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steve c r

oly em1 manual white balance issues

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hi all can some body point me in the right direction please . i am having major probs getting my em1 to manually white balance underwater. i can get it to set on land but it will not work underwater it just comes up with the message try again. any ideas? thanks steve

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Hi Steve

 

I've dived with various Olympus compacts an m43rds (including EM and EP models) and they all do the same thing. I've given up even trying and doing everything RAW.

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Steve - I've dived almost 2 years with the EM5 and have recently switched to the EM1. White balance is a problem. But then again, NOTHING is as good as a Canon when it comes to white balance underwater. With a Magic Filter gel behind the Lumix 8mm fisheye, you will be able to white balance down to around 45 feet. Without it, 30-35 feet is the best you can do. Usually, if I'm shooting natural light, I'll have the magic filter in place. With the EM1, which has 4 white balance presets, I white balance on the way down at varying depths. Preset 1 at around 15-20 feet, then again at 30 feet, and the final one as deep as I can get it. You just have to keep trying on the way down. Get a white balance as deep as you can and take that down with you to whatever depth. Be sure to shoot RAW and correct the rest in post. It's important get the deepest white balance you can because you don't always have enough adjustment range in Lightroom after the fact. On the way up, I just switch to the white balances I captured on the way down. If the diving conditions remain relatively constant, you can often re-use your white balance presets day after day.

 

**One tip to help the OMD cameras obtain white balance underwater is to increase exposure a bit over what the meter recommends. +1/2 or +1EV often helps.

 

There are two types of magic filters. The lighter one designed for manual white balance (MWB), and the darker one called "Auto Magic", designed for compact cameras with no MWB capability. If I remember correctly, I was able to get my EM5 to white balance down to around 60 feet with the Auto Magic. It's worth experimenting...

 

On the plus side with an OMD and the Lumix 8mm, you get what is essentially a stabilized fisheye lens that is more stable than anything short of an IMAX camera! IBIS is really amazing with this lens underwater.

Edited by jplaurel

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Manual balance is useful for video underwater. But for stills just shoot RAW and forget about trying to set the camera's white balance underwater.

If you feel the need to get a white balance, you can take a shot that includes something white and then use this to set the white balance for all other photos at around this distance/depth. When doing white balancing in this way you only need something white that occupies a dozen pixels in the image, and like manual white balance you don't need it in every image. I often just use some white bit of a logo on a buddy's gear to white balance at that distance for my current depth.

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