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Olympus C-5050 UW Digital Q & A

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
There's been a lot of chatter about this camera, spread over dozens of threads. I thought I would centralize our efforts. More and more db members are buying this baby, and if we all put our heads together, maybe we can get it to work ;).

I'll start us off.... As I have had few problems with UW/outdoor photos, I must post a mundane question. I've been having problems with 'blur' on indoor shots in low-lighting. The flash helps, but you don't always want to flood the room with light. I would prefer to take the shot without the flash, and then crank up the gamma using an editing prog. I think this looks nicer :eek:. Does anyone know a way/setting to be able to take 'dark' photos clearly? Any advice appreciated....with or without using the flash.

I've attached an example of my failure :D. Ted.
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The only thing that I was able to figure out was to turn the dial to "S" (shutter priority?) and adjust the shutter to 1/60 and crank the aperture up to 1.8. The pictures came out pretty dark and I haven't determined if it is exposed enough to dig out a good image.

BTW, good thread.
Ive only been using my cam for UW, for dark shots I use manual mode. Settings 1/800 F8 and flash always on.

If there is clear water in the background you end up with the much sought after black background.

Normal mode for my UW shooting is Aperture priority, mainly so my depth of field is a bit better.
Settings: F4, flash always on. And always use Macro mode (but not super macro), that way it forces you to get within about a meter, thus reducing the water column to a minimum.

Attached is a shot from today:
IF you set it to mulit-shot mode, almost any of them, they will fire without the flash. When trying to shoot your cat you should press the button half way, to get it to focus, and then push it down the rest of the way to snap the picture- otherwise the shutter lag is too long and it will come out blurry.

When shooting indoors with a flash I have to set my camera to
-0.7 or they come out overexposed. Sometimes I even drop it down to -1.0. I have yet to find a situation where I need to set it to + anything

It is possible to set the apeture to different settings, but I have found that leaving it on auto works out pretty well most of the time.

For underwater the number one rule is to get as close as possible to your subject. When you think you've gotten close enough, look up, and then move in closer.

Just my $0.02


Looking at your cat picture, it appears that the carpet just past the cat is in focus. I am aware of the effects of aperature and shutter speed but I think your problem in this specific photograph is that your focus is off. In dark environments, if you use auto-focus, many cameras have a very difficult time determining the focal point. Basically the dark throws off the auto-focus. So you will need to manually focus, either through your view finder or by judging the distance to your subject and setting the respective focus. If you can increase your aperature setting (f-stop) then you will have a greater focus range as well, but see the points below on lighting. Also as mentioned by somebody else in this thread if you use the auto-focus setting for "macro", then the camera will limit its auto-focus range to that as specified for "macro". On my camera it is 30cm-100cm. This way if you must use auto-focus, then you have a better chance of your camera focusing on the proper subject(s).

Basics of photography that affect darkness and lightness of photo:

low aperature = brighter picture (less light required from sources such as flash or sunlight)
high aperature = darker picture (more light required from sources)

slow shutter speed = brighter picture (movement causes blurring of photo; look for ghosts around subjects in picture)
fast shutter speed = darker picture (greater movement required to blur picture)

So taking these into consideration towards not using the flash, I would set the camera down, as the least shaking of your hand can cause motion blur on a slower shutter speed, and then set the shutter speed to slow. This will allow much more light to be used in creating the picture. This means even in a dark area you can achieve a bright picture without the flash going off. However, if you need to hold the camera, ie. freediving photography, then this will not work. Generally in the water it is required to have good lighting and fast shutter speeds.

You can generally determine if a picture is blurry due to focus or by movement by looking around the edges of solid objects and determining if there are ghosts of the objects outlining it. If there are ghosts then this is a blur due to movement.

Hope these points help.

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Thanks everyone.

I've printed out all of your suggestions, and look forward to playing with all this 'aperature' / 'shutter' business :). My knowledge of digital video is equally matched by my ignorance of photo. Good catch on the focal point, Tyler. Now that you mention it, that problem has happened a lot. I'm not even sure how to use manual focus :D......yet :duh. I remind myself of the guy who buys a top-of-the-line computer just to surf the web and send emails.

The 'luck' I've had so far is due to the 5050's built-in idiotproofing. But that can only take me so far. Ok....I've rambled on quite enough. Again, thanks for the help. Karma to Tyler (looks like I gotta do some spreadin til I can get the rest of ya).

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At the risk of being irrelivant...is the cat in the first picture eating a pumpkin? Havent seen a cat do that before.
Great idea Ted,
The tribe is growing.

About taking "dark photos":
For softening the flash output there is a function that allows you to diminish the light coming from the flash if the picture is over-exposed. Also try the "night scene" setting on the settings dial, it works pretty well. I'll shortly post a couple of comparison shots taken yesterday in the subway.

It might be interesting to try deeper uw shots with the night scene setting.

On a different note, have any of you played around with the white balance for underwater shots?

Well, looking at the subway shots again I realize that they don't reflect what I wanted to say about the difference between auto and night scene settings except as regards noise reduction. The one without the train is "auto" and the one with the train is on the night scene setting. The train in the picture throws off the variables, but experiment with both settings at home in a room with just one small lamp and I think you'll find a pretty big difference.

The two shots following the train ones are the tunnel at 100%. The first on auto and the second with noise reduction. There you can see the difference - a smoother texture in the dark of the tunnel.

Some people take tripods underwater, any idea on what make?

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Noise reduction difference: without/with

Bye the way Shadow, nice pictures.
Stereo images


Maybe it was intentional, maybe not, but those images happen to have just enough parallax difference and are oriented just right for viewing in stereo. The only flaw is that you have to ignore that pesky train and those annoying, moving people;).
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That was unintentional! But I'll break out my grandad's wooden stereoscope and mount a couple of prints to see what happens.
You have given me an idea though, to try to shoot uw stereo pictures :)

Here are a couple of low light shots using Tyler's suggestion of focusing with the macro mode. They are on an auto setting and 125 ISO f2.6 and between 1/20 and 1/40th of a second shutter speed. No manipulation or tweaking except reduction of size. There was heavy condensation on the lens (just breath on it) to get a hazy look.

A couple of questions for you, especially Cliff is he's out there.;)

1- What resloution do you capture your photos in?

I have been using SQ1 for my underwater stuff and HQ for shots of my family. I know that Ted shoots everything in HQ, but does anybody shoot in RAW or TIFF?

2- Have any of you played around with the sharpness and contrast settings on your cameras?

I am used to switching around F-stops and using different film ASA's in film cameras, but constrast, sharpness and white balance are still new to me.

I was out today, mostly shooting video, but happened to have my camera set to multi-mode for picture taking, and set to portrait for exposure, when I saw this muskrat swim by me underwater. I followed him as far as I could, but none of my shots turned out. My video stuff, which was also taken while swimming and getting thrown about in a little current, was much sharper.

One thing I tried, and would NOT recommend, was night mode. It ended up overriding my mulit-exposure shooting system, which I didn't want, and turned my strobe on automatically, which won't work with a housing and a dome lens.:duh

What's everyone else doing?

Originally posted by Jon
does anybody shoot in RAW or TIFF?

I gave RAW a go, but the size of the pics (7M) meant that the write time was a bit long for my liking. Particularly when you are freediving...:)

And my Paintshop program could not open the RAW files, so I had to save them as JPEG (through Camedia software) anyway before I could edit them properly.
Regarding quality:

I capture in 2272 x 1704 High Quality JPEG. Mainly because of the space requirements for RAW and because I can take 2-3 shots on a breath-hold in JPEG whereas, probably only 1 with RAW. My camera does not do much processing after a shot, ie. Noise Reduction, so I do not worry about differences there much either. However, for you guys with cameras that do that processing or such, you may want to look into WHEN the processing is done on the camera. It is important to consider if the Noise Reduction, or other processing, is done on the RAW pixels and then JPEG compressed (which is most likely I think). If it is processed after the compression, then there is no point to allowing the camera to do the processing, if you have computer software to do such processing. Computer software gives you complete control of the processing and is usually better and more flexible. If the compression were done first and then processed, then you are processing a picture that is already distorted slightly. So the processing will be inferior to that of RAW processed data. So ideally working with RAW would be my choice to be able to have complete control of the end-picture. But getting good shots at HQ JPEG by working on the aspects of good photography (lighting, angles, composition, manual settings, etc...) you can reach a point where processing is minimal hopefully.

Regarding contrast and sharpness:

I play with contrast and brightness in software often. It can be invaluable to getting the picture you wish for. I find it especially usefull when you have a particular subject in the picture (ie. fish, nudibranch, coral, etc...). By adding contrast to the picture you can bring out the subject while the background diminishes. This keeps our attention focused on the subject. It is amazing how much psychology goes into viewing a picture. You can look at a picture with your subject in it and say "that is a nice picture". But something just makes you feel like for how perfect the picture is, it does not hold you so. Then by contrasting the subject, you suddenly realize that the environment in its whole is a little distracting from the amazing focus on the subject. Little particles in the water, seaweed strips floating around, and cloudy areas, pull our attention away from the subject, even though it does not feel like they are. You only notice it when you compare the original with a contrasted version.

Sharpness on digital cameras is solely done by internal processing I believe? Can somebody confirm this? Which would mean you should always leave it at the highest sharpness, which would be the most raw image. Later if you want the picture softened you can do this in software. This will be ok to do even though the compression has been done already. However, doing softness last in software allows you to add other processing on the more raw version of the photo before you soften it up.



You should be able to find freeware on the web, to convert a RAW file to a TIFF (TIFF also having a no compression or lossless compression format, meaning same quality as RAW). I am out of town at the moment and a little busy to look for one for you, but if you have not found one by the time I get back, I can try to locate one if you wish?

Search for "raw tiff convert free" and you should get lots of results.



If you look into that link I posted a little deeper, or go to the Digidiver forums, they both talk about getting additional plug-ins for your software program to be able to import RAW files. They mentioned a few different types to choose from.

One fo the links mentions shooting everything in HQ resolution and mulit-mode for shutter- which enables you to take many pictures in a row fairly quickly.

Originally posted by Jon
One fo the links mentions shooting everything in HQ resolution and mulit-mode for shutter- which enables you to take many pictures in a row fairly quickly.

What exactly do you mean by "multi-mode"? Sequential shooting, multi-metering, or just leaving it on "P" for the camera to choose the settings). I don't know what you are reffering to exactly. Maybe our manuals have slightly different descriptions.
I like to shoot at SHQ, if you take a great shot it's nice to have it at a higher resolution. That webpage with the Oly specs is very useful. Thanks for finding it.

I read somewhere that one diver set the sharpness to -1 and then increased sharpness with software if needed. Putting too much sharpness initially might increase the noise level, though I don't know if this would happen at ISO 64 or only at higher ISO settings.

Shadow or others who have photoshop, here's the link for a raw converter - for windows: http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_s...sp?Category=Digital+Camera&Product=890&OS=Win

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