Underwater Housing or an Olympus/Panasonic Tough camera?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by taz98spin, May 13, 2014.

  1. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Wasn't sure if this thread be posted in Accessories, but I figured this might be the right place since I'm considering a camera as well.

    Anyways, booked a trip to Hawaii and I was looking at underwater housings.
    Olympus makes several underwater housings (not for the E-P5, which I have) but for some PL & PM models and the E-M5.
    But the prices are ridicuallously high :frown:
    Found some non-OEM housings for the E-P5 and they are still in the $300+ range.. (not those plastic ziplock looking bags, but "real" housings)

    So I'm wondering are their any m43 users who use the Olympus Tough series or Panasonic Tough series cameras?
    I find it amusing that they use similar names, but even the newest Tough series camera (from Olympus), I can get cheaper than a non OEM underwater housing.

    & for those who own an underwater housing, did you feel it was worth the $??

    Please let me know, thanks! :smile:
     
  2. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    My parents are going on a cruise in about two weeks, and just picked up a used TG-1 for snorkeling. Will let you know about their experiences, get back on may 26.

    Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  3. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Cool thanks!
     
  4. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    They were going back and forth between the tg1 and ts4. Some reviews said the TG1 underexposes slighty underwater, and other reviews didnt like the fact that the ts4 has two buttons for w/t vs a toggle. They had no need for wifi or other upgrades between tg1-3. Sensor and imaging was relatively unchanged. I know they both only go down to ~30-50ft, so no scuba diving.

    Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  5. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Yeah, I just started doing research on these cameras during lunch, and I've read several users say that the tg2 underexposes as well. Maybe the soon to be released tg3 will be better?

    I'll look into the TS4 as well!
     
  6. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    The reason housings are so expensive is that they have to be able to deal with the increased pressure at diving depths. For snorkeling, all you really need is something watertight. I wouldn't dive with one of the plastic bag things, but I'd snorkel with it if the camera I had inside weren't too expensive. I'd use one of the "tough" cameras, too. (I actually have one, but haven't had the chance to get it wet.)

    You're really not likely to get fabulous photos while snorkeling/swimming anyway unless you have experience shooting through water, so I think it's best to think of it a "fun snapshot" experience and not get too concerned about the equipment.
     
  7. AndrewMac

    AndrewMac New to Mu-43

    4
    Apr 23, 2014
    As others have said the real question is if you're planning to dive as the TG1 / 2 aren't meant for diving (though there are underwater housings for them if you want to).

    I bought the TG2 for taking pics of my daughter in the pool and got some great pics of her when she was just a few months old. For snap shot family pics in shallow water I think its great and so much easier / more compact than even my old Fuji compact in an underwater housing.

    When I start diving again I will definitely get a m4/3 housing and a strobe, but I don't think the hassles / risks are worth if you're just talking about snorkelling / pool pics with natural light (though I have to admit I'm lazy so very much in the "best camera is the one you have with you" camp and messing round with o-rings and grease all the time is a pain).
     
  8. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    I did find a housing for the E-P5 for about $150, but can't find any reviews about it.. + don't want my E-P5 to get damaged from the water, so a tough point and shoot camera is what I'll most likely get!

    Great to read that the TG2 is working well for you! I'm really leaning on the TG3, but since it's not released yet, don't really have lots of reviews to study..
     
  9. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    What do you want to do with your camera, exactly?

    I spend a reasonably large sum of cash (probably around 1000 euros all told) on an aluminum scuba housing and some wet lenses for the RX100 - I looked into pricing for my E-M5, but when I started adding the cost of a good housing and ports for the lenses I would want to use, things started getting utterly stupid. Since I do scuba dive, I think it was worth the money. But if I was 'just' snorkeling or swimming I'd opt for something like a TG3 and/or TG2 with the extra Olympus housing.
     
  10. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Most likely just snorkeling and swimming. I've never scuba dived before, so a little hesitant on that, but snorkeling will be the key.

    A friend recommended a Nikon1 AW1, but those things are ugly & expensive..
     
  11. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Jul 1, 2013
    Get a dedicated snorkel/swim camera. Getting good shots is tough under water, it seems like a great idea until you try. Anything more than a few feet away looks like crap. Lighting is bad. And why risk a good camera. I have a Panasonic TS-10 that I'm very happy with for pool/beach/snorkel photos.
     
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  12. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    661
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I have the TG1 and mostly use it when windsurfing or kayaking. It uses too much noise reduction so low light photos look all smeared out, the auto white balance frequently produces surreal stuff like green and/or purple sky, but the camera is small enough to easily fit in the pocket in my life jacket, it can take some serious pounding (which frequently happens while windsurfing) and it is an F/2 so it does a decent job in low-ish light. I REALLY wish Olympus would add RAW support to some of the tough cameras, if they did I would buy that camera at once.

    Top tip: If you get the CLA-T01 adapter and you suddenly have a 40.5 mm filter thread so you can use a polarizer with the camera. Really useful on the water!
     
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  13. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    I went to Hawaii last year with three waterproof options. I personally never considered getting the underwater housing or the premium TG cameras because of the price, but ended up spending over $100 anyway. I'll try to post some examples when I get home tonight, but for now here are my findings:

    1. Olympus TG310 - good pics and good 720p video, but anything above base ISO is kinda blotty. great for pools where water is clear and lighting is good. unfortunately my son lost it in the water during our snorkeling trip, so I can't really comment on the snorkeling performance. I got it used for about $60.
    2. Kodak playsport zx3 - it's basically a waterproof flip cam. the most compact. very good HD video (better than tg310 imo) and can take decent 5mp stills (not as good as the TG310). lens is a bit brighter at f/2.8. Got a used on for less than $40 on ebay at the time. I actually didn't take many pics with it, mostly videos.
    3. An old e-pm1 with 14mm in a DiCAPac WP610. Largest, but best IQ. some snorkeling pics came out very well, after some post processing to get the color right. e-p5 should fit, and it can take a bigger lens, the biggest one I tried was sigma 30mm, but it was a tight fit, kinda hard to get off so I wouldn't recommend it. I think 14mm is probably the best for underwater because it's small, relatively bright, AF is quite fast, and wide enough to get all the fish in the frame. And it's also cheaper so if anything were to go wrong, it's not too bad. One thing to remember is to wipe the front glass to remove any water drops when you come out of the water, so they don't show up on your land photos. I got the WP610 for about $30 on Amazon.

    Since I take more video than stills, I never bother getting a replacement for the TG310 for our next trip to the Caribbeans, Zx3 was fine for taking videos and occasional stills in and around the pool. Family trips I would totally recommend something like a Zx3 because it's very affordable, smaller, and easier to carry and take video with, but I don't think you can go wrong with a good waterproof P&S. Underwater housing probably gives you best pics, but it's more for dedicated situations rather than fun on the beach or in and around the pool, and I would recommend DiCAPac over housing if you want to go that route. Actually depend on what lens you use, you might wanna get a DiCAPac anyway just to protect the e-p5 from the elements when on the beach.
     
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  14. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Also, I would highly recommend a float-strap. Better that it goes up than down if you let go underwater...
     
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  15. Evan614

    Evan614 Mu-43 Regular

    109
    May 6, 2014
    BuckeyeState
    I have gone snorkeling about 10 times. The older DicaPacs would leak water over time. (I went through 2 already). I would not trust DicaPac for more than a year or so and a few uses. A helpful tidbit is to roll up some paper towel and put it in last. I found it will absorb any water that gets in. With that said I got really good images with the cameras I used. (old Sony mostly)
    I bought Olympus Tough camera and thought the image quality was horrible in open water. Pool = great
    Whatever you do you might want to purchase an inexpensive filter to get a good color balance. trying to color correct jpegs is next to impossible -- assuming you want nice quality images. As one of the other posters mentioned. Shooting in RAW is the key. especially if you opt to pass on a color correcting filter.
    Using the underwater function on some cameras help but not a perfect solution.

    After doing many stills, I graduated to a GoPro video and I pretty much do 90% video and 10% stills. I have a color correction filter on my GoPro (expensive filter).


    So my final thoughts: Use a camera that shoots RAW. Buy a hard case if you plan to do more snorkeling in the future. Buy a soft bag if you plan to do this once (either way you can sell the bag or hard case to recoup your money) Just understand depending where the bag seam is.. it could be a pain to press buttons. And without the seam it still is challenging to press buttons.

    my 2 cents :biggrin:
     
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  16. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Wow, so much good information!

    Thank you all! :smile: I'll have to read and do more research during my workday!
     
  17. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    Sad but true -- and when you add a strobe, you get to learn all about the wonders of backscatter.

    Add to that the fact that unless you're diving, you're pretty much always going to be shooting straight down at your subject, so your image will be flattened out -- that is, assuming that your subject is actually in your picture. (The first time I took a camera diving, the divemaster said to me, "you're about to become the Michelangelo of fish butts." She was right, at least about the fish butts.)
     
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  18. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    Or (a more expensive alternative): Moisture Munchers. The advantages are that they suck up the moisture and hold it in, unlike paper towels which stay damp, and that they turn pink when there's moisture getting in, so you have some warning that your set up isn't watertight. Disadvantage? Price, so it all depends on how much your gear is worth.
     
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  19. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Made me chuckle :biggrin:
     
  20. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    661
    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Yup, if you're snorkeling you probably don't wear a height belt like divers do, so you need to keep actively swimming or you float back up. This will of course scare most fish, except those that see you as food, if any. So you'll see a lot of fish butts. Fortunately you can do other stuff with a waterproof camera.

    Like shooting corals
    P3220013.

    Or piles of coral.
    P3220015.

    Your vehicle of choice drifting toward some corals.
    P3220016.

    Your legs while on said vehicle.
    p8180361.

    Or just some plain weird kayaking picture.
    P3020014.

    You DO get some fish, though.
    P9172194.

    Picture number four and six was taken using the Tough TG-6000, the rest with the TG-1.
     
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