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Author Topic: Personal Review of Olympus U/W Housing (PT-050) for XZ-1  (Read 8951 times)

diver-hloc

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This thread is a review on Olympus Underwater Housing PT-050 for XZ-1. The review is of my own opinion, base on years of using Canon's OEM underwater casing.

The Housing was tested from 20-23rd Feb in the Similan Islands, Phuket. The Housing was tested to a max depth of 30 metres. Underwater Photos will be posted in another thread.

Spec of PT-050
Compatible models: Oly XZ-1
Pressure resistance: Depth of up to 40m
Main materials: Polycarbonate / Multiple coat glass / stainless steel
Diameter of lens ring: 67mm
Dimension: 154mm (Width) x 116mm (Height) x 119mm (Thickness)
Weight: 285g (Housing alone)
Weight U/W: 350g (with camera and accessories)


PT-050 Package
1x U/W Housing (PT-050)
1x LCD Hood
1x Port Adaptor + Flash Diffuser
1x O-Ring Remover
1x Housing Lens Cap
1x Silicone Grease (tube)
1x Hand Strap
5x Silica Gel pack
* Manuals and misc paperwork


The PT-050 is a relativity small and light... the back is made of clear Polycarbonate plastic with the front made of black, non-transparent plastic. The 67mm lens ring is threaded and made of stainless steel. The front port of the PT-050 is made of multiple coat glass. The housing handles well in my hand and is easy to control underwater.

The housing has positive buoyancy (floats) even with the camera and accessories loaded. While some divers isn't too worry about this... and a floating camera is better than a sinking camera if you lost your grip. I for one, perfer my camera to have negative buoyancy (sinks) as I normally attach the housing to my BCD from a layard.... the last thing I need is the housing 'floating' everywhere as I dive.

The bottom of the casing have the standard tripod mount that you could use to install onto a tray for your U/W Strobe system. I added a DIY lead weigh to make give the housing negative buoyancy (sinks).


The standard tripod mount screw thread...


Lead weigh brought from fish gears shop. Drill a hole, add a stainless steel screw and tape it up with rubber tape...


DIY weigh to keep the housing from floating...



next....
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diver-hloc

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What I like about the Housing

1) OMG... !! Built-in 67mm screw thread in the Lens Ring !! How I wish every OEM casing from every camera maker add this simple but very important thing onto their casing. You could add wet-lens, underwater filter for those who don't dive, onto your housing without expensive 3rd party adaptor or buying an expensive 3rd party casing (example: Ikelite Housing) As most, if not all, wet-lenses uses the common 67mm size filter... any diver could now buy close-up filters or Wide Angle lens from 3rd party makers like Ikelite or Fantasea.... hell, even Olympus sell wide (PTWC-01) and macro (PTMC-01) conversion lens for their housing.


The 67mm screw thread... tried using my 67mm close-up filter for my Macro lens on it... the filter fits without problem.

2) The shutter button is not just a simple, spring-ed button anymore... but it comes with a simple lever. While not as good as from more expensive 3rd party housing like those from Ikelite... its much better than those from Canon OEM casing.


A simple lever than make it easier to press the shutter.

3) I also like the idea that the rear buttons are labelled instead of giving you a piece of sticker to paste onto the casing.


Things are easy to see with clearly labelled buttons.
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diver-hloc

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What I dislike about the Housing

Only one thing..... the zoom lever is difficult to use. It too hard to both zoom-in or zoom-out. The amount of strength needed to zoom in/out makes it quite a pain... for both operating the camera... and my fingers.


The zoom lever is large and flat... but doesn't give you much leverage for zooming.
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diver-hloc

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Other Things to Note


1) The Housing comes with connector for those who uses Sea & Sea Strobe with optical fiber cable. For those using other model of Strobe, make sure your optical fiber cable fits the housing.


With the connector plug sticking out... might be a problem fitting every form of cable onto the housing.

2) The opening/closing dial is kind of a love hate thing. I personally find it better than those from Canon, but it really depends on you.


The locking dial works by unlocking then turning the knot.

3) A simple rubber lens cap is there for you to protect the front element of the casing from scratches.


A simple, yet useful item.
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diver-hloc

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A very important note....

While doing this review for the Olympus XZ-1, I notice a very strange and weird bug while using the camera with the U/W housing.

There are times that the camera 'refuse' to work inside the U/W housing. The camera could be turn-on... but nearly all the buttons refuse to work. The shutter, all the buttons at the back of the camera doesn't work when pressed. But strangly, when taken out from the casing.... everything goes back to normal.

This problem happens often enough that its quite a headache for me. The problem could be solved by turning OFF the camera, then turning it back ON. Turning the Control Dial knot could also sometimes solve this issue. But nevertheless... hoping Olympus could issue a firmware update to solve this issue.


Final Thought....

For about the same price as a Canon OEM casing... I would gladly get this housing. To me... the 67mm lens ring is the best part of the housing. No more using wet lens only with expensive 3rd party housing or with adaptor from shops like ScubaCam. While the housing is in no way prefect... the zoom lever really really su*ks... the housing still have enough good points that I like.  ;D


Personal Note

A big thxs to ClubSNAP for the loan of both Olympus new XZ-1 and PT-050 U/W Housing... the review for the camera would be out as soon as I could edit the photos abit. But I can give you all a hint, it is GOOD !!  ;D
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siaokao

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A very important note....

While doing this review for the Olympus XZ-1, I notice a very strange and weird bug while using the camera with the U/W housing.

There are times that the camera 'refuse' to work inside the U/W housing. The camera could be turn-on... but nearly all the buttons refuse to work. The shutter, all the buttons at the back of the camera doesn't work when pressed. But strangly, when taken out from the casing.... everything goes back to normal.

This problem happens often enough that its quite a headache for me. The problem could be solved by turning OFF the camera, then turning it back ON. Turning the Control Dial knot could also sometimes solve this issue. But nevertheless... hoping Olympus could issue a firmware update to solve this issue.

Possibly because some buttons did not 'pop' back up underwater thus 'hanging' the camera?  The S90 have similar problem when the zoom lever is not back to center position.

Nice review.. lend me camera leh..  :P
So they call it a 'FACT' coz someone made some statements on a 'FACT SHEET'? hummm...

diver-hloc

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Possibly because some buttons did not 'pop' back up underwater thus 'hanging' the camera?  The S90 have similar problem when the zoom lever is not back to center position.

Nice review.. lend me camera leh..  :P


Wish I could.... ClubSNAP wants the camera back.  :'(
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DiveBooks.Net

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I have posted my review on my site. http://www.divebooks.net/product_info.php?cPath=22_25&products_id=196

It is a downloadable PDF file with sample images.

diver-hloc

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I have posted my review on my site. http://www.divebooks.net/product_info.php?cPath=22_25&products_id=196

It is a downloadable PDF file with sample images.


Thxs Bro.... as I wasn't the one handling the camera most of the time, I couldn't do a full test. No Strobe or Wet Lens to test also.... :P
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DiveBooks.Net

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No worries bro!

Please find an updated add-on to the review through the same link.