The Olympus PT-EP12 housing only supports the 14-42mm EZ electronic zoom “pancake” lens. Which is the lens that’s compatible with the Nauticam WWL-1 lens.
|The Olympus 14-42mm EZ
also is a nice fish portrait lens.
I outfitted the PEN 7 system with a couple of Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes along with two sets of 10Bar arm floats. The WWL is a heavy glass high quality lens. Out of water, it weighs about 3.8 pounds. In water, I’d guess less than 3 pounds. So some floats are necessary to make it more neutral. The four 10Bar arm floats worked out well, balancing it nicely.
On a recent short trip to Hawaii’s Big Island at Kona, I was able to take the rig on a couple of dives. I was hoping to find some big animals to try out it’s 130° field of view, but never saw them below water. But I had some fun on the reefs, tried a few general shots, and “herded” around a school of goatfish.
|The Nauticam CMC Macro Converter lens
is free of aberrations.
But it depends on your perspective, I think someone upgrading from a compact camera would be quite pleased with it's sharpness and versatility.
Olympus never did make a zoom gear for the 14-42mm EZ lens, you have to do a quick button assignment to toggle the camera to zoom electronically using the left-right buttons on the back of the housing. This would work very nicely with full “zoom-through” focus from 14 to 42mm using the WWL lens.
The CMC also has a bayonet adapter which is very handy for it and the SMC; I’d say a “must-have” instead of trying to screw these lenses on and off. A flip holder from Nauticam or Saga is probably easier, but they are a bit expensive for some budgets and you can’t put a wide angle lens on them. The Nauticam bayonet is not compatible with other diopter lenses such as those from ReefNet and others that have a flat bottom.
On the same dive I tried switching it out the WWL wide lens with the CMC diopter for some macro shots. This means you need to park the 3 pound WWL lens on a Nauticam bayonet lens holder on an arm, which is not really the most balanced idea. It does work, but is quite awkward. I actually just laid it on a rock for a bit while shooting the macro CMC lens.
|Unlike fixed macro lenses, you can zoom in and out
with the 14-42mm EZ and CMC combination.
So was this a setup I would recommend? Maybe, maybe not. Cost wise you are starting out pretty reasonably; $499 for the Olympus PEN E-PL7 and 14-42mm EZ lens, $759 for the housing. But you are adding on a $999 WWL and $320 CMC lens to the equation. But it’s still about $1000 or so less than a comparable E-M1 or E-M5 MKII and 8mm FE lens and Zen port system. And more convenient - part of the savings is having to pack lenses and ports around.
|Macro and wide angle on a mirrorless camera
- all on one dive!
If you’re thinking about a smaller, mirrorless camera set-up, particularly if you want video with an electronic zoom capability, this would be a good, versatile, value-priced option indeed.