Olympus OM-D E-M5 Goes Underwater with the Dicapac WP-H10

The Olympus OM-D EM-5 inside a Dicapac WP-H10
The Olympus OM-D EM-5 inside a Dicapac WP-H10
The Olympus OM-D EM-5 inside a Dicapac WP-H10 floating on sea water

So I was off to an island where the reef is excellently preserved and it would be a shame if I didn’t take any underwater pictures. I was thinking of getting a dedicated underwater camera but I thought the price was too much so decided on getting a Dicapac WP-H10 instead. The Dicapac is a brand of camera underwater housing, the WP-H10 model is ideal for advance compact cameras like Canon’s G-Series or even mirrorless cameras such as my Olympus OM-D E-M5. The underwater case cost PHP2700 (US$65). I was a little adamant putting my gear inside such case but I thought the OM-D’s weather sealing can handle a little wetness in case water gets in.

Our favorite Nemo (Sea Anemone Fish) underwater family
Our favorite Nemo (Sea Anemone Fish) underwater family

The Dicapac WP-H10

This underwater housing claims to be able to go up to 16ft (5m). It has 2 zoom rings available for lenses. The main glass is said to be UV coated. The locking system uses velcro and a series of folds like a regular dry bag to keep the water out. It also has a foam to keep the camera properly placed inside the housing. I kept one of the silica gels to keep moisture out when underwater.

Colorful fishes on shallow water
Colorful fishes on shallow water

Preparing the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Depending on the lens to use, one has to remove the zoom rings before attaching the camera. The zooms won’t operate though if you are using a non digital zoom lens. I tried the Panasonic 20mm, M.Zuiko 45mm and the M.Zuiko 12-50mm and I found they fit just rightl inside the bag. The Pany 20mm fits well even without removing the ring.

Before inserting the camera inside the housing, do disable to Eye-viewfinder sensor as it reacts to the plastic unless you want to shoot through the viewfinder. I also initially wanted to used the Touch-shot feature but I found out when I got into the water, the water pressure would render the touch screen useless so it’s better to just use the main switch. It is possible to change settings once the camera is inside but I would recommend setting it up already before inserting the camera inside.

Corals and fish on shallow water
Corals and fish on shallow water

Underwater Impressions

I like that the Dicapac WP-H10 has a neck strap to secure it while on the water. It also floats naturally. Once under the water, I could feel the pressure as the plastic tightens up on the camera. I tried taking it deeper about 10 feet and didn’t encounter any problems with it. The Panasonic 20mm was an ideal choice for me as it’s wide enough, long enough and fits like a glove on the small ring. It didn’t even produce vignetting. The control was easy to handle, I had no problems on clicking the shutter. Changing the settings like rotating the mode dial could get some work but its possible.

Personally I thought the underwater shots were crisp and sharp. If there was any degradation in picture quality shooting through their UV glass, it’s almost unnoticeable. It’s great that I can shoot in RAW so I can adjust the colors as I saw when I was underwater.

Overall I was pretty happy with its performance. It works well as it claims. Even far better than I expected. Better than a dedicated point and shoot which I eventually bought but leaked after taking it underwater for the 3rd time (I was even so careful about the sealing). I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Digipac WP-H10 especially for those using a mirrorless camera. Of course, care should always be taken when using the product.

A janitor fish cleans another fish
A janitor fish cleans another fish
A lone barracuda ahead
A lone barracuda ahead
Schools of varying sizes
Schools of varying sizes
Yellow fishes and weeds
Yellow fishes and weeds
Lapu-lapu by the coral
Lapu-lapu by the coral
Beautiful corals and small blue fishes
Beautiful corals and small blue fishes

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this! even though it is weather sealed, I am still more at peace with my camera having a protection like Dicapac. Hmmm…this makes me want to invest on it.

    • Thanks Ding! It’s an added protection to an already tough camera 🙂

    • Though the weather sealing only goes as far as the camera body. It’s not fully weather sealed unless the lens is too (most of which are not).

      I’m currently trying to decide between this WPH10 or the WP-S3 (With the little finger thingie to get at the dials/button) but not for the purpose of being underwater but rather to take it out in full on rain or storm or any other splashing type of scenario.

  2. Hello! Thanks for this post and e beautiful pictures! On the dicapac site it actually recommended the model WP-S3 for e olympus om-d. Does it make much difference to use e WP-H10 instead? Thanks!

    • Hi Joanna! I think that’s a new model which isn’t available when I bought the WP-H10. But from the looks of it they really designed one fitted for mirrorless. It should be as good (if not better) than WP-H10. So far, the WP-H10 works well with my OM-D

    • Just bought s3 for my OMD E-M5. Wont allow me to extend my lens at all, returning and going with wp-h10

  3. Thanks for posting this. A while ago, I purchased a WP-S5 for my Canon 20D but I have never used it. Now I am planning a underwater shoot (swimming pool) and so I am going to try to use the WP-S5 on my EM-5 first. I think the EM-5 is a good choice as it’s pretty good with waterproof already. Will be interesting to see how I go.


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