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hey

 

i'm new here and i would like to purchase a underwater photo equipment and i need some advice. so far i was thinking of getting a olympus om-d e-m1 with a nauticam housing. the only thing i dont like about it is the sensor size and the fact that there will most likely never be a olympus with a larger sensor. well maybe some time but not in the near future and i dont want to invest in equipment i can hardly upgrade and still use the lenses

 

so there is sony which also seems to be interesting, especially the Sony A6000. i know there are no housings for this camera yet but i think this is just a matter of months. what do you think? the A7r or some successor would then be the camera for the future and i still could use the e-mount lenses.

 

these are my major thoughts till now. so my question(s). what speaks for sony what for olympus? does anyone have one of the mentioned cameras and has some experience? any comparaisons?

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Some of the new Sony cameras themselves look great--nice sensors, small, lots of features. Unfortunately, the lens options are currently limited especially for underwater use. There are roadmaps that have been announced, but until the lenses are actually on sale you've got to take that with a grain of salt. On top of that, Sony has gone through quite a number of different mounts in the past few years (I think 4?), not all of which are compatible even with adapters.

 

When it comes to MFT, there are a couple generations of cameras from Panasonic and Olympus at this point with various strengths (different sizes, emphasis on video, etc.) But where MFT shines is the lens selection. Although the sheer number is still less than Nikon or Canon, there are now multiple high quality primes and zooms in almost every lens category. For underwater, there are 2 macro lenses (Panasonic 45, Olympus 60), at least 4 rectilinear wide angle lenses (Panasonic 7-14, Olympus 9-18, Olympus 12, Panasonic 14), several mid-range zooms, and even a fisheye (Panasonic 8).

 

There are certainly limitations of the smaller sensors used in MFT, but on the upside this allows not only the bodies but also the lenses to be much smaller and lighter. Although cameras like the A7r are about the same size as the E-M1, the lenses are still much larger than comparable MFT lenses. Moreover, a full frame sensor using larger lenses still requires larger ports (especially dome ports). Even though the sensor size difference between MFT and APS-C is not really that large (about 80% of the area), a MFT system is noticeably less bulky than a cropped sensor DSLR system.

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yeah was also concerned because of the availability of lenses. but since the zeiss touit 50mm macro is coming soon i think the situation is much better than it was till now. and with the 10-18mm there is also a good wide angle available.

 

i really think the olympus om-d e-m1 is a great camera with some great advantages like the lenses available, the splash- and dustproofnes, live-bulb mode, etc. but there is also the question of the price, the oly cost about the double or even more than the sony.

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DecidedlyOdd's comment was very thoughtful.

 

I would add that if lens upgrade-ability is a priority, then you should re-think your Sony strategy. Although the 10-18mm is available and the 50mm Macro is due soon, neither are full frame lenses so will only be usable in crop mode or with heavy vignetting. So you are still stuck moving to an A7R. Sony has a 16-35mm in the works as well as a 90mm Macro coming but both look like 2nd half '14 products at best.

 

Also if you are thinking full frame in the future, why not just go full frame now, instead of paying twice (once for a6000 and again for a7 or its iterations)?

 

I know that doesn't make the decision easier but more info can't hurt.

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that's true but i wont go for full frame within the next 2 years. and why i dont do it now is just because its to expensive, A7r around 2000-2500$, lenses xxxx$ housing around 3000-3500$, strobes around 2000$, etc... i really would like to go for it but thats far too much for me especially i'm still a student. A6000 or some Oly would be affordable within this year.

 

how do you mean, the 16-35mm works as a 90mm macro?

 

so you both think olympus is the better choice for now?

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I don't see the point why not to go for the A6000 (if housings would be available). The "lack of lenses" argument for sony is not really valid anymore. Some test shoots with the zeiss macro are availble on the net and they are promising. The arrival is delayed but it will be very soon I guess. The 30mm macro is also an excellent lens. Back to the film days 50mm macro was a normal, frequently used lens. 90mm macro lens is also on the roadmap. I think the wide angle options are also quite OK for sony including fisheye, Zeiss Touit 12mm, 10-18mm high quality zoom.

Considering the excellent sensor, fast AF, good EVF and moderate price, the sony A6000 is (in my opinion) the best buy mirrorless camera for underwater.

 

Cheers

 

Marcell

 

(I'm considering this camera to buy in near future)

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http://alyudesign.com/images/photo/sony-lenses.gif

 

Reality vs myth! :pardon:

 

I'm happy with the 5R and will definitely upgrade to A6000 for its AF speed. No Contrast Detection AF can even come close to tracking moving subjects like the A6000 at the moment.

Edited by A.Y.
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sigma has 3 more cheap AF prime lenses with excellent quality that missing from the list. Tamron has also 2 zooms (more or less the same) and Samyang has many good quality cheap MF lenses.

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how do you mean, the 16-35mm works as a 90mm macro?

 

I was referring to two different lenses. Sony just announced a 16-35mm wide angle zoom (for FE). Additionally there are rumors of a 90mm macro for year end. This would provide the basics for the Full frame system underwater (i.e. wide angle and macro). Hopefully the wide angle will be suitable for underwater (i.e. close focus distance).

 

also the nikonos fisheye lenses work well on the sony a7 full frame system. I did a post on that a while back. http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=51533&p=341634

 

fair point on costs for full frame. am in a similar position. I have a nex 7 and would love the a7 or a7r but am facing upgrade costs for camera, housing, and new lenses & ports (nex ports won't fit on an A series housing.) tough pill to swallow, even upgrading within the same system. just wanted to make sure you know what you were getting into. you could jump into an a6000 but make sure you only buy FE lenses, then at least its one cost you won't have to contend with later.

 

good luck in your decision. Loads of people here to support you whatever way you choose.

Edited by jmauricio

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While the lens list at first appears impressive, there are only 2 lenses that say macro. The first is the sony 30 mm macro which is mostly useless underwater with a very very small working distance. The second is a $1000 lens that isn't widely available but might be great, sample images underwater are quite rare. The A mount lenses might be useful but early on they focused ridiculously slowly. That being said, if Nauticam built an A6000 housing I would be tempted. Have to wait and see.

Bill

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Hi optikgee,

 

Maybe you could tell us why you do not like the sensor size, this could be helpful to answer your question or to discuss if - in your case - it does matter or not.

 

Jock

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Hey optikgee,

 

If you want test a Sony-NEX System you can contact me, i use a Sony NEX-5N in a Nauticam-housing with the 30mm F3.5 Macro, 16mm Wideangle (with Fisheye-Converter) and INON-Flashes. The new ZEISS Macro is ordered and i hope it will comes in the next 2-3 weeks.

 

 

Grettings from Goldach (Switzerland),

 

Tino

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Thanks for all the answers. Well i don't like the sensor size cause i do make photo-books for personal use and some times i also do gallery-prints and stuff like that. So the bigger the sensor size is, the less i'm limited with the size of the printings and they are still good quality. thats the main reason. Or am i wrong with that?

 

Thanks tdphoto, that would be great. Right now have a lot of work to do in University but if we could meet in July or so i would be really glad!

Gruss aus Melchnau

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... So the bigger the sensor size is, the less i'm limited with the size of the printings and they are still good quality. thats the main reason. Or am i wrong with that?

 

I would say: At least this is debatable (with no result in the end, I'm afraid... :evilgrin: ).

 

I could show you a coffeetable book (30x30cm) with my photos from an Olympus SP350 , tiny sensor, 5MP. The shortcomings are for sure NOT from the camera, more from print (and, of course, my ability). A couple of my friends thought it was a professional book until they stumbled over a pic with my wife...

 

IMHO discussions about sensor size in terms of image quality are more or less academic for the average photographer. Better resolution for a gallery print? Even if there is a difference at all, who in the world would go 2 inches/5 cm close to a large picture to count pixels?

 

One of the reasons a good friend of mine shoots full frame is quite simple: He has all the ports and some very expensive lenses from his analog days!

 

Or if you already have a stock of full frame (or APS-C) photos and want to add/mix them with M43, this might be a problem due to the different aspect ratio (3:2 vs. 4:3) - you need to crop.

 

Cropping might be an advantage of full frame. Have you done a lot of cropping up to now, say, crop 50% of the pic, regularly?

 

The internet is full of high resolution pics taken with the E-M5, just find some 100% magnification photos and decide for yourself if they are "good enough..." Seems there are quite a few professional photographers who think so.

 

For me (!) sensor size has been absolutely no point in deciding which camera to buy. As has been said above, lens availability for U/W and availability of a housing with an ergonomic layout have been more important.

 

Just my 2 cents, greetings

 

Jock

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It is quite easy to make stunning 17x22 inch (430 x 558 mm) prints from the EM-5, the EM-1 and the Sony Nex 5. If you want to go much bigger than that you might argue for a bigger sensor but even u4/3 can make great large prints.

 

I am printing the photos for the LAUPS scuba show (11x14 inches) and it is hard to tell what camera was used to make what pics. Of course the more pixels you have the more you can crop but out of the camera making 17x22 prints is quite reasonable.

 

Bill

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Your Sony A6000 housing has arrived, my vote is clear the E-M1 is a much better overall system.

 

These two cameras are not even in the same arena, you should really be looking at the Olympus E-M10 v. the A6000 as they are much closer in specs and price range.

 

http://www.nauticamusa.com/news/

Edited by Phil Rudin

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I think you're also limited to 1/160 sync speed with the A6000 using optical cables. The E-M10 does 1/320 over optical.

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A6000 does have a high flash sync. I believe that calls a dedicated converter to utilize this.

EM1 is a higher rank camera with better RAW buffer size.

A6000 has much higher pixel density

The image quality from both are similar except at extrem ISO

At low ISO, A6000 has better dynamic range at iso 50

At higher iso A6000 shows some advantage.

Both AF system works fast

Olympus, together with other M4/3 lens makers, form a very robust and high quality one. From wide to tele.

Sony has started taking the lens system more seriously since 2013. At wide side, there is the option of Zeiss 12 f2.8, Sony 10-18 OSS. There is a shortage of macro lenses. Currently there are only two options Sony 30 f3.5 and Zeiss 50 f2.8.

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Another point which might be worth thinking about: as far as I know, the Sony is not splash proof, the Olympus is. Not a bad thing if you consider in which environment you will use the camera. (It COULD save the camera in case of a minor flooding, or if you need to open the housing on a wet RIB or so.)

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again thanks for all the replies! well i sometimes print 750mm x 1000mm and i'm quite happy whit the results when i use my nikon which has an aps-c sensor.

 

@Phil Rudin. you're right, the comparison might be a little wrong. the oly brings some features which the sony can hardly beat and also the built quality is much higher, not forgetting the price.

 

@Jock. thats one of the main reasons why i would love the e-m1 and also the built in image stabilizer is a nice feature.

 

for me it wouldn't be a question if the oly had a bigger sensor thats the only point which speaks against it but still a important one.

 

does any one of you use one of those cams?

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If you are making prints that are 750mm X 1000mm then you are making prints that have a 4:3 aspect ratio which is full frame for the M43 format. With the ASP-C 3:2 aspect ratio you will be cutting something off of your image or you will not be using the full paper size. As a result you will reduce resolution by cutting off part of the total image area in effect making your image less than a 24MP image with a 24MP APS-C sensor camera. This is why medium format cameras use the 4:3 aspect ratio. Most print materials like magazines are much closer to the 4:3 format than they are to the 3:2 aspect ration. Being able to print closer to full frame is one of the upsides to the 4:3 format. I know that you can get parer in the 3:2 ratio to print with, finding frames in these sizes is more difficult.

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I have a number of Nex cameras from Nex5, Nex5n, Nex3n, Nex5r and Nex6. I have briefly used EM5 and A6000. The focusing speed of A6000 is faster the EM5 and on par that of EM1. If you start from nothing, then EM1 is a better choice for better IBIS, better range of lenses available, and larger buffer in terms of number of RAW files taken.

I cannot speak for the print image quality but A6000 has a larger sensor size, newer design should have an impact on IQ, especially those printed at large size.

You can also look into A7 which is a full frame camera in the price range of EM1. The printed quality should be much much better

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As someone using different sensor formats (m43, APS-C,FF and sometimes even larger) and my experience on land I would say there is some difference in IQ between the different sensor formats. The larger the sensor the smoother the images do look IMO (tonality). They also seem to have more "depth" (whatever that is) The smaller the sensor the more important it is to really nail exposure in the first step/the less flexible the files are for any post processing and exp compensation in post can produce noise and ugly colors.

Dynamic range is another factor even though I find m43 surprizingly good in this regards.

Of course one of the big difference between different sized sensor is DOF for same f-stops, and while on land I can see subjects where shallow DOF is nice (advantage of bigger sensors), I would think under water more often large/deep DOF is needed (advantage for smaller sensor).

The other thing is user interface, the EM1 has many functions with direct and easy access. Thats nice (even though overall I find the camera a little overloaded which can be confusing).

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hey

 

i'm new here and i would like to purchase a underwater photo equipment and i need some advice. so far i was thinking of getting a olympus om-d e-m1 with a nauticam housing. the only thing i dont like about it is the sensor size and the fact that there will most likely never be a olympus with a larger sensor. well maybe some time but not in the near future and i dont want to invest in equipment i can hardly upgrade and still use the lenses

 

so there is sony which also seems to be interesting, especially the Sony A6000. i know there are no housings for this camera yet but i think this is just a matter of months. what do you think? the A7r or some successor would then be the camera for the future and i still could use the e-mount lenses.

 

these are my major thoughts till now. so my question(s). what speaks for sony what for olympus? does anyone have one of the mentioned cameras and has some experience? any comparaisons?

I have been using Nex camers ever since its birth...so far having 6 bodies actively using. I brought Nex 5n and Nex 5r down under water, using an inexpensive housing from Meikon for Nex5n and affordable housing from 10Bar for Nex 5r. I have most of the available lenses for Nex mounts, ranging from kit lenses to 18-200 as zooms and also primes from both Sony and Zeiss.

Having said that, it appears you do not have extensive underwater shooting experience. With some 300 logs, I am still struggling to take a good one. I learnt from here and other that the most important issue in having good image underwater is good buoyancy control.

 

As for housing you can choose from

1. Inexpensive housings made in China under different names of Meikon, Meike, Polaroid etc etc. These housings selling at in incredible price, the price of a filter... Here is the link http://www.meikon.cc/products.asp?classid=&id=872

They are good for: being very affordable, good quality, proven waterproof up to 40M.

However there are a number of drawbacks: 1. buttons not working under 19M, which was the greatest depth after I returned my older housings in exchange of newer designs. 2. Lack of zooming 3. Previously 67mm filter thread removed 4. Designed fault that the housings can be closed even with a spring button clamped inbetween, which lead to the flooding of my first 5n. 5. Very slow to market...currently the latest housings are for Nex6 which was discontinued recently.

 

2. Nauticam: if you can afford one, there is no doubt in both handling and quality and necessary accessories. To my knowledge, this is the only company providing A6000 housing at this moment.

 

3. 10Bar: I have been using this for my Nex5n. Very robust and inexpensive. However, the company does not produce any more Nex housings after Nex5t.

 

4. Ekelite: probably the best buy for the money. They manufacture big and huge transparent housings for all popular camera models at reasonable price. The drawback is the weight and bulkiness.

 

 

As for lens, if you are not too serious about image quality, the 16-50 kit lens is an OK option. For your purpose, the 16-70 Zeiss zoom offers the best possible solution with good magnification rate, small size and incredible quality. With an addon close up filter lens like offers from Subsee or Inon, you can do good macros as well. I will never recommend a lens like 18-200 to be used underwater. One of the drawbacks is painfully slow AF. An alternative is the 18-105 F4. I actually bought this one but it does not fit my port......with the same size as 18-200.

 

Generally we use prime lens for diving, say a dedicated macro lens like Sony 30/f3.5 or fisheye like Zeiss 12f2.8

2.

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As someone using different sensor formats (m43, APS-C,FF and sometimes even larger) and my experience on land I would say there is some difference in IQ between the different sensor formats. The larger the sensor the smoother the images do look IMO (tonality). They also seem to have more "depth" (whatever that is) The smaller the sensor the more important it is to really nail exposure in the first step/the less flexible the files are for any post processing and exp compensation in post can produce noise and ugly colors.

Dynamic range is another factor even though I find m43 surprizingly good in this regards.

Of course one of the big difference between different sized sensor is DOF for same f-stops, and while on land I can see subjects where shallow DOF is nice (advantage of bigger sensors), I would think under water more often large/deep DOF is needed (advantage for smaller sensor).

The other thing is user interface, the EM1 has many functions with direct and easy access. Thats nice (even though overall I find the camera a little overloaded which can be confusing).

EM1 should be the best one.

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