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OM-D rig step by step

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by Storker, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. NozBzh

    NozBzh Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Komodo, Indonesia
    47
    3
    8
    Thanks a lot Phil. I have already read many of those, but I'll read through them again to make sure I didn't miss anything.
     
  2. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
    1,221
    264
    83
    You can also find my review of the Nauticam NA-EM5 system and another review of the Olympus E-M5 system in issue #68 of uwpmag.com this is now a back issue.

    Phil Rudin
     
  3. NozBzh

    NozBzh Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Komodo, Indonesia
    47
    3
    8
    Thanks, I had followed this link before and downloaded the latest issue without reading it, and I now realise I have the wrong issue!
    There was a lot I missed on wetpixel, thanks again for that. It's a lot of reading but also very informative. As you said, I found an answer to all of my questions :)
     
  4. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    12,941
    9,364
    113
    Since you're asking... :wink:

    The camera has arrived. I found a pretty sweet deal where the E-M5 powerkit (body, 12-50mm, battery grip and extra battery) came bundled with an E-PM1, a 14-42mm II R and a Tough TG-320 at the same price as the powerkit alone. I've also bought the 9-18 since I can't justify the cost of the 7-14 even to myself, and I'm planning to learn underwater WA (and CFWA?) photography with a rectilinear WA before I'll try to master the fisheye. The E-PM1 will replace my Canon G9 as my hiking camera since the G9 is getting a bit old in the tooth and delivers pretty poor corner sharpness. The TG-320 I'll probably lend to my youngest son so he can use it while he's snorkeling.

    Next on the list - probably some time next month, both because I need to save up a few more €€€ first and because the local Nauticam agent has closed his business temporarily - is the NA-EM5, 12-50 port w/gear, 4" dome port w/gear and the hand strap. While I'm waiting impatiently, I'll play with the OM-D topside, to become familiar with it and tweak my menu settings.

    After some dives with the NA-EM5, I'm going to buy one strobe, probably the Inon S2000. I'm planning to mount it on the Nauticam Easitray via one or two 125mm arms. I may get some flotation blocks at the same time, to make the rig neutrally buoyant. Tips and advice on brand and number of arms, or anything else for that sake, will be appreciated :)

    As the Johnny Cash song goes: I'm getting it one piece at a time. However, it'll cost me more than a dime... :coffee:
     
  5. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    12,941
    9,364
    113
    ...and today I was able to order the NA-EM5 :D :D :D

    Contrary to Guy's advice, I'm going for the 4" dome first. I'm not that thrilled with macro and decided I'd prefer first to work on my skills on WA composition. That was what made me decide to spend my first chunk of money on the 9-18 and the 4" dome rather than the 12-50 macro port. I'm quite certain that others' MMV.

    I got the 12-50 with the camera body, and I'm planning to use it behind the 4" dome for semi-close-ups until I can afford the 12-50 port. This means that after my first investment I can either shoot strictly WA with the 9-18, or I can use the 12-50 as my "jack of all trades, master of none" lens. The 12-50 will give me moderate WA at 12mm and semi-closeup capabilities at 50mm using the underwater scene mode function in the new EM-5 firmware. Even without the macro mode, the 12-50 should be able to give 1/7 magnification at the close focus limit and 50mm FL. That translates to roughly 1/3.5 in 24x36mm equivalents, with a DOF range of about 1cm at f/8. Narrow enough to be challenging enough for me, given my current buoyancy and positioning skills. This is more than enough for me to handle until I've got quite a few more dives in my logbook and more of my diving skills relocated to muscle memory.

    After saving up some more money, I'll buy a strobe and start learning how to master that, and as the third step I'll probably get the dedicated 12-50 port for real closeups and more flexibility.

    Again thanks for all the advice I've received in this thread! There's been a lot of thinking and agonizing going on, but I feel that my current choice will be the right for me, giving me - as a quite inexperienced diver - the opportunity to take small and careful steps up my learning curve on UW photography.
     
  6. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida, USA
    1,951
    1,033
    113
    Good choices all, Storker. I shot the 9-18 with my old pl-2 system and was very happy with it.

    Also, to get more out of the 12-50 in the dome, look on wetpixel, as there is a german company that makes a zoom gear for the lens that will work in any port, so you can at least use the full zoom range which is better than the underwater scene mode. I think the gear is around $100US or so.

    If you want to go pure macro for an entire dive, you can switch the lens to macro mode before you put in in the port and that should work pretty good as well.

    Those options should hold you over very well until you can get the dedicated port.

    I did not know you did not have a strobe. In that case, saving some $$ on the port and spending on a strobe is a better choice.
     
  7. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    12,941
    9,364
    113
    Yesterday was my first dive with the NA-EM5. As mentioned upthread, I don't have a strobe yet. This is partially due to the economy (I haven't saved up enough €€€ for that purchase yet), but also since, as a fairly new diver, I'm already quite heavily task loaded learning to use a new camera underwater. So, I'm planning on doing a few dives learning to master the camera controls while still maintaining buoyancy and situational awareness before adding a strobe to the task list. As a simple quickfix to get half-even lighting from the camera flash, I removed the optical fiber port from the NA-EM5, cut a makeshift diffuser from a 4L polypropylene windshield wiper fluid can and taped it to the port using electrical tape. It worked somehow; at least I didn't get a big black half-circle of shadow from the port in the bottom third of my frames.

    The first dive was with the 12-50 in the 4" dome port. I planned to use the underwater scene wide/closeup function in the EM-5's menu, but I wasn't aware that choosing the underwater modes changes a lot of other settings as well. While I always shoot raw so that the color balance can be fixed easily in post, the underwater modes also change focus point selection and exposure compensation. This caused quite a bit of confusion for me, which was exaggerated by my diving buddy being a little bit too preoccupied with navigation and missing out a little on buddy awareness. There was a lot of fumbling while trying to grab the shots and not being left too far behind. We also dived a new site, and the choice of site was... suboptimal. Muck bottom, no rock formations and not much life, at least without the time to go close to the bottom and scan for small critters. However, I got one shot which I was fairly happy with:

    [​IMG]
    Out of sight... by Størker, on Flickr

    I've since discovered that turning the mode dial away from your current mode and then back again resets all changes to the settings except for the zoom setting. So, to keep my settings as I've set them, changing from 12mm to 50mm is a two-step process: first, hit the UW scene selection button, next turn the mode dial and back again. I'm pretty certain that others have discovered this as well, but since I haven't seen that tip before I figured I could mention it. Also, turning the mode dial makes it possible to save the underwater WA/closeup mode setting to a Myset, something which isn't possible before you flip the dial. Quite counterintuitive and just a little bit annoying that this isn't documented in a way that I've discovered previously...

    Due to the water temp (4C) I used my thick (6.5mm) three-finger wet gloves, and operating the NA-EM5 with those gloves wasn't too bad. Most of the buttons are spaced far enough from each others to make operation with thick gloves feasible, however the Fn2 button is a bit tricky to access. I'll look into my button setup and put a not very commonly used function on the Fn2. The Rec button, however, was very easy to access even with thick gloves, a lot easier than topside without the housing. The mode dial was a bit hard to turn with thick gloves and the fingers maybe a little stiff or numb from the cold. My fingers kept slipping on the dial, I hope that this improves with training and use. Without a tray and strobe mounted, the housing with camera and 12-50mm is slightly positively buoyant, which was a bit of a hassle for me. I clip my camera to my left shoulder D-ring, and when the camera is positively buoyant, the lanyard gets tangled with my inflator hose. I'm definitely going to do something with that...

    I'm confident that given some more training dives, I'll overcome most of my current challenges. I already love the gear, because unlike my G9 I don't feel that the equipment limits my photographic abilities. This is also the reason I love my Nikon D300 topside.
     
  8. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    6,020
    1,763
    113

    Never really used the uw mode. What do you think of it and what settings did you notice it changed?
    Nice pix
     
  9. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    12,941
    9,364
    113
    It's a kludgy, but functioning method of changing from 12mm to 50mm and back. Just remember to set your 12-50 to E-zoom. I forgot initially and had to take the camera out of the housing to fix that.

    When it comes to camera settings, I'm an old school control freak and I don't want my camera to change any setting unless I specifically tell it to. So, I hated that it changed a lot of other settings as well as the FL, at least without explicitly telling me what it changed. Now get off my lawn! :wink:

    White balance, exposure comp and focus point selection. WB was not significant (I shoot only raw and set the WB in post anyway, so WB during shooting never matters to me), exposure comp was somewhat annoying and focus point selection really got me steaming since I didn't know about it and wasn't able to acquire focus at the point I thought I was aiming at. I didn't notice if it changed flash mode or not, but thinking back I wouldn't be surprised if it changed that as well.

    Thanks

    ---------- Post added March 12th, 2013 at 01:42 PM ----------

    I checked topside. Flash mode changes, too.
     
  10. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    12,941
    9,364
    113
    New update (is it just me, or is this thread starting to look like my personal blog?)

    Since my last post, I've managed to get hold of a strobe. No, not a "real" strobe. That's still a bit outside my budget. But I found a used Ikelite AF35 and got it for about one third of the price of an Inon S-2000. That's the Inon sans any tray, arms or clamps. Of course, the AF35 requred a bit of DIYing, since the trigger sensor is made for sensing the scattered flash light from an acrylic housing and has no option for any fiber optical or electrical cabling. I used a piece of clear silicone rubber tubing as a "fiberoptic" cable. One end was just stuffed into one of the holes in the optical fiber mount on the NA-EM5, while the other end was mated to the AF35's sensor through a cover I made from a piece of Kydex sheet and about a meter of electrical tape. The flash didn't fire in time with the shutter on auto flash (I guess it's got something to do with the timing of the preflash), but it did fire in time on manual flash, and I've shot manual flash before. Pretty far from an ideal solution, but it's a working solution giving me the ability to learn some of the basics of UW strobe photography a few months earlier than originally anticipated.

    Anyway, yesterday's trip went to the coast. A two and a half hour drive to the outside of the island Hitra in central Norway, with beautiful nature and wonderfully clear water. The former all year around, the latter particularly at this time of the year before the water warms up and the plankton soup starts thickening. Since the people I was going to dive with reported 3C (38F) in the water, I decided to stuff some more clothes under the drysuit. It worked good warmth-wise, not so well buoyancy-wise. I was more than a little on the light side, had to swim myself down from the surface and spent most of my time at shallow depths finning downwards or holding on to kelp stipes to keep from popping up. So, even if my proficiency with the camera and the housing had improved since last time, I spent more energy - and air - than usual fighting my crappy buoyancy control and my SAC rate was some 20% higher than the last dive. I was already 2 kg heavier than my summer weighting, but next time I'll have to carry even more weight unless I start shedding some of the insulation.

    On the photography side of things, I'm going to use the 9-18 instead of the 12-50 the next time. It seems as if the optics of a dome port screws up the close focus limit of the 12-50, or perhaps it's just that the lens has a crappier close focus limit at 50mm than at 12. I haven't seen any mentioning of poorer close focus limit at 50mm, though, so it may well be another user error. No matter the cause, I wasn't able to get as close as I wanted on those "closeup" shots, so the dedicated port and gear for the 12-50 is still on my wishlist, just below a decent strobe. But since the guide number of the Ikelite is claimed to be close to that of the S-2000, I've started to think very hard about postponing the strobe shopping until I can afford a Z-240 instead of an S-2000.

    But even with that heap of n00b errors and thrashing, I was able to get a couple of shots I was fairly happy with. Here's one of them:

    [​IMG]
    Plumose anemone and underwater photographer by Størker, on Flickr
     

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