Olympus Pen EPL-7 Guide

Pen EPL-7 camera
Olympus Pen E-PL7 Underwater Camera System Guide – INON Wet Lens Compatible

By Lisa Collins and Steve Warren, owners, INON UK.

The Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus PT-EP12 underwater camera housing package is a very attractive and inexpensive way to enjoy compact system camera underwater photography with INON interchangeable wet lenses. The Olympus Pen E-PL7 offers an outstanding range of features and benefits for advanced underwater photography. It uses the micro four thirds format co-developed by Olympus and Panasonic. Benefitting from the joint Olympus and Panasonic lens mount, owners of the Olympus Pen E-PL7 can select lenses from Olympus and Panasonic, including some designed for Panasonic by Leica, as well as independent brands. The Olympus Pen E-PL7’s 16 mega pixel sensor ensures high quality photographs suited to making big enlargements for display and for publication. The Olympus Pen E-PL7 features a large buffer allowing for burst shooting of up to 20 frames in RAW. High speed sequential shooting can be invaluable with very fast moving subjects, such as dolphins. Compared to JPEG, RAW provides far more flexibility for photo editing, one of the big advantages of upgrading to an Olympus Pen E-PL7 from a compact. Along with planning successful underwater photo safaris and advanced composition skills, photo editing is demonstrated during the INON UK Learn with Lisa Day classroom course.

front cover
INON UK’s Lisa Collins shot her first cover for Diver Magazine using an earlier Pen E-PL3 camera in an Olympus underwater housing. The micro four thirds format takes advantage of new technology to enable smaller, lighter, less complicated and lower cost cameras to be used in place of professional SLR’s for photojournalism. Learn with Lisa Days include composition tips, photo editing skills and planning successful underwater photo safaris.

A special feature of the Olympus Pen E-PL7 is the Live Bulb setting for long exposure photography in low light levels. Live Bulb lets you see your image taking form on the cameras monitor in real time. Once the exposure looks right to you, you stop the exposure. This is much easier to use, more effective and far less time consuming that taking a succession of test shots and having to review them when up against decompression or gas limits. Live Bulb has great advantages for working with your Olympus Pen E-PL7 mounted on a tripod for wreck, cavern or cave photography as well as for creative techniques such as painting with light. INON strobe arms can be converted into tripods and the INON UK Level Two Underwater Photography Lighting Course discusses low light shooting techniques in detail.

The Olympus Pen E-PL7 provides full manual exposure control, alongside semi-automatic aperture priority and shutter priority modes that can be useful underwater for shooting from the hip . A wide selection of automatic scene modes are included for point and shoot land photography. If you’d like to experiment with special effects, there’s a generous choice of art modes. Metering patterns include ESP multi-sensor, spot and centre –weighted with exposure compensation and auto-bracket options. Traditional custom or manual white balance and an underwater mode that can be used with full control of ISO,F stop and shutter speed help with achieving colourful natural light pictures. Comprehensive flash menus provide full control of the flash packaged with the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and include automatic TTL flash control as well as four manual power settings. There are slow and second curtain settings for creative fill flash photography. A fast flash sync speed of 1/250th Is an important feature for underwater fill flash with moving subjects to avoid motion blur and to control sun balls when shooting against the light. For shooting video sequences the Olympus Pen E-PL7 records in 1080 high definition. The 7.5 cm LCD monitor drops down for selfie’s. If you prefer, an optional electronic viewfinder can be fitted for surface photography.

images jpeg
The Olympus Pen –EPL7 offers an extremely attractive specification for the ambitious underwater photographer. The large micro four thirds sensor is time proven for professional photojournalism on land and underwater. A generous buffer allows for 20 frames to be taken in RAW. A high flash sync speed of 1/250th makes fill flash easier. Live Bulb setting greatly assists with low light photography.

The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing is officially rated to 45 metres and the hull is manufactured from polycarbonate, keeping it lightweight for shore diving and air travel. It is very inexpensive for an underwater compact system camera housing. The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater case allows full control of all your Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera functions. The Olympus Pen E-PL7 and PT-EP12 underwater housing allow you to use INON wide-angle, close up and relay or bug eye lenses that can be swopped underwater. If you intend to use Olympus interchangeable lenses for your underwater photography, rather than INON wet lenses, then consider the Olympus Pen E-PL5 and Olympus PT-EP10 underwater housing. However, it will mean you have to commit to your lens choice before you dive. The Olympus Pen E-PL7 is the flexible choice for those underwater photographers seeking the benefits of a high end compact system camera, but who also wish to have the advantage of being able to change lenses during their dive to suit the different subjects and conditions they might encounter.

The Olympus E-PL7 and PT-EP12 underwater camera package is also a highly attractive option for those upgrading from underwater compact cameras who wish to use their existing INON UWL-H100 wide angle, INON UFL-M150 ZM80 relay lens and INON UCL close up wet lenses with a compact system underwater camera. You must use the M Zuiko Digital ED 14-42 F3.5/5.6 EZ zoom lens as your base lens. Other lenses that fit the Olympus PT-EP12 underwater camera housing are not compatible with INON underwater UWL-H100 and INON UFL-M150 ZM80 wet lenses.

PT-EP12 housing
The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing offers low cost, compact and light weight protection to 45 metres for your Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera. It is easily accessorized to meet the needs of the individual underwater photographer.

The M.Zuiko Digital 14/42mm 1:3.5/5.6 EZ is an excellent choice for many marine life subjects. It has the range to photograph small to medium sized reef fish, as well as turtles, and can do close ups of subjects about the size of your hand. Because it is compatible with INON wet lenses, its versatility can be easily and inexpensively expanded to cover almost any subject you might wish to photograph underwater. It is especially capable for underwater critter photography.It can be used for macro and super macro underwater photography by adding INON UCL close up lenses, such as the INON UCL-100M67 close up lens, to considerably increase its magnification. If you wish to pursue extreme wide macro or wide angle macro underwater photography, the unique INON UFL-M150 ZM80 relay or bug eye lens can be used. This specialist lens creates a highly stylized look to your photographs by using a tiny front element that retains focus from the lens itself to infinity. It allows you to take a near fisheye image of a nudibranch, for example, while keeping an observing diver overhead in sharp focus. This is much harder to achieve with conventional wide-angle lenses because the large front elements don’t allow such tight framing and their bulk makes lighting the foreground subject very difficult. The INON UFL-M150 ZM80 is a lens that adds real drama to critter photography. For more conventional wide-angle photography you can use the INON UWL-H100 wide –angle lens or the INON UWL-H100 fitted with the INON Dome Lens Unit 11, which converts the INON UWL-H100 from a 100 degree super wide-angle lens to a near 150 degree semi-fisheye lens. The INON UWL-H100 lens by itself is a good choice for working with medium sized subjects in good visibility, such as other divers, individual manta rays or whale sharks and for creative close focus wide-angle photography. If you plan to take pictures in low visibility or want to work with large schools of fish or pods of cetaceans or shoot reef vistas as well as photograph outside and inside shipwrecks, we recommend you add the INON Dome Lens Unit 11 to your INON UWL-H100. The increased angle of view and greater depth of field will prove invaluable with these subjects.

Olympus 14-42mm lens
The M.Zuiko Digital 14/42mm 1:3.5/5.6 EZ must be used with the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing for full compatibility with INON wet lenses. For macro and super macro photography it can be fitted with INON UCL330, INON UCL165 and INON UCL100 close up lenses. For wide macro or wide angle macro photography the unique INON UFL-M150 ZM80 relay lens can be used. The INON UWL-H100 wide angle lens is chosen for conventional wide-angle underwater photography. The M.Zuiko Digital 14?42mm 1:3.5?5.6 EZ by itself is an excellent lens for small to medium sized fish portraits and modest close up photography.

The Pen E-PL7 and PT-EP12 underwater housing can be used with the outstanding Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye Pro using the INON Dome Port Olympus EP01. This premium dome port is manufactured from glass, which is more scratch resistant than acrylic. The port is multicoated to reduce reflections to an absolute minimum. Reflections reduce the amount of light getting through the port to reach the camera sensor. Reflections also cause flare, a problem with fisheye photography on land, which is made much worse underwater by scatter, as explained during the INON UK Level One Underwater Photography Course for beginner and intermediate photographers. Keep in mind that your housing port is the first optic between your subject and your expensive Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye Pro lens and Pen E-PL7 camera. Dome ports act as a lens in their own right underwater, so choosing one should be accorded the same importance as selecting your camera lenses. ­­­When selecting your Olympus underwater compact system camera and housing, it’s vital to keep in mind that the range of other interchangeable Olympus lenses that are compatible with the Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing are more suited to surface photography with the case used to protect against dust and moisture, rather than for taking underwater pictures. For example, the housing is not compatible with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 macro lens.

Olympus lens
The Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye Pro is the world’s first F1.8 fisheye lens. Providing a full frame 180 degree angle of view, this lens is perfect for working in poor visibility, shooting inside and outside shipwrecks, capturing big schools of shoaling fish, close focus, wide-angle and wide angle macro photography as well as for split-level images. It can be with the Olympus Pen E-PL7 underwater housing by adding the INON Dome Port Olympus EP01.

­­­All current models of INON underwater strobes are compatible with the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus PT-EP12 underwater camera system. The INON strobe model that will suit your needs best will depend on the type of underwater photography you pursue and your preferred way of using your Olympus Pen E-PL7. The INON S-2000, INON D-2000 and INON Z-240 all offer INON S-TTL point and shoot underwater strobe photography with the Olympus Pen E-PL7, with the cameras own flash meter automatically controlling the exposure from your INON strobe. The INON S-2000, INON D-2000 and INON Z-240 all feature the versatile INON S-TTL EV controller which lets you dial in a little deliberate over exposure or under exposure to adjust the S-TTL for difficult subjects that can confuse even the best camera flash meters. Difficult subjects can include shiny fish that can cause unsightly reflections, much like firing a strobe at silver foil would. Divers are another subject that regularly confuse non compensated TTL. Dark suits and BCD’s often cause non adjusted TTL strobes to over expose flesh tones, like faces and hands. Some underwater photographers like to rely on INON S-TTL, but prefer to set the EV controller to under expose slightly to better saturate colours such as red.

Many experienced underwater photographers prefer to set their INON strobe exposure manually. Very precise control of INON strobe output is provided with 12 manual settings on the INON S-2000 and 13 on the INON D-2000 and INON Z-240. The power control is located on the back of each strobe. This makes it easy to adjust them from behind your Olympus Pen E-PL7 underwater camera system. Power controls are click stopped and the dial turns through 360 degrees. This makes it very fast to go from minimum to high power settings without having to spin the dial back on itself. The INON UK Understanding Your Underwater Camera and Strobe Day, which is a classroom based course, fully explains camera and strobe settings, what they do, when and how to use them and how to test all functions are working properly before you dive.

PT-EP12 D4 set
The Olympus E-PL7 and PT-EP12 marine housing is fully compatible with INON underwater strobes. The INON S-2000, INON D-2000 and INON Z-240 all offer point and shoot INON S-TTL automatic exposure, full manual output control, wide-angle coverage and fast recycling. Options include power, external auto exposure and built in modelling lights. INON UK or an official INON UK dealer can advise you on which INON strobe to choose. The INON UK Understanding Your Underwater Camera and Strobe Day and the INON UK Level Two Underwater Lighting Course provide valuable information on getting the best from your underwater photography equipment. Extended warranties on strobes and discounts on INON UK underwater improvement courses and events are provided when your INON strobe is purchased from INON UK or an official INON UK dealer instead of a grey or parallel reseller

Getting well-lit underwater photographs without backscatter using strobes requires an understanding of how light behaves underwater, how to aim your strobe and that you also use an appropriate strobe arm, a point that is often overlooked. INON offer an extensive line of different strobe arm types and a wide range of accessories to ensure you can light your subjects exactly the way you want to. Basic single strobe use, including proper aiming, is taught during the INON UK Level One Underwater Photography Course. Use of dual strobes and advanced creative lighting techniques is taught on the INON UK Level Two Underwater Photography Lighting Course. INON strobe arms not only help you position your strobe correctly, they can be used to carry your INON UCL close up, INON UWL-H100 wide angle and INON UFL –M150 ZM80 relay lenses until needed and to hold your video or focus assist light. INON arms also enable you to trim your Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus PT- EP12 underwater housing for perfect buoyancy and balance underwater. Keeping your system near neutrally buoyant stabilizes your camera making it much easier to accurately compose pictures and shoot smooth video. It also lets you shoot one handed, freeing your other hand for a finger hold. If you drop an underwater camera that is negatively buoyant, it is surprising how fast it can sink and be lost. Most underwater cameras weigh at least a kilo underwater. To visualize the effect of dropping your camera, perhaps while re-boarding your boat, think of dropping a one kilo diving weight overboard with your credit card taped to it….

EPL-7 ZM80
EPL-7 3 cameras
EPL-7 wide
The great attraction of the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and PT-EP12 housing for underwater photography is the flexibility to use INON interchangeable wet lenses. The Olympus PT-EP12 accepts INON UCL close up lenses, the INON UWL-H100 wide-angle lens, the INON UWL-H100 with Dome Lens Unit 11 semi-fisheye lens and the INON UFL-M150 ZM80 relay lens. Lenses can quickly be changed underwater to suit different subjects and conditions or to capture unexpected opportunities.

Only INON lenses purchased from INON UK or an official INON UK dealer carry INON UK extended warranties and discounted fees on INON UK underwater photography improvement classes and events.

The INON Grip Base M1 helps provide stability and a platform for attaching strobes or/and video lights. The INON M1 Grip Base secures to the base of your Olympus PT-EP12 at two points, so there is no possibility of slippage. Studs allow you to set your housing upright on a flat surface with the Olympus PT-EP12 ‘s base, O ring and sealing surfaces kept clear of dust and other debris. The left hand grip provides a mounting point for strobe arm adapters. Your right hand wraps around the housing keeping key shooting controls within easy reach.

The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing has a built in accessory shoe. This is useful for mounting an INON strobe or video light for point and shoot close up stills or videography. It can also be used to mount a focus assist light. The INON LE and LF video lights make excellent focus assist lights and, along with being used for recording video, can be a useful addition to a stills photographers lighting kit. Wide-beam INON video lights make it much easier to see all of your subject when shooting with fisheye lenses at night, for instance. INON video lights can also serve as fill lights if you have only one strobe – for example when shooting close focus, wide-angle images the more powerful INON strobe would light the subject in the background and the INON video light would light the foreground. How you will use your INON LF or LE video light {for focus assist, as a fill light or for video}, will influence how you attach it to your Olympus PT- EP12 underwater housing system. INON UK or your official INON UK dealer can discuss some options with you.

PT-EP12 DH set
INON’s float arms provide buoyancy to help bring heavy underwater camera systems back to neutral. When correctly balanced, even a dual strobe wide-angle rig like this can easily be used one handed. A heavy underwater camera is unstable and this makes composing and focusing difficult. If the camera is accidentally dropped, it will sink rapidly and can easily be damaged or lost.

Five Features and Benefits of the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus EP-12 Underwater Camera Package

Micro Four Thirds System.

The Olympus Pen E-PL7 uses the micro four thirds half frame sensor jointly developed as a professional stills and video sensor by Olympus and Panasonic. This provides very high quality images. Olympus and Panasonic lenses, as well as independent brands, are compatible with the Pen E-PL7 giving the owner an extensive range of lenses to choose from for maximum flexibility.

Uses INON Interchangeable Lenses Underwater.

The Olympus PT-EP12 underwater housing provides the benefits of a high spec mirrorless underwater camera with the versatility of a compact by taking advantage of the INON wet lens system. The INON UCL330, UCL165 and UCL100 close up lenses permit close up, macro and super macro underwater photography, while the INON UWL-H100 enables super wide-angle and, when equipped with the INON Dome Lens Unit 11, semi-fisheye imaging. Specialist wide macro or wide angle macro underwater photography is provided by the INON UFL-M150 ZM80 bug eye lens.

Generous RAW Buffer.

Buffer allows for fast sequential burst shooting of up to 20 frames in RAW. This lets you shoot fast moving subjects, like hunting sailfish, and still enjoy the photo editing benefits RAW offers.

INON S-TTL Compatible.

The Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera and PT-EP12 underwater housing are fully compatible with the INON strobe range. INON S-TTL lets the sophisticated flash meter built into the Olympus Pen E-PL7 automatically control your INON S-2000, INON D-2000 or INON Z-240 exposure for you. It’s a great way to get dependable strobe exposures if you are starting out or working under difficult shooting conditions. INON EV controller lets you adjust S-TTL for tricky subjects and to saturate colours.

Live Bulb Feature.

Live Bulb feature is especially useful for low light photography. On Live Bulb setting, the shutter is left open, usually for seconds or minutes at a time. Live Bulb lets you watch the picture develop on the monitor in real time and stop the exposure at the exact point it looks the way you want it to.

Representing a very capable and affordable compact underwater system camera for demanding photographers, the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and Olympus EP-12 underwater housing is an excellent system for those who have reached the limits of their underwater compact camera or for those wanting a lighter, smaller and less expensive alternative to an underwater SLR with the benefits of the INON wet lens system. However, before investing, we would strongly recommend you take advice from INON UK or an INON UK official dealer to help ensure you get the exact outfit you need. There are many accessory options you’ll need to choose to get your Olympus E-PL7 and Olympus PT-EP12 underwater camera system up and running and a few spares you’ll also require. Unless you really understand underwater photography, the application of the equipment and how equipment solves underwater photography problems, it is very easy to make expensive buying mistakes which will only show up on location. Many people who sell underwater photography equipment have little and, sometimes, no experience of taking underwater pictures themselves. Before you ask for their advice, perhaps you should ask what their advice will be based on!