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Tam

Olympus E-M1 with Olympus or Nauticam Housing?

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Hi,

 

as so many before me I am trying to decide which camera + housing combination would be best for me.

I narrowed it down to Olympus E-M1 with Olympus or with Nauticam housing. I allready own an Inon Z-240 strobe which I would like to continue using if possible.

Maybe you can shed some light on the Pros & Cons of either?

 

The obvious pro for the olympus PT-EP11 is the price.

What I read is, that it might be a little unstable on the base plate

and since it isn't aluminium you could get some trouble with fogging of the port.

It should support most lenses due to exchangeable port system.

 

The Nauticam NA-EM1 on the other hand is much more stable and is supposed to have better handling.

You have tons of matching Nauticam equipment, you can probably add any lens due to port availability.

In terms of size and weight the nauticam is possibly a bit heavier, but not by much...

 

Background:

Until recently I used a Canon G10 in a Patima Housing with a Inon Z-240 strobe and focus-light.

Since I had some water in my housing during the last dives I want to use this as a reason to upgrade.

Above water I use DSLRs from Canon (5dmk3, 80d) but since housings for these are very expensive & very bulky I think the best way to go is Olympus OM-D for underwater.

UW I am very much into Macro (which my recent setup didn't manage very well). I have not much experience with fisheye or Wideangle underwater yet, but would like to be able to go there in the future.

I was very impressed by the pics I saw taken with E-M5 II, but I believe the (old) E-M1 would perform better for me underwater, since I am not much into filming and the AF of the E-M1 seems way better than the E-M5 II. I am aware that the E-M1 II is much better, but it also is much more expensive and I hope that the older model would be enough for my purposes (considering I only dive about one week per year).

 

Since I allready own a Inon Z-240 flash I would prefer to use it (and not get a new one as well). Does anyone know if the Z-240 works well with the Olympus E-M1? Does any kind of TTL work in this combination?

 

Considering lenses, I think I will start with either 12-50 or 12-40 and the 60mm Macro lens.

Later I would like to add something like the 8mm/1.8 fisheye.

 

The Nauticam housing was very much recommendee to me by several divers, but when I see people here taking great shots using the olympus housing I am unsure if the Nauticam would really be worth it for me.

Edited by Tam

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Tam:

 

The simplest part first...the Z-240 works fine with an Olympus E-M1 and works in TTL mode. I have used those strobes with different Olympus cameras for several years and am still using them.

 

The housing question is much harder to answer. I have used Nauticam housings for several years and like them. My son has an Olympus camera in an Olympus housing and is happy with that. The Nauticam offers more port choices and if you later want to use a different Olympus camera or a Panasonic camera, it is more likely that Nauticam will support that camera and more likely that you can continue using the same ports. Nauticam also offers a vacuum check system that adds a lot of comfort that your housing is not flooding and I think also reduces the chance of flooding a little bit. On the other hand, the Nauticam housings are heavier and more expensive.

 

The benefits of one over the other brand of housing might depend somewhat on what/how many lenses you want to be able to use, the frequency of use and the need for air travel. If you want greater flexibility in lens choice you may want to look at port charts and be sure the Olympus housing can support what you want to do. I think there are a lot more port choices for the Nauticam, but I am not sure. My son only does macro and has never looked at the wide angle domes available for his housing and I have no idea what is available. If you will use the housing a lot (many dives), and if the Nauticam offers you features or benefits you like, then the "per dive" cost difference becomes smaller and it is easier to justify the cost. Finally, if air travel is a common part of your diving, the lighter weight Olympus housing might be important.

 

The quality of photos should not be impacted by housing choice and I don't think fogging should be much of an issue, but I am not sure on that one. There are other factors I have not discussed, such as placement of controls and how the housings feel in the hand. If possible you should try to hold both housings and get a feel for them.

 

Hopefully others may be able to give you more concrete advice.

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Hi Tam

 

Really good advice from Draq. As he says, if you can find a store when you can handle the housings, so much the better. The two will "feel" very different.

 

As Draq highlights, chances are the Nauticam will be better placed to grow with you as your u/w photog advances - assuming you might want it to! And God knows, I think we all suffer from time to time with the If-Only-I-Could syndrome. The other thing about Nauticam, as you will see on Wetpixel, lots of people use them and the secondhand market for them is brisk.

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A couple of data points...Someone on Scubaboard put together a port/housing chart for M43 cameras a while back, and the Oly OMD housings came out on top for the number of useable port configurations. Second, I can secure my Oly housing to the baseplate with 2 screws, so it's plenty stable.

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Hi Tam,

 

A couple of weeks ago I also had to choose a housing for the OMD-5-MII. My wife has the Olympus housing for her EPL-6 (E-PT10), but no Nauticam housing in the houshold jet . Finally I decided to go for the Nauticam housing (mostly because of the upward compatibility with future camera housings and the better bayonet system for ports - Olympus has already now two different types of housings with different port connections, who knows what they will offer in the future). The Olympus housing is, however, substanially lighter, although not the same build quality (but what effect does this have on image quality?).

 

I decided to go for a second hand NA-EM5II housing, advertised in this forum here - I think a housing itself has a pretty long lifetime and it is not a problem to buy a used one. I personally would not go for used lenses or domes or somethins else that is in the optical path, as these items may have substantial damage when bougth second hand...

 

As many photographers seem to update to the new EM1MII now, there are plenty of used Nauticam housings for the EM1 and also some for EM5MII for sale.

At the end I got a NA-EM5II with handles, vacuum valve and additional trigger for the shutter for a price much lower than for a comparable new Olympus housing with handels and vacuum.

 

Wolfgang

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If you can swing the extra money, get the Nauticam. Just the vacuum valve option and no fogging to worry about are worth it alone. Trigger style shutter release is another good feature. There's quite a bit of weight difference though, so be prepared for extra floats.

 

The Olympus housings with OMD mount could potentially have greater lens selection, however a lot of the older domes that are needed aren't available anymore. You have to get lucky finding a used one.

 

I have an Olympus housing for my E-PM1 and a Nauticam housing for my E-M5II. The Olympus housings are fine and a really good value. The Nauticam's are just better all around, but cost more.

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Personally speaking, I would go for the better build quality every time. I have owned both Oly and Nauticam housings and would not hesitate on spending the extra for the Nauticam...

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If you are thinking this will be a long term hobby, go Nauticam. The beauty of the M43 system is the large number of lenses with ports that work very well underwater (wide, macro, fish eye, zooms, video lenses). You can over time invest in lenses and ports that could still be used when/if you upgrade your camera/housing in the future.

 

If you are on a budget, I highly recommend the 4.33" acrylic dome. It can take both the Pana fisheye and the oly 12mm without any spacers, and is easy to travel with. The 12-40 dome options are bigger, glass and pricey. Then get the 60mm macro w port. You can get 2 ports, fisheye, macro and semi wide angle without breaking the bank (at least on UW photography standards). I suggest you resist the urge to try to "do it all" on one dive, you'll take better pics with a proper macro and wide/FE setup than the 12-50. You can add a 2nd strobe, close up wet lenses as a second step. This is what i've been doing for the last 4 years. I've only recently just taken the plunge and got the 180mm glass for the 7-14 for about $2k total. I'm glad I didn't start with this but was able to add it on when I was ready (skill and money wise).

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thank you all for your suggestions.

I will get myself an offer for the Nauticam Housing with Macro & 4'33 acrylic dome and hope it stays below 3k€.

Good suggestion to NOT try a "all-in-one". Although the decision which one to take for the dive can be a tough one - but if the results are worth it, it would have been money down the drain (again).

I'll let you know and will post a few pics once it's done :-)

 

PS: I was told I could get a good deal when I try the new E-M1 Mk2... would it be worth the 1k€+ more?

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Hi Tam,

 

As far as I know, the prices for the new Nauticam housings (including handles, vacuum check) are pretty similar, but I did not check this out. The price difference is hence approx 1000 Euro for the MII version of the camera body.

 

As a matter of fact the total money you will spend on the complete gear (domes, lenses, flashes, video ligths etc..) will be between 7-11kEuro.

 

I believe the 1kEuro are not such a big difference and I would go for it when affordable (in my case I was going for a used housing, the total saving was around 2kEuro (EM5MII new in used NA-EM5II (I do not think that the EM1MII would improve the quality of my photos at my current level, so 2k more for domes and lenses)).

Later I will upgrade to a new camera body plus housing (currently approx. 4kEuro for the EM1MII plus housing) and share the domes and lenses with my wife, who is currently using an Olympus MFT housing and restricted to the standard dome.

 

 

Wolfgang :)

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I have to say, that I am really disappointed about Nauticam, the durability andespecially there service.

I have a NA-EM1 housing, had always problems with dephts more then 40 meters and hat a total flooding in October 2016 last year where nobody knows why. I had the housing before the dive more then 4 hours under vacuum.

Also a big problem is the much to sensitive leak warner electronics and the cabels on the bottom.

What I also do not understand is, why the white letters and signs last do not last more then 100 dives.

The biggest problem is the Service.

Since October I had my housing for 1 month and in that month it wasn´t working.

I don´t know what to do, I just want w housing that works and take underwater pictures again.

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I've an ep-08/em5 combination... my thoughts on the acrylic case:

 

Never fogged, dived ice to tropics.

 

It's light and good for hand luggage and slightly buoyant without accessories.

 

Robust, seems ok, no issues.

 

I choose this over Nauticam, purely on cost.

 

The secondhand market for Nauticam bits seems a little more active, well it does on this website...

 

Oly ports or rather AOI ones are pretty cheap so maybe this outweighs the lack of a secondhand market?

 

Not sure about the stability issue...

 

I wish I had a vacuum check/leak detector, seems a neat feature.

 

I thought there was difference in button layouts and Nauticam being more ergonomic?

 

I originally wanted to go Nauticam but didn't have the money, now, after owning the Oly housing for a year its fine and quite happy I didn't spend megabucks..

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Hi Guys,

I have the following gear, just purchased and am due a trip to Egypt in a week. Will do some crash courses online, however basic settings would be helpful. This is what I have:

Olympus OMD EM-1

Olympus PT-PE11 housing + PPO EP-01 Port

M.Zuiko 14-42 F3.5-5.6II R Lens

Olympus Wet lens adaptor

Subsee +10 macro wet lens

Sola L&M video 2500

Sola L&M video 1200

ULCS Trays and Arms

 

Found a lot of settings using strobes but am limited to my video lights G for this dive... Any suggestions would be helpful. Specific to Macro & Portraits. Wide angle would pretty much be out at this time.

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thanx again for all your thoughts.

by now I am pretty much hooked onto a Olympus EM-1 II with Nauticam housing, if I manage to get a decent offer (there aren't that many distributors in germany).

Anyway - what I am still undecided about is, what dome I should get.

I will definitely get the Makro Port for the 60mm Macro lens (which is Nauticam Macro Port 65, I think).

Further I am planning to get the Zuiko 8mm / 1.8 Fisheye lens.

But which port?

Nauticam suggests either 140mm glass dome or 4.33'' acrylic dome port.

Further I stumbled over the ZEN DP-100-N85, which has good reports so far.

  • The Nauticam 4.33'' acrylic dome was suggested to me above in this post. The obvious pros are it's light weight (500g?), small size and about half the prize of the other ones (500€). Further it could also be used for 12mm/f2 wide-angle.
  • The Nauticam 140mm is suggestes by nauticam itself as "mosts optimized". With about 950€ it costs double of the acrylic and weights about 1kg, which also doubles the weight of both other options. It's pros are it's optical quality and durability (optical glass), and it's better performance for over/under-shots (wider port)
  • The ZEN DP-100 seems to be a compromise (albeit not from monetary perspective). It costs about 900€ but weights only 500g. It is made from optical glass (durability, quality) but has only a small dome diameter (100mm). Which results in worse performance for over/under-shots but bette performance when doing a Close-Focus-Wide-Angle.

Since I am already spending a few K € on the equipment I would prefer to get it right from the start, therefore I would be willing to spend additional 500€ if it is worth it.

I am still unsure about the pros and cons of the acrylic dome. I believe that the pros are price and weight and the cons are optical quality and durability. Is there anything else I am missing?

Further there is the difference between big dome and small dome. I read in the Any benefit to 140mm dome?-thread that the main difference seems to be that over/under-pictures are much better with domes with larger diameter. Is there more to it? Is it impossible with the smaller dome to do over/under-pics or just harder?

 

Does anyone know if the 100mm ZEN-Port can also be used with the 12mm/f2 Wide angle lens?

 

Since weight & size are quite important to me (traveling is always a challenge with this stuff) and since I didn't do much over/under-pics in the past I tend toward the ZEN-Port ATM.

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The new Subal EM-1 MKII housing is very nice, small and has great controls and greatly improved latches. It's going to be a bit more expensive, but not all that bad as you are in Europe. I would put it on your shopping list for sure.

 

I have a review of the Nauticam and The Olympus housings. Both are good quality. I think the biggest drawback to the Oly Housing is that it cannot accept the 7-14mm PRO or 12-40 PRO lenses. And by the time you get a tray and other parts it is expensive for a polycarbonate housing.

 

My Reviews are in a couple of parts here:

Review: Olympus E-M1 MKII PT-EP14 Underwater Housing

 

Review: Nauticam NA-EM1 Underwater Housing MKII for Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark II

Edited by JackConnick

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The Olympus housing for the E-M1 mkII does in fact accept the 7-14 and 12-40 Pro lenses:

https://www.olympus-europa.com/s/uw_usage_guide/en/products/OM-D_E-M1_M2.html

Scroll down for a system chart. The problem is that the Oly 170mm port is made of unobtainium and is therefore hard to find. The Inon 170mm dome intended for the old 4/3 system works great with both lenses, and has the advantage over the Oly dome of being usable with the 8mm Pro. I've successfully used all three Pro lenses (and the Panasonic 8-18) with my E-M1 mk I and PT-EP11 housing; the port system is identical to that of the PT-EP14.

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Hi Tam,

 

A couple of weeks ago I also had to choose a housing for the OMD-5-MII. My wife has the Olympus housing for her EPL-6 (E-PT10), but no Nauticam housing in the houshold jet . Finally I decided to go for the Nauticam housing (mostly because of the upward compatibility with future camera housings and the better bayonet system for ports - Olympus has already now two different types of housings with different port connections, who knows what they will offer in the future). The Olympus housing is, however, substanially lighter, although not the same build quality (but what effect does this have on image quality?).

 

I decided to go for a second hand NA-EM5II housing, advertised in this forum here - I think a housing itself has a pretty long lifetime and it is not a problem to buy a used one. I personally would not go for used lenses or domes or somethins else that is in the optical path, as these items may have substantial damage when bougth second hand...

 

As many photographers seem to update to the new EM1MII now, there are plenty of used Nauticam housings for the EM1 and also some for EM5MII for sale.

At the end I got a NA-EM5II with handles, vacuum valve and additional trigger for the shutter for a price much lower than for a comparable new Olympus housing with handels and vacuum.

 

Wolfgang

Wolfgang - I would love to find a deal on a Nauticam housing like you did! I am looking at the OM-D EM5 II and would prefer the Nauticam housing if anyone has one the aren't using anymore... :) I am very tempted to stick with the Oly housing but I think the Nauticam would be the better investment in the long run. Since it has been almost a year since you got the set up, would you do anything different? What lenses and ports are you using?

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I am not Wolfgang, so forgive me for butting in, but FWIW, I have been very happy with nauticam housings. In the micro four thirds product line, my choice would be the EM1 ii, followed by the EM5 ii, followed by the EM1. But both of those are current cameras, so used housings will be harder to find than housings for the earlier cameras. I know there is one for the earlier version of the EM1 on ebay now, but I know nothing about the seller or housing. The new Panasonic G9 is also getting good reviews but is very new so there will be no used housings for it.

 

Lenses and ports depend a lot on your interests. In my opinion, the best choices for these cameras are the 12-40 lens in a 170 or 180 dome, the 8mm fisheye in a 100 or 140 dome and the 30 or 60mm macros in flat ports, or the WWL-1 wet lens with a good 14-42 lens. Underwater photography isn't an inexpensive hobby. Keep an eye on the classifieds here and you can probably find a decent deal on a used housing, ports, etc. To save money on cameras and lenses you can check out the Olympus outlet (or whatever it is called) where Olympus sells reconditioned cameras and lenses at a discount. In budgeting, keep in mind you need arms and clamps and cords and flotation, etc. I strongly encourage you to invest in a vacuum valve. That alone is a good reason to go with something other than Oly housings.

 

Good luck and the people here are always happy to help you.

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Thank you Draq for the great advice and affirmation on how I was leaning. I will be patient and keep my eyes peeled. :)

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While we're updating this zombie thread, I should mention that AOI now lists several ports for the Olympus OMD housings, including a couple of big domes (one glass, one plastic). I haven't used them as I'm happy with my Inon dome and Olympus macro port, but it's nice to see more options out there. Here's a link to the AOI stuff on Jack's website:

https://www.opticaloceansales.com/aoi-ports/

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Hi Amylynn,

I am still happy with the NAEM5II I purchased last year. I believe that good optics and ports are much more important for good image quality than to have the newest generation of camera body (besides photographic abilities, of course, but this is not under debate here and cannot be compensated with money :) ...).

My wife still has the EPL6 in Olympus housing and we are considering to change this and acquire another Oly camera in Nauticam housing so we can share the ports we have for Nauticam (for the Oly housing we would have to buy all ports/extensions extra, she has only the standard port so far). This is what I like with Nauticam housings: one just exchanges the housing for camera body and the camera, but ports, extensions, lenses etc. remain. We did not decide yet whether to go for another second hand EM5II or EM1 plus NA housing (may be around 1500 Euros) or whether to go for EM1MII new (ca. 4000 Euro; as Draq says this camera is relatively new and it will last another 1-2 years before they will become abundand at the second hand market).

 

Here is my gear list and how I am satisfied with it (I also do not have much comparison to alternatives, since this is my first gear):

 

#1.: Macro: Zuiko 60mm (excellent! - but belongs to my wife, so used seldom :) )

Pana 45mm (very good)

both in Nauticam 45 Macro port (Zuiko 60mm with 20mm Extension).

 

#2.: "moderate" WA to normal/tele: Zuiko 12-40mm Pro (excellent!)

with Zen DP-170-N120 and Nauticam 60mm N120-N85 adapter.

=> The N120 port version is more expensiveas the ports with built in extensions (as you need additional adapters/extensions), but is also more universal and with the rigth extension/adapter it can be used for more different lenses as the domes with built-in extensions.

 

#3.: extreme WA: Zuiko 8mm fisheye Pro (excellent!)

with Zen DP-170-N120 and 30mm N120-N85 adapter.

(maybe later I will go for the 140mm or even 100mm fisheye dome, but IQ is excellent also with DP170)

 

#4.: "regular" WA range: this is the "problem child"

 

Pana 7-14mm (o.k., but IQ not really at satisfaction)

with Zen DP-170-N120 and NA 60mm N120-N85 adapter.

 

my wife uses Zuiko 9-18mm behind planport (the IQ is really bad! - I cannot recommend this combination).

 

for this WA range the Pana 8-18mm behind Nauticam 180 domeport or Pana (or Zuiko) 7-14mm behind Athena 200mm port might give better results (we had already many discussions on the dompeport issue here) - maybe I will end up later with a 200mm port for the Pana 7-14mm, but see below...

 

I recently acquired a Tokina 10-17mm zoom fisheye and a Metabones 0,71x speedbooster (allows the Canon mount lens to be used on MFT body, reduces focal length to 7-12mm and increases f-number to f2.5-f3.2. So far the combination works perfect over water, no incompatibility problems). I also have ordered the corresponding Nauticam adapter plus Zoomgear, but still am waiting to get it and test this combination out (we are leaving on April 19th for 2 weeks to Egypt :) :) :), maybe I can test already there, but I do not count on it...). In case this combination gives very good results, I will acquire another Metabones 1x adapter and this may well become my standard WA configuration from 180o to 74o diagonal FOV. In addition the Metabones 0,71x adapter will also allow me to use a circular fisheye (as Sigma 4,5mm FE in Canon mount)...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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I have owned both and would strongly suggest sticking with the Nauticam. Just need to slide the camera in one then the other will have no trouble deciding.

 

Regarding the price difference, not as much as you think if you factor in all the "accessories" you will be buying for either. One in particular which makes a difference is a viewfinder, have both the straight and 45 degree for the Nauticam. Once you use one will never be without it.

 

The Olympus housing was smooth functioning, all controls worked, light/easy to carry and excellent factory support. Keep in mind they are unable to be repaired, fog and can not use a vacuum system.

 

Hope it helps

al

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One other consideration...Nauticam offers ports for a broader range of lenses, including Panasonic lenses, so you may have more flexibility there and if, in a year or two or three you decide you want to switch to a different Olympus camera model or even a Panasonic camera, it is much more likely that you can continue using the lenses and ports you have already acquired on the new housing. may not matter to you, but worth thinking about.

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For what it's worth, I've dove my E-M1 Olympus housing in conditions with a over a 50 degree difference between topside air and water temps- as long as I have a desiccant pack on board I don't experience fogging. Second, Oly ports can be adapted to Nauticam housings. Related to that- Panasonic lenses can work just fine in Oly housings; I'm pretty happy using my 8-18 behind an Inon 170mm dome, for instance.

Edited by Wapiti
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I guess to be fair, I am not that knowledgeable about ports for the Oly housing. My son uses one and at some point we were looking for a solution for a lens and could not find a suitable port, but I believe not all Oly housings use the same ports so that might have been part of the problem, and it is possible that there is more variety now than a couple years ago.

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