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Aloha Peter,

Many thanks for taking the time to put the C5050 manual settings up on the web.

I have an older C2040Z in a PT-010 housing without a strobe. I was using the auto settings for quite some time. I then went to the A setting of the A/S/M mode and got better results between F5 and F8.

On today's dive I went with the M setting of the A/S/M mode and used your base of F4 and 1/100 sec. and took several shots with varying F stops and shutter speeds. My pics were the best so far.

Thanks again.
Jim

 

Photography - Settings - Olympus C-5050 Settings

 
If you already have a digital camera and housing, use the following setting information and you should get good pictures from day one. If you have the new Ikelite housing with the TTL conversion circuitry, this information still applies except as noted.

Note 1: This section is for Olympus C-5050 cameras. However, the information is probably applicable to the C-5060 as well. And the general thinking re using digital cameras in manual mode is probably applicable to most other digital cameras.

Note 2: While this section generally assumes the use of an external strobe or strobes, good pictures can be taken using the internal strobe only. The trick is to take the pictures close to the subject so the internal strobe light will reach the subject e.g. 8 inches to 31 inches. Click here for samples of pictures taken with the internal strobe only. For details on the settings used, see My Mode 4 in the last table on this page.

Settings For All 5050 Users

Camera Exposure Settings - I use manual mode with the aperture and strobe to expose the foreground and the shutter speed to control the background, where slower shutter speeds equal brighter blues and faster shutter speeds equal darker blues and blacks.

  • For general purpose shooting with an external strobe (My Mode 1) or without an external strobe (My Mode 4) my baseline settings are F 5.0 and 1/100 sec.

    From these base line settings I adjust the amount of light based on the Exposure Value in the LCD display.

    When checking the EV I aim the camera toward the surface e.g. at a 30 to 45 degree angle and where possible I try to shoot at an up angle to get some "sky" and some more light in the background if needed/possible.

    I try to keep the Exposure Value between -1.0 and -3.0 to avoid over exposing the picture.  However, I do shoot when I can't get the EV above -3 and just take the background that I get.

    To decrease the EV value I increase the the speed up to 1/200 of a second for a darker background or the F stop up to 5.6 for a darker foreground. Thus the range of settings I use for general purpose shooting is as shown in the following table.

    However, I find adjustment is normally only necessary on very bright, clear water days and in settings against white sand or bright sky backgrounds.

     

    Background

    Normal Darker
    Foreground Normal 4.0 1/100 4.0 1/200
    Darker 5.6 1/060 5.6 1/100

    Note: Using shutter speeds slower than 1/60 sec. shutter speed may result in motion blurring if either the camera or the subject is moving. At 1/80 sec. motion blurring in the underworld environment is rarely a problem. And at 1/100 sec. I have only ever experienced motion blurring when rapidly panning the camera or when shooting speeding schools of fish.

    Note:  Learn to trust your LCD display. A good picture looks colorful and pretty in your LCD. On the other hand if the shot just taken looks too bright or too dark, don't hope for the best. Assume it's too bright or too dark and try another shot with different settings or a different positioning of your strobe(s).
     

  • For Shooting in Super Macro mode with an external strobe (My Mode 3) my baseline settings are F 8.0 and 1/60 sec.

    When shooting in this mode I don't change the baseline settings. Instead, to adjust the amount of light, I either change the power to the strobe or the aiming of the strobe lights.  I find this approach is necessary because up close, strobe power and aiming seem to be overpowering variables that must be dealt with.

ISO 64 vs. ISO 100

I started with ISO 100 on my 5050 because that was as low as my 3040 went and from what I read the reduction in noise when going to ISO 64 was not that great. But then I took some pictures of a bare wall and plain metal blinds to see if I could see the difference. The amount of noise difference surprised me.

The plusses and minuses as I see them for using ISO 64 are:

+ Less noise in areas like water backgrounds where it might be visible.

- Need more light, which in general means lower f stops or slower shutter speeds, neither of which is particularly good.

That said, I am now using ISO 64 which should, in theory, produce better pictures.

White Balance

I have tried sunny, cloudy, and automatic. And for a long time I used only sunny. However, I have yet to do better than automatic and sometimes with cloudy and sunny I have messed up the blues bad enough they are hard to fix with photo editing.

Settings For Ikelite Slave Controller Users

Camera Slave Mode -  When using an external strobe and Ikelite slave controllers, I operate my camera in slave mode to reduce the power consumed by the camera flash. This results in a significant improvement in camera battery life and a greatly shortened camera strobe cycle time since the camera strobe circuitry requires only a minor amount of recharging. A setting of 1, the lowest setting, is all that is required to trigger Ikelite TTL or Manual sensors.

Note 1: When operating the camera in slave mode with either the PT-015 or Ikelite housings, it's a good idea to block the light from the camera to prevent the small amount of light coming from the slave pulse from lighting particles near the lens. With the PT-015 the light can be blocked using a piece of tape over the camera diffuser or by unscrewing the camera diffuser and sandwiching a piece of aluminum foil between  the diffuser plates. With the Ikelite, use the opaque flash cover provided for this purpose.

Note 2: While both the Ikelite TTL TTL Slave Controller and the Ikelite Manual Controller can be used with the camera in slave mode, the Manual Controller is a better choice because it provides a greater degree of control of the strobe power output. This is particularly true when using the DS 50 strobe which does not have any power level settings on the strobe.

DS 125 Settings -  When using the camera in slave mode with Ikelite DS 125 strobes and Ikelite slave controllers, use the following settings.

  • Set  the camera to Manual Mode and the internal strobe to slave mode setting 1.
      
  • If you are using the Manual Controller, set the "C/D" switch to "C" for SubStrobe DS-125 and set the "A/B" switch to "A" for slave sensor fires the strobe on every flash. Set the strobe power setting to TTL.  (I usually set the Manual Controller to 1 or 2.) Click here for details.

    Note: If you think the Manual Controller is not working properly, set the strobe power setting to 1/8, 1/4,  1/2, or full instead of TTL. When used this way the Manual Controller settings have no effect on the power put out by the strobe.
      
  • If you are using the TTL Slave Controller, slide the switch to the left i.e. for cameras that do not utilize a pre-flash system. Set the strobe power setting to 1/8, 1/4,  1/2, or full. (I usually set the strobe to 1/2 power with the TTL Slave Controller.) Click here for details.

    Note: You can NOT use the camera in the slave mode with the strobe power set to TTL since the strobe will only mimic the weak light output of the camera slave mode flash. Click here for details.
      
  •  Re using the diffuser that comes with the strobe, I always use it/them for two reasons.
      
    • 1. To eliminate hot spots.
    • 2. To increase the angle of coverage when using a wide angle lens.

The only downside is the loss of about 1 F stop of power which I don't find to be a problem when using the DS 125s since they have power to spare. P.S. Tether the diffuser to the strobe or you will probably loose it.

  • The following chart shows the relationship between the manual controller settings and the strobe power settings. For most of my shooting I run my left strobe at 1/2 power and my right strobe at 1/4 power to get good light coverage but with a hint of shadows.

    Manual Controller Setting F =   Strobe Full
    Manual Controller Setting 0.5
    Manual Controller Setting 1.0 = Strobe 1/2
    Manual Controller Setting 1.5
    Manual Controller Setting 2.0 = Strobe 1/4
    Manual Controller Setting 2.5
    Manual Controller Setting 3.0 = Strobe 1/8
    Manual Controller Setting 3.5
    Manual Controller Setting 4.0
    Manual Controller Setting 4.5
      
  • Beep! Beep! Beep! If at any time while testing or diving, the DS 125 beeps continuously it's not set right or it's broken. The DS 125 should only beep on two occasions --- when firing at full power and sometimes when turning the strobe off and then on. And in these two occasions it should only beep one time.

    If the strobe is beeping continuously and you are using the manual controller, make sure the manual controller is not set between settings. A possible "fix" with the manual controller is to set the DS 125 strobe to 1/8, 1/4,  1/2, or full instead of TTL. Then control the power with the strobe power settings --- the manual controller settings have no effect when the manual controller is used this way.  If this works, keep on taking pictures and get the controller and strobe checked by Ikelite when it is convenient to you.

    Another cause of continuous beeping is flooding of the DS 125. So if it starts beeping during a dive and the above "fix" doesn't work, open the strobe with care when you are out of the water to avoid possible problems with battery acid leakage.

DS 50 Settings -  When using the camera in slave mode with Ikelite DS 50 strobes and Ikelite slave controllers, use the following settings.

  • Set  the camera to Manual Mode and the internal strobe to slave mode setting 1.
      
  • If you are using the Manual Controller, set the "C/D" switch to "D" for  SubStrobeDS-50 and set the "A/B" switch to "A" for slave sensor fires the strobe on every flash.  Set the strobe power setting to TTL.  Click here for details.

    Note: If you think the Manual Controller is not working properly, set the strobe power setting manual instead of TTL. When used this way the Manual Controller settings have no effect on the power put out by the strobe.
      
  • If you are using the TTL Slave Controller, slide the switch to the left i.e. for cameras that do not utilize a pre-flash system. Set the strobe power setting to manual. Click here for details.

    Note: This approach is not optimal since the strobe will fire at full power only. Thus positioning the strobe is the only way you have for controlling the amount of light on the subject in this scenario.

    Note: You can NOT use the camera in the slave mode with the strobe power set to TTL since the strobe will only mimic the weak light output of the camera slave mode flash. Click here for details.

Note: When you are done setting up your camera and strobe(s) in slave mode, or any other mode for that matter, test your rig by taking some shots in a dimly lighted room. If the camera and strobes are set up properly you will get well lighted pictures. If you don't then there is something wrong that needs fixing. Also, if you have two strobes, test them together and then one at a time to make sure that both are firing when they should. Again, do this by taking pictures ... just because you see flashes doesn't mean the flashes are at the right time or strength.

Settings For Ikelite TTL Housing Users

When using an external strobe and the new Ikelite housing with the built in TTL conversion circuitry, set the camera to external strobe only and connect the housing to the DS 125 or DS 50 strobes using an Ikelite sync cord. Set the strobe(s) to TTL.

  • Single Strobe - Use an Ikelite 5-conductor sync cord #4103.51.
      
  • Dual Strobe - Use an Ikelite 5-conductor dual sync cord #4103.52 connected directly to both strobes with the "red band" on the right strobe.

    Note 1: The strobe with the red band can be turned off and the other strobe can still be used as a single strobe. However, if the strobe without the red band is turned off, neither strobe will work.

    Note 2: While a TTL slave should also work for the second strobe, I think this additional layer of circuitry can lead to more problems than it solves. Thus my recommendation is to use a dual sync cord when using two strobes.

    Note 3. You cannot use the manual controller and still have TTL. If you want to shoot manual power (I don't) set the camera flash to slave. Then you can use the manual power settings on the DS 125 strobe for full, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 power. For the DS 50 you only have the choice of TTL or full manual.
     
  • Flash Compensation - The Ikelite/Olympus TTL has a tendency to overexpose pictures. However, flash compensation is probably different for different configurations e.g. wide angle lens vs. macro, number and type of strobes, etc. So I suggest you start with the -0.7 shown in the chart below. Then if your pics look too dark, try -0.3. But if you have to err, err toward too dark as you can correct that with photo editing whereas burned spots e.g. sand and fishes bellies, cannot be fixed since the data is not there.

Note: I find that the hardest TTL shot to take involves shooting at a down angle over a sand background. The sand seems to reflect so much light that it tricks the camera into thinking there is little light needed for the foreground. You would think that TTL, with spot light metering, would be able to figure this out. But often it doesn't.

To compensate, I increase the shutter speed from my normal 1/100 sec. to typically 1/200 sec. Shot against a sky background this would darken the background by limiting the amount of background light into the camera. Shot against a sand background, a faster shutter speed tells the strobes more light is needed. Increasing the f stop would accomplish the same thing. But with the 5050 it's a lot easier to adjust the shutter speed than it is the f stop.

Settings Chart For All 5050 Users

Note 1: This is a busy chart because it lists all the settings covered in the users manual. Toward maintaining your sanity, the settings that differ from the default values are highlighted by grey colored cells. These are the only settings you need to change when setting up your camera.

Note 2: Entries shown in red for IKELITE TTL FLASH ONLY are for Ikelite's new TTL offering. If you have this new feature use these settings. Otherwise ignore them.

Note 3: The settings chart is for set up for SHQ. If you want to shoot RAW the only setting you need to change is SHQ to RAW.

Shooting Mode
  Factory
Default
My Mode
1
General
Purpose
Wide
Angle
My Mode
2
Experimental
Wide
Angle
My Mode
3
SUPER
Macro
 
My Mode
4
Internal
Flash
Only
External Lens None None
or
Wide Angle
+
Dome
(Optional)
Wide Angle
+
Dome
(Mandatory)
None
or
Wide Angle
+
Dome
(Mandatory)
None
Strobes Internal External
1 or 2
External
1 or 2
External
1 or 2
Internal

Range Used

  8.4"
to
Infinity
15.5"
to
Infinity
1.2"
to
8.4"
8.4"
to
Infinity
Mode Dial PROGRAM My Mode My Mode My Mode My Mode
Mode Setting PROGRAM Manual Manual Manual Manual
F STOP NUMBER 1.8 5.0 5.0 8.0 4.0
SHUTTER SPEED 1/1000 1/100 1/100 1/60 1/100
Optical ZOOM Wide Angle No Zoom 0 TO 3X Zoom NA 0 TO 3X Zoom
LCD Off On On On On
Card Type Various CF 256 4x CF 256 4x CF 256 4x CF 256 4x
Exposure Compensation NA NA NA
FLASH Mode Auto Slow Slow Slow Slow
FLASH
COMPENSATION
IKELITE
TTL FLASH ONLY
-0.7 -0.7 -0.7 NA
LIGHT METERING ESP
AF
8.4" to 31"
Manual
Focus
Set To 31"
'

1.2" TO XX"

8.4" to 31"
AF target mark Center Center Center Center Center
Histogram target mark Center Center Center Center Center
Off Off Off Off Off
AE lock Off Off Off Off Off
DRIVE
BKT EV, x3 NA NA NA NA
ISO Auto 64 64 64 100
MY MODE My Mode 1 My Mode 1 My Mode 2 My Mode 3 My Mode 4
FLASH In+ SLAVE SLAVE SLAVE In+
IKELITE
TTL FLASH ONLY
In+ NA
SLAVE NA 1 1 1 NA
SLOW SLOW 1 SLOW 1 SLOW 1 SLOW 1 SLOW 1
NOISE REDUCTION Off NA NA NA Off
DIGITAL ZOOM Off Off Off Off Off
FULLTIME AF Off Off Off Off Off
AF MODE iESP SPOT SPOT SPOT Spot
Off Off Off Off Off
MOVIE Off Off Off Off Off
PANORAMA Off Off Off Off Off
2 IN 1 Off Off Off Off Off
FUNCTION Off Off Off Off Off
Off Off Off Off Off
HQ       HQ
RAW      64* 2560x1920
TIFF      32* 2560x1920
SHQ    128* 2560x1920 2560x1920 2560x1920 2560x1920 2560x1920
HQ      416* 2560x1920
SQ1   1024* 1600x1200
SQ2   5296* 640x480
* Pictures/512 Meg Card
WHITE BALANCE Auto Auto Auto Auto Auto
CUSTOM WB Off Off Off Off Off
SCENE MODES Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
SHARPNESS +1
CONTRAST
SATURATION
ALL RESET On On On On On
English English English English English
PW ON SETUP 1 OFF OFF OFF OFF
PW OFF SETUP 1 OFF OFF OFF OFF
REC VIEW On On On On On
Low OFF OFF OFF OFF
BEEP 1-Low OFF OFF OFF OFF
SHUTTER SOUND 1-Low OFF OFF OFF OFF
MY MODE SETUP Present
FILE NAME Reset AUTO AUTO AUTO AUTO
Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Y-M-D Y-M-D Y-M-D Y-M-D Y-M-D
m/ft m ft ft ft ft
VIDEO OUT NTSC NTSC NTSC NTSC NTSC
SHORTCUT
CUSTOM BUTTON A Drive        
CUSTOM BUTTON B Drive MY MODE MY MODE MY MODE MY MODE
CUSTOM BUTTON C Drive        
DUAL CONTROL PANEL Off Off Off Off Off
AF ILLUMINATOR On Off Off Off Off
Playback Mode
Off Off Off Off Off
INFO Off Off Off Off Off
Off Off Off Off Off
Off Off Off Off Off
0 0 0 0 0
Off Off Off Off Off
640x480 640x480 640x480 640x480 640x480
Off Off Off Off Off
COPY All All All All All
ALL RESET On ON ON ON On
English English English English English
PW ON SETUP 1 OFF OFF OFF 1
PW OFF SETUP 1 OFF OFF OFF 1
SCREEN SETUP Blue BG Blue BG Blue BG Blue BG Blue BG
VOLUME 3 OFF OFF OFF 3
Low OFF OFF OFF Low
BEEP 1-Low OFF OFF OFF 1-Low
FILE NAME auto auto auto auto auto
Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
VIDEO OUT NTSC NTSC NTSC NTSC NTSC
9 9 9 9 9
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