Good Things Come in Small Packages
A DSLR user tries out "going small" with the Olympus OM-D E-M1.
By Jim Boon
On a recent live-aboard trip to the Sea of Cortez, I had the misfortune of flooding my housing on the second dive of my trip. I was heartbroken at losing my favorite lens and a darn good DSLR camera body. At that very moment, I was looking at the next seven days of being on a live-aboard with twenty other camera-divers and I would not be taking any photos.
As word of my camera flood went around the boat, our trip leader Jack offered to loan me a new Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera in an underwater housing. Pretty hard to turn down that kind of an offer! I was excited to get my hands on one these new micro four-thirds size cameras in such a robust housing.
The Olympus TG-5 camera and housing packages have been very popular with a wide variety of divers. The camera shoots great stills as well as 4K video. It has underwater preset modes for snapshot, wide angle and other modes that make life easy.
Having a lighting system that can shoot both stills and video gives the widest possible use of this great little camera. The new Kraken Hydra "S +" lights that now come in a 2500, 3500 and 5000 lumen models, as well as the popular Kraken Macro Ringlight 3000, all support a higher lumen output in a fast "burst" mode that saves power and gives a higher output for still photos.
Underwater photographers have always debated their cameras and there are always questions and continuing debates about the virtues and performance of various formats. We cover all of their pros and cons in our free Handbook: Choosing an Underwater Camera & Housing, but here's my experience.
Congratulations on buying a great underwater compact camera package! We've written these instructions to help you get started.
Ultra-wide fisheye lenses are the preferred wide angle lens underwater due to their close focusing ability, sharp corners and wide field of view. Divers can usually get very close to their subjects with them, filling the frame, eliminating water which makes their photos lack sharpness, color and definition.
But there is a drawback to fisheye lenses; when shooting the straight lines, commonly of a pier or wreck, or models or other similar subjects, optical distortion is introduced.
The Olympus TG-4/TG-3 Cameras have a robust selection of flash modes. Generally all you have to do is put the camera in auto/forced flash mode, but on some strobes TTL won’t sync with these settings. Fortunately Olympus has provided an alternative sync mode that does seem to work. To access it you must first enable it, then select it from the flash settings. It is best used in Program or Aperture camera modes. Here's how to set it up...
By Margo Cavis, Optical Ocean Sales
Divers and models make nice subjects to inspire wonder and excitement for the underwater environment. A human presence in this surreal, weightless surrounding can really draw your viewer in and help them relate to your image.
By Margo Cavis & Jack Connick, Optical Ocean Sales
Capture the unique beauty and wonderment of the underwater world where mysterious creatures exist. Underwater animals represent a unique world that not everyone gets to experience. Capturing these moments fuels the imagination and inspires creativity.