2011 London International Dive Show

London International Dive Show 2011.
By Adam Hanlon with help from Alex Mustard.

The London International Dive Show (LIDS), held annually at London’s ExCel exhibition centre, is regarded as one of Europe’s premier consumer dive shows. In 2011, it had the additional draw of the Imagezone; an area devoted to underwater imaging.

The show focuses on individual stands from manufacturers and suppliers, but also features an active program of talks, lectures and seminars. Topping the bill this year was the dynamic duo of Wetpixel Associate Editor Alex Mustard and Martin Edge. Their hour-long talk built on the success of their event last November, and drew a large crowd.

Their topic was around the idea of using a “suggestion of the undersurface” to enhance wide-angle images. Martin used images gathered from around the web to show how frequently this appears in award-winning or popular images, almost as if we need a view of the surface to spatially orientate to an image. Actually Martin jokingly said that it he liked these images as it means he is close to the surface and often low on air!

Alex and Martin showed six methods that photographers can use to incorporate the effect. These were: Texture, sunballs, sunbeams, Snell’s window, splits and reflections. Each method was illustrated with examples from their portfolios. To finish up, there was a short question and answer session. Of note was that the majority of the audience had not attended their previous talk, in fact only about 6 of the 130 attending had done so.

In addition, the Imagezone featured a revolving schedule of talks from a variety of underwater photographers, including Maria Munn on “Exploring the World’s Richest Reefs with a Compact Camera”:

And Nick Robertson-Brown on “Photographing UK marine life”:

Over on the trade stands, underwater imaging was very well represented with stands from Cameras Underwater, Aquatica, Subal, UWVisions, Hugyfot, H20 PhotoTools, the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP), Inon UK and Intova

The British Society of Underwater Photographers stand.

Rolf Sempert of Subal had renderings of their new D7000 housing which is due for release in late April. It will have interchangeable back panels, one of which is equipped with a prism that allows the rear LiveView screen to be viewed at a more comfortable 30 angle. Subal have equipped the new housing with fiber optic ports, and in a departure from the past, have added a port lock mechanism. It is expected to retail at £3,199.00.

I need this housing for my review!

They have also designed a solution that allows manual focus with the Canon 16-35mm lens.To add manual focus, the lens needs both zoom and focus and housings typically can only have either or, rather than both. Subal have produced a 40mm extension ring with a focus crown gear attached to get round this.

Strobe manufacturer Subtronic were sharing a stand with Subal with Markus Moll showing the company’s new video light and a new version of the Nova strobe.

Subtronic has also released an electric to fiber optic convertor for their strobes:

Canadian manufacturer Aquatica was represented by Blake Stoughton and Marek Gazewski, both of whom had flown in specifically for the show.

Blake and Adam with the AD7000.

Of key interest was their new housing for the D7000. The company has invested a great deal of time and effort into both ergonomic and technical aspects of the housing, and it really shows in the finished product. The housing is physically small and light, and Blake explained that this was due to the use of a CNC machining tool that works in five axes. Features on the housing include the use of a “thumb” operated lever to control EV compensation, rear controls that have been shifted towards the left and right-hand sides (which have been gently curved) to mimic those on the camera, and allow finger control whilst the hands are on the handles, a very slim, neat camera saddle and one lever to activate and depress the internal flash.

Great ergonomics on the Aquatica D7000 housing.

Gently curved edges for hand positioning.

It is equipped with fiber optic ports, although electrical ports are also available, and it has a “park” position for the zoom/focus crown gear to allow the lens with focus gear to be attached without interference. The housing that was on display is staying in the UK to be a part of the upcoming Wetpixel D7000 housing review.

Aquatica also had their NEX-5 housing on display, as well as various port options for both housings.

Alex with the Aquatica AN-5.