Another popular show exhibitor is Stefan Horvath of H20 photo tools from Germany. The stand is always full of those hard to find bits and accessories. They have produced some carbon fiber buoyancy arms, and an enlarged clamp that allows the arms to be folded back on themselves.
Stefan has also designed a modular T groove adaptor that allows the fitting of differing sizes and types of ball. In addition, it will take more than one ball, making it suitable for rigs with strobes and video lights for example.
Another new product on the stand was the i-torch pro focus light. This LED light is powered by four AA cells and has a red mode to minimize impact on subjects. It’s retail price is £289.00.
H20 Phototools has re-designed a camera tray for compact cameras. The new design has multiple attachment positions along its length to accommodate different sized housings, and an a aluminum T base adaptor.
Lastly, even the humble muck stick has had a make over. H20 Phototools have added a tripod thread on the end, allowing it to be used a rudimentary monopod.In addition, it has measuring graduations along its length.
UWVisions represent the Nauticam housing range, and owner Edward Lai had flown in from Hong Kong to join Alex and Kat Tattersall on their stand.
The Nauticam range has expanded again (!) with a new housing for the Panasonic GH2. This is literally packed with features and the inside of the housing is crowded with controls:
It has a new removable tray (also suitable for the company’s NEX-5 and LX5 housings) and a thumb button to cycle between the cameras EV compensation mode and aperture adjustment. It also has a rocker switch for control of video functions, and the fiber optic port plate is removable to allow the user to use the cameras internal flash, which Edward explained to me is a popular technique in Japan. The zoom gear control is mounted on the housing body, and the shutter release users the same sensitive mechanical advantage method as the NEX-5/LX5 housings.
Nauticam offers a port for the 45mm macro lens for the GH2, as well as a small dome. They are working on a very small dome for the pancake lens as well. The GH2 housing will be priced at around 2000 euros and available from early May.
Edward said that Nauticam housings for the Olympus XZ-1 and EPL-2 were being designed as we spoke.
The folks at Inon UK have spoken to staff at Inon Japan and reported that none of them had been hurt in the recent tsunami and its after effects. Inon has released a locking bayonet (LD) to ensure the wet-lenses cannot inadvertently come detached.As reported in Wetpixel’s DEMA coverage, there is now a snoot system available for Z240 and D2000 strobes. One neat feature is that the colored filters supplied with the firms video lights can also be used inside the snoot for creative effects.
Hugyfot/Green Force were on hand to show off their new housing for the D7000. Paskal Eekhoudt and team had traveled over from the Netherlands to exhibit at the show. The housing features some significant changes from previous Hugyfot housings. Firstly, it features fiber optic connectors.
Traditionally, Hugyfot has positioned the indicator lights for the Hugychek vacuum system on the hot shoe attachment, which is not needed for fiber optic connection. So secondly, they have incorporated the indicators onto a new dovetailed camera saddle.
Hugyfot expect to have the housing in production very soon, and we will have one in the Wetpixel D7000 review.
Also on their stand was a prototype of an underwater housing for the Marshall LCD video screen. Once completed, this will be compatible with video SLR housings.
Green Force have made their light range more modular, with increased compatibility between the light heads and battery components. The new light heads are also sealed to prevent any possibility of water ingress. They currently offer the Squid 1500 LED video light, and are planning new more powerful LED versions soon.
The organizers of the Imagezone were UK retailer Cameras Underwater and it is largely due to them that there were so much representation from foreign brands. Their stand showcased Ikelite, Olympus, Gates, ULCS, Dyron and Recsea/Seatool. Their stand was busy throughout the show, but Paul “Duxie” Duxfield and Dave Glanville took some time to show off some developments with Olympus.
The Olympus housing for the PEN EPL-2 suffers somewhat from not having a wide range of ports available. However, Duxie and Dave showed me that the simple removal of a locking screw allows the fitting of a Zen Underwater port. This is prefaced with a warning that this is likely to invalidate the Olympus warranty.
The pair also mentioned that it is rumored that Inon will be releasing a new wet lens that will work with the Olympus XZ-1. We were joined by Jenny Rosenfeld, Managing Director of Cameras Underwater and Jean Brigham, President Of Ikelite (another of the US contingent). Jean mentioned that Ikelite were working on a range of housings for micro 4/3’s cameras, and that these may signify some new innovations in the way they produce housings. Jenny also had some of the almost mythical (!) Ikelite electric to fiber optic convertors on their stand:
Cameras Underwater were also responsible for organizing the Imagezone seminars, and these proved to be a great success, drawing many show visitors into the imaging area.
LIDS this year has, thanks to Cameras Underwater and the fantastic support of international manufacturers and distributors, become a venue of importance for underwater image makers in the UK and beyond. Having speakers with the quality of the Mustard and Edge duo, combined with the public launch of important new products by the industry, will propel the show’s reputation to a range of people who, until now, didn’t have the inclination or desire to attend. Looking forward to the Imagezone 2012!