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Need advice on EM1 + Nauticam system

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by andy2667, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. andy2667

    andy2667 Angel Fish

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    Dear all,

    I and my wife are beginners in underwater photography. We bought the Olympus (PT06 housing) EPM1 package with a Macro wet lens, an Inon tray system with a float arm, and a single Inon Z240 strobe in last year. Now she want to upgrade to a better system to get better focusing speed in particular for close up macro and possibly better image quality. Also want to explore the wide angle avenue in the future after gaining more experience. As she is now using EM1 on land, we are seriously considering using the EM1 underwater using the Nauticam hosing and system. As we are novice in under photography, we have no idea on what ports to be selected, which lenses are best for us and what accessories to be chosen. We briefly discuss this with a local shop and they advised to chose a Nauticam Housing, a flat port for Macro use, using our existing single strobe and not to consider the 12-50mm universal zoom lens system because our requirements in image quality, and advised us to consider add one more strobe only after we have fully explored the use of single strobe. We basically agree to these advices. Nevertheless, as going for a Nauticam housing for the EM1 is a significant investment for us. We want to get different opinions and get some points clarified before we pull the trigger. We would be grateful if you could advise your opinions:

    1. Lens we have:

    We have a EM1 camera with the following lenses:
    - Oly 12-40 pro lens (I note that this is good for land use but was advised that it is no good for underwater use).
    - Oly 45mm 1.8 (not suitable for underwater?)

    For our EPM1, we only have the 14-42 kit lens


    2. Which lenses to choose?

    I understand these affect the port choices

    a. Macro lens
    We were advised that the Panasonic 45mm is superior in image quality but the Oly 60mm is much faster in focusing. Nevertheless, their image qualities are close. Therefore, it is better to chose the Oly 60mm. Am I correct?

    b. Wide angle lens
    A bit confused in this area. Oly 9-18 is cheaper but some said the Panasonic 7-14 is higher in quality. Will the panasonic 7-14 focus slower and has the purple fringe problem? Or the Pana 8mm fish eye is better overall? Sure the Pana fisheye is less useful on land. Which of these lens you would recommend or you would advise other lenses?

    6. Mid range lens or universal zoom
    Will this type of lens be useful? The dive shop advised against using the 12-50mm because of image quality. Any recommendation?

    3. Which port to chose and macro wet lens adaptor?

    I understand that the lens choice affect the port selection.What would be your recommendation? The dive shop advise a flat port for macro first. Do we need focusing gear for this or we can use the auto foci function only? Seems the focusing gears are not cheap.

    I also note that the Nauticam 4" semi dome port can be used for the 60mm macro (or the pans 45mm macro), the Oly 9-18, and Oly 12-50, also a macro wet lens adaptor can be added. It seems that this port is very universal which can cater for most of my lens selection and requirement. Is it a good choice? Not sure how a macro lens can be used in a semi dome port. Is it advisable to mate the 60mm macro lens with this type semi dome? Is it well matched with the macro wet lens for super macro (e.g. subsea or Naucticam super macro)? It seems that it is a good choice for the Oly 12-50mm which can improve the FOV for the 12mm end and supplement the macro capability by wet macro lens. Or it is better to use a flat port only for macro?

    Any other advises for port selection are appreciated

    Thanks

    Andy
     
  2. orenbvip

    orenbvip Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal
    530
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    This is what I went with, I had an e-pl5 setup before but switched to em-1 which i haven't used yet:

    60mm macro lens: better and cheaper
    9-18mm Wide angle: cheaper and just as good as 7-14mm if you want to spend wait for the pro lens by olympus to come out
    12-40mm pro: had this for on-land and don't know how useful underwater
    8mm fish eye used in Palau . really nice lens just have to be REALLY close.


    For ports: 60 macro port, 4.33" dome port only works with my 8mm fish eye. and the new Zen Dome port 170mm with the built in adapter (will take 9-18mm, 7-14mm and 12-40mm)

    I should be covered for every situation. If your on a budget you could skip the fish eye since it needs its own dome.
     
  3. jlyle

    jlyle Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula, California
    1,993
    779
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    IMHO, your dive shop is wrong about the 12-50mm. I exclusively used this lens on an EM-5 in Cozumel. You can shoot moderate WA, fantastic closeups, and (with the proper lens port) great macro.

    COZUMEL WITH A NEW CAMERA – AUGUST 2012
     
  4. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
    2,195
    346
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    Jim is right, the 12-50 is a great lens, but I would add the 60 macro if you want to shoot very tiny things. You can use the same port for the 12-50 and for the 60 macro. I have both the 60 and 45 macro lenses and in my eyes at least there is negligible difference in underwater pics, here is a little flabellina that I shot with the em-1 and the 60 macro lens (she is posing on a black stage that I built). I would not try to shoot macro through a dome port, lighting is more complex. Get the panasonic 8 mm and the correct zen port and you are good to go.
    flabellina pellucida.jpg
    Bill
     
  5. Wisnu

    Wisnu Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Katameya Heights, New Cairo
    1,615
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    I have EM-1 and EM-5 with 12-50mm, 12-40mm, 7-14mm, 60mm macro and other lens (not relevant for uw) with macro port 65, 4" semi dome and 6" dome port.
    I don't have 8mm FE, so can't comment.
    The 12-50mm is nice all-around lens, but for macro not comparable with 60mm, and not wide enough for wa. I will use this lens with my 4" semi dome port if I don't know exactly what I will find.
    The 12-40mm is great lens. and I'll keep this lens for topside. I've used it (at 12mm, with 6" dome) once in lembeh (yes, lembeh is more for macro sites).
    If no budget issue and you don't have any problem to carry lot of gear; for UW, get the 7-14 (or many people like the 8mm FE), 60mm, and 12-50mm with its dedicated port.
    However, if you still concern on the budget and or travel restriction, get the 60mm, 12-50mm, and 9-18mm with 4" semi dome port + diopter flip holder.
    Most of pics in my flickr album was taken with 60mm or 12-50mm with semi dome port.
    The lembeh soft coral pics were taken with 12-40mm.
    Check the detail data on each pic in my flickr album, you'll see what lens we used.
     
  6. andy2667

    andy2667 Angel Fish

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    Thank you all for the information and advices. I have also searched some old posts to get more information about the EM1, associated lenses and Nauticam.

    To me, budget is of some concern but travelling weight is a very important consideration factor. We mainly dive in asia regions for our dive trips. In view of the baggage weight limitations, we have to limit our travelling weight as far as possible. Thus, the less the port we need to carry or the lighter the port we need to carry, the better.

    After reviewing these, I have more or less finalised our lenses selection:
    - Oly 60mm for Marco (We have just bought it. Can't resist the temptation!)
    - Oly 9-18mm for medium wide zoom (in consideration of the lower price and less demanding on port weigh and size compared with the Pany 45mm, but not yet bought it)
    - Oly 12-50mm for general range and for situation we need macro, wide and video in the same dive.
    - May add a Pany 8mm fish eye for WA in the future if needed
    - May consider adding a diapoter with flip adaptor for Macro ( in particular for the 12-50mm).

    However, for the port selection, I am still confused.
    - The flat port with zoom gear for full function for the Oly 12-50 lens seems to be too expensive.
    - The medium wide angle port (the 4" semi dome port) suggested by Winsnu seems to be the best choice for me. One port for all the commonly used three lenses for me (Oly 9-18mm, 12-50mm, 60mm macro). Quite universal. A nautical flip adaptor can also be added to this semi dome port. Seems to be an ideal port for me....However, I am confused on whether a semi dome port can be used for the 60mm macro properly. Any adverse impact on image quality or proper operation? Any other problems? It seems that normally macro lenses will be paired with flat port. Why?

    As for the flip adaptor for the semi dome with a macro diaper, can this function normally? Any big compromise in image quality or operation (I know there are compromises in using Macro wet lessor diaper because I am now using one for my 14-42 kit lens. however, my concern is how it perform when paired with a semi dome port. ).

    Sorry for so many questions and my ignorance about dome ports and port matching.

    Andy
     
  7. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
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    There are two issues with a macro lens behind a dome port. One is that you typically lose the 25% magnification you get with a flat port. The second is that you are focusing on a virtual image which is quite close to the front of the dome and you very much lose working distance so lighting is harder. If you get the 12-50 lens and plan on using it, you are pretty much stuck with getting the 12-50 port since otherwise you have no zoom or control of the macro function. That port alone will work with the 60 macro as well. So in that sense you are stuck with a dual purpose port.

    The other thing to remember is that while it is nice to think of "general" solutions your best quality photos will be taken with the optimal hardware i.e. lenses and ports.
    Bill
     
  8. BobW

    BobW Regular of the Pub

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    Only partially true. If you do not get the $800 macro port you do lose the ability to change the lens into macro mode. But you still have the option of getting the zoom gear, or using the electric zoom function of the E-M1, to zoom between 12mm and 50mm.

    Bob W

     
  9. orenbvip

    orenbvip Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal
    530
    37
    28
    I agree, learned the hard way pay for the best and expect the best. cheap out and get cheap photos.... the 12-50mm is hardly worth it IMO. i'd go 60mm macro and 9-18mm/8mm fish eye if money is an issue.
     
  10. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
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    I think your choice of lenses is entirely fine. I personally have the 7-14 behind the dedicated larger done , which is my go-to for wide reef scenics, big schools of fish, and huge animals up close. Obviously not suited if a macro subject presents itself, or for individual fish portraits. However, the 9-18 will serve you well also, in its dedicated 4" dome.

    The 60 macro is superb and my go-to for dedicated macro safaris, but not very useful if any other subject presents itself during the dive. It has so much magnification that you do NOT need a flip adapter and diopter unless you later decide to get into photographing grain-of-rice size things. At the beginning, invest in something else (like good flashes and video lights).

    The 12-50 is unique in the entire lens pantheon. I can use it for semi-wide scenics, schooling fish, large objects (sponges, sea fans, etc), larger fish at a distance, excellent fish portraits, and very capable macro. Remember, you can fill the frame with an object the size of an SD card, so the macro capability is excellent. Also, the lens is great for video with the power zoom. This is my go-to for all general diving. On a reef, I can (and routinely do) instantly switch from shooting a small snail, to shooting the sea fan it is on, to shooting the reef, to shooting a turtle that swims by, to an angelfish portrait, right back to shooting macro of feather duster worms, and whenever I find a cleaning station I click into video with full power zoom. You also to not need a flip diopter for macro this lens, but it can be useful if you want.

    No other lens can do this. No other lens can even come close. To spend the money on this expensive system but deprive yourself of this capability by cheaping out on a couple hundred dollars is just crazy. It is also false economy. To get just a port for the zoom, you still have to add a zoom gear (100), plus for macro capability, the otherwise unnecessary flip adapter (200) and diopter (2-300) and in the end you are spending more for the same capabilities in a MUCH less convenient set-up.

    Do it right, the first time.


    As for a dive shop recommending against it, not surprised. You can start your system with just this one lens and one port and cover 70% of shootable subjects. You really don't have to buy anything else at all and you might not even want to. This is not good for anyone wanting to sell you multiple expensive ports.
     

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