El cheapo bag takes E-PL3 underwater!

Started Mar 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP Hen3ry Forum Pro • Posts: 18,218
Re: El cheapo bag takes E-PL3 underwater! Episode 2!

Take a deep breath, slide into the water off the jetty at Half Moon Bay, and find the view is as boring as bark (some people get nice patterns out of bark; I never do)!

So I just took a couple of pix at a meter or so (3-4 feet) down, then abandoned that for the shallows.

Yesterday I had the camera set on AWB and had to adjust a fair bit of blue out of the pix. Today I had it set for Cloudy WB. The light was a little different from yesterday when it was direct sunlight from an unclouded sky. Today there was high, light cloud with the sun mostly shining though light cloud but still making shadows reasonably distinct shadows.

Looks to me as though the Cloudy WB setting worked at a meter down, but in the knee deep water I was adjusting the blue and green up and the red down! AWB was better.

The first four pix are examples.

As yesterday, I was also busy adjusting contrast up in all pix and brightness down a bit in the shallow pix in PP in PhotoLine.

Lessons learned:

  1. The Oly 17 is really a good lens in this situation; in addition to points noted yesterday, it has useful close-up capability and with the different refractive index underwater, it becomes virtually a "standard" lens, i.e. closer to 50mm equiv rather than 35mm equiv.

  2. I decided to go with Shutter priority today rather than iAuto. That was fine except for the fact that left my head at home (or somewhere). I set the shutter speed for 1/180 before I inserted the camera into the bag. I was troubled by camera movement due to wave action and until I had nearly finished trying to wring some life out of pretty lifeless subject matter, I didn't wake up to the fact that I could change the shutter speed with the camera inside the bag perfectly easily. In fact, because access to the menus is all press button, I could change all sorts of settings using the menus while the camera was inside the bag. With the E-PM1, you could also change PASM and other mode settings because they are menu-based. On the E-PL3, these settings are on a dial on top of the camera and not accessible through the bag.

  3. I shifted ISO up to 400 (from 200) today to give a little more shutter/aperture flexibility -- particularly since I was expecting to be shooting in dimmer conditions a little deeper. Check the EXIF data. It was a good decision.

  4. Despite having the LCD turned up to maximum brightness, I still could see very little underwater -- effectively nothing (in the meter deep shots, I could see that patch of brighter seaweed on the side of the pile) -- so I was shooting blind still.

CONCLUSION: For my purposes, it will do. If my work demands pictures from deeper with flash, I might hire a real underwater photographer! Or, at some point, I might go for a "tough" P&S for a second cam. I'll think about that, bearing in mind how it would be a major disaster if the plastic bag ever leaked!

Cheers, geoff

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