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Oly E-1 or Nikon 8400 for UW?

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I know the forums are filled with this vs. that questions from noobies, but I have found very little info on either of these cameras for UW.


I own an Oly E-1 (you can check out my land photos here: highsee3.smugmug.com ). I'm thinking about either picking up the Ike housing for the E-1, or perhaps the Nikon 8400 W/ Ike housing.


They will both come to about the same price. I like the idea of shooting with the Nikon for it's 24mm lens, smaller size, and live LCD. On the other hand, I don't want to give up 3fps in RAW and DSLR quality.


The problem is I can't try them out before hand. I don't even know how well I'll be able to see through the E-1 with my mask on, or if the Nikon will be frustratingly slow.


I live on Maui and dive 1/2 boat and 1/2 beach. $1,600 is my max spending limit including 1 strobe.

Maybe I'll just have to flip a coin :lol:

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Another option to consider is Canon, They make some great compact cameras that have a large amount of manual options. They also make their own housings for their cameras so you know they will be good guality. Also there is a huge range of different lenses that you can add on to the housing to give you even more options. Just another way to consider!!


Lee :lol:

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I have an E1 and rented a housing for it, I am waiting for the new pro Oly. I am in love with many qualities of the E1, as you probably are. It does a stellar job with blues, absolutely stellar, and the 7-14 lens is the reason I bought the whole system - but then, I am a wide guy, I want to do wide all the time, and I love being able to go to 14 (aka, 28) in case an animal shows up. It would certainly blow your budget. But basically, I want to take the 7-14 lens in the water, with a pro, weathersealed big-buffer camera behind it. I don't think you will outgrow the E1 soon. You will outgrow the 8400.


I made a longer post on it here:




and i have some high-asa ("noisy") samples here:




sorry for cross posting. My comment on the camera specifically from that post are:




The E1 has some excellent qualities.


The E1 is weather sealed well and could probably take a minor flood. Many land shooters have dropped theirs in streams, etc. A few regularly rinse theirs in the sink after shooting near the ocean. None fear shooting in the rain. I don't mind using mine on deck, even with wet hands. This is a real bonus in a camera.


Many of it's specs - particularly the 12 shot buffer, the color, and the general build quality - make it an excellent choice for an UW camera. Once you invest in a housing, you want a camera that can last a long time, and the E1 will.


And right now, it's down to what, $400? $500? I got mine with 14-54 for $775. If the E3 does not live up to my expectations, I may get a couple more E1s and call Ryan about that housing.


But I found it to have 4 major flaws.


1. Very poor low light focusing. It's worse than my 5050. But you could work around it: get a nice focus light, learn the huge DoF and hyperfocal distance it has with a wide lens on it. I would set it for manual focus and then tap the AE/AF button, which would momentarily trigger autofocus, and shoot away happily until my subject changed distance (wrecks in Truk move slow). So this can be worked around.


2. Very noisy at high ISO. I love shooting ambient light at times, on land and underwater. The E1 is so noisy up at 3200 asa that most shots will end up being turned into B&W so they look like an old grainy photograph. So you can work around that, too. But I wish it was less noisy. It's a great tool. But many cameras don't go to 3200, and not everyone would use it, so this would be irrrelevant to many.


3. Awkward to get to the histogram of the image you just took. You can get there, but it's an extra button press. Now, all of my pictures are exposed perfectly, but I have heard other people complain about this. So many of us wish they'd fix this! We dream of an E1n: same camera, maybe even same chip (maybe not, maybe more pixels), with just a few minor, practically only software, upgrades here and there. We hope the E3 does this!


4. No live view. I would use it a lot. Some would not. I think it would be killer for ultra macro.


Personally, I am waiting until Photokina, to see what the E3 brings. But if I'm not happy, I'm going to buy a bunch of $400 E1s and live happily ever after. The E3 had better be affordable, and it had better image blue water as well as the E1. I can put up with the E1s faults and a whole lot more for its color.


if these "flaws" don't bother you, and they may not, by all means, house it. In which case I hope Ryan has 2 housings or that Ike can be persueded with cash money to make one more. Or maybe I can convince the assembly line that I'm the other Roger Carlson and they need to restart E1 production, stat!

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Great reply!, very much on topic of what I was looking for.


I do want to get one thing straight, were there really only a handful of E-1 housing made? hard to believe.



On land the E-1 wins hands down, but underwater, I'm not so sure. For one, I'd need to pick up the 11-22 ($700) to match the 24mm of the 8400. Secondly, the 14-54 can focus only half as close as the 8400. Thirdly, the 8400 has a live preview.


With the Nikon, you can add the wc-E75 and dome lens port for a 18mm view. Again, I'd need the 7-14 or 8mm to match that view.


Am I correct in assuming that once the E-1 is housed, I could not zoom it? If that is the case, I feel the 8400 has more versatility in terms of lens choice.


No doubt the E-1 has a higher image quality, and shoots quickly in RAW, but I just thinking that the 8400 would be able to cover nudies and tiny shrimp as well as honus and monk seals on the same dive. Luck would have it that I find some harlequin shrimp (rare here on Maui) and not be able to shoot it. :-(


I love the E-1 and there is no doubt the the 7-14 is the finest wide angle zoom made by the big 4 (Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus). The 7-14 is up there with Leica and Carl Zeiss. Reason enough to own Oly gear.



Another option to consider is Canon, They make some great compact cameras that have a large amount of manual options.


thanks, I have now looked into Canon and the G6 is the one I would get, but it isn't quite wide enough for what I wanted. I don't want to have to add a conversion lens if I don't have to.


I used to shoot Canon film cameras before I switched to Olympus digital.

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"Am I correct in assuming that once the E-1 is housed, I could not zoom it? "


Nope, luckily, you can put a zoom gear onto the lens and use a knob on the housing to zoom it.




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You're going to be happy either way you go. I have had a point and shoot compact digital since 2001. I was either going to buy a 15mm for my nikonos or a digital; Jim church told me to buy the digital, he said it was what he was shooting for himself and he was having a ball. I've had an Oly 5050 now for several years and have taken several tens of thousands of frames with it underwater. I've done well in contests with it. I've gotten used to the lag and the buffer. And I love changing lenses in the water, I've captures some rare stuff, like a cooprerative cornetfish and a paper nautilus. And I love composing with the LCD.


But I really love the E1 color and glass. I have the 7-14 and the 14-54. The latter is pretty good in the water, a decent lens for fish portraits, large macro subjects, shy large fish (sharks, etc). But it's kind of a compromise lens and not what I'm looking for, most dives.


I don't know how many E1 housings were made. Few enough sold to disappoint Ikelite. I only know of a handful of underwater E1 shooters (look at Ike's site for some samples, one of Carlos Martinez's went a long way toward convincing me to buy the E1), or underwater oly shooters, for that matter. I make telescopes for a living, gotta agree with you on the glass, that's why I went with them.

Edited by RogerC

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