Meticulous Engineering Meets the Olympus E-M5 II in Nauticam's Newest Housing
Nauticam Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Housing
Meticulous Engineering Meets the Olympus E-M5 II in Nauticam's Newest Housing
By UWPG News, April 13, 2015
Nauticam has announced their housing for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The Olympus E-M5 II mirrorless camera follows on the heals of the popular E-M5 but with some more robust features that are sure to be popular with underwater photographers and video shooters. Capable of shooting full HD 1080p video at 60 frames per second, digital video fans can now create smooth slow motion scenes with with E-M5 II. The camera body is also tougher and more rubust, with more buttons that can be customized for best use (and personal configuration) with your housing.
Be sure to read our Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Camera Review.
The Nauticam E-M5 II housing pulls out all the stops, incorporating Nauticam's most innovative design ideas in a compact and lightweight housing. The handles and tray are configurable, meaning you can choose the distance from handle to housing based on hands and finger size, or even skip the right handle entirely for handstrap use, resulting in a very compact setup.
The housing also works with a number of Nauticam accessories, as outlined in the release below.
Purchase the Nauticam Olympus OM-D E-M5 II housing from Bluewater Photo
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
The Enthusiast Mirrorless
Nauticam is pleased to unveil an all aluminum underwater camera housing for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II mirrorless camera, the latest in it's award winning and industry leading line of underwater imaging gear. Nauticam was the first underwater camera housing manufacturer to release a housing for the original OM-D E-M5 camera, and it's innovative designs and meticulous engineering have lead the way in the mirrorless category.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Camera
Olympus made waves with the original E-M5, and the story continues with this new version. The camera has refinements large and small, from an additional stop of performance of the 5 axis stabilization to a fully articulated LCD; the "II" is an impressive update. Little touches include a lockable mode dial and two additional programmable buttons. Olympus clearly listened to users when it made the Super Control Panel on by default (no more hunting in the menu to try to enable this). The camera also now allows the info screens to be customized, such as the histogram, level and highlight/shadow warnings that can be shown together. Long exposure fans will like the LiveTime feature - realtime long exposure shooting - very cool.
For underwater photographers, the biggest improvement is a serious upgrade to the electronic viewfinder, which now sports a 2.36m dot LCD (same dot count as the revered E-M1). It is hard to shoot what you can't see, and the upgraded EVF goes a long way towards improving vision, especially when paired with a Nauticam enhanced viewfinder.
For the videographer, the E-M5 II significantly upgrades the frame rate (60 fps) and bitrate (77 Mbps), with both ALL-I and IBP recording modes. It is the first Olympus to offer focus peaking while shooting video, and gains a microphone socket. The video here can take advantage of the in-camera image stabilization, allowing for smoother handheld video clips.
The headline feature of the "II" is the new Multi-Shot Hi Res Photo Mode. This new feature allows the camera to capture a 40 Megapixel image using the 16 Megapixel sensor. Black magic? Sorcery? No, but it is a pretty cool use of technology. What Olympus has done here is take advantage of the in camera stabilization mechanism to move the sensor while the camera records the image 8 times. These 8 exposure and melded together into a single 40 Megapixel image, producing a higher resolution result with less noise. These multiple exposures take time, so this trick does not work for moving subjects or for handheld shots. This feature is unlikely to appeal to the underwater photographer, but it is certainly interesting.
The NA-EM5II Housing
The new housing from Nauticam is an evolutionary marvel. This housing is true to it's NA-EM5 predecessor: highly configurable with the separate handle design (see CFWA Monster, below). This design allows the user to configure handles independently. One very desirable mode is to outfit the housing with a single left handle (Flexitray or Easitray), accompanied by a handstrap on the right. This helps to make rig as small as possible, with the comfort and security of the handstrap. Two handle options are available, as well as going as small as possible, with no handles or trays, ideal for the freediver shooting ambient light, for example.
More than just good looking, this is a rugged housing, ready to tackle thousands of hours of underwater abuse. Crafted from solid aircraft aluminum, the housing can reach depths of 100m with ease. The effortless (but secure) single rotating housing latch opens the housing back. The camera drops in easily, with no controls needing to be preset. The rear mounted housing o-ring makes maintenance simple. 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 electronic view finder (EVF), Nauticam has crafted an optional rear acrylic display window that includes a mount for installation of Nauticam’s acclaimed 45º and 180º magnified view finders, providing the ultimate in composition and focus ability.
Like all Nauticam housings, particular attention is paid to ergonomics. Buttons and dials are easy to access, with minimal reach required. The Olympus Main and Sub dials are easily accessed 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. Every one of the features on the new NA-EM5 is engineered to the same exacting tolerances of Nauticam’s now famous line of DSLR housings. That quality will surely be reflected in every picture taken with this remarkably powerful imaging system.
One of the hallmarks of Nauticam housings has always been the secure Locking Port Release system, unique in that it utilizes an internal bayonet system. Nauticam's SLR housings have always featured a red locking lever that has become the symbol of Nauticam innovation. This iconic control has come to the mirrorless world, making port changes easy, faster and just as secure. No wrestling, no twisting, no misalignment - just seat and lock.
The NA-EM5II is designed by photographers for photographers. Look no further for state of the art.
Integrated Vacuum Monitoring and Leak Detection
Circuitry included as standard equipment provides constant monitoring of water tight integrity when combined with an optional Nauticam M16 Vacuum Valve (PN 25612).
Extensive Accessory Lineup
The range of Nauticam accessories is unmatched, with multiple accessories available to customize the system to individual needs. A variety of lens ports support all popular lenses. Accessory macro lenses, like the revolutionary Compact Macro Converter (PN 81301), attached with an easy to use flip holder are available for super macro photography.
Locking Mounting Tray
A new cam lever system securely locks the camera in place, providing strength and precise positioning even when a heavy lens is mounted.
The camera, with lens and zoom gear mounted, drops into the housing. No controls need to be preset!
Stainless Steel Handle Brackets
Stiffening handle brakets are included with the housing, providing a solid "wobble free" attachment when using Nauticam Flexitray (PN 71207) and Easitray (PN 71206) with heavy lighting systems. Multiple lanyard attachment points are included in the brackets.
Compact Design, Advanced Features
The housing is sculpted to fit the E-M5 II camera like a glove, and extensive camera control ergonomic enhancements are made to ensure that the housing is as easy to use in water as the camera is on land.
Rubberized Zoom/Focus Knob
A large, rubberized zoom and focus control knob provides easy lens control with excellent tactile feel.
The knob disengages, providing more working space for quick lens changes.
It's all about the glass, and lenses are the key to terrific photography. The m4/3 system supports a large range of high quality lenses produced by Olympus and Panasonic (partnering with Leica), and third party lenses from Sigma are starting to appear. Several lenses that perform extremely well underwater are available (and reasonably priced!). Some examples:
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ: The ultimate jack of all trades tool, this lens covers a very usable mid range, and features a unique macro mode. Shoot dolphins and nudibranchs on the same dive!
Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5: This 180º fisheye lens focuses close and is razor sharp. Combines with a small port, there is no better CFWA (close focus wide angle) option on the planet.
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro: This is an ideal macro lens for m4/3, and by adding the Nauticam CMC, it becomes a super macro monster. Imagine filling the entire width of the frame with something only 8mm wide!
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH: The 7-14mm is a rectilinear lens, ideal for shooting people or sharks or wrecks... subjects where the fisheye distortion is not welcome. On the wide end, this lens 114º wide, ideal for getting close to subjects to reduce the amount of water shot through. But a zoom gets to 75º - ideal for reaching out to that subject that is a little more skittish. The very similar Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 can serve the same basic role at a lower cost.
There are many more options for the underwater photographer, including any of the several 14-42mm options, the Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH. POWER O.I.S., Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH, and the Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH.
A clear view for fine focus and composition is critical for successful underwater photography, and nothing beats a magnifying viewfinder. These viewfinders use distance, not closeup vision, and provide a large, clear view of the high resolution Olympus electronic viewfinder. Available in Angled 45º and Straight formats, both viewfinders have external dioptric adjustments for dialing in perfect correction matched to the photographer's eyesight.
A replacement LCD Window for Enhanced Viewfinders (PN 17851) provides a secure mounting point, and the viewfinder can be easily removed for travel.
Details and Specifications
Depth Rating: 100m
Weight: 1.30 kg
Dimensions: 191mm x 166mm x 102mm (W x H x D)
Model Number: 17809
USA Retail Price: $1450
Nauticam E-M5 II available at Bluewater Photo
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