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timnicholsoniom

Olympus PEN-EPL3 vs Sony NEX-5N - Help required

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I currently use a Canon G10 in an Ikelite housing with a single DS-125 strobe. I have the WD-4 wide angle adapter (which I’m not very impressed with) and the M67 adapter and Inon UCL-330 and UCL-165 macro lenses (which I am impressed with). I use the camera year-round mainly in UK waters, with occasional trips abroad. I like the flexibility the wet-lenses provide, and the fact I can operate the Ikelite housing and strobe with gloves that cold water diving requires. I get good macro and close-up results, less good wide angle results.

 

I am looking to upgrade my set-up. My “requirements” are:

 

• Improved image quality

• Improved low light capability

• Dual strobes for more even lighting

• Better wide angle capability

• Equivalent or better macro capability

 

Short of a DSLR, I had been considering the following two options, with what I consider to be the pros and cons.

 

Olympus PEN-EPL3 in Olympus with dual Sea&Sea YS-01 and an Inon UWL-H100

Pros: Underwater flexibility; compatibility with the Inon UCL-330 and UCL-165 macro lenses; price (my estimate ~£2.5K inc. strobes)

Cons: Use with gloves; sensor size (micro 4/3); 40m limit; lack of eTTL

 

Sony NEX-5N in e.g. Nauticam with dual Sea&Sea YS-01

Pros: Sensor size (APS-C); camera capability; flexibility for choice prior to diving

Cons: Lack of underwater flexibility (i.e. stuck with lens chosen prior to dive); lack of eTTL; price (my estimate >£3.5K inc. strobes)

 

(The Panasonic GX1 & Nauticam NA-GX1 is another option, but I have done little research into this)

 

I’m pretty sure that I have decided on dual Inon S2000s, which I think are compatible with each option, but I do have a concern over my ability to use these with 3mm gloves on.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on which I should choose?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Tim Nicholson

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Have you read the reviews of the new Olympus OM-D? No housing yet, but the camera looks very promising.

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The omd/em5 is a killer system, and oly has already announced their own housing, which is about the same quality as ike housings..

 

Phil Rudin commented on the em5 versus nex7! over at scubaboard:

 

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/olympus-o...tml#post6340612

 

A good read. For underwater, Sony does not have enough lenses yet, nor are the lenses in the pipeline.

 

The panasonic and oly lenses for micro 4/3 are really good, and cover all the tradeoffs of quality and price, that you could ask for.

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I had the same dilemma when upgrading from my S95. Two thoughts:

 

1) The m4/3 lens universe is much better than the Sony range, as Derway & others have pointed out. In particular many of the available 4/3 lenses are well suited to UW photography. Also there are more lenses under active development

2) Re the depth rating: the Oly housing is 'only' rated to 40m, true. But personally I find photography a challenge when I am past 30m, and I cannot imagine taking photos past 40m. It's a task loading issue given how attentive I have to be to gas, deco obligations, buddy etc at that depth. So I don't think the 40m rating is an issue, at least for me personally. I understand that other divers will want to do this.

 

I ended up going with the PEN E-PL3, Oly housing, Precision dome & single YS-01 strobe (for now). I find the buttons on the Oly housing easy to operate through my 5mm gloves.

 

Phil

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The em5 housing is rated to 45, and reports are folks taking down the same rated housings to 55-60 no troubles...

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Have you read the reviews of the new Olympus OM-D? No housing yet, but the camera looks very promising.

 

Thanks for your suggestion. I hadn't read any reviews, but have now. This does look like a serious contender! More headache :-)

 

I had the same dilemma when upgrading from my S95. Two thoughts:

 

1) The m4/3 lens universe is much better than the Sony range, as Derway & others have pointed out. In particular many of the available 4/3 lenses are well suited to UW photography. Also there are more lenses under active development

2) Re the depth rating: the Oly housing is 'only' rated to 40m, true. But personally I find photography a challenge when I am past 30m, and I cannot imagine taking photos past 40m. It's a task loading issue given how attentive I have to be to gas, deco obligations, buddy etc at that depth. So I don't think the 40m rating is an issue, at least for me personally. I understand that other divers will want to do this.

 

I ended up going with the PEN E-PL3, Oly housing, Precision dome & single YS-01 strobe (for now). I find the buttons on the Oly housing easy to operate through my 5mm gloves.

 

Phil

 

Hi Phil. Thanks for the response. I have been "informed" that the Sea&Sea sTTL is unreliable with the Oly - how are you finding it? Tim

 

Some of my observations on NEX-5N.

 

Very interesting - thank you.

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The omd/em5 is a killer system, and oly has already announced their own housing, which is about the same quality as ike housings..

 

Phil Rudin commented on the em5 versus nex7! over at scubaboard:

 

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/olympus-o...tml#post6340612

 

A good read. For underwater, Sony does not have enough lenses yet, nor are the lenses in the pipeline.

 

The panasonic and oly lenses for micro 4/3 are really good, and cover all the tradeoffs of quality and price, that you could ask for.

 

Hi derway. This is not an option I had even considered. It certainly does look very interesting - although I'm not sure I'd "push" a 45m rated housing to 60m with an £1,100 camera inside it :-) Tim

 

The OM-D EM-5 has definitely generated more "lust" than the PEN EPL-3 :-)

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Hi Phil. Thanks for the response. I have been "informed" that the Sea&Sea sTTL is unreliable with the Oly - how are you finding it? Tim

 

I have heard that too, but I only ever use it on manual settings. I must be a luddite when it comes to TTL.

 

Just a bonus note on lust: if I were buying it all today I would go for the EM-5 for sure, no question. But I am happy with the E-PL3.

Edited by philwat44@gmail.com

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