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Read our comprehensive Olympus underwater settings guide.
The camera has refinements large and small, from an additional stop of performance of the 5 axis stabilization to a fully articulated LCD; the "II" is an impressive update. Little touches include a lockable mode dial and two additional programmable buttons. Olympus clearly listened to users when it made the Super Control Panel on by default (no more hunting in the menu to try to enable this). The camera also now allows the info screens to be customized, such as the histogram, level and highlight/shadow warnings that can be shown together. Long exposure fans will like the LiveTime feature - realtime long exposure shooting - very cool.
For underwater photographers, the biggest improvement is a serious upgrade to the electronic viewfinder, which now sports a 2.36m dot LCD (same dot count as the revered E-M1). It is hard to shoot what you can't see, and the upgraded EVF goes a long way towards improving vision, especially when paired with a Nauticam enhanced viewfinder.
For the videographer, the E-M5 II significantly upgrades the frame rate (60 fps) and bitrate (77 Mbps), with both ALL-I and IBP recording modes. It is the first Olympus to offer focus peaking while shooting video, and gains a microphone socket. The video here can take advantage of the in-camera image stabilization, allowing for smoother handheld video clips.
The headline feature of the "II" is the new Multi-Shot Hi Res Photo Mode. This new feature allows the camera to capture a 40 Megapixel image using the 16 Megapixel sensor. Black magic? Sorcery? No, but it is a pretty cool use of technology. What Olympus has done here is take advantage of the in camera stabilization mechanism to move the sensor while the camera records the image 8 times. These 8 exposure and melded together into a single 40 Megapixel image, producing a higher resolution result with less noise. These multiple exposures take time, so this trick does not work for moving subjects or for handheld shots. This feature is unlikely to appeal to the underwater photographer, but it is certainly interesting.
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 effortless (but secure) single rotating housing latch opens the housing back. The camera drops in easily, with no controls needing to be preset. The rear mounted housing o-ring makes maintenance simple. Dual fiber optic sync ports are standard and take advantage of the supplied Olympus accessory flash. To make the most of the E-M5’s excellent electronic view finder (EVF), Nauticam has crafted an optional rear acrylic display window that includes a mount for installation of Nauticam’s acclaimed 45º and 180º magnified view finders, providing the ultimate in composition and focus ability. Stiffening handle brackets are included with the housing, providing a solid “wobble free” attachment when using Nauticam Flexitray (PN 71207) and Easitray (PN 71206) with heavy lighting systems. Multiple lanyard attachment points are included in the brackets
Like all Nauticam housings, particular attention is paid to ergonomics. Buttons and dials are easy to access, with minimal reach required. The Olympus Main and Sub dials are easily accessed by thumb or forefinger with no need to release grip on the housing while adjusting aperture and shutter speed. The important Fn1 and Fn2 buttons are just as easy to reach and can be programmed for a multitude of functions. A few of the useful settings are AF Lock, One-touch White Balance, Manual Focus, ISO and Exposure Compensation. Switching between LV and the EVF is a snap and a quick press of the Info button can show or hide Olympus’ new LV Super Control Panel on the OLED screen for quick access to many critical settings. The mode dial can easily be turned through the typical P, A, S, M, Movie mode and some “easy shooting modes”. Controls need to offer a proper “feel” and Nauticam’s patented two-stage lever shutter release allows for natural, precise focus and shutter release activation. Every one of the features on the new NA-EM5 is engineered to the same exacting tolerances of Nauticam’s now famous line of DSLR housings. That quality will surely be reflected in every picture taken with this remarkably powerful imaging system.
One of the hallmarks of Nauticam housings has always been the secure Locking Port Release system, unique in that it utilizes an internal bayonet system. Nauticam's SLR housings have always featured a red locking lever that has become the symbol of Nauticam innovation. This iconic control has come to the mirrorless world, making port changes easy, faster and just as secure. No wrestling, no twisting, no misalignment - just seat and lock.
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