We love gear. As far as I know, the gear booths represented at ADEX were:
- Bonica Precision
- Green Force/Hugyfot
Bonica Precision [www]
William Wai of Bonica was showing off the Digital Snapper, a 3 megapixel "camera in a drysuit." The camera itself is waterproof and dustproof for snorkeling. When placed in its underwater housing, it can then be used while scuba diving. The Digital Snapper can be purchased alone for $199 USD, or with a tray, arm, macro lens (wet), and strobe for $599 USD.
Bonica Precision booth
William Wai shows off the Digital Snapper
William Wai shows off the Digital Snapper
Green Force [www] / Hugyfot [www]
Tom Leys took me through a tour of the Hugyfot underwater housing for the Nikon D200 [discuss]. Hugyfot housings have always been beautiful and compact, designed to hug the housed camera for the smallest possibly package. Hugyfot has traditionally not been well represented in the States, but you can expect more representation in the immediate future.
I can see why the housings have been popular in their target markets: they feel great in the hand, and are well-designed. But a small, rounded package has its compromises: Hugyfot housings require an allen (hex) key to open and close, and the company sticks to this design principle, refusing to switch to any sort of latch -- until a nicely designed latch exists, they say.
Green Force lights are very popular in Europe, and are probably the only lights than can be assembled into different forms based on a modular light, cable, and battery system.
If you are interested in Green Force and Hugyfot housings, contact our sponsors at Marine Camera Distributors.
A strong supporter of underwater photography, Olympus had a prominent booth where they were showing off E-System underwater housings & accessories and the new µ [mju:] 720SW camera, which is 7.1 megapixels and waterproof to 3 meters (10'). I'm not sure why manufacturers use weird names like "the µ". How many people out there even know how to pronounce µ? But it looks like a wonderful camera for snorkeling and dive deck use.
Olympus's "mju" 720 SW - waterproof up to 10ft without a housing
Olympus E-System underwater housing and accessories
My first meetings with underwater photography gear representatives is usually one of excitement (the Wetpixel name, I suppose!). When I first met the Patima executives the young translator's (Jae Kim) first words were, "[he] thought you were ... fat, from pictures on the web. but.. you are... thin!" I had to chuckle at that, because the fat thing is something that is often articulated openly in Asia and isn't meant as an insult.
Patima is a well-respected engineering firm in Korea, but has not penetrated much of the Western market yet. The first distributors are being set up in the States, and the housings will surely be successful if Patima can set up good distributors and contacts on our shores. Patima housings are machines aluminum, and have a nice feel to them. They are priced well and may end up being one of the only machined aluminum housings roughly in the same price range as plastic housings.
Patima currently only has one dSLR housing (for the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D) and one video housing (for the Sony HC1), but have plans t o expand their line-up soon. They also have a line of underwater lights, which seem to be high quality and flexible, with various mounting options and battery shapes.
If you are interested in Patima housings, contact our sponsors at Marine Camera Distributors, who are currently the only guys who can get ahold of them.
ScubaCam Pte Ltd [www] / Gates Housings [www]
David Cheung (ScubaCam) and John Ellerbrock (Gates Housings) were at the ScubaCam booth showing products from Ikelite, Fisheye, Gates, and others. John had the flagship Gates housing for the revolutionary Panasonic HD camera, which can shoot at high-bitrate progressive HD onto solid-state memory in addition to being able to record to tape. Gates uses the Fathoms Imaging wide-angle dome port, which is well-regarded in the industry.
David showed me a prototype of a Sony HC3 HDV camcorder housing, which was absolutely tiny. It was designed by Fisheye and will be sold under the Seatool name (thanks, Ryan!).
The ScubaCam booth was mobbed for most of the show, and I saw multiple film teams hanging out near the Panny housing. Hey, I was hanging out there, too. Larry Tackett came by and said to John, "sell one to Eric so he can let me use it!"
Peter Mooney of ScubaPix was showing the Light & Motion Bluefin HD housing for the Sony FX1/Z1U HDV Camcorder. The floor in front of the housing was covered in drool (obviously, lust for the HOUSING -- not for Peter!!)
Peter Mooney shows off the Light & Motion Bluefin HD Housing
If there's a constant at dive shows around the world, it's Harald Hordosch. I see him at every show I go to, standing in front of the aesthetically-pleasing Seacam booth with his polishing cloth. Not a single smudge mars any Seacam product for long before Harald notices it and wanders nonchalantly over to polish it off.
Consistent design is one of Seacam's goals, and it really shows. Seacam had on display their brand-new Nikon D200 housing, which has the same, luxurious feel as the rest of Seacam's products. I'll bet I could switch to a Seacam-housed D200 and barely notice.
I also played with Seacam's new strobe, which has an indicator that displays the last fired % power in order to prevent wrong settings. Harald also said that the Seacam strobe is the only strobe that can fire in E-TTL with two strobes connected at once (E-TTL support requires S6 bulkhead and cords). The Seacam strobe doesn't currently have removable batteries, but Harald assured me that we removable batteries will be a feature of the next strobe he designs.
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