Saturday, August 21, 2010

First results with my Olympus e-pl1 underwater...

I took a quick dive yesterday with the new camera and underwater housing. First thoughts... a flash would be helpful... adn I need to shoot RAW. It was a very gray afternoon, and there was a pretty strong south swell, so the Place of Refuge was a bit more mucked up than usual... probably 60 foot of viz in the shallows and 80-90 at depth.

Wow! The camera reacted quickly, locks focus practically instantaneously compared to the cameras I've used in the past. I was using the underwater settings that are hidden on the camera... Olympus does a very poor job at explaining how to get at them in their manual, had to look it up on a message board, it's easy to get to and they have an underwater macro and underwater wide angle mode you can toggle back and forth between at will... more on that in another post. I spent most of the time just pointing at things using the underwater macro mode.

I took a bunch of photos, some of them turned out OK. The biggest issue was the dark day and lack of light made for typical underwater blueish photos. Without shooting in RAW, where you can adjust the white balance after the fact, and not taking time to custom white balance the photos underwater as I was taking them, I had to rely on my weak photoshop skills to get the proper colors on the fish. This photo of an Ornate Butterfly fish turned out pretty OK.

I'm off to the shop for the afternoon... open noon 'til 6 on weekends.



Andrew Cooper said...

Great to see some first result from the new camera! Thanks for the hands on review. I have been interested in the compact changeable lens systems. They really do look like the way to go for more performance in a compact package suitable for diving and other active situations.

Not looking to replace my G11 right away, I will give the micro4/3 systems another year or two to mature.

Steve said...

I think in another year they'll be to on par function and speed wise with most of the DSLRs now available. By then you'll likely see Nikon and Canon out with some kind of smaller mirror-less system. Sony's already jumped into the fray.

It's rocket fast compared to my G9 and earlier cameras. The only focusing problems I had was with it set for macro and trying to get a photo of Longfin Anthias in mid-water with reef about 10 feet behind it... even then it still focused accurately about half the time in a quarter second or so, just not enough light to get a half way decent photo. Hopefully I'll have a decent month or two ahead to where I can justify picking up a flash for the camera. I'm thinking about rigging a LED light to the housing to provide a little extra light on dark days.

I'm excited about the possibilities of this system.

PADI Americas (west coast team) said...

As a PADI Pro you can get a discount on Olympus camera accessories (and also cameras and housings). See article below:

Pro Deal from Olympus for PADI Instructors in 2010.

I only have the Stylus Tough (as opposed to the nifty rig you've got), but I love it. I'm kind of a klutz and with the Stylus I don't have to worry about dropping the camera or flooding my housing.

Steve said...

Thanks for the heads up. I may still end up with a Tough with a housing that I can keep pocketed while working in case something really cool happens by.