Olympus gets serious underwater

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July 2, 2005 Maybe we’ve been leading a sheltered life but when the new PT-E01 underwater case crossed the Gizmag editorial desk, we were mightily impressed. Here was a device that enabled you to take an 8 megapixel Olympus E-300 digital SLR camera safely underwater, with a range of lens ports to enable different lenses to be used, plus an entire flash set-up. Then we started looking at the market and found that although the PT-E01 underwater case system and its parts are genuine Olympus accessories, that’s about all that’s unique – the growth of the digital photography marketplace over the last few years has seen underwater casings developed for all the major digital SLR cameras on the market and underwater cases are now available for most popular pocket digital cameras and even camera phones too. The pricing at the SLR end of the digital camera range isn’t for struggling amateurs, but complete technical control can be had, even if you’re 60 metres underwater.

Four underwater lens ports will be available for the PT-E01 to cover exchangeable ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses:

PPO-E01 for ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm (28-90mm) F3.5-5.6

PPO-E02 for ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm (28-108mm) F2.8-3.5 and ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm (22-44mm) F2.8-3.5

PPO-E03 for ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm (100mm) F2.0 Macro

PPO-E04 ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm (14-28mm) F4.0 (when combined with PER-E02 Underwater Extension Ring)

The Olympus underwater range includes the PFL-E01 waterproof case for the FL-36 external flash unit that adds high-intensity underwater TTL flash photography to the system’s capabilities.

The Olympus underwater system will be available later this month. This is the press release announcing the system from earlier this year which offers a lot more information on the system, and if underwater photography is something that appeals, may we suggest you check out DigiFish which is a site dedicated to underwater imagery with the very cute catchcry “combining fish and chips.”

Then there’s the more comprehensive digital imaging resources which cover all aspects of digital photography such as Digital Photography Review and Let’s go digital.

And finally, if you’re thinking about going underwater with any camera, have a look at ikelite’s site

Ikelite manufactures only underwater systems and can hence offer casings, in most cases, rated to a greater depth. Ikelite also manufactures a casing for the Olympus E-300 and it also makes cases for Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony and Kodak cameras, and is constantly developing new models. The company even has a few example images taken with the Olympus and one of their housings.

And if you like the idea of a waterproof camera rather than an underwater camera, Olympus also has an all-weather camera Mju-800 with limited water protection and an eight megapixel image – at about a third the price of the housing above.

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