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Need advice on EM1 + Nauticam system

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

  1. Wisnu

    Wisnu Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Katameya Heights, New Cairo
    one thing to note, the 60mm (equal to 120mm) is quite powerfull macro lens. The 25% (i believe less since practically almost flat to the lens) less magnification not really the issue for "most" of our macro object; in fact can be helpfull for a bigger object.
    all the pics in this folder were taken by my daughter with 60mm macro.


    More than half with semi dome port and the rest with with flat port
    the story can be different if your macro is always at size of rice grain.
  2. andy2667

    andy2667 Angel Fish

    Thanks all again for the insights and inputs. It seems that the opinions on the Oly 12-50mm lens is mixed. Nevertheles, as this lens is not expensive and in view of its flexibility, I will get it for a try. Thus, my lens options remain unchange.

    As for port selection, I may have two choices:
    1. The dedicated port for 12-50mm lens which is also compatible to 60mm macro. Then add a 4" semi dome for the 9~18mm.
    2. Uses the 4" semi dome for all three lenses. 9~18mm, 12~50mm, and 60mm macro.

    Correct me if I am wrong. The 4" semi dome port seems to be more versatile and will be a better overall port in terms for lens compatibility. For marco, though the semi dome will cause lost in manification, I can compensate this by moving it closer to the object and can still achieve 1:1 ratio? In the wide end, it can provide more FOV. If this is correct, it will be the ideal port for the 12~50mm lens extending the wide end without much compromise in the macro end.

    If it is the case, I may add a 3rd party zome gear. with suitable soft ring diy adaptor, I can use it for zooming the 9~18, 12~50 and using it as focusing gear for the 60mm marco in this semi dome port.

    If I do the macro hack mock for the 12~50mm and use a small magnet to teigger its macro mode and video mode, the 4" semi dome port with proper zoom gears seems to be the ideal universal port for my applications using these three lenses.

    Your opinions? Please correct me if I have mis interpreted.

    ps. Thanks Wisnu for the great photos linked. This provide good insights for me.
  3. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    I can't speak to the various mods and DIY options but aside from those if you want a macro lens I think you have to choose the 12-50 in the fancy Nauticam port or get the 60 and use it in a suitable flat port or in the 4" semi dome.

    While the 12-50 is not a stellar lens performance wise, its great value underwater is its flexibility with the macro function enabled. If the macro function is not going to be used, then I would use the 12-40 or something else.

    Of the two options you listed above, I would go with #1

    Although an $800.00 port is daunting, it seems to me that it is not the best practice to put a $1300 camera and $300 lens into a $1900 housing along with hundreds of dollars into arms, clamps, cables and strobes and then try to save a few bucks on the port. It seems a little like buying a high performance sports car and putting cheap tires on it. The price difference between the fancy 12-50 port and the other options is going to end up being something like $200-300, I think.

    Utmost flexibility on a dive: 12-50 in the fancy port
    Best macro: 60 in a suitable flat port(including the 12-50 port) or the 4" port
    Best wide angle and semi-macro lens: 12-40
    Best wide zoom: 7-14 or 9-18 depending on opinion and port size preference.

    The 12-50 will work in the 60mm flat port or the 4" port but in each case you are going to make compromises in the flexibility of the lens which, to me, is where its value lies. I suppose you could put the 12-50 in the 60 port and add a flip adapter and a diopter lens, which would give you full zoom range and macro (via the add-on lens, not the macro function), but how much does one really save doing this? (If you already have the port and the flip adapter and the close up lens, then that is different). As I said above, I don't really know about the various hacks and DIY options, so I suppose they could provide a cheaper option. I just gave in and bought the fancy port.
  4. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
    I agree with JD. You will not be well served by one port, especially a dome. You lose the macro functionality (for either the 12-50 or the 60mm). Another post above has explained why domes are bad ideas for macro, and that is absolutely the case due to short working distance and almost impossible lighting issues. In addition, the dome that works on the 9-18 will not be the same dome that works on the 12-50 or 12-40, so you will end up with two dome ports anyway and no true macro functionality at all.

    With two ports (the 4" dome for the 9-18 and the 12-50 port) you can cover three distinctly different lenses and shooting perspectives from wide to full on ultra macro. You will not come close to that with a dome.

    After 18 months and dozens of dives with the 12-50, I can say from experience that not only is it well worth it for flexibility, the image quality is just fine. Remember, all lenses get closer in quality when stopped down. When you are at shooting apertures of F8 to F16, the differences between the 12-50 and "better" lenses tend to narrow.

    There are no DIY hacks or shortcuts for the 12-50 that are worth anything and they threaten to destroy your lens. As JD (and I) said, to try and buy a regular port to "save" money, then buy a zoom gear and then a complex and expensive flip diopter set-up for macro with the lens, you will end up spending more money than the dedicated port and gear will cost you.
  5. Wisnu

    Wisnu Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Katameya Heights, New Cairo
    the same 4" dome port can be used for 60mm, 12-50mm and 9-18mm. I never try but I think can be use for 12-40mm but at 12mm only.
    as I mentioned above, the reduce magnification with dome port I believe not much. Myself have been using ports and I don't feel the difference other than the size of semi dome port is bigger then 65macro port.
    I don't lose any macro functionality. Not very difficult to shoot pigmy seahorse bagibanti with 60mm macro with either semi dome port or 65 macroport.
    and yes, at 12mm - dome port is certainly better than flat port.
    what I hate from the 12-50 macro port, once you attach the gear to the lens, not very easy to remove it from the lens
    it's just my personal opinion from my own experience as the user of EM-5 and EM-1 with both flat port and dome port.
  6. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    I think using the 60mm in the 4" is an interesting idea and from your photos obviously works well. I am going to give that a try when I am diving again in a few weeks. The lens is sufficiently long (focal length) that I don't see the loss of a magnification in a semi dome as being significant for most macro work.

    I use the 12-50 in the dedicated port and don't think I would likely try the 12-50 in the 4" port but I am curious if the third party zoom gears that are available for that lens would work within the 4" port. Anyone know?

    As to the complicated 12-50 gear, you are right about it being a bit of a hassle to take on and off. So for me it resides permanently on the 12-50. I only use that lens underwater anyway, so...
  7. andy2667

    andy2667 Angel Fish

    Thanks everyone for the insights. The general comments and consciences are that "do it right at the beginning" and " don't go cheap for this system". therefore, dedicated ports for particular lenses are recommended. These messages are well received. On the other hand, I still have concerns about the travelling weight.As quality is important for changeable lenses mirrorless camera, I have reviewed the lens choice after reading Phil's thread in wetpixel about the Oly 12-40mm F2.8 pro lens. The 12-40mm pro lens is a very good lens and it is possible to bring it underwater as a versatile lens from pseudo macro to medium wide shooting. Therefore, I have ruled out the 12-50mm and my lens choice will become:

    - Oly 60mm for Macro (in small dome port, Wisnu's photos have proved that the Nauticam 4" semi dome port is suitable for the 60mm Macro)
    - Oly 9-18 for Wide for now (In dome port, may wait and see the new Oly 7-14mm F2.8 Pro lens which will be released soon).
    - Oly 12-40 Pro lens for general purpose versatile use from pseudo macro to mid wide (in appropriate dome port to get full use of the 12mm wide end)

    For the above lenses, I may go for either a single universal dome port for all three lenses or opt for 2 ports solution for travel.

    I note that the Zen DP170 n85II dome is suitable for the Oly 12-40mm pro, the Oly 9-18mm wide zoom (and the Pany 7-14 wide zoom as well if I opt for this lens), and 12-50mm zoom. With the extension ring , it may probably be used for the future Oly 7-14mm pro? A really versatile dome ports but a bit large and heavy for us beginners. Not sure if this dome ports can be used for the 60mm Macro? Could any user clarify on this? If it can be used for the 60mm macro, it will be the one dome universal port for me. Understand that dome port of this size may not be very convenient for macro shooting. Therefore, I will probably put this dome port in my list because of its compatibility of the 12-40mm and other mid/wide zoom lenses.

    I will definitely get the Nauticam 4" semi dome instead of the 65 macro port for my first port for the EM1 housing. As proved by Wisnu, it works very well with the Oly 60mm macro. The upside is that it can allow the 60mm macro shot a bit wider for some fish portrait. On the other hand, it is designed for the Oly 9-18 meaning that I can use this lens for wide zoom. Thus it covers the 2 key lenses I intend to use. It is also lighter compared with the larger Zen DP170 dome and is smaller providing better convenience for shooting Macro. It will be my essential port for travelling with the 60mm and 9-18mm unless I want to use the 12-40mm pro.

    In conclusion, I will buy the Nauticam 4" semi dome port with the EM1 house. Use it for a while to get used to the new set up. Then add to this system the Zen DP170 for the 12-40.

    By the way, it seems that it is very difficult to get information about the dimensions, weight and other specifications of various ports. The Nauticam official site not even list a bit these information for their products! All online shops I can search do not has these information. For the Zen ports, it is a bit bette, some online shops lists the weight but not the dimension! Just curious where I can find these information. These are one of the important factors on considering a specific port as travelling weight has become very important now because of the airline limits. The dimensions also have impact in considering easy of handling. Even worse, I can't even tell from the online information if the ports are acrylic or optical glasses??!!
    KCrofoot likes this.
  8. KCrofoot

    KCrofoot Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tomball, Texas, United States

    I am also deciding which lens/port to start with for the NA-EM1. I only have the opportunity to log 25-30 dives a year and do not want to limit myself to only being able to shoot macro or wide angle. I dive in the Caribbean Coz, Bonaire & Roatan. I like the idea of being able to travel light and have versatile set-up.

    My initial plan is to start with the 12-50 exclusively with the 4" semi dome port, with Deepshots gear and Nauticam diopter holder with +5 UCL lens.

    I think this will allow me to travel light and shoot both macro and some wide angle. I am an amateur so my goals / focus might be different for some of you that know on a specific dive location the wide angle or macro shots will be better.

    If you guys think this a flawed strategy please feel free to make suggestions.

    Guys I want to thank each of you for participating and adding your experience to this thread it has helped me make a solid decision to move forward.
  9. lofish

    lofish Nassau Grouper

    I will getting a slightly used EM5 body with a nauticam housing soon. Since I already have a 9-18mm WA lens, a 12 -42 mm kit lens and of course the 60mm macro, my plan is to get the 4" dome with zoom ring for both the WA lens and the kit lens, perhaps a diopter holder just in case.

    A macro port for the 60mm, since I use the subsee +10 and inon +5 for stuff like hairy shrimp with eggs.
  10. andy2667

    andy2667 Angel Fish

    Good strategy but why not just use the 4" semi dome to pair with your 9~18mm, 14~42mm and 60mm, all three lenses, then add a Nauticam flip dipoter holder to the semi dome port?

    One port for all three lenses and the dome can allow the 60mm shot a bit wider if necessary.

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