Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29

Thread: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

  1. #1
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    So I've recently taken up scuba diving (thanks to Kerry for getting me my Open Water) and am thinking of including underwater photography into my small list of hobbies. Any underwater housing for my D7000 is just way beyond the budget at this point in time so I'm looking at P&S alternatives. From a price and performance perspective, best bang for buck I've found is the Olympus XZ-1 along with the manufacturer underwater housing - which I can pick up for $650 brand new (camera and housing).

    Has anyone had any experience with this camera to share their thoughts with - either above or below the water? And would anyone recommend an alternate underwater combo over the Olympus?

  2. #2
    herbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sussex, UK
    Posts
    471
    Real Name
    Alex

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Hi Mal,

    You should be able to get a housing by Ewa Marine for that budget to fit your SLR:

    http://www.ewa-marine.com/index.php?id=82&L=0

    The ewa-marine U-B is 250 in the UK. That is AUS $372.

    I have not used one but have read some good reviews about them. Someone in my camera club recommended them. Check it out and see if it suits your needs.

    Alex

  3. #3
    Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rockingham, Western Australia
    Posts
    178
    Real Name
    Karl

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Mal,

    As you know I use the Canon G12 but I have recommended the Oly XZ-1 to a number of guys as it gets some great reviews - http://www.reefphoto.com/kb.php?id=28 - is just one.

    The Oly housings are well made and already fitted to take M67 wet lenses. It it a great camera and in compentant hands with produce outstanding results.

    I also suggest that you look at getting at least one external strobe for it - something like a Sea & Sea YS02 - which is a small compact but powerfull strobe. Without an external strobe you wont get all the colours that you see in other underwater photos as water is 400 times densor than air. Therefore as you descend you start to loose the colours - reds go at 5m and so on. It is also the same with verticle distance.

    Hope this helps.

    Karl

  4. #4
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    Hi Mal,

    You should be able to get a housing by Ewa Marine for that budget to fit your SLR:

    http://www.ewa-marine.com/index.php?id=82&L=0

    The ewa-marine U-B is 250 in the UK. That is AUS $372.

    I have not used one but have read some good reviews about them. Someone in my camera club recommended them. Check it out and see if it suits your needs.

    Alex
    Thanks Alex. I had a look but as Karl mentioned, I'll need to get some strobes at some point (if not straight away) and those housings don't cater for it. While it can take an SB Light, I believe that firing a light directly from the camera lights up all the particles that tend to be in the water between the camera and the subject so you really need arms holding out the lights to the side. Appreciate the info though - It definitely looked promising but most of the photos will be deeper than 5m so I'll need the light.

  5. #5
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Mal,

    As you know I use the Canon G12 but I have recommended the Oly XZ-1 to a number of guys as it gets some great reviews - http://www.reefphoto.com/kb.php?id=28 - is just one.

    The Oly housings are well made and already fitted to take M67 wet lenses. It it a great camera and in compentant hands with produce outstanding results.

    I also suggest that you look at getting at least one external strobe for it - something like a Sea & Sea YS02 - which is a small compact but powerfull strobe. Without an external strobe you wont get all the colours that you see in other underwater photos as water is 400 times densor than air. Therefore as you descend you start to loose the colours - reds go at 5m and so on. It is also the same with verticle distance.

    Hope this helps.

    Karl
    Appreciate the feedback Karl. I thought about the G12 but I figured if I was going to get another camera it should also be one that supplements my D7000 and the G12 is probably just a bit big for that. I'll get around to adding strobes when I can afford it but was thinking about using a dive light as an interim. It's power output is 250 lumens - is that likely to be enough?

  6. #6
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    The plot thickens - just found a deal with the Canon G12 and underwater housing for about the same price....

    So Karl - Olympus or Canon - any ideas?

  7. #7
    Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rockingham, Western Australia
    Posts
    178
    Real Name
    Karl

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    The plot thickens - just found a deal with the Canon G12 and underwater housing for about the same price....

    So Karl - Olympus or Canon - any ideas?
    Both are good cameras, I love my G12 but the XZ-1 is also an excellent camera and either will give you good results in competant hands.

    The G12 is just like using a DSLR with Manual mode, Av mode etc and has separate dials for shutter speed and aperture - which is what I like.

    I believe the XZ-1 requires you to do these settings in the menu and some don't like, this others do. The XZ-1 is slightly smaller in size so will fit nicely in your pocket, whereas the G12 is a little bigger.

    The biggy for the XZ-1 is that it has a faster aperture at F1.8 whereas the G12 is F2.8.

    Either one is a good camera but the bonus with the housing is that the Oly housing already has an adaptor for wet lenses made into the port whereas with the G12 housing (Canon) you have to buy an adaptor.

    Karl

  8. #8
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    That's great info - thanks Karl.

  9. #9
    ktuli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,518
    Real Name
    Bill S

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    I can't offer any suggestions on the compact side (I've used some Sealife cameras and hate them), but I second Karl's suggestion of an external strobe. It is almost 100% necessary.

    Additionally, work on your buoyancy. Figure out if you need any trim weights to keep you level in the water. Fortunately for me, my diving has improved greatly since I started taking the SLR with me underwater. My dive instructors helped me to figure out that a trim weight attached to the BC strap that goes over the first stage keeps me more level in the water. Be sure to check your buoyancy with the camera in hand too - I know the compacts likely won't make much of a difference (not like the SLR that I've yet to put positive buoyancy compensators on), but your body position certainly will. Practice taking photos and see how your buoyancy goes.

    And when all else fails... remember the age old saying - if you think you're close enough, get closer.

    Looking forward to what you come back with, Mal!

    - Bill

  10. #10
    Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rockingham, Western Australia
    Posts
    178
    Real Name
    Karl

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    Hi Mal,

    You should be able to get a housing by Ewa Marine for that budget to fit your SLR:

    http://www.ewa-marine.com/index.php?id=82&L=0

    The ewa-marine U-B is 250 in the UK. That is AUS $372.

    I have not used one but have read some good reviews about them. Someone in my camera club recommended them. Check it out and see if it suits your needs.

    Alex
    These type of housings (for want of a better word) are more for water proofing your camera for when you are around water or in wet conditions, they aren't really suited for scuba diving as most of them only have a 5m depth limit, so they are more suited for surf photography etc.

    Karl

  11. #11
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    So I've decided on the Olympus XZ-1 and the PT-050 housing - the housing has been ordered and the XZ-1 shouldn't be far behind. I figured that a compact would be handy for when the D7000 isn't with me anyway and I'll be shooting in raw so the noise reduction issue that's apparent in the jpegs it produces shouldn't be an issue.

    The strobe will follow when I save up a bit more money - dive lights will have to suffice in the mean time. It will give me a chance to see what the light looks like without a strobe initially and get an understanding first - at least that's my theory

    I would have liked to have had it for the 2.5m manta ray that came up close and personal to me on the weekend but hopefully he'll be around the next time I'm diving at Cook Island.

  12. #12
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    I can't offer any suggestions on the compact side (I've used some Sealife cameras and hate them), but I second Karl's suggestion of an external strobe. It is almost 100% necessary.

    Additionally, work on your buoyancy. Figure out if you need any trim weights to keep you level in the water. Fortunately for me, my diving has improved greatly since I started taking the SLR with me underwater. My dive instructors helped me to figure out that a trim weight attached to the BC strap that goes over the first stage keeps me more level in the water. Be sure to check your buoyancy with the camera in hand too - I know the compacts likely won't make much of a difference (not like the SLR that I've yet to put positive buoyancy compensators on), but your body position certainly will. Practice taking photos and see how your buoyancy goes.

    And when all else fails... remember the age old saying - if you think you're close enough, get closer.

    Looking forward to what you come back with, Mal!

    - Bill
    Good advice Bill - thanks. I've only just got my open water but I'm hooked and doing the advanced now. I grew up in the ocean and I've been okay with my buoyancy so far when I took a video camera out. Breathing not so much - I'm way too active underwater and probably need to slow down a bit if I want a hope of staying down long enough to take some decent photos!

  13. #13
    ktuli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,518
    Real Name
    Bill S

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    I was in a similar boat when I started diving. Moving around too much, sucking down air like it was going out of style. I'm still sucking too much air, but putting the camera has certainly slowed me down, gotten me to improve my buoyancy, and lengthened my dive times. I have a large lung capacity, so that doesn't help - especially at deeper depths.

    However, since you're not getting a strobe to start, you're going to want to stay very shallow so you have enough ambient light to work with. Depending on visibility, you will likely have to stay in the 3-10m depth range for decent photos. Might be able to push it to 15m, but only on really bright days.

    I really wish I could get some diving in this weekend (or any time soon to be honest!)... and to see a manta in the wild... I had a close (ie: 6 inches away) encounter with one in the Georgia Aquarium, but that is kind of cheating...

    - Bill

  14. #14
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Most of my diving will be in the Tweed river for now - it only goes down to 10 meters so that shouldn't be a problem. The manta ray that I saw was at 5 meters too - it seemed to like to hover in the shallows of Cook island and has apparently been around for a few weeks. The strobe will definitely be on my list next though.

  15. #15
    Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rockingham, Western Australia
    Posts
    178
    Real Name
    Karl

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Mal,

    Using a dive torch for ligthing your subject can work really well - just don't shine the torch beam directly at the subject. What you need to do is highlight the subject with the beam's edge this will prevent backscatter and blown out highlights.

    Karl

  16. #16
    ktuli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,518
    Real Name
    Bill S

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Out of curiosity, what do you guys use for dive lights? I just bought my wife and I some Big Blue lights for our last trip. http://www.bigbluedivelights.com/products.asp - I got the FF1x5 AFO (Auto-Flash Off) model which I think I will be mounting to my Ikelite housing on this next trip, and she wanted the CF250 for its small size, and the nice Goodman glove and adjustable beam width. Both lights put out a very nice amount of light, and I run them both on Eneloop rechargable batteries which makes them very easy to keep at peak brightness (nothing is worse than having a dive light dim (or worse - go out completely) in mid-dive!).

    The FF1x5 - aside from having the very nice AFO feature comes with a 1" ball mount for attaching to your camera rig. If I mount the FF1x5 to the camera rig, I think I will have to pickup another small light that I can use for boat entries where my camera rig is lowered down to me... I've done entries with a compact without strobes, but there is absolutely no way I would try an entry with the SLR. On our last trip, we were on a liveaboard, and the normal entry was from the side of the vessel and was about a 10 foot drop to the water - it was fun, but absolutely impossible with any kind of extra gear. Actually, I blew out the diaphragm in my main reg on one entry where I looked down instead of out straight - darn thing started free-flowing and no attempt to stop it worked. Luckily I ended up climbing back on the boat, swapping second stages, and since we were on a liveaboard with the compressor right there, topping off my tank so I could hit the water again and catch up with the group.

    - Bill

  17. #17
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Mal,

    Using a dive torch for ligthing your subject can work really well - just don't shine the torch beam directly at the subject. What you need to do is highlight the subject with the beam's edge this will prevent backscatter and blown out highlights.

    Karl
    Thanks Karl - I've been reading about backscatter. Sounds like an interesting challenge... along with the fast moving subjects, the red colour drain, the fact that I'll be constantly moving, the whole breathing thing....

  18. #18
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Posts
    1,800
    Real Name
    Mal

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    Out of curiosity, what do you guys use for dive lights? I just bought my wife and I some Big Blue lights for our last trip. http://www.bigbluedivelights.com/products.asp - I got the FF1x5 AFO (Auto-Flash Off) model which I think I will be mounting to my Ikelite housing on this next trip, and she wanted the CF250 for its small size, and the nice Goodman glove and adjustable beam width. Both lights put out a very nice amount of light, and I run them both on Eneloop rechargable batteries which makes them very easy to keep at peak brightness (nothing is worse than having a dive light dim (or worse - go out completely) in mid-dive!).

    The FF1x5 - aside from having the very nice AFO feature comes with a 1" ball mount for attaching to your camera rig. If I mount the FF1x5 to the camera rig, I think I will have to pickup another small light that I can use for boat entries where my camera rig is lowered down to me... I've done entries with a compact without strobes, but there is absolutely no way I would try an entry with the SLR. On our last trip, we were on a liveaboard, and the normal entry was from the side of the vessel and was about a 10 foot drop to the water - it was fun, but absolutely impossible with any kind of extra gear. Actually, I blew out the diaphragm in my main reg on one entry where I looked down instead of out straight - darn thing started free-flowing and no attempt to stop it worked. Luckily I ended up climbing back on the boat, swapping second stages, and since we were on a liveaboard with the compressor right there, topping off my tank so I could hit the water again and catch up with the group.

    - Bill
    Well coincidentally, I'm expecting some Big Blue lights to arrive today - a FF 3X5 AF and wait for it it - a CF250 with glove and pouch! My first night dive is next week so I thought I'd better have some lights to go diving with. Thought the 3x5 would be bright enough for some light photography work without scaring away all the fish at night and the CF 250 would be a useful day time torch focussed on narrow beam and a reasonable back up on wide beam. I almost got the 4x5 but was concerned it would be too bright for general night diving - but then again, I've no idea on what's bright enough and what's too bright.

    I've got some catching up to do with my diving experience I think!

  19. #19
    ktuli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,518
    Real Name
    Bill S

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    I think you'll be happy with both lights. I debated the FF 3x5 when I bought mine, but ended up going with the 1x5. I'd used it previously (borrowed from my dive master) and knew it would be bright enough for me. Plus I decided it was easier dealing with just 4xAA as opposed to the 8xAA that the 3x5 takes (making it easier to keep fresh batteries charged). The light output of the 1x5 is plenty, so I'm sure the 3x5 will be more than enough for you. Just be warned - other strobes can cause the AFO to kick in...

    Looking at the specs for the FF3x5AFO, it says it is -230gr underwater - I'd be interested to see if that is actually true... a positively buoyant dive light would be nice... no having to dive down to retrieve it if "dropped".

    You'll also find that the CF250 is a functional light. I think the beam is a little narrow for night diving (my wife often would grab my FF1x5). The problem with using the CF250 during the day as a light for photography would be that the beam is so narrow and the edge fall off is small, so trying to feather the light onto the subject is near impossible. Same goes for the FF1x5 - it's edge fall off is small as well, but it's light being 6500K certainly helps make it less of an issue if you get the center of the beam in your shot.

    So far I've done night dive macro photography, so having the beam in the shot isn't too much of a problem as I am usually close enough to the subject that the beam fills the frame. Also being close to the subject cuts down on your backscatter to begin with.

    As for catching up, it sounds like in no time you'll surpass my experience since I only get to go a couple times a year (if I'm lucky!).

    -Bill

  20. #20
    Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rockingham, Western Australia
    Posts
    178
    Real Name
    Karl

    Re: Olympus XZ-1 or Other Underwater Photography Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    Thanks Karl - I've been reading about backscatter. Sounds like an interesting challenge... along with the fast moving subjects, the red colour drain, the fact that I'll be constantly moving, the whole breathing thing....
    Mal get one of Martin Edge's books 'The Underwater Photographer' Edition 3 or Edition 4. I have both (I like Edition 3 better) and they will help you enormously. I read them both on a regular basis and it is amazing how much you pick up each time.

    Karl

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •