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KGDiver

Compact (Lx10) vs mirrorless (EPL10)

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Looking for some guidance from the knowledgeable folks here.

Long story short, I currently have an Lx10 and was going to build a travel rig around it. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my housing in time for the trip this week so I was able to get the accessories returned at no cost and will be using my Gopro 8 with flip filters and video lights.

Now that I don't have a clock to work against, I'm looking for the best option going forward.

Im fairly new and inexperienced user so I'm looking for something that's fairly simple, thus why I ended up with an Lx10 after diving with a TG5 for 2 years. I really like the small package size of compacts and want to avoid the "satellite" setups like I've seen some use with the mirrorless and dslrs. The in depended AF button and fairly easy custom WB were a nice plus of the Lx10.  I just came across the EPL10 which seems to tick the small size, price and ease of use to that of the Lx10 but with alleged better image quality. Additionally, when it comes to the Lx10, at least when it comes to WA, lens/housing combinations were a bit rough (vignetting). So my question is... Lx10 or the EPL10 to build a setup around going forward (hoping to use the same setup for next few years) ?

I haven't done a ton of video and did mostly macro photos with my TG5, but nowI also want to get into some WA shots of wrecks and some fish portraits on upcoming trips (truk lagoon being one of them). Overall, I expect to do more photos rather than video.

In summary, I'm looking for the best option when it comes to small setup size, ease of use and image quality (relative to one another). I currently have 2x Bigblue 2600 video lights (not looking to light up a wreck) and 2x Inon S2000 strobes and will be buying lenses WA/macro for whatever setup I end up with.

Thanks in advance!

 

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The EPL-10 is a good option.  You can use the 14-42 kit lens with a  WWL and a diopter or you can go the macro lens and fisheye route, changing ports/lenses depending on the dive site.

Your video lights while fine for the TG-5 are probably a stretch for m43 sensor.  With TG-5 shooting wide angle  you would be at f2.8, but with the m43 you will be in the f5.6-8 range quite likely so you need more light if you don't want to raise ISO.  (the LX-10 would be f4-5.6 range).  For macro they'd be fine as you are a lot closer to the subject.

The S2000 strobes will also be a little marginal but if you shoot f5.6 probably acceptable (wide angle - macro won't be a problem) and you'll be close to full power much of the time.  Note that whatever you do you won't be lighting up a whole wreck, the range of any strobe is quite limited and ideally you want to be within one meter of whatever you are shooting.  You won't cover a wreck and will need to switch to ambient light for that.

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Gotcha. Yeah, I know my lights are underpowered for WA, mainly because coming from the TG5, WA was more of an afterthought. For wrecks, it is my intent to use whatever ambient light is available. Most of WA work would be fish portraits (angels, groupers, lionfish, morays) and some larger subjects, sharks, whale sharks, mantas/eagle rays), not looking to do sunballs, split shots, or reefscapes (well, maybe if I see something really neat). One of the hiccups for me with WA is the bulkiness of lenses, this is why I'm looking at the Wwl-c/WWL-1B as the primary candidate(s).

So far, I've really enjoyed macro work and if TG5 had full manual mode, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

I guess what II'm really trying to get at is what platform to build around the Lx10 or the E-pl1 coupled with the WWL-C/WWL-1B for the "long haul" without having hands-on experience underwater with either. Lx10 has been around for years, to the point where Nauticam discontinued their housing for it...keeping an eye on one second hand; plus compatibility of housings (ikelite/nauticam) with WA lenses and their performance is hit or miss. The AOI housing for the EPL seems well laid out and is compact, however, lack of TTL gives me pause, especially with how small (PIA) the knobs are on the S2000s. The lense availability for the EPL seems to be in a better place than for the Lx10, at least to my uneducated mind after some cursory Google-fu.

 

Edited by KGDiver
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If you are looking at WWL compatability Nauticam publishes that into for their housings for compacts:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JtglQn7IiUGAzPn4T0Z9gcWRYh4xp-HA/view

You'll note most need to use the short bayonet mount to get the full field of view.  You will generally have no problem with lenses that don't change length much when zooming and have a port that fits well.  This will be the case for Nauticam ports for m43 lenses but not always for other housing brands.

For the most part it seems the WWL would be the best bet and there's many options that will work with it.  As far as TTL goes it can be hit or miss for WA work, depends a lot on the camera, tends to work a  lot better with macro.  Manual is not so much of an issue, the range of your strobes is not really a lot over one metre, so the setting doesn't change a whole lot unless you are getting in significantly closer and you can always just stop down instead of turning the flash power up.

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The more I read/surf the web the more it looks like I'll be selling my LX10 in favor of the E-PL10.

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Honestly, I have one of the top end compacts (Sony RX100V... well it was when I bought it) and I've moved from a macro to a predominatly wide angle location (Great Barrier Reef!). It's 20mp, so not shabby, shoots in manual and the pictures blow up large.

Look - it does the job, especially for holiday snaps where I've taken it on liveaboards in the Philippines etc, and instagram, however I'm finding that in large wide angle locations with fast pelagics, I'm limited by a couple of things. Reach, and then flash recycle time. Which has always been an issue, but much easier to wait 3.24 seconds with a nudibranch than a manta or tiger shark! However, I'm trying to get semi pro shots for tourism and brochures and the compact is hard work, most of the time I walk away with photos that I'm not happy with.

I'm now moving to a full frame mirrorless, to be able to capture better quality pictures, faster, with more reach. However, gone for a smallish model so hopefully it is easy to transport around.

I'll keep the Sony for shore diving at my new town as the entries are hazardous, so don't want a big/heavy rig for those. I also bought a TG6 but utterly hate it :) . I think it's because I've always shot in manual and the TG doesn't allow me to.

Good luck!

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On 9/9/2021 at 10:38 AM, ChrisRoss said:

but with the m43 you will be in the f5.6-8 range quite likely so you need more light if you don't want to raise ISO.

For the EPL10 (m43), there is the options of the oly 60mm f/2.8, Oly 8mm f/1.8 and pana 8mm f/3.5. They are quite bright.

I bought the EPL10 mainly because it is small and compact but has more versatility and potential for growth (versus Canon G series/ Pana LX10). I've chosen the Oly 60mm for macro/fish portraits and 14-42mm + WWL-1B for my wide angle (more versatile than the 8mm because it allows for zoom thru IMO). I use them with a pair of Z330s.

I am very happy with the 60mm for macro/fish portraits, AF is very snappy. Custom white balance is very good as well. The 14-42 mm + WWL-1B combo I have not been able to try yet because of travel restrictions.

I also agree with Chris that TTL is a hit or a miss and depends on the camera. Shooting manual yields way better results most of the time. You can also stop up and down in camera so you don't have change strobe power settings.

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4 hours ago, Pomacentridae said:

For the EPL10 (m43), there is the options of the oly 60mm f/2.8, Oly 8mm f/1.8 and pana 8mm f/3.5. They are quite bright.

 

I'm talking about shooting aperture rather than wide open aperture - generally the wide open aperture only helps with AF as you tend not shoot wide open UW.   The light is in reference to the available strobe power with the S2000.

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On 9/14/2021 at 10:57 AM, Pomacentridae said:

For the EPL10 (m43), there is the options of the oly 60mm f/2.8, Oly 8mm f/1.8 and pana 8mm f/3.5. They are quite bright.

I bought the EPL10 mainly because it is small and compact but has more versatility and potential for growth (versus Canon G series/ Pana LX10). I've chosen the Oly 60mm for macro/fish portraits and 14-42mm + WWL-1B for my wide angle (more versatile than the 8mm because it allows for zoom thru IMO). I use them with a pair of Z330s.

I am very happy with the 60mm for macro/fish portraits, AF is very snappy. Custom white balance is very good as well. The 14-42 mm + WWL-1B combo I have not been able to try yet because of travel restrictions.

I also agree with Chris that TTL is a hit or a miss and depends on the camera. Shooting manual yields way better results most of the time. You can also stop up and down in camera so you don't have change strobe power settings.

Are you using the Backscatter AOI housing?

Edited by KGDiver

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LX10 does not play nice with wide angle wet lenses. The port is too long. If you're set on the LX10, Issota sell a housing where you can swap in a shorter port.

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23 minutes ago, joncroweucl said:

LX10 does not play nice with wide angle wet lenses. The port is too long. If you're set on the LX10, Issota sell a housing where you can swap in a shorter port.

Yup. This is pretty much the reason I've written it off in favor of the EPL10.

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Are you using the Backscatter AOI housing?

Yes I am using the AOI housing for the EPL10. I think it is a decent option because it supports the essential m43 lenses, namely the Oly 8mm f1.8, Oly 60mm f2.8 Macro, 14-42mm + WWL. It covers everything from wide to fish portraits to macro.

 

The led trigger is a game changer for me. i am able to capture action with quick bursts from my strobes.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I also have the E-PL10 in the Backscatter AOI housing. I'm using the Oly 60mm for macro and the Pana 8mm for Wide-angle.

I was able to buy the Pana 8mm and dome port for less than the Oly 8mm.

Honestly I've only dove with the 60mm once, I'm not too sure if I had different expectations of the lens but I didn't like it. I've dove with the 8mm maybe 8-10 times, I much prefer it. 

The main thing to remember is the AOI housing is a PEN style camera (EPL10) and the port opening is much smaller diameter than the OMD style cameras(Em10, em5, em1) so you can use a lot of the Oly Pro lenses on the EPL10.  This has tripped me up a few times when buying new lenses. Now I have the EM1-3 for photography above water and the EPL10 for photography below water.

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