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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
I am at that horrible cross roads and wondered if anyone can help..:confused:
I am presently using Cannon Ixus 980is but need to move on for better quality shots , depth of field reliable focus and TTL.
I wondered if anyone has any advice on the new Olympus Pen versus the more expensive DSLR./
Basically how good is the Olpympus Pen will it compete in any way apart from price to a basic DSLR system....
Watching in hope...cheers Dae McBride...Divescilly Charters Tiburon Isles of Scilly:sleep:
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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for image quality I think a 4/3rds camera is the way to go, have a search for ChristianG's wise words on the subject. Simple fact is that these new format cameras have been designed from the ground up as digital cameras and the lenses seem to give better crisper results edge to edge than equivalent DSLRs.
I haven't used or even held one of these cameras yet so this is all based on what I have read but there are some extremely positive reviews out there.
 

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The PEN II seems, seems to be a very nice idea if you're on a budget, particularly if you buy it with the very clever viewfinder. Having said that I doubt that there is, as yet anyway, a housing available for it leave alone one which incorporates the viewfinder.

Where Olympus shine is in their very good 4/3rds dSLR cameras for which they provide their own housings, unlike the other major manufacturers who have housings made for them (P&S only) which are often less than ideal. The Olympus E620 is one such camera which comes with a plethora of excellent lenses, Olympus's own Zuiko ones but also the lenses of the other manufacturers that comply to the 4/3rds principle. The housing for this camera is well designed and well made. Whether it suits your budget is, of course, another matter entirely but what you'd be getting is a whole lot of (small, light) dSLR camera for not a whole lot of money.

DO NOT however be taken in by their

As a genuine advantage to the underwater photographer, you can make use of the Live View function and use the large 2.7"/6.9cm LCD instead of the viewfinder.
spiel. The viewfinder is almost always a better option than "Live View".

Edit/: Have regard to the fact that Ikelite also make a housing for it which is not to be sneezed at and is rated to 60 metres rather than Olympus's 40 metres. The Ike has other advantages as well, particularly a magnification dioptre for the viewfinder. Although I might go for the Ike strobe/s I would then prefer the ULCS arm/tray system.
 
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But are the Pen camera system *really* that much cheaper than a budget DSLR?! Not really...

If I were after a budget DSLR system (and I use 'budget' in the loosest possible sense), I'd seriously look at the Canon 550D with a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye inside a Sea&Sea RDX-550D enclosure...

http://www.seaandsea.com/pdf/RDX-550D.pdf

or if you'd prefer a Nauticam...

http://www.divephotoguide.com/under...ba-ocean-news/nauticam-na-550d-for-canon-t2i/

You'll get top quality photos *and* the best HD video performance from this little set up...
 

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Ahhh, but from memory you're a video guy and video was not asked for in the original post.

Video, BTW, is a feature of the E 620 but I have no idea of it's efficacy.
 
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Ahhh, but from memory you're a video guy and video was not asked for in the original post.

Video, BTW, is a feature of the E 620 but I have no idea of it's efficacy.
Nah, more a 'photo guy' than a 'video guy' but it is useful to be able to shoot video occasionally...

Take two cameras into the shower? Not me - my D300s does it all :)
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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Looking at the spec for the housing and camera the Pen EPL1 looks like a good option to me, I like the fact that it has 2 optical triggers as well as TTL. I'm pretty sure what my next camera will be.
 

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Looking at the spec for the housing and camera the Pen EPL1 looks like a good option to me, I like the fact that it has 2 optical triggers as well as TTL. I'm pretty sure what my next camera will be.
Pretty standard feature on most underwater enclosures these days, to be honest - I've got them on my Sea&Sea Nikon D300s housing. Personally I think they're a much better bet than the hard-wired sync cables as it's one less point of failure (water will never get into the housing via fibre-optic connectors and they seem a lot more reliable than electrical cables).

One question to check with the Pen cameras is the availability of lenses for the sort of photography you want to do. If you're shooting wrecks, you need a decent 180 degree fisheye lens - correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm yet to see one of these released for a micro four thirds camera? I believe Sony's new NEX bridge camera *does* have a fisheye adaptor available for it so this may be worth checking out too...
 

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If I were after a budget DSLR system (and I use 'budget' in the loosest possible sense), I'd seriously look at the Canon 550D with a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye inside a Sea&Sea RDX-550D enclosure...
:( ... I use a 400D in an Ike housing.. so i'm even more 'budget' than that!.. god i feel so cheap.. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone, wow what a response, great advice... from a price point of view and having seen the results of Rob Sprays tests and review, stunning pictures (and I am very fussy on image quality) I will go with the Pen. The only problem as yet no wide angle port and I do love wide angle having owned a brilliant Nikonos 15 ml lens for an eternity and used it...thanks again please let me know if you have any other suggestions ideas or details.
Cheers Dave McBride IOS
 

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The PEN II seems, seems to be a very nice idea if you're on a budget, particularly if you buy it with the very clever viewfinder. Having said that I doubt that there is, as yet anyway, a housing available for it leave alone one which incorporates the viewfinder.

Yes there is and yes it does, we used it yesterday. It's a very tough little thing with sensible, clearly labelled buttons.
 

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The PEN II seems, seems to be a very nice idea if you're on a budget, particularly if you buy it with the very clever viewfinder. Having said that I doubt that there is, as yet anyway, a housing available for it leave alone one which incorporates the viewfinder.

Yes there is and yes it does, we used it yesterday. It's a very tough little thing with sensible, clearly labelled buttons.
 

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Yes there is and yes it does, we used it yesterday. It's a very tough little thing with sensible, clearly labelled buttons.
Fine, I'm happy to be corrected.

Another, admittedly quick, search of Olympus America elicits no such housing and digideep claim that there isn't one.

That makes me suspect that another housing manufacturer has jumped in and supplied the first one, which digideep don't yet know of. Now I, for one, would like to let digideep know of this new housing, for which purpose I need chapter and verse.

So who is it that makes this housing? (f it happens to be Olympus it only goes to prove yet again that I'm not very good at this Internet search thingie.
 

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So who is it that makes this housing? (f it happens to be Olympus it only goes to prove yet again that I'm not very good at this Internet search thingie.
Apparently Bristol Cameras have one... But Divemouse beat me to that :)

Personally I'd be looking at the Panasonic range if I was going with the Micro 4/3 system. Having said that the OP says he's a quality freak so IMO a bigger sensor is called for and so DSLR is the only way forward.
 

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Before we go off on tangents here, this housing does not accommodate the PEN E-P2. Rather, I gather that it accommodates the PEN E-P1 as well as a newer development called the PEN E-PL1 which, I confess, snuck up on me from left field. Until this thread I'd not even heard of it.

So I had a look at this new technical marvel on dpreview, a site that I sort of trust. In a nutshell it has gained a pop-up flash (essentially a non-event underwater), lost significant functions and has a much simplified button functionality on the back. Please, these are initial impressions, this stuff usually needs to sink in to make reasonable sense.

What seems unassailable though is that this is a digital PEN, based on the original digital PENs but made simplistic.

What it is not is a PEN E-P2 nor is there, as yet, a housing for the latter.

Historically Olympus brought out a PEN in (? - from memory) 1959 which was extremely well received at that time and which used many of the same concepts as the digital ones, in particular mirrorless photography with interchangeable lenses. Even there they weren't the first and in fact Jean de Wouters d'Oplinter, a Belgian aircraft engineer who designed the original Calypso underwater camera (it morphed into the Nikonos) placed the original patent for its Berthiot-Flor 35mm lens in '56. It could therefore be said that the original Calypso was also the first non-SLR camera with the capability to change lenses even though newer lenses, including that incredible 15 mm which, arguably, will never be surpassed, didn't come about until much later.

Sorry, rambling, rambling. :redface:
 

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Man speaks:
Sorry not to be clear the E-P1 and 2 are basically the same model the
'different' Pen is the E-PL1 - my fault that I called it the Pen II for
shorthand.

The housing is for the E-PL1 - not the P1 or P2 which are near as damn it
physically identical. The E-PL1 loses some of the bling of the P1/2 but
nothing in substance and collects a few useful extras. The pop up flash is a
huge deal because not only can it trigger slave and mimic TTL strobes it can
also run Olympus' full remote protocol. It is, like the other Pens, pretty
much an E-620 without a mirror, with better high ISO performance.

The level of control and config on all of these is extraordinary compared
with a basic SLR. Don't be fooled by the veneer of entry level on the PL1,
it isn't very deep if you want to go further. A lot of the comment centres
on the loss of the dials from the P1/2 but they are a mixed blessing on an
underwater case and I think the KISS principle is the best law here - look
at the hassle of using some of the cameras with joysticks inside a case!

Don't just read the reviews, try one. There's a lot of confusion about these
new models sat which above the compacts and beside SLRs but that's bound to
happen. They've given the market a good kick and really stirred it up.


Rob
 
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