THE OLYMPUS OM-D EM1 MARK II
It takes more than just headline grabbing specs on paper to make a great underwater camera system, and the E-M1 Mark II does many of the less obvious things right. The “2×2” dial and button structure doubles the functionality of the control dials and assignable push buttons. Typically these dials control shutter speed and aperture when shooting in manual mode, but with a flick of the 2×2 lever they are reassigned to other parameters (like ISO and Exposure Compensation, as an example). The control dials provide the easiest way to access frequently used camera settings directly, and Olympus has doubled their usefulness!
It seems to be a trend among camera makers to sacrifice battery life and handling in an effort to to reduce overall size. Olympus didn’t make this mistake with E-M1 Mark II. The substantial hand grip provides exceptional handling, even with larger lenses, and makes space to accommodate a large battery that offers an exceptional 440 shots per charge (based on the CIPA rating, and many more are likely in real world use).
Also new, and notable, is a high bitrate UHD (4K) video recording mode coupled with very capable image stabilization. The camera offers HDMI output to an external monitor, providing an upgraded display for framing, exposure check, and focus confirmation.
KEY CAMERA SPECIFICATIONS
- 20MP Live MOS sensor
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization system
- 121-pt hybrid AF system
- 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps with continuous AF, 10 fps with flash)
- Fully articulating 3″ LCD display
- High-res electronic viewfinder
- Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video
- 50MP High-Res Shot mode
- Weather-sealed body
- USB 3 (Type-C)
THE NA-EM1II HOUSING
A camera of this caliber deserves an exceptional underwater housing. Five and a half years ago, Nauticam entered the Micro Four Thirds underwater housing segment. 17 housing models later, Nauticam is proud to have produced more mirrorless underwater camera housings than any other manufacturer. The Nauticam NA-EM1II isn’t a new design, it is a refinement of the housings that have come previously. The system is field tested, and underwater photographer approved.
The housing is small, but not at the expense of functionality or ergonomics. Integrated handles provide a sturdy and comfortable base to operate the system from. An ergonomic shutter release lever, thumb lever for AE-L / AF-L, and well placed control dials provide the same operational feel as any Nauticam DSLR housing. Control buttons are placed within easy reach of the handles, with sufficient spacing to allow easy operation, even by feel. The ergonomic experience of this system is clearly influenced by Nauticam DSLR systems, with class leading control access and feel.
More than just good looking, this is a rugged housing, ready to tackle thousands of hours of underwater abuse. Crafted from solid aircraft aluminum, the housing can reach depths of 100m with ease. The secure single rotating housing latch opens the housing back. The camera drops in easily. The rear mounted housing o-ring makes maintenance simple. Dual fiber optic synch ports are standard and take advantage of the camera included FL-LM3 flash for strobe triggering. To make the most of the E-M1 Mark II’s excellent electronic view finder (EVF), Nauticam allows for installation of the acclaimed 45º and 180º magnified viewfinders, providing the ultimate in composition and focus ability.
The NA-EM1II is a professional grade underwater housing, supporting the pro-level E-M1 II camera body to its full potential.
PREMIUM PROFESSIONAL OPTICS
It’s all about the glass, and lenses are the key to terrific photography. This has always been a strength of Olympus systems, and the lineup is now stronger than ever thanks to the Nauticam Wet Wide Lens (WWL-1).
WWL-1, paired with an Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ Lens or ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ*, provides a full zoom through ultra wide angle field of view. In our tests, this combination exceeds the corner sharpness and clarity of even very good micro four thirds wide angle lenses behind dome ports. WWL-1 will focus on its front element for unmatched close focus wide angle performance, and full zoom through means you can zoom to crop in camera for tighter framing.
WWL-1 is mounted via a quick change bayonet system (67mm PN 83213 or 77mm PN 83215) that allows fast and easy one handed mounting and removal. An optional lens caddy provides a place to park the WWL-1 lens when not in use. For closeup and macro work, the Nauticam Compact Macro Converter (CMC-1, PN 81301) allows images smaller than 1″ wide to be captured. Ultra wide, mid-range and macro imaging capability, all on the same dive!
The m4/3 system supports a large range of high quality lenses produced by Olympus and Panasonic (partnering with Leica), and third party lenses from Sigma are starting to appear. Several lenses that perform extremely well underwater are available (and reasonably priced!). Some examples:
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ: The ultimate jack of all trades tool, this lens covers a very usable mid range, and features a unique macro mode. Shoot dolphins and nudibranchs on the same dive!
Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5: This 180º fisheye lens focuses close and is razor sharp. Combines with a small port, there is no better CFWA (close focus wide angle) option on the planet.
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro: This is an ideal macro lens for m4/3, and by adding the Nauticam CMC, it becomes a super macro monster. Imagine filling the entire width of the frame with something only 8mm wide!
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH: The 7-14mm is a rectilinear lens, ideal for shooting people or sharks or wrecks… subjects where the fisheye distortion is not welcome. On the wide end, this lens 114º wide, ideal for getting close to subjects to reduce the amount of water shot through. But a zoom gets to 75º – ideal for reaching out to that subject that is a little more skittish. The very similar Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 can serve the same basic role at a lower cost.
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm 1:1.8 PRO and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7‑14mm 1:2.8 PRO provide upgraded performance with faster maximum aperture, and are fully supported by the Nauticam port system.
There are many more options for the underwater photographer, including any of the several 14-42mm options, the Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH. POWER O.I.S., Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH, and the Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH.
*12-50 is usable with WWL-1 from approximately 15.5mm – 50mm with WWL-1.
A clear view for fine focus and composition is critical for successful underwater photography, and nothing beats a magnifying viewfinder. These viewfinders use distance, not closeup vision, and provide a large, clear view of the high resolution Olympus electronic viewfinder. Available in Angled 45º (PN 32205) and Straight 180º (PN 32204) formats, both viewfinders have external dioptric adjustments for dialing in perfect correction matched to the photographer’s eyesight.
INTEGRATED VACUUM CHECK AND LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM
The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is available with NA-EM1II as standard equipment. Combined with an optional vacuum valve (PN 25624), this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe-to-dive status of the housing. A simple coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the vacuum is solid, or that the housing is losing vacuum. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur.
FLASH CONNECTORS FOR OPTICAL TTL
Reliable automatic flash exposure is available with the NA-EM1II and a variety of optically fired flashes. The Inon Z-240, D-2000, S-2000, and Sea & Sea YS-D1/YS-D2 strobes provide automated lighting, precisely reproducing the camera’s FL-LM3 flash at a proportionally greater intensity. This system yields accurate automatic TTL flash performance – even in manual exposure mode – with no electrical sync cables to flood! The NA-EM1II comes fiber optic ready and accepts standard Sea & Sea style bushing connections. Nauticam Fiber Optic cables, available for both Inon and Sea & Sea strobes, provide exceptional light transmission for accurate TTL performance.
RAPID FIRE OPTICAL TRIGGERING
The E-M1 Mark II camera with FL-LM3 flash is limited to 2-3 fps continuous shooting, even when a low manual power is selected in the camera flash menu. In situations where continuous optical shooting is required, Nauticam’s Mini Flash Trigger (26306) can trigger external strobes over fiber optic at up to 10 frames per second! The trigger is powered by onboard coin style lithium batteries, with thousands of flashes available from a set.
Electrical triggering of legacy wired strobe systems is possible via an electrical Nikonos style bulkhead (optional).