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UK Diving
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Olympus C-5060Wide Zoom and PT- 020 case (2004-2005)

Why I chose this camera
I had been awaiting the imminent release of the C-5060 and all its underwater kit for months. At last there seemed to be an alternative to very expensive 3rd party setups. The camera offered manual everything, a 'super' macro setting for shooting from 3cm, took cheap compactflash cards and finally had a connector for an external strobe.

Where I bought it and How much
Another purchase through the Jessops used database. The camera had been around for six months so there were a number listed. I requested it was sent to my local branch and got a new camera (which had been opened in store) for 325. Typical price at the time was well over 400.
I bought the case from The Camera Depot - http://web.archive.org/web/20070509202341/http://www.cameradepot.co.uk/, who had the best price (135) and delivered within 2 days, just in time for a trip to Wales.

Likes and dislikes
The 5060 really feels like a nice bit of kit when you pick it up, in fact it feels rather big if you are used to compact cameras - but it is still much smaller than an SLR. Being a more serious camera there are plenty of direct controls rather than a reliance on menu options (of which there are lots too). These take a bit of learning and can initially seem a bit overwhelming. The zoom lens is unusually wide angle.
The best feature of the camera is its 'super macro' mode that allows focus down to 3cm from the lens - nearly inside the case when under water! At this range focus is hard to judge for diver and camera alike and it can take bit of time to appreciate how good diving technique will make life easier for the autofocus system. The internal flash does not work automatically in this mode but this was an excuse to become familiar with its manual mode, which is excellent.
The character of the pictures from the 5060 was quite different from my previous digital cameras - they were at best clean and sharp but at worst clearly digital. The processing of the 5060 creates a grain-like look rather than noise in blurred backgrounds which really makes subjects pop out beautifully from their surroundings and reduces the jagged, 'plastic' look some cameras can give to difficult detail.
The bulk of the camera was the aspect I was least happy with, my previous cameras had been easy to stow on RIBs and hard boats in the UK. Once housed the 5060 is a bit of a lump and forces you to be the annoying, defensive prima donna that photographers are always being accused of - by always grabbing a prime spot for your baby. It's much less of an issue when you go abroad where a camera is a badge of honour which the boat crew will recognise as a measure of wealth :)
Battery life is remarkable, the camera will cope with a day of 4 hour long dives and 600+ pictures on a single charge. An original Olympus replacement for the big lithium battery isn't cheap but there are lots of cheap copies available online which seem to work just as well. They all take a long time to charge.

Specifications
Resolution: 5 Megapixels (2592x1944)
Depth rating: 40m
Weight: About 1.2kg cased + a large weight included to stop the case floating
Lens: 28-110mm (Equivalent on 35mm film camera)

Accessories/Auxiliary Lenses
The case has a standard 1/4" Whitworth tripod mount for mounting flashes and lights, this is not particularly strong (though not worse than others) considering the heavy twin flash rig you might consider hanging from it. The lens port has a 67mm thread and there are lots of lenses available for this fit. It's a fine thread so putting the lens back on can be tricky with cold hands in thick gloves.
Olympus themselves went to town with this camera and there is a cased flash to match its through housing connector (around 300 for the set) which is generally regarded as good but small. There is also an internal wide angle lens and large front port, again the results are OK but not very different from an external lens. It should be noted that the case has been revised after many people had problems with the flash connector on early versions. Regular checking and greasing is the order of the day here, adding a couple of 20p 'o' rings also improves matters somewhat.
Olympus are also well supported by some charming Germans (Sales http://web.archive.org/web/20070509202341/http://www.mike-dive.de/ {in German only} and technical http://web.archive.org/web/20070509202341/http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm {with English}) who have made widgets to support TTL control of Sea and Sea and Nikonos flashes - either through the case with Infra Red or with cable adaptors. I had no luck with the MK1 Infra Red version (which has now been heavily revised for a MK2) and now have the cabled version that works very well. The 5060 also pairs well with optically coupled slave strobes as the internal flash can be set to fire variable level single trigger pulses.

The 5060 specialises in macro


In action with extra lenses and strobes



Excellent optics help capture delicate features on these long nosed hawkfish


Even tiny animals can be blown up


It's a pity seahorses can't smile


Manual controls let you balance flash and natural light


The autofocus is fast enough to catch even shy miniatures