The Olympus Lens That Survived a Pond Dive

We all have heard of great stories on how Olympus 4/3 E-System gear survived the harshest and cruelest conditions, may it be thunderstorms, sandstorms, freezing temperatures, physical drops or knocks, and some accidental dip into the river or ocean. We all know how amazing the weather sealing of Olympus E-X series, used in combination with the High Grade or Super High Grade lenses, providing full splashproof and dustproof setup. Hearing stories is one thing, but seeing it happen first hand, with my own eyes, was quite an unexpectedly flabbergasting experience altogether.

1/60sec, F/6.3, ISO200

Early this morning I was tagging along a friend, Simpson to a macro hunting ground at Kemensah. Simpson spotted a frog sitting peacefully on top of a large leave, floating on a pond with muddy water. Feeling excited, he quickly switched lens from the 50mm F2 macro to the 70-300mm F4-5.6 for that extra reach, since the frog was approximately 2 meters away from the edge of the pond. Making the quick change of lens, Simpson decided to just chuck the 50mm lens attached with the 1.4x tele converter (original Olympus) in his jacket's chest pocket. Bad, bad idea. As he inched closer, bending at the edge of the pond to execute a low angle composition, little did he know that he was leaning forward too much that the 50mm attached with the 1.4x converter just slipped out of his jacket's pocket, and went splashing into the pond !!!

At that instant moment, I thought my heart skipped a few beats.

Simpson was quick to act, he set his bag and Olympus gear on the dry ground, and in no time he has had his hands in the pond searching for the 50mm lens. I was still in shock. The water was muddy and we cannot see anything below the surface of the pond. It did not took Simpson long to find the lens just by feel, and he took it out, from a total estimated depth of 2 feet, and the sight of the lens coming out of the submerged depth with water dripping out of it was quite heart wrenching. I cannot imagine if this actually happened to my own gear !!!

Simpson and his 50mm, that was fresh out of the submerged murky pond water !! Still alive and well.

Where the 50mm fell into the water !!!!

All the trouble of inching closer to grab this shot of a Frog !!

Simpson was calm all the time, the confident smile in face noted that he was sure Olympus was going to survive this tiny accident. His faith was not misplaced. As we opened up the rear cap, and peeked through the glass elements, there was no trace of water going into the inner part of the elements. Good. After drying out the outer part of the lens, and turning the focus ring endlessly to let the water drip out, Simpson mounted the 50mm lens on the E-3.

It worked fine, as if it never went into the pond before.

What an amazing experience this was, witnessing all this. The tele-converter was working well too. I have written in my E-5 review concluding remarks, stating that one of the main characteristics that define Olympus, and should not be neglected when it comes to photography is the reliability of your gear. If this incident did not show you anything on how reliable Olympus 4/3 system is, I do not know what else in the world can convince you.

Spider feasting on a prey, which was at least 5 times larger than his size.
1/80sec, F/8, ISO200, Wireless TTL Flash

Sucking the life out of the prey.
1/100sec, F/11, ISo200, Wireless TTL Flash

A spider that lives together in a group, and work together. Quite a rare sight, because spiders are usual anti-social.
1/125sec, F/16, ISO200, Wireless TTL Flash

Plenty for everyone.
1/125sec, F/18, ISO200, Wireless TTL Flash

It was quite a rare sight, instead of fighting with each other for food, or eating each other, they actually share.
1/125sec, F/16, ISO200

1/100sec, F/4, ISO200

Another dragonfly.
1/80sec, F/4, ISO200

Spider eating a small insect.
1/100sec, F/16, ISO200, Wireless TTL Flash

Black beauty.
1/100sec, F/16, ISO200

The morning was filled with full on macro hunt. All photographs in this entry were taken with Olympus E-5 and 50mm F2 macro (mine was safe and dry). Wireless flash was triggered off the camera with the FL-36R to provide illumination in heavily shaded areas. I have not done macro in quite a while, though I have voiced my interest to dive back into the world of tiny creatures. I felt really refreshed and reinvigorated in this particular session, being able to really focus my attention on getting the focus and exposure right on the subjects. I know I could have done a lot better, and put in a lot more effort in the photographs, but why fret? I was out in the nature, breathing fresh air, surrounded by greeneries and I did enjoy myself. Who cares if my macro photography is only all technical and is void of artistic sense? I still thoroughly love doing it, and I believe that is the most important part of it all.

I shall not flood this page with too many photographs, but just with the ones I felt that I like most.

Any macro shooters out there? Do share your experience and photographs !! Do you have any stories of gear surviving impossible situations or accidents? Do tell !!


  1. What a lucky guy... with the Oly Submarine 50mm ;-)

    Nice shots Robin!

  2. Hello rick,
    LOL oly submarine indeed!!.

  3. Gorgeous shots, very impressive, have these been edited?

  4. Hello Jessica,
    Thanks for the compliments !!
    I only did minor post-processing: slight cropping, contrast/exposure correction and colour balance tweak. The images still look very similar to the original straight out of the camera files.