If you can’t remember the last time anyone released a compact camera, we can’t blame you—smartphones have all but made compact cameras obsolete. Fortunately, those starting out in underwater photography still have a handful of options—most notably the Olympus TG-6—but there’s a very good argument for jumping straight in with an entry-level mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera.
One great option is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV (like the TG-6, now produced by OM System), which in its fourth incarnation boasts a 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, shoots continuously (with AF) at a respectable 4.5fps, and records both 4K/30p and 1080/60p video. A mighty impressive camera for a mere $700, it is one camera that has really captured the imagination of the Backscatter team—and these guys shoot a lot of different gear, so they can appreciate what you get for your money more than most.
In fact, Backscatter reckons that when you slide it into their E-M10 IV Octo housing, this system is the “best bang for your buck in underwater photography”—and in their latest article, they make a very convincing case.
In the video accompanying the article, Media Producer Robin Dodd doesn’t just break down the camera and housing; he also provides a very handy primer on getting into underwater photography with a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, from discussing all the reasons you should go for an interchangeable-lens camera to the various lenses you can use to shoot every kind of underwater subject. In addition, Robin clearly describes two different ways to approach using the Olympus E-M10 IV: first, combining the 14–42mm kit lens with different wet lenses for macro and wide angle; and second, interchanging lenses and ports for maximum image quality.
Robin highlights a variety of other benefits of the Olympus E-M10 IV system, including automatic TTL flash power with Backscatter’s hugely popular Mini Flash 2 (MF-2) macro-focus strobe, high speed sync (HSS) shooting with the MF-2, rapid-fire strobe sync via the Octo housing’s built-in flash trigger, and the vacuum and moisture detection system also integrated into the housing.
All in all, if you’re in the market for your first underwater photo/video rig or you want to upgrade from a compact like a TG-6, Backscatter’s new article is an essential read. Watch the video above and then check out the article here.
When purchasing underwater photography equipment like the products mentioned in this article, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.com.
GoPro HERO12 Black
Seacam Housing for Nikon Z8
Sony a7C II
Aquatica Housing for Sony a7R V
Plan Your Adventure >