Underwater Photography News

DEMA 2012 Coverage Day 1

Todd Winner
Cool stuff from Reefnet, Nauticam, Light & Motion, 10-bar and more.

DEMA 2012 Coverage - Day 1

Cool stuff from Reefnet, Light & Motion, 10-bar and more.

By Todd Winner


Dema Sign







New Light and Motion UV Nightsea Light

Sola Light

Light & Motion has come out with a new line of lights for fluorescence diving, which allow you to view, video or capture still images of fluorescence in marine organisms.  There are two products - the Sola Nightsea light, and the Nightsea X face plate for the Sola 4000 video light.  Both come with a flip down mask filter for fluoresce viewing and a yellow filter so you can use the lights as standard white lights. Retail price for the Sola Nightsea is $749.00, and for the Sola 4000 Nightsea X Face plate is $649.00. The Sola Nightsea light is shipping now!


More Reefnet fiber optic snoots


ReefNet was showing their Fiber Optic Micro Snoot.  The snoot mounts are available for most Inon, Sea & Sea and Ikelite strobes and can accommodate one or two arms. The flexible fiber optic snoot arms are made up of 150 highly polished fiber optic cables for maximum light transmission. New models include versions for the Sea & Sea YS-01, YS-D1 and YS-250. Retail price for the Fiber Optic Snoot is $300, and $160 for an additional arm.

Sola Nightsea

The Nightsea X Face plate replaces the existing front on your Sola 4000 video light.


New 10BAR housings - EOS-M, G1X, GX1

10 Bar

10 Bar has a new housing available for the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera. Retail price is around $900.00 USD. They are also doing a housing for the Panasonic GX1, and the Canon G1X. 

Canon Blurb

Canon EOS ID C shoots video at 4K in a DSLR body! Very nice. We tested out the Nauticam housing for this camera and it was great - more details on that later.

Go Pros

GoPro has their new line of Hero 3 cameras - the white ($199), silver ($299), and black ($399) - with resolution up 4K and amazing frame rates.


Nauticam Optical Trigger


Nauticam Trigger

Nauticam has a ton of new products that we will be posting soon but one item that many of us have been waiting for is the hot shoe optical trigger.  This Nauticam optical trigger fits into the hot shoe of the camera, and puts out a small amont of light that a fiber optic cable can pick up.

Now owners of 5D Mark III, Canon 1Dx, and other camera bodies without a pop up flash have a way to trigger their strobes through fiber optic cables! We tested this with the Nauticam Canon 1DX housing, and we were getting 12 frames per second via fiber optics, wow. Not all housings will have room for this trigger, but many of the later model Nauticam housings will. You will not be able to do TTL via fiber optics with this optical trigger.


Continue on to DEMA Day 2 coverage - Ikelite manta strobe, lithium battery, Aquatica & Sea & Sea housings


About the Author

Todd Winner is the technique editor for Underwater Photography Guide and an instructor and trip leader for Bluewater Photo Store in Santa Monica, CA. You can see more of his work at www.toddwinner.com.


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!



Fluoro-Diving with New Sola Nightsea

Travis Ball
Light & Motion unveils a unique light that allows you to experience a world normally invisible to the human eye.

Experience Fluorescent Diving with Light & Motion's New Sola Nightsea

By Travis Ball




Looking for a new way to experience your dives? Light & Motion has just released their new Sola Nightsea Blue Lighting system.  Developed in collaboration with Charles Mazel, a renowned research scientist, this new light unveils a whole new world .  With underwater floura and fauna giving off fluorescent proteins, your underwater adventures will be headed in a completely new direction.


Sola Nightsea

Here are some of the specs from Light & Motion:

Run Time = 110 minutes on High & 4.5 hours on low

Rechargable = Li-ion Wet Recharge in 150 minutes

Dual Mode = Included phosphor filter for white light (remember, this isn't a standard diving light)

Factory Sealed = No O-Rings to clean and re-seal

Mounting Options = Pistol grip, T-handle, D-ring, hand strap, video locline, photo ball and YS mount

Smart Dashboard = Battery status indicator, mode selection indicator and charge status indicator

Includes a handstrap and phosphor filter



Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


Product Notice for Sea & Sea YS-D1 Strobes

Travis Ball
YS-D1 strobes get a firmware update

Sea and Sea YS-D1 Strobe

Good News for all you YS-D1 digital strobe owners out there!  Sea & Sea just released new firmware that updates the low battery level indicator feature and functionality.  If your serial number is below 104102102 or between 104102251-104102552 than you should contact your authorized Sea & Sea dealer for a factory update.

Finding your Serial number

To find your serial number and check whether you need the firmware update, look for a printed lable inside the battery comparment, just near the top.

The Firmware update will be expedited and completed within 7-10 business days upon recepit at the service center so get those strobes over and upgraded before your next dive trip!





New Support for the Olympus OM-D PT-EP08 Housing

Travis ball
Zen Underwater is now offering a new adapter and dome port for the Olympu PT-EP-08 Housing for Olympus OM-D EM-5

Zen Underwater Adds Support for OMD-D

A new adapter and dome port have just been released for the Olympus brand OM-D housing

 By Travis Ball


OMD Underwater Housing




Starting today, Zen Underwater is making available a new Zen dome port adapter for the Olympus OM-D housing PT-EP08. The new Zen Pa-EP08-EP adapter has a retail price of $100.  This adapter will allow Zen dome ports for the Olympus E-PL1, E-PL2 and E-PL3 housings to work with the new bayonet latch on the OM-D housing.

New Zen dome port for the Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens

Also on offer is the Zen DP-100-EP08 Dome Port - a 100mm glass dome for the Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 88 f/3.5 lens that was specifically designed for the Olympus PT-EP08 OM-D housing.  


More details:

Fort Lauderdale, FL., October 11, 2012 - Zen Underwater announces support options for the Olympus PT-EP-08 underwater housing for the popular Olympus OM-D EM-5 micro-four thirds camera.  A new dome port and port adapter are now available allowing accessory ports to be used that support key lenses for underwater photographers.
In a radical departure from prior Olympus micro-four thirds camera housings, Olympus changed the port mount for the OM-D PT-EP08 housing, implementing a rotating bayonet style latch, and which is not compatible with previous Zen dome ports.
In order to provide Zen dome port customers an upgrade path from older Olympus PT-series housings, Zen Underwater is now offering the PA-EP08-EP Adapter to allow use of the following ports with the PT-EP08 housing:

  • WA-100-EP Pen Dome ($499) for the:
    M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9–18mm f/4–f/5.6
    Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm f/3.5–f/5.6L
  • WA-100-EP714 Pen Dome ($499) for the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH
  • FP-100-EP Flat Port ($399) for the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 Macro ASPH Mega OIS

The PA-EP08-EP Adapter will be available October 15, 2012. Retail price $100USD.

In addition, Zen Underwater is now offering the DP-100-EP08 Dome Port, a 100mm optically coated glass dome port for the Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f/3.5 lens, designed specifically for the Olympus OM-D PT-EP08 underwater housing.

The DP-100-EP08 will be available October 15, 2012. Retail Price: $799USD.


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


Lightroom 4.2 Update Supports Sony RX100

Travis Ball
Adobe's new Lightroom update adds support for Sony RX100


The final release of Lightroom 4.2 is now available on Adobe.com and through an update mechanism in Lightroom 4.  According to Adobe, "The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support and address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom."

Lightroom 4.2 supports Sony RX-100, Canon T4i

Finally, the Sony RX-100 is supported! Other supported cameras such as the Nikon D600 are listed below.

Adobe Logo

From the Lightroom 4.2 Release Notes:

Bugs Corrected in Lightroom 4.2:

The following bugs that were part the Lightroom 4 releases have been corrected. The team appreciates the very detailed feedback the community has provided on Lightroom 4 and we’re excited to correct a number of issues experienced by our customers. These issues have been FIXED:

Stacked photos were hidden in both the Grid view and Filmstrip. This occurred when photos get unstacked as a result of enabling auto-stacking.

Folder stacks with virtual copies were unstacked when moving to another folder.

When scrolling through the filmstrip (at somewhat fast rate), occasionally a “gray” image was displayed for an instant and then replaced by the correct image preview.

The Navigator Panel in Map did not pan correctly.

Parents and synonyms of “do not export” keywords also did not export..

Occasionally were unable to publish videos to Facebook.

Audio did not play in video files after creating a slideshow that contains music (Win 7 only).

Image select arrow on keyword list didn’t display when keyword list contained a large number of keywords.

Unable to edit Lightroom photos as jpegs in Photoshop Elements.

Carriage Return in either the Title or Caption field invalidated a Flickr upload.

Tether capture bar disappeared after deleting photo (Win only).

Back Cover of Book layout had Horizontal text on spine rather than Vertical.

Sharpening was not applied to books that were exported as JPEG files.

Double-byte characters were not exported to Books saved as PDF files.

Unable to type accented character in book module in LR4.

Luminance Noise slider was unresponsive when Clarity is greater than 0.

Develop keyboard shortcuts (+ and – keys) no longer worked in older process versions such as PV2010.

New Camera Support in Lightroom 4.2:

Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i
Canon EOS M
Fujifilm XF1
Fujifilm X-E1
Fuji FinePix F800EXR
Leaf Credo 40
Leaf Credo 60
Leica S
Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 4
Nikon Coolpix P7700
Nikon 1 J2
Nikon D600*
Panasonic DMC-G5
Panasonic DMC-LX7
Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Pentax K-30
Samsung EX2F
Sony Alpha NEX-5R
Sony Alpha NEX-6
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V
Sony DSC-RX100

*Please note that the support for Nikon D600 is preliminary and there is a minor risk that the appearance of your images may change when the final support for Nikon D600 is available in an upcoming release.


Olympus 60mm macro lens review for underwater photographers

Scott Gietler
Olympus 60mm macro lens for underwater photographers

Olympus 60mm macro lens review

Great option for underwater photography

By Scott Gietler, underwater photos by Kelli Dickinson


olympus 60mm macro lens review



After a long wait, the Olympus 60mm macro lens is out. This is great news for micro-four thirds camera owners, because the existing macro lens, the Panasonic 45mm macro lens, is a little slow to focus.

Olympus F2.8 60mm macro lens features

  • 13 lens elements, 10 groups of lenses
  • 1:1 reproduction ratio (photos will be 17.5mm across at closest focusing distance)
  • Aperture range F2.8 - F22
  • 3 settings for focus range (19 - 40 cm, >40cm, full range)
  • Weather-resistant (great for flood-prone underwater photographers!)
  • Equivalent to 120mm on a full frame camera, 80mm on a Nikon D300 or D7000, 75mm on a Canon 7D
  • Quick and quiet focusing, great for taking video
  • Minimum focus distance of 19cm (7.5 inches). Read more about lens basics.
  • Hopefully faster focusing than the sluggish Panasonic 45mm macro
  • Works on all micro-four thirds cameras (Olympus PEN, Panasonic GF2, GX1, OM-D, etc.)
  • Dimensions 82mm x 56mm, weight 185 grams
  • Filter size 46mm
  • Price is $499.99, available now here

Olympus 60mm macro lens - our test results

  • Image size at 1:1 magnification - 17.8mm across
  • Distance from lens to subject at 1:1 - 3.25 inches
  • Max distance when macro limiter switch is on - 18 inches from end of lens, image size is 5.5 inches across
  • Aperture range at 1:1 - F2.8 - F22

Olympus 60mm macro lens, inside the standard Olympus 14-42mm port. Fits nicely!

Olympus 60mm limiter switch

The lens can be set to focus at the following distances:

  • Less than 40cm (19cm - 40cm, useful for macro shooting)
  • Greater than 40cm (useful for telephoto shooting, birds, etc.)
  • Full range

Unless a port comes out that allows this switch to be moved, underwater photographers will be using this switch on the macro setting, or on full range. The lens did focus a little faster when set on 19cm-40cm (the "hunt" distance is less), but I wouldn't hesitate to use the switch on full range, the focus speed difference wasn't huge for me.

Do we recommend the Olympus 60mm macro lens?

A longer lens for underwater use is sorely needed in the micro-four thirds lineup. This lens will allow for great supermacro underwater, especially with a flip-diopter, and also allow you to shoot small fish. Even without a diopter, you can take a photo 17.5mm across - incredible! Its seven-blade circular aperture design will produce some nice bokeh. This lens is already very popular, and is now a must-have for underwater photographers. You can order the Olympus 60mm macro from our partner Bluewater Photo.

Olympus 60mm macro lens test photos

Olympus 60mm macro underwater photos coming soon! Check back in a few days. There are also some incredible topside photos taken with a flash in Ming Thein's review.

olympus 60mm macro lens review

Very small flower, F9, 1/250th, ISO 400, taken with the new Olympus E-PL5 + Olympus F2.8 60mm macro lens, handheld. Very close to 1:1 magnification

olympus zuiko 60mm macro lens

100% crop of above photo

olympus 60mm macro lens photo

F2.8, 1/2500th, ISO 200, Olympus E-PL5, Olympus 60mm macro lens

Olympus 60mm macro lens review

Taken at F2.8, you can see the circular bokeh in the background


Underwater Ports for the Olympus 60mm lens

The size of this lens is very close to the size of the 14-42mm lens when fully extended. So for the most part, the 60mm lens will fit into the same ports for Ikelite, Olympus, & Recsea housings (not for Nauticam) But not always.

We have tested the following ports so far:

  • Olympus standard port - it fits! (see photo above). This will work with the Olympus housing for the E-PL1, E-PL2, E-PM1, OM-D, and E-PL5.
  • Olympus port with lights & threads - it does not fit. This lens will not fit in the PT-EP06L and E-PL3 housings, because these ports have lights / threads that make the port slightly smaller than the version of the port with no lights.
  • Nauticam flat port 56 (Olympus 14-42mm)  - does not fit; Nauticam has made a new port for the 60mm lens, and is also making 20mm and 30mm extension rings for existing macro ports.
  • Nauticam flat port 72 (Panasonic 14-42mm / Sony 18-55mm)  - it fits!
  • Nauticam 4” Wide Angle Port (nau.36137) - it fits!
  • Nauticam 12-50mm port - it fits nicely! Note that this port has 77mm threads

However, the focus range limiter switch will not be operation in the existing ports, which is not a deal breaker since most people will be fine leaving the focus range on the full range.


Wet Diopters with the Olympus 60mm macro lens

Using a +5 or +7 SubSee or Dyron +7 macro lens should result in some pretty amazing supermacro shots. Look for some test shots coming soon!

Using the Dyron+7 or SubSee +10 lenses resulted in similar size photo about 13mm across.

60mm macro lens test, without a diopter

Olympus 60mm Macro lens, F11, 1/250, ISO 200
Olympus 60mm Macro lens, F11, 1/250, ISO 200

60mm macro lens with Dyron +7 macro lens

Olympus 60mm Macro lens with Dyron +7 diopter, F11, 1/250, ISO 200
Olympus 60mm Macro lens with Dyron +7 diopter, F11, 1/250, ISO 200


Olympus 60mm macro Underwater Photos

The Olympus 60mm lens worked wonderfully underwater. Focus hunting was limited, and usually only occured when changing focus from something very close up to something farther away or when I moved the lens in past the minimum focus distance when photographing super close up. I was really pleased with the performance of this lens, and especially the range of depth of field that is achievable when compared to using the kit lens with a diopter. Take a look at some of the examples below. All of these photos are uncropped unless noted.

Olympus 60mm Underwater photography Review

Kelp Bass that surprised me. The Olympus 60mm reacted perfectly locking focus quickly as he swam towards me. ISO 200, F22, 1/250. Taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and dual YS-D1 Strobes at Catalina Island, Southern California.

olympus 60mm underwater photography review

Kelp Bass chilling in the sand, ISO 200, F18, 1/60

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater review

Portrait of a Moray Eel, ISO 200, F22, 1/100

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater photography review

Moray Eel with Shrimp, ISO 200, F18, 1/100


Olympus 60mm macro bokeh

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater photography review

Close up of a Blue-banded Goby shot at a large aperature to create nice bokeh in the background.  ISO 200, F2.8, 1/160


Nice detail at 100% crop

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater photography review

100% crop of a Blue-Banded Goby. Shows the nice detail and focus in the 60mm lens. ISO 200, F11, 1/80


Olympus 60mm macro lens Depth of Field Tests:

The Olympus 60mm handled Depth of Field nicely. At 2.8 the focus plane was very shallow, allow for very specific focus that helps the subject really pop. At F11 there is a nice easy to work with range of Depth of Field, and at F22 most of the image was in focus. Take a look at the test results below.

olympus 60mm underwater photography review

Blue-banded Goby @ F2.8 (ISO 200, 1/250)

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater photography guide review

Blue-banded Goby at F11 (ISO 200, 1/80)

olympus 60mm macro lens underwater photography review

Blue-banded Goby @ F22 (ISO 200, 1/160)


About the Author

Scott Gietler is the creator of the Underwater Photography Guide and owner of Bluewater Photo Store. An avid marine naturalist, Scott is the author of the Field Guide to Southern California Marine Life. He was the LAUPS photographer of the year for 2009, and his photos have appeared in magazines, coffee table & marine life books, museums, galleries, and aquariums throughout California. 


Further Reading


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


Nikon Announces Full Frame D600

Michael Zeigler
Nikon just announced the FX D600, which appears to be very similar to the D7000, with a full-frame sensor.

Nikon D600 Announced

Nikon's new full frame D600 falls between the D7000 and D800

By Michael Zeigler



Nikon has released another full-frame camera, the Nikon D600, which is similar to both the cropped-senor D7000, and the full-fame D800.




Highlights of the new Nikon D600

  • Full-frame, 24 megapixels
  • Cost is $2,099
  • Slightly larger than the D7000
  • 1080p30 full HD video mode with stereo sound recording
  • ISO range 100-6400, expandable to ISO 25,600
  • Speed limited to 5.5fps
  • 3.2in 921k-dot LCD screen
  • 10.5 megapixel DX crop mode


Nikon D600

Nikon's new full-frame D600



Comparison Chart for the Nikon D600

  Nikon D600 Nikon D800 Nikon D7000
Megapixels 24.3 36 16.2
Video 1080p30,25, 60  720p 25,50 1080p30, 720p60  1080p24 720p24, 30
Shooting Speed 5.5 fps 4 fps, 5fps in crop mode 6fps
Memory 2x SD CF, SD 2x SD
Autofocus 39 points 51 points 39 points
Cost $2,100 $2,999 $1,000
LCD 3.2 inch 3.2 inch 3 inch
ISO Range up to 25,600 up to 25,600 up to 25,600
RAW Buffer Size, 12 bit 22 21 10
Viewfinder magnification .70x .70x .72x
Video limit 30 minutes 30 minutes 20 mins
Viewfinder coverage 100% 100% 100%
Size Small Medium Small
Build quality Great Great Great


Nikon D600 underwater housings

We're hoping to see Nikon D600 underwater housings from all the major manufacturers - stay tuned for more details! Generally Ikelite, Sea & Sea, Nauticam, Hugyfot and Aquatica are fairly quick to the game. 

Update - Ikelite, Nauticam, and Sea & Sea D600 underwater housings are now out!


Nikon D600 vs D800 - which to buy?

If you are going to shoot underwater, and you are considering the D600, I would splurge for the D800. Once you consider the cost of a housing, lenses, trips, etc. - the extra $900 cost for the D800 is not a huge increment.

I like the Nikon D800 better for the following features the D600 does not have:

  • Extra megapixels (36 vs 24)
  • Compact flash slot
  • Extra controls
  • All metal body
  • Faster shutter speed (1/8000th vs 1/4000th)
  • Better auto-focusing (51 points vs 39)

All these features on the D800 are well worth it imho. 

On the plus side, the D600 is less expensive, and 15% lighter than the D800. - Scott Gietler


Further Reading

Nikon D800 specs and comparison

Nikon D800 and the Ikelite housing

Nikon D800 underwater photos


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


Nauticam OM-D E-M5 underwater housing

Scott Gietler
The Nauticam OM-D E-M5 housing is coming out in early July. Find out what makes this combo special.

Nauticam OM-D E-M5 underwater housing

Using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 - find out if this combination will be right for you

By Scott Gietler



Nauticam has announced their housing for the new Olympus OM-D E-M5, coming out in early July for $1,350 in the USA. This camera represents a new standard for micro-four thirds cameras, and the housing is an exciting offering from Nauticam for a number of reasons. Interestingly, Nauticam is beating Olympus to market with this housing. Let's delve into the details of both.

nauticam om-d em-5 underwater housing

Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera

This camera is a huge leap up from a compact camera. It focuses very fast, has a great lens selection, and nice controls. It is designed for more advanced shooters than the E-PM1 or E-PL3 is. It is not the same as using a Nikon D7000 or Canon 7D, but it is also smaller, and the housings are less expensive. Coupling this camera with the Panasonic 8mm fisheye and the (hopefully) soon to be released Olympus 60mm macro lens will be a winning combination.

Olympus has upped the sync speed to 1/250th, although you still can only do ISO 200, not ISO 100, which would have been useful for sunburst photos. The camera has dual control dials, extensive weather-proofing, and  has some cool new in-body image stabilization, called IBIS, which works with most lenses.

olympus om-d e-m5 camera with 12-50mm lens

Nauticam E-M5 housing

What do we love about this housing? Great port selection, very nice price point - higher than the $1,200 GX1 housing, but less than the $1,650 Sony NEX-5N housing, and the optional bulkhead for sync cords. Using an electrical sync cord will allow for faster shooting using strobes for action / behavior shots.

Nauticam E-M5 underwater housing for the Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Competitors

Panasonic GX1

Both the OM-D and the GX1 have fast focusing, take the same lenses, and have a 16 megapixel sensor, and a small well-built Nauticam housing as an option. The GX1 camera + Nauticam housing option is definitely less expensive, and smaller, but the OM-D has the edge in body, controls and shooting speed. Read our Panasonic GX1 review.

Sony NEX-7

The Sony NEX-7 most likely has the edge in wide-angle shooting and video with its larger sensor, but the Olympus OM-D has a price advantage with the camera and the Nauticam housing, and also has superior lens selection, especially with the Olympus 60mm macro lens coming out this fall.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 housing

Olympus is also coming out with a housing for the OM-D. While it will be less expensive, the exact price difference remains to be seen, as it will be smaller as it has been in the past. Once ports and zoom rings are figured in, it still may be a good choice for budget-concience underwater photographers who can wait a couple more months for their OM-D housing.

Other housing manufacturers

It will be interesting to see if other housing manufacturers decide to go for this housing. Ikelite has so far not produced housings for mirrorless cameras, and Recsea, 10-bar and Aquatica have been picking and choosing the housings carefully. My guess is that it will just be Olympus and Nauticam at the table, and possibly 10-bar with a budget housing.

Excerpts from the official Nauticam OM-D Press Release

Nauticam NA-EM5 for Olympus OM-D EM-5

Nauticam is excited to announce the NA-EM5 for Olympus’ flagship Micro Four Thirds (m4/3) format camera, the OM-D E-M5. The NA-EM5 should prove to be one of the most potent underwater imaging tools ever developed for this segment, proving once again that great things can come in small packages.

nauticam om-d e-m5 housing

Nauticam USA discusses the Olympus OM-D E-M5

With the OM-D E-M5, Olympus has clearly taken the m4/3 format to another level with performance solidly in DSLR territory. Everything about the camera body exudes quality from its solid magnesium construction and extensive weather sealing to its classy retro styling. The new 16 MP MOS Four Thirds format sensor provides excellent image quality, and surprisingly good high ISO performance up to a maximum of 25,600. Excellent dynamic range, improved color accuracy and a significant jump in resolution are just some of what can be expected from the E-M5. The new 3” OLED touch sensitive display provides brilliant viewing, while the 1.44M dot electronic viewfinder brings a welcome alternative for image composing.

Shutter lag is nonexistent and 9 FPS can be achieved while manually focusing, 4.2 FPS while utilizing the improved continuous AF. Lots of new features like a quick zoom focus check (up to 5X magnification) on the display make fine tuning focus much easier. The Shadow & Highlight screen setting acts as a “false color” mode to help with exposure by painting clipped highlights red and underexposed shadows blue. This method can dramatically increase the ease of exposure adjustments in difficult circumstances. The amount of tools available on the E-M5 definitely justifies spending some time with the PDF manual.

Olympus is targeting a more advanced shooter with the E-M5 and the controls on the camera reflect that. Most useful are the Main and Sub dials that allow instant aperture and shutter speed adjustment as well as other menu selected adjustments. Like most controls on the camera, these dials can be programmed independently for each mode setting on the camera. Two programmable function buttons and an additional programmable video record button allow extensive customization for each photographer’s particular needs. Dedicated navigation buttons default to controlling focus point selection over a broad section of the lens coverage. Another feature unique to this Olympus is built-in 5 Axis Image Stabilization that works in concert with any m4/3 lens. This sophisticated system offers distinct potential benefits in ambient light underwater photography or anytime a slower shutter speed is deemed desirable.

One of the hallmarks of the micro four-thirds format is an extensive selection of quality lenses - many well suited for use in an underwater housing. A new series of moisture shielded Olympus lenses are debuting including the nicely finished Olympus 12mm-50mm power zoom kit lens. This is an attractive option for underwater use covering a useful range for fish portraiture and 1:2 macro with the barrel activated macro switch engaged. Serious macro shooters will also appreciate the soon-to-be released Olympus 60mm macro lens joining the current highly regarded Panasonic Lumix 45mm macro lens.

Nauticam NA-EM5 Housing for the Olympus OM-D E-M5

All Nauticam housings are designed for ease of use and maintenance and the NA-EM5 builds on this solid foundation. The groundbreaking features of previous housings are present such as the effortless (but secure) single rotating housing latch, rugged machined aluminum case, 100 meter depth rating and the patented port latching system. A new rear mounted housing o-ring makes maintenance easier than ever, while a threaded bulkhead port allows for an HDMI or electrical strobe synch bulkhead installation – advanced features often omitted by mirrorless housing manufacturers. Of course dual fiber optic synch ports are standard and take advantage of the supplied Olympus accessory flash. To make the most of the E-M5’s excellent EVF, Nauticam has crafted an optional rear acrylic display window that encompasses a mount for installation of Nauticam’s acclaimed 45º and 180º magnified view finders for the ultimate in composition and focus ability.

Housing controls

All controls on the NA-EM5 are engineered for optimal ergonomics. The Olympus Main and Sub dials are easily reached by thumb or forefinger with no need to release grip on the housing while adjusting aperture and shutter speed. The important Fn1 and Fn2 buttons are just as easy to reach and can be programmed for a multitude of functions. A few of the useful settings are AF Lock, One-touch White Balance, Manual Focus, ISO and Exposure Compensation. Switching between LV and the EVF is a snap and a quick press of the Info button can show or hide Olympus’ new LV super control panel on the OLED screen for quick access to many critical settings. The mode dial can easily be turned through the typical P, A, S, M, Movie mode and some “easy shooting modes”.Controls need to offer a proper “feel” and Nauticam’s patented two-stage lever shutter release allows for natural, precise focus and shutter release activation.

Nauticam Port Selection

A big part of the Micro Four Thirds format’s popularity is a great lens selection for both topside and underwater. Nauticam manufactures an extensive line of compact ports to accommodate many of the best lenses for m4/3. Lenses that are particularly well suited for underwater use include the Panasonic 8mm fisheye, Panasonic 7-14mm, Olympus 9-18mm, Panasonic 14mm, Olympus 14-42, Panasonic 14-42mm, Panasonic 45mm macro, 60mm macro (upcoming), new Olympus 12-50 w/ macro (Supported by a special new Nauticam port for power zoom and macro switch).

Nauticam Build Quality

The housing body is machined from solid aircraft grade aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water and providing an impressive 100 meter depth rating. The large acrylic LCD window is treated with an anti-reflective, scratch resistant coating.

Optional Electronic Sync Cables

 Electronic sync cables will also supported via an optional bulkhead for Nikonos style connectors.

Strobes can be attached to the housing via optional strobe mounting balls on the handles or a single strobe mounting ball point on the housing. The housing also features a cold-shoe mount for even more mounting options.

More information can be found at the Nauticam OM-D E-M5 housing page on our sister website, Bluewater Photo.


Kevin Lee Photos Featured At Univ Of Connecticut

Scott Gietler
UWPG writer and esteemed underwater photographer Kevin Lee has nudibranch photos now on display at the University of Connecticut.

Nudibranch Photographer Featured In New Exhibit

UWPG writer and esteemed underwater photographer Kevin Lee has nudibranch photos now on display at the University of Connecticut

By Scott Gietler

Our friend, Underwater Photography Guide contributor and Ocean Art winner Kevin Lee has been honored yet again by having his underwater photos featured at an exhibit, this time at the University of Connecticut. 


Having traveled to all seven continents in search of his favorite underwater subject, opisthobranchs, his images are now on display at the University's Avery Point Campus from June 1st - July 15th, alongside the exquisite slug sculptures of Gar Waterman.
"Opisthobranchs, commonly called sea slugs, come in a wide range of fantastic colors, strange shapes and varied sizes, from barely visible to several feet long.  These creatures inhabit all oceans and seas, from warm tropical to frigid polar waters. Most sea slugs have evolved to lose their heavy, cumbersome shells. Therefore, to survive, they have developed unique defensive strategies to protect themselves, including the ability to incorporate and store toxins from the food they consume, into their tissues, and then release those poisons later to ward off potential predators. Many sea slugs are so well camouflaged they are practically invisible in their surroundings, while others are aposematic and brilliantly colored as to warn "don't bother me." Opisthobranch diets vary from species to species. Their food includes algae, bryozoa, sponges, small animals and even each other. Some can actually manufacture their own nutrients, using sunlight and zooanthellae, which they ingest and store in their bodies."
Kevin took up underwater photography to share the wonders of the ocean with non-diving friends and now he shares his images with the world. Currently he utilizes a Nikon D300 camera, in a Sea & Sea housing, with dual strobes to take his unique shots. His preferred lens is 60mm, coupled with a 1.4x tele-convertor. Kevin Lee's outstanding images have been featured in numerous publications and he ranks among the world's foremost underwater macro photographers. Kevin is a director with the Orange County Underwater Photographic Society (OCUPS), in California, and his works can be viewed at diverkevin.com.
See more images from the exhibit here. Information about the exhibit can be found here.

Further Reading


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Kevin Lee's photos on permanent display

Michael Zeigler
Renowned macro photographer and nudibranch specialist, Kevin Lee, was recently honored at Chapman University in Orange, CA.

Nudibranch Photo Collection Unveiled at Chapman University

Kevin Lee honored with underwater photos on permanent display

By Michael Zeigler


Kevin Lee, who, among many things, is an Ocean Art Underwater Photo contest winner and UWPG contributor, was recently honored at Chapman University in Orange, CA.  A collection of six of his nudibranch underwater photos from around the world are on permanent display at the Onnolee Elliott Ph. D. Library of Science and Technology.  His work within the Leatherby Libraries enjoys the company of amazing works including a series of seven signed lithographs by artist Norman Rockwell.

The dedication included presentations by Sue Kint (Chapman Board of Governors), Jim Doti (President of Chapman University), Charlene Balwin (Dean of The Leatherby Libraries), and Congressman Ed Royce.

Over one-hundred friends, fans, and supporters were in attendance at the event, and I am proud to say that I was one of them.  Congratulations, Kevin!


Brochure from Kevin Lee's underwater photography dedication. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee.


Brochure from Kevin Lee's underwater photography dedication. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee.


Kevin Lee next to his permanent display. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee.


Kevin Lee, Sue Kint (Chapman Board of Governors), and Jim Doti (President of Chapman University). Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee.


Kevin is presented a certificate of recognition by Congressman Ed Royce. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee.


More about Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee resides in Fullerton, California and frequently dives SoCal waters. His adventures, in over 40 countries, include multiple treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp and atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest summit. Among his memorable experiences, he fondly recalls a warm hug from Mother Teresa and meeting the Dalai Lama.

After learning to scuba dive, Kevin took up underwater photography to share the wonders of the ocean with others. Recently, he traveled to his 7th continent, going below the Antarctic circle, and scuba dived in 29-degree waters. Kevin's images have been featured in magazines, newspapers, academic literature and numerous dive related publications.  More of his amazing underwater photography can be seen at diverkevin.com.


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