Olympus EPL-5 is the newest camera of choice for low cost and high quality
Taken with the 14-42 mm "kit" lens plus the macro conversion lens adapter PT-MC01
These next photos were taken with the 9-18mm lens in the standard housing port with two strobes. With the EPL-3, we will investigate the best port to use.
What it does NOT do
• The lens selection is small but adequate and easily serves the needs of those shooting subjects from about 1 1/2 inch across to medium wide subjects several feet across. Those who are shooting large wrecks in dirty water will need an extreme wide lens and an after market port with the Panasonic Lumix G 9 mm fisheye lens, which are readily available.
• It has the usual disadvantage of SLR cameras: you cannot change lenses underwater, but you can use both a macro and a wide-angle add-on wet lens.
Olympus XZ-1 is a great option for housing a compact digital camera.
• The hot advantages -- the wide, fast lens makes it the best for low light conditions.
• Full manual control
• Low cost
• Easy to use housing.
• Add-on wide angle and close-up lenses available. The wide lens is sharp, corner to corner, but to make such a fine lens, it is quite large.
Complete system with camera, housing, UFL-2 strobe and full Ultralight arm is only $1725.00.
(Don't forget that we give you a full one-hour free lesson to make sure that you have everything put together correctly.)
You can rent it first to see if you like it. Half of your rental price goes toward your purchase price.
SeaLife's 14 MP DC1400 includes HD 720p video. The wider 51º shooting angle underwater is great for many types of photography, but no longer allows a wide-angle lens add-on like the DC1200 did -- But there is a lens in development that should be available soon. Also, Sealife has finally addressed the issue of the short strobe arm by offering an upgrade. With the optional longer arm, you can now light subjects at the minimum focused distance, reduce backscatter, and be more creative.
Sealife's "piano-key" style of buttons on the housing helps divers who wear thick gloves. This continues to offer the most camera for the least money.
Nikon AW 100 - -great 1080 p video, and is a reliable snorkel camera.
(This review is under construction...)
This section is under construction: Photos do not match.
These great cameras are perfect for watersports enthusiasts -- they are shockproof and waterproof WITHOUT a housing! The maximum depth limit of the 14 megapixel Stylus TG 610 is 10 feet and the 14 megapixel Stylus TG 810 is 16 feet, so it's perfect for pool-side and for snorkelers. Free divers and SCUBA divers who keep it shallow will appreciate the 14 megapixel Stylus 610 which can go to a depth of 33 feet.
Both the 610 and the 810 fit into the PT-051 housing if you plan to exceed the cameras' maximum depth ratings and you can add an external strobe to provide full color.
Pros of Olympus housing and compact digital cameras:
• The small cases are easy to handle -- with a large shutter control, buttons that are clearly labeled and stacked at different heights, and ergonomic aids for one-hand use.
• The large 2.7 inch screen is incredible. As with many digital cameras, the screen can be difficult to see in very bright conditions.
• The built-in flash produces plenty of light for close-ups; but, as with all underwater cameras, an external strobe should be added.
• When I used this camera, after 68 photos with full flash, the battery was still fine and the housing did not fog up.
• There is no manual mode.
• It has the typical small sensor of a compact digital camera.
• The small lens required to accommodate a small camera does not have the optical quality of larger systems.
Revised April 30, 2012