First dive with the Olympus 60mm macro lens

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Slangenbaai macro 20121223 029 smallWhen Sea&Sea came out with the DX-1G I bought that camera; that is more than 5 years ago. I learnt to live with the shortcomings especially the dark LCD-panel when shooting on manual and the unacceptable amount of noise when shooting at more than ISO 100 and in general I was very pleased with the camera. But the camera started to show defects after five years of intensive use (more than 20,000 pictures). So it was time for a replacement. Sea&Sea discontinued the DX-1G and its successor the DX-2G so buying just a replacement for the camera and continue diving with the housing and the wet lenses was no option. Taking my topside DLSR under water was an option but the housing and ports make that a costly one. Since a few years there is an in-between, the Micro 4/3 camera; in essence the concept of the DLSR but without the mirror and thus with a more compact body. With a size between the compact P&S camera and the DSLR but with a larger sensor than the P&S and with the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.

A few months ago I decided for the Olympus E-PM1 with the Olympus housing. Camera and housing for the same price as my previous Sea&Sea camera and housing, so affordable for me. I went diving with the kit lens and was pleased with the results. A bright display also under limited light, fast focusing and a very responsive shutter. The DX-1G was not bad at focusing and shutter responsiveness, but the Olympus is better.
What I miss in the kit lens is shooting macro and to a lesser degree shooting wide angle. So when Olympus came out with the 60mm f/2.8 macro lens it was clear that this lens would be my next purchase. It arrived in the mail two weeks ago and this weekend it was the first time I could use it under water.
Already under water I was impressed by the sharpness and clarity of the results on the LCD-display. I had my focus light with me during this first dive because I had read about the inability to focus under low light; I had to use this focus light only once to get the lens in focus. In all other cases the available light was apparently more than enough to get a fast and good focus. Even shooting fish close-by was no problem. Focusing is fast enough and the shutter response is excellent.
Look at the pictures and decide for yourself. All pictures are made with the macro lens on the Olympus E-PM1 with a single YS-110a strobe. Everything in full manual mode with F/11 and 1/160sec. I am more than pleased with the results of this first dive with this lens and can recommend this setup for anyone who is ready for the next step up from a P&S-camera in underwater photography.