. I doubt the WWL1 can make an average lens better. For a compact camera or the Sony system with its weak lens choice in ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle, I think it is more compelling. I am one of the few people who seem to be really fond of the 12-40 underwater. At 12mm, sharp corners are not an issue and I usually find it wide enough for nice reef shots and that sort of thing, although it isn't enough for real CFWA shots. The lens will focus down to less than 8" and at 40mm, that provides the opportunity to fill the frame with some pretty small objects, although certainly not a full macro. I can use the same dome for the 12-40 as the 7-14. I wish there was something like the Canon 8-15 or the Tokina 10-17 available, but other than that, I am pretty happy with the lens availability in this format.
  11. Okay. I can't help regarding video as I only shoot video with a gopro. For stills, I have never used the WWL 1, so I can't comment from personal experience, but I am not sure the one lens (or port) to do it all is worth the weight and complexity of using a WWL1 and actually taking it on and off in the water. Seems like an excellent opportunity to lose or damage a very expensive item. Others can speak to this from experience. If you want to be able to do macro then then the best choices are the 45 or 60 macro lenses and you go out expecting to shoot macro and nothing else. That is what I do. For CFWA, my first choice is the 8mm FE in a small dome. The 7-14 can do CFWA but you have to work with a larger dome. I assume the situation would be the same with the 8-18. If I don't know what I will be seeing or want a "general purpose" lens, I take the 12-40, which shares the same dome as the 7-14. It isn't all that wide, but it focuses quite close at 40mm and is acceptably wide (to me) at 12mm for casual wide angle work. Those 4 lenses cover anything I want to and require three ports, a 100mm dome, a 170 dome and a macro port. If I really felt I needed a single solution for everything from macro to wide angle, I would probably look at one of the better compacts and take a wet lens or two. Frankly, I think I "see" photo opportunities better when I am limited to one type of photo. By that I mean that when I am set up for macro, I am consciously "focusing" (sorry for the pun) on macro subjects and I see more than when I have no specific photo goal in mind. That works for me but I am sure many do the opposite. I have from time to time used the 12-50 in the special dedicated Nauticam port that allows the macro button to be used, but somehow I never seem to enjoy that as much as other options. I don't know if that helps. Most of us go through various options before settling on what works, or never settling...
  12. There is a new 45mm macro? I guess I missed something.
  13. Thanks for the input. Moving up from an EM1 I am familiar with a lot of the settings but was curious if anyone had used or experimented with the AF tracking settings (Loose-Tight), the different focus point options, etc. I have largely set mine up like the EM1 but there are some options new to this model. I assume those of you dealing with wb questions are doing video? I find that auto wb or the cloudy setting makes final adjustment in lightroom or PS quite easy. I am interested in trying the pro capture feature using a video light. I don't know exactly what I hope to accomplish but I think it sounds like an interesting experiment.
  14. I finally had time to mess around with settings on the EM1 Mkii. Kind of a daunting array of options. I think I have it set up the way I want now. I was wondering if anyone who has had the chance to shoot with this camera underwater has any thoughts on preferred settings?
  15. I don't know if it would or would not work, but this would primarily be something for use on a compact camera. I doubt anyone uses it on an Olympus EM so you may not get many responses.
  16. I think this lens could be interesting for land use because it will accept filters. Underwater I doubt it will offer any benefit over the 7-14 lenses now available. From what I have seen it (understandably) is similar in size to the 7-14 lenses so I don't think it would work in a N85 dome, but maybe it will and if so, I suppose that could be a benefit.
  17. Joss: I looked at your photos. You are doing well! I am not sure which aspects you want to improve with a new camera. It seems to me that some of your shots are a bit underexposed, although that could be the look you intended; what are you using for strobe(s)? Also I think some of the shots could be improved by being a bit closer. Might help with exposure as well. I have usually transported all the gear (except camera body and lenses) in a Thinktank Airport International. That required the 170 to be packed vertically in the bag which is fine if the bag stays with me. If I anticipated that the bag might get checked, I moved everything into a Pelican 1510, and would put the housing or a port or two in a smaller carry-on bag. When I upgraded to the new housing for the E-M1 Mk ii, I found it just enough taller that the Airport International bag is not working for me. For now, everything but the housing goes in the Pelican and I put the housing in my "personal item" that the airlines allow and that also carries the camera and lenses. Alternatively, I could get everything in the Pelican except the 170 dome and carry that with me. When I choose to leave a lens or two and a port behind, everything fits better, but I often take three lenses and three ports along with the strobes and all the bits and pieces. I try very hard to avoid ever having my dive photo stuff get checked as luggage except when I have to take one of those small inter-island type planes.
  18. I think if you are looking for small, then you might want to stick with a compact, but the next size up would probably be something like an Olympus E-M10 or a Panasonic GX85. The video abilities of those are likely not as good as a GH4, so you may need to compromise on either the video capabilities of the size. Of course, compared to a Canon or Nikon housed camera, even the GH4 is small.
  19. Not for me to say, and I suppose I don't really care, but I wonder if a lot of the discussion about video techniques and video performance of the GH5 would better fit in the video forums than the mirrorless forum? Obviously the camera fits under both headings, but video people might have more interest and valuable input on video-specific features and performance. Or maybe not.
  20. I have a couple of these that I don't need. let me know if still interested
  21. Phil: Perhaps I am misunderstanding your post, but the Zen DP-100 works for the Olympus 8mm and the Nauticam housing when used with the 30mm mini extension.
  22. I can't help a lot but I made a similar inquiry about a year or so back and I use the 100mm dome because I like CFWA shots and the 100mm allows me to get the dome closer in some situations. I considered the 140 but went with the 100 for that reason. If I were not interested in the close focus ability, I would have gone with the 140. So, the answer, I think, depends on your usage. I am not sure there is much added benefit in a larger dome than 140 for this format and lens, and am not sure what larger dome even works with the Oly 8mm.
  23. I have one of these I would be interested in selling. It is the Type ii version, not the original one. Send me a PM if interested
  24. I am not being judgmental or critical and I understand the desire to do both stills and video. Because I shoot stills, I chose the Olympus, but it is capable of 4k video if I want to use it. The Panasonic seems to offer a lot of advanced video features that would be of interest to folks really into video. I don't even understand all the ups and downs of bit rates, system frequencies and data rates. Since both the Pana and Oly cost about the same, have very similar sensors and use the same lenses, I am just curious why someone not seriously into video would go with the Panasonic, which is not even equipped to optically trigger strobes without an aftermarket device. Certainly either camera would offer several improvements over an E-M5. Even though I have already upgraded to what I want and am not in the market at all for a GH5, it is often interesting to hear what goes into other people's decision-making. Reviews on the GH5 are starting to appear, but nothing on underwater stills use, yet.
  25. I am curious. The GH5 is a very video-centric camera that uses the same lenses as the E-M1 mkii, which is more aimed at photography than video. I assumed most people waiting to house the GH5 were doing so for the video features, but the talk of strobes makes me think at least some of you are looking forward to it as a stills camera. If that is right, why the GH5?
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