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Review of GH2 & Nauticam housing

Discussion in 'Panasonic Planet' started by Kevster, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. Deep scope

    Deep scope Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Denver
    38
    1
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    Fairly happy with it. The housing seems very sturdy and secure. I was a little disappointed with the quality control as the dome I received had a small blemish from the factory (not big enough to effect image quality but surprising that it passed their quality control).

    Had some issues with a few of the control buttons which required a little hacking to get working properly. The rear jog dial button wouldn't work properly until I used some non-stick tape on the inside of the button (seems to be a known issue with some of the 10Bar housings).

    Aside from that the menu control buttons are quite close together and would probably be very difficult to use with thicker gloves. Lastly, the focus control knob is a little clumsy to use.

    The main advantage of the housing is price--the 10bar housing is very significantly cheaper than the Nauticam setup. Particularly, given that the dome included with the 10Bar housing will fit the 14-42, 14-45, 9-18, and 7-14mm lenses. As I understand it, the Nauticam does not even include a dome and is about $700 more expensive than the 10Bar setup.

    Nick
     
    Akimbo likes this.
  2. Patrick_J

    Patrick_J Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Stockholm
    12
    0
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    Great review Kevster – thanks!

    I was waiting for Panasonic to announce the GX1 camera, but looking at the specs today I’m leaning towards the GH2 again. I'm also coming from a compact UW camera setup (s90/s95), and really want to upgrade to either m43 or DSLR. I don’t share the excitement over the Sony NEX, the 16mm WA is not that wide and tests indicate it’s not very sharp. They have now released a macro lens, but 30mm is not optimal. Great little cameras though!

    Some questions:

    1. In the test written by Peter Rowlands he mentions that “Unfortunately the output of the built in flash on the GH2 is not controllable so there might be a problem with battery drain on a long dive using strobes all the time but I haven’t got there yet.”. Can’t the internal flash be controlled at all, meaning you cannot set it to for example 1/64th power?

    2. How do you find the GH2 works with strobes in s-TTL mode, does it meter correctly?

    3. You mentioned the base plate needs to be removed to change the battery. Approximately how much work is involved removing the camera from the housing and detaching the base plate? Would this be possible to do on a boat between dives, or is it more of an after dive activity?'

    4. I’m considering a setup just like yours, with the Nauticam two grip tray. With the setup in water, how do you experience the buoyancy (negative, positive, neutral)?

    5. Do you find the maximum flash sync shutter speed (1/160) limiting? My Canon s95 with an electronical shutter is superb in this regard (I think maximum is 1/2000 or even 1/4000), so this might be an issue specially for trying to black out the negative space. Then again, it seems no mirrorless do any better in this regard.

    6. Do you often find the 8mm fisheye to be too wide? Trying to figure out which WA lens would fit my needs, 8mm, 7-14 or even 9-18.


    Patrick
     
  3. Kevster

    Kevster Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Perth, Australia
    437
    49
    28
    1.Correct. Flash output cannot be adjusted as far as i know. I had no problem with Battery after 3 dives. (I am not trigger happy , only take approx 50 photos per dive) Battery life is typically better than a compact but not as good as a DSLR. WIth my S90 i was always careful to conserve battery , especially during 2nd dive. I did not have any problems with the GH2 so far.
    2. I have no problems with s-TTl mode. I am using the Inons S2000 & D2000.
    3.Remoing the base plate is no big deal. Easily done on a boat between dives.(Its a bit like attaching your camera to the mounting plate on a tripod. I was just trying to highlight that Nauticam could have engineered a better solution.
    4. Camera is neutral with 2 grip tray attached. With 2 small strobes & a small focus light it was negative. I have 1 mega and 1 small buoyancy arms with my set up. USing these arms the system was near neutral.
    5. Yes 1/160 is a bit of a pain. Due to past use with S90/G9 i was always trying to increase !! However it is not a problem to get black backgrounds. (you can see some on my photos from my trip report) 1/160 with F12ish was sufficient to get black backgrounds.(I guess it depends on what you are shooting). You should check your flash sync for your S95. Although you can set the shutter speed to 1/2000s, it reverts back to a default 1/250s when taking a photo using the flash. I am sure this was the case using my S90 & G9.
    6. Yes. 8mm can be too wide. However i have read a couple of reports stating the 7-14 & 9-18 lens produce soft corners as the domes are too small. This is a common problem with recticular lens. Someone has posted on another forum that the 8mm is the best wide angle lens in terms of sharpness. At the moment i am happy with the 8mm. I also have the 14mm pancake lens that i will try on my next trip in December. 14mm may be ok for sharks. The 8mm was too wide for sharks etc unless they are very very close.
     
  4. Patrick_J

    Patrick_J Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Stockholm
    12
    0
    0

    Thanks Kevster - strange they haven’t implemented the possibility to control the flash output! I guess it means there is no disadvantage using sTTL then, on the s95 I always used to set the strobe power manually to preserve battery power. I wish Nauticam had implemented wired TTL like on the 10bar housing though.

    I’ve spent some time yesterday reviewing different GH2 RAW files in Lightroom. I have to say it looks good – with some cleaning ISO 1600 is very acceptable, and even 3200 can be used although I would personally avoid it when possible. I dive mostly in murky waters, so a decent high ISO noise level is quite important.
    The only thing that bothered me a bit was that there is some noise even at base ISO (160), especially in blue channel it seems (which I guess is normal). I compared it to RAW files taken with my previous cameras; s95, Pentax k20d and Pentax k5. The s95 is definitely much worse, but both the k20d and K5 are better. With some minor Lightroom noise reduction it seems you can get most of that removed, and I seriously doubt it would show in prints anyway. It’s just me being a pixel peeping geek, overall it looks very good! Will think this over during the weekend, my other option is the D7000. A bit better IQ, a bit heavier and a bit more expensive – it’s all in the bits I guess…

    Two more questions Kevster (sorry for all the questions!):
    1. How do you attach the housing to the flexitray, using one or two screws, and when attached does it sit securely? When attaching the Recsea s95 housing to the tray I own, it's a bit flimsy which can be annoying (one screw only).
    2. While operating the housing, how do go from changing aperture to shutter speed and vice versa? From what I understand the thumb wheel needs to be pressed to switch between the two, and then you turn the wheel to change the actual value. How is that implemented on the housing, or do you need to change it differently?

    Thanks!
    Patrick
     
  5. Kevster

    Kevster Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Perth, Australia
    437
    49
    28
    I was happy to generally keep iso at 400-800. On several occasions I was shooting above 1600.
    I have no doubt the D7000 will have better noise performance & will be a better camera for stills.
    However for most users in the real world there will be very little difference. I was tempted by the D7000 but I am happy I have the Gh2.
    Before I purchased my gear I done a detailed cost estimate between housing the D7000 & GH2. There was not much difference in cost between housing a D7000 & GH2 once you include lens & ports. Maybe $500 but that’s not much when you are spending $5000+ . (Since I bought my setup 5 months ago, the price of the GH2 & some of the expensive lens have reduced in price.)

    I think the GH2 has some major advantages over the D7000.

    1. Much better video (+ recent hacks have further improved the video quality available.)
    2. Can use live view , rather than trying to use a small viewfinder to compose photos.
    3. Smaller, lighter set-up. The ports & lens are significantly smaller

    To answer your questions;

    1. The housing connects to the tray with 2 screws, spaced evenly apart on the underside of the housing. Therefore the housing is very secure to the tray. However there is some movement in the actual tray handles. Nothing major, just a bit annoying..
    2. Yes that is correct topside, when in manual mode you press the thumb wheel to change between S/Av range. You then rotate the same thumbwheel to change the actual setting (i.e increase decrease shutter speed/aperture) Underwater when using manual mode you have to press a button on the housing to be able to select the shutter speed/aperture range. Its just a 1 button press to switch between the two. No need to hold anything down. Once selected you then just rotate a different dial to actual change the setting. Its very easy to use. As far as I can remember there are no functions that you have to use both hands or keep a button pressed while changing something else.
     
  6. Patrick_J

    Patrick_J Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Stockholm
    12
    0
    0
    I have to admit I've spent TOO much time creating different lists comparing the D7000 to GH2 (one for costs, one for lenses and yet another one for different advantages/disadvantages etc), but I actually didn't think about the live view being better on the GH2 which is a very valid point. At the moment I'm leaning towards the GH2 as I do travel a lot, and after having looked at the RAW samples yesterday it confirms the IQ is also really good. I honestly have not been interested in video before, but looking at other people's great results with GH2 also gives me some curiosity to try it out. We'll see, will do some serious thinking during the weekend!

    I read a post by Phil Rudin in the Olympus forum where he tried the Oly 12mm lens with the nauticam fisheye dome with good results (Nauticam E-PL2 housing though, but that shouldn't make a difference?). Would be fun to experiment a bit with that port, maybe the macro lens would fit/work which would be sweet!

    Patrick
     
  7. Long-John-Silver

    Long-John-Silver Nassau Grouper

    108
    21
    18
    Hi Kevster,
    I reply to an old thread but useful. I have my NA-GH2 on the way.
    I ordered the tary and two handle but I need to put the housing on a tripod. Is there a central screw on the housing or a different way to put the housing on a tripod mount?

    Thank you in advance
     
  8. Edward Lai

    Edward Lai Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hong Kong
    29
    14
    3
    Hi Long-John-Silver,

    We will be producing very soon an addition version of 30mm longer Flexitray (for bigger housings such as GH-2) with 2 Tripod holes with 1/4"-20 thread. Please contact your dealer in about 2 weeks' time for this new version.

    Edward
     
  9. Long-John-Silver

    Long-John-Silver Nassau Grouper

    108
    21
    18
    Hi Edward,
    My GH2 Housing is currently in backorder. I should have received it last weeks but the order was postponed at the end of February.

    I will ask immediately to your Italian dealer to order this new tray.

    Thank you for your response, I was already thinking to some DIY :)

    Bye
     
  10. Long-John-Silver

    Long-John-Silver Nassau Grouper

    108
    21
    18
    Hi all,
    I update this thread with the information about the new Flexitray with tripod mount capabilities.
    I received it with the GH2 housing and the whole setup is wonderful.
    This is a photo of the tray with the two threaded extra holes.

    Bye

    [​IMG]
     

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