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JayceeB

Sony A7C + 28-60 kit lens + WWL vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 II + 14-42 + WWL

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On 3/8/2021 at 1:04 PM, JayceeB said:

Two more test shots from today with the WWL-1 back on.  Seemed to work a little better, but still doesn't feel quite as responsive or sharp as my 12-40, but not as far off as the testing from last week.   

 

Maybe it's not technically correct, but I still enjoy taking some wide angle ambient light shots further than 15' away.  3rd shot as an example.  I know no lens/port/camera combination will give a sharp capture in these conditions, just trying to get the best I can with a single wet lens combination.

I don't think anyone is saying that it's wrong (for want of a better word) to take this sort of photo or anything like that - rather that the opportunity for improvement on that type of shot is rather limited.  AF may be better in some options - but by how much?  I'm guessing that if you are mostly at the long end of the WWL- combo - you may actually be better off using the 12-40 for this type of shot, any advantage of the WWL in image quality is lost to water at the long end.  The Zen 170mm port is very compact and easy to work with. 

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The level of contrast is entirely due to the distance and the incident light angle
The lens doesn’t come into the mix as it only influences the field of view so the results will be similar perhaps more magnification helps the framing but not the contrast
Hence getting as close as possible is a good idea
Using a wwl-1 type of solution only works when the dolphins come at you otherwise a rectilinear standard zoom is better for framing. Dolphins are not so big after all


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Thank you all for insightful feedback on equipment and technique.  You brought forward some considerations I hadn’t thought of, and your responses are much appreciated.

I’ve decided to proceed with the A7C + 28-60 + WWL.

I’ll use the A7C kit for a month or so to confirm if the performance enhancements balance the limitations of full-frame.  If the A7C works out for me, as I hope, I’ll keep it and sell my Olympus kit.  If the A7C does not work out for me, I’ll sell the A7C kit and upgrade to a Zen 170 dome for the 12-40.  

I consider this a learning exercise with no wrong result...albeit an expensive learning exercise :)

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10 hours ago, JayceeB said:

I’ll use the A7C kit for a month or so to confirm if the performance enhancements balance the limitations of full-frame.  If the A7C works out for me, as I hope, I’ll keep it and sell my Olympus kit.  If the A7C does not work out for me, I’ll sell the A7C kit and upgrade to a Zen 170 dome for the 12-40.  

I consider this a learning exercise with no wrong result...albeit an expensive learning exercise :)

Please keep us in the loop so we can learn with you :-)

Thanks

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New Kit arrives in a week or so.  Will report back to this thread on my experiences.

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21 hours ago, JayceeB said:

 

I consider this a learning exercise with no wrong result...albeit an expensive learning exercise :)

Isn't most of underwater photography an expensive learning exercise? :crazy:

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New Kit arrives in a week or so.  Will report back to this thread on my experiences.

Any news?


Inviato dal mio iPad utilizzando Tapatalk
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Posted (edited)

I've had the Sony kit for a few weeks now, and have been jotting down a few notes.

This is not an equipment review but rather my experience moving from the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II in a Nauticam housing  with dedicated lenses and ports/domes to the Sony A7C in a Nauticam housing with the 28-60mm kit lens, WWL-1B and CMC-1. 

Here are a couple of photos of the Olympus on the left and Sony on the right.  The Sony has a Nauticam flash trigger mounted on the hotshoe.

PXL_20210401_215533708.thumb.jpg.3a535be845e8f49ef303e20d6be8663d.jpg

PXL_20210401_215609312.jpg

Edited by JayceeB
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Camera Body Notes:

The Olympus feels less 'plastic-y' and more ergonometric for land use than the Sony.  I only plan to use the Sony underwater, so this isn't important to me.

Sony EVF is on the far left.  I frame with my right eye, so took a bit of getting used to, but now i don't notice it.

Sony EVF is smaller than the Olympus.  Almost too small to track small fish darting around in a larger frame.  Macro I can still manage viewing focus, just barely. 

You can’t turn off fill flash on the Sony in Manual mode.  This means you need to turn off the strobes when shooting with ambient light.  I shoot with 2 custom dials set up.  One for flash.  One for ambient.  The Olympus ambient dial has flash turned off, so I can leave my strobes on.  The Sony ambient custom dial doesn’t allow this, so you need to actually turn your strobes off to ensure they don’t fire when shooting ambient.  Maybe I haven't figured this one out yet.  If any Sony users have tips, please share.

Sony 28-60 doesn’t stop when you zoom all the way out, so you end up retracting the lens if you keep going, which causes a warning sign to appear on the screen.  I did this a few times on the first couple of dives while in the housing, but have gotten used to it now.

Sony does not come with a battery charger.  Charging is via USB-C cable (which is included).

Sony doesn’t charge with the USB-C cable if camera is ‘On’.  I’ve made this mistake a couple of times, went to load my camera, but had to wait to charge it again in ‘Off’ position.  Again, if any Sony users have tips, please share.

 

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4 hours ago, JayceeB said:

Camera Body Notes:

 

Sony doesn’t charge with the USB-C cable if camera is ‘On’.  I’ve made this mistake a couple of times, went to load my camera, but had to wait to charge it again in ‘Off’ position.  Again, if any Sony users have tips, please share.

 

I'd suggest getting an accessory battery charger (and a spare battery), you'll probably want one anyway to be able to swap over batteries between dives if you're doing multiple dives a day.  There's various after market ones and Sony sells one which charges multiple Sony batteries.  If you get in the habit of using the charger turning the camera off is no longer a problem.

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1 hour ago, ChrisRoss said:

I'd suggest getting an accessory battery charger (and a spare battery), you'll probably want one anyway to be able to swap over batteries between dives if you're doing multiple dives a day.  There's various after market ones and Sony sells one which charges multiple Sony batteries.  If you get in the habit of using the charger turning the camera off is no longer a problem.

Thanks, Chris.  I have a few odds and ends left to collect.  An extra battery and separate charger were on that list.

I use Nitecore for other batteries.  They also make a double for Sony FZ-100 batteries:  Nitecore USN4PRO for Sony NP-FZ100

I was thinking of the Nitecore unless anyone cautions against non-Sony chargers.

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Here are a few photos comparing the size of the Nauticam housings.  Olympus on the left.  Sony on the right.  

PXL_20210401_220706042.jpg.11c7ffbfab97a369ca495628f3d61893.jpg

PXL_20210401_220557981.jpg

PXL_20210401_220456723.jpg

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Nauticam Housing Notes for the Sony:

Sony on/off button on housing is more robust than the Olympus, and you don’t need to lift the housing switch up before removing the camera like you do the Olympus.

Sony Nauticam housing tray does not overlap the camera battery cover, so you never need to remove it.  Olympus tray has to be removed from the camera every time you change the battery.

Sony is slightly easier to load tray into the housing, as it does not sit as deep in. 

The Olympus housing has a top ball mounting hole, which is where I had my focus light mounted.  The Sony housing does not have this mounting hole, so I moved my focus light ball to the plastic hot-shoe mount on the lens port, which isn’t quite as rigid.

Sony housing has more robust fiber optic ports on the housing, but you have to purchase Nauticam Optical Fiber Connectors ($27) to use standard fiber optic cables.  Olympus housing does not require this.

The Sony nauticam flash trigger has an on/off switch that must be turned on with the housing open.  The Olympus doesn’t require this when using the kit flash to fire strobes.  I used to prepare my camera the night before for early morning dives, including turning on the leak detector and vacuum pumping.  The green leak detection led light doesn’t seem to draw much power, as I haven’t noticed substantial battery drain doing this.  I’m not sure I can do this now, as the nauticam flash trigger will be on all night inside the housing (it has a blinking green light to signal that it is ‘on’).  Will have to test it out.  Anyone have experience leaving the Nauticam flash trigger on overnight?

Most pictures you see of the Nauticam with 28-60 lens show the focus knob installed on the port.  This is optional, so I left it off until I decide whether a manual focus gear is required.

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7 hours ago, JayceeB said:

Nauticam Housing Notes for the Sony:

 Anyone have experience leaving the Nauticam flash trigger on overnight? 

Most pictures you see of the Nauticam with 28-60 lens show the focus knob installed on the port.  This is optional, so I left it off until I decide whether a manual focus gear is required. 

I have left the flash trigger on for a whole week liveaboard trip. Bring spare batteries just in case but this trigger draws very  little power.

 

Is there any way to remove the focus knob on these Nauticam ports?

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5 hours ago, waterpixel said:

I have left the flash trigger on for a whole week liveaboard trip. Bring spare batteries just in case but this trigger draws very  little power.

 

Is there any way to remove the focus knob on these Nauticam ports?

Thanks, Waterpixel.  That helps.

The port ships with the focus knob uninstalled.  I left it off.

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18 hours ago, JayceeB said:

Most pictures you see of the Nauticam with 28-60 lens show the focus knob installed on the port.  This is optional, so I left it off until I decide whether a manual focus gear is required.

Here is a photo of the focus knob that shipped with the 28-60 port.

PXL_20210420_183716332.jpg

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3 minutes ago, JayceeB said:

Here is a photo of the focus knob that shipped with the 28-60 port.

PXL_20210420_183716332.jpg


I could stand to remove mine. How do you plug the hole that is left?

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5 hours ago, JayceeB said:

Thanks, Waterpixel.  That helps.

The port ships with the focus knob uninstalled.  I left it off.

 

My port shipped with the focus knob installed. I don't recall anything in the box that would constitute a plug for the hole if I removed the focus knob.

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7 minutes ago, stuartv said:

 

My port shipped with the focus knob installed. I don't recall anything in the box that would constitute a plug for the hole if I removed the focus knob.

Here is what the focus knob plug looks like.PXL_20210420_185306725.jpg.95499bad7cc4705f39b13ff8dae3cadd.jpg

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Here are two pictures showing the Olympus+12-40+7" dome on the left and Sony+28-60+WWL-1B on the right.  (**Note: 1lb weight velcro'd to the bottom of the 7" dome for trim on the left).

PXL_20210401_222429487.jpg

PXL_20210401_222625533.jpg

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And this shows my complete kit.  The 200mm cross-bar mount for the WWL-1B works very well, and keeps your strobe arms clear and light.  Might be worth trying a 70x200mm float arm for the cross-bar as the entire kit still needs a bit more buoyancy.  As you can see, I only have single 200mm arms for strobe mounts to keep the kit compact.  Double arms would give more room for additional stix. 

PXL_20210401_223406016.jpg

PXL_20210401_223110660.jpg

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Very nice and clean setup, @JayceeB. Are you planning to use a wet macro lens also?

Kind regards,

Ajay

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Yes, I have a CMC-1.  Have not yet decided how best to carry it.  Right now I just throw it in my BC pocket.  I could mount it on the cross bar, but if you want to trade WWL-1 for CMC-1, there's an awkward moment where both lenses are unmounted.  I may end up using 70x200mm float arms with a bayonet adapter on one instead of the stix. 

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7 minutes ago, JayceeB said:

Yes, I have a CMC-1.  Have not yet decided how best to carry it.  Right now I just throw it in my BC pocket.  I could mount it on the cross bar, but if you want to trade WWL-1 for CMC-1, there's an awkward moment where both lenses are unmounted.  I may end up using 70x200mm float arms with a bayonet adapter on one instead of the stix. 

 

Yep. That is exactly why I got the double-sided bayonet mount to go on one of my float arms.

As well, I might have times when I want to shoot something of a size that I don't want the WWL-1 or the CMC attached....

I haven't actually used it yet, though....

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One item to note.  

I had issues with the A7C on two of the first 4 dives.  On the second dive of each day (not sure if this is important or not), the camera would lock up half way through the dive with a ‘Writing to Card. Please wait…’.  Turning the camera on/off underwater didn’t fix it.  I had to remove the battery and replace to get it to stop after the dive.  I made 2 changes, that seem to have fixed this issue.  I’m not sure if they are both required, but configuration options are:  

1. Changed File Format=RAW (uncompressed) + JPEG to File Format=RAW (uncompressed).

2. Changed Finder/Monitor=Auto to Finder/Monitor=Manual. (Thanks, Phil Burghard, for this suggestion).

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