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Nauticam NA-EM5 housing in use
adamhanlon posted a topic in Photography Gear and TechniqueI was lucky enough to have been able to use the new Nauticam NA-EM5 housing for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 yesterday. I didn't have the time to do a full review, but managed to have a long dive with it. I was also somewhat hampered by never having handled the camera above water! The housing and camera's owner Brett Thorpe of UK retailer Divelife and I literally swapped cameras underwater. I should also state at the outset that I have not used any other housings for this camera, so cannot compare it to anything else on the market. So some brief thoughts are appropriate. The housing is very small and compact, and despite Brett's somewhat "interesting" lighting that was attached to it, seems well balanced in the water. On the left hand was the zoom control, a nice easily found knob. It features two ribbed control dials that allow for separate shutter speed and aperture settings. I find that this is much more user friendly than sharing these controls via a menu or control pad function. I found the camera's EVF to be quite useful, even with the standard viewfinder. Given that I am used to magnifying and 45° viewfinders, the standard version felt somewhat awkward to use. It is just a question of getting used to it though. I can certainly see how the use of magnifying viewfinders with EVFs opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The LCD screen can be tilted within the housing (prior to sealing it). This is very convenient for shooting video. The housing's window gives a full view of the entire LCD. The camera's on-screen display (and that of the EVF) gives a great deal of information. Brett described how he finds accessing the camera's controls easier in the housing than on the camera body itself. Certainly, the controls seem well spread out on the housing. I was not using gloves, and had no issues using any of the housing controls at all. The shutter release is large and sensitive, and the housing has a "thumb groove" that provides a grip on the reverse. When using the tray grips, the shutter falls easily to hand. The video activation lever is quite small, but the lever is designed to stand proud of the housing body, so can be used easily. In fact, all the levers seemed to use this design, which makes them very functional despite their size. This camera and housing combination would be incredibly well suited to any fast moving action (whale sharks, whales, dolphins, sailfish etc). Swimming with this housing is incredibly easy! Depending on the subject, combining it with small strobes will make a really useful tool. I do not think it replaces an SLR system for most underwater situations however. The camera and housing size is a compromise, and the controls, whilst very good, are not as easy to use as those on a larger housing. One last though that is not relevant to the housing or camera's performance, and is entirely subjective, but the OM-D E-M5 is one good looking camera! I always felt that Olympus SLRs were iconic, and I think that the designers of this camera have managed to faithfully replicate this in a EVIL camera. I would welcome any further questions about the housing or camera and will do my best to answer them if I can. Thanks to Brett for his images. Adam.