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jwood1

Advice on OMD housings

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Hello fellow divers.  I currently have an Oly OMD Em5 and a OMD EM1 Mkii and several lenses.  I have used them both only for terrestrial photography. I also have a Cannon S90 compact and Ikelite housing that I have used for underwater, with reasonably good success.  I have a sailboat and do mostly snorkeling/free diving in the tropics, and an occasional dive trip.  Would like to take my underwater shooting to the next level with one of my 4/3 cameras, and am conflicted on whether to get a housing/port for the EM5 or the EM1 Mkii.  I am well aware of the increased capability of the EM1, but I can get into underwater housing for the EM5 a lot cheaper.  An EM5 housing would also be a bit more compact for the type of snorkeling I will be doing. 

Specifically, I'm looking at the PT EP08 housing for the EM5 for $290 (new).  In contrast, the housing for the EM1 mark II is about $1300 ($2200 for the Nauticam). 

It looks like both housing can accept the same ports, so that cost would be the same.

I'd like to hear opinions on whether it is worth the extra $1000 to use the Em1 underwater vs the Em5? 

If I go with the EM1 housing, is the Nauticam housing that much better than the Oly?

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34 minutes ago, hyp said:

Is it the original EM5?

Yes, E-M5, not the Mark II.

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I shoot with the EM1 mark II in a Nauticam housing, it is indeed way way more better than the Oly housing. All of the features of the camera are pretty much there for you only using your right hand. Once you add a tray and strobes/lights the size difference is negligible. The EM1-II has much better autofocus and the IQ is better as well. The battery is much larger as well. Over the course of a couple of years (say 2 trips per year and 30 dives/trip) you get 120 dives so the price per dive difference is like a single nitrox fill. That being said you could look at the Nimar ($600). 

Cheers 

Bill

 

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I’ve had both the E-M5 and E-M1 in Nauticam housings, and way back had an E-PL1 in an Olympus housing. The ergonomics of the Nauticam are far superior, especially the shutter trigger, and also all the other dials and buttons are simply smoother and surer. Only the Nauticam E-M1 housing provides the ability to conveniently use back button focus with a thumb trigger which I have come to rely on. The Nauticam housings are also a lot heavier and more expensive. I dive a lot so it’s worth it to me. For casual use your calculation may differ. Both will take good photos!  

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I have used the EM-5 II and now use the EM-1 mkII.  The autofocus is much better in the EM-1 MkII and so is the battery life, allowing 3-4 dives depending on how many shots you take each dive.  I have Nauticam housing and it has a great deal of flexibility in the lenses you can use and ergonomics are excellent. The ability to back button focus is very important for my use.

The olympus housings are pretty good, but they don't have the option for a vacuum system - I really consider that essential particularly if you are freediving or snorkelling .  O-rings are most likely to leak when not loaded which is the case at the surface- this is where they are most likely to leak - there and the rinse bucket.  The vacuum loads the o-rings and helps ensure they are in fact sealing as well as providing an alarm if a leak is detected. 

As for housing choice you can look at the Olympus, Nauticam, Aquatica and Isotta housings.  The Isotta is halfway between the Nauticam and olympus in price..   The aluminium housings all include handles/tray while the Olympus does not, The Nuticam includes the vacuum electronics in the price but not the vacuum valve.

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I would look at buying either a Nauticam EM5 housing used or a EM1mkII housing from any of the manufacturers @ChrisRoss mentioned. My preference would be between Isotta or Nauticam, but I've not had any experience with Aquatica.

The Em5 is a fine camera and used Nauticam housings seem to go for 300-500€/$. I would use the search function here as there might still be some active posts. I still shoot the Em5 but there are some things that annoy me. Focus Peaking is the biggest annoyance as it would be invaluable for using manual focus which is sometimes needed for macro. The Em1mkII also has better AF and a slightly better sensor, but you know that. 

I would not buy a new housing for a camera like the EM5.

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48 minutes ago, hyp said:

I would look at buying either a Nauticam EM5 housing used or a EM1mkII housing from any of the manufacturers @ChrisRoss mentioned. My preference would be between Isotta or Nauticam, but I've not had any experience with Aquatica.

The Em5 is a fine camera and used Nauticam housings seem to go for 300-500€/$. I would use the search function here as there might still be some active posts. I still shoot the Em5 but there are some things that annoy me. Focus Peaking is the biggest annoyance as it would be invaluable for using manual focus which is sometimes needed for macro. The Em1mkII also has better AF and a slightly better sensor, but you know that. 

I would not buy a new housing for a camera like the EM5.

In particular the AF in EM-1 MkII has less tendency to lock onto particulate matter instead of your subject - was a rather annoying feature on the EM-1 MkII.  The other point is C-AF plus tracking works on the EM-1 MkII - very handy if there's a little surge to keep focus on your target.

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I would like to throw a totally different option your way.

Check out the Olympus E-PL10 and AOI housing option from Backscatter.com the cost is about $1200 for camera and housing.  You already have glass for the E-PL10, so you would still need to get the ports needed for the lenses you want to use underwater.  You would then have a nice dedicated underwater camera and housing and then you would have a nice terrestrial camera kit.  When you flood your housing you wont loose your terrestrial camera.

 

the Epl10 would also be more compact than the em5 but also slightly bigger than the compact that you have is you stick with the kit lens.

 

I just got the E-PL10 and housing and I am really enjoying it with the 60mm macro and 8mm fisheye (I'm waiting for the current storm to blow out to actually dive with the 8mm).

Edited by Dann-Oh

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