ADEX Singapore 2012 Report

Housings, housings where art thou?

I’d heard that many of the housing manufacturers would be bring their Nikon D4/D800 housings. I was also hoping there’d be housings for the 5D Mark III.  Unfortunately, with the cameras being so new and the time needed to make prototypes, there were none on show at ADEX.  Nonetheless, there were lots of exciting news from the manufacturers who were there:

The Austrians:



Subal’s Rolf Sempert and Harald Karl showed in their mockup of the Nikon D4 housing in their booth.  And yes Alex, there is a top window for the LCD panel. Here are a few pics of the mockup:


The front of the Subal ND4 housing for the Nikon D4


The back of the Subal ND4 housing for the Nikon D4

They also brought their VS1 video housing and Panasonic GF3 housing.

The Subal VS1 housing is a universal housing for various Sony, Canon and Panasonic camcorders, using Infrared Remote controls from the camera manufacturers to actuate basic controls.  Basically as long as it can fit There is a 4.3” TFT LCD 480x272 with 400 Cd/m2 monitor at the back on the housing, with a lens shade. What is most interesting is that the Subal housing allows the use of all the type 3 ports and extension rings, allowing for optimal quality wide angle or macro ability without the use of dedicated wet lenses like Fathom.  The MSRP isn’t confirmed but is estimated at €2000 without VAT.


The Subal VS1 universal video housing

The Panasonic GF3 housing is also new, following just after 1 year from the release of the GF2 housing (the curse of doing small EVIL cameras is the annual change!).  It’s pretty much the same as the GF2 in function, allowing all functions to be accessed, including the built-in flash. There are flat and dome ports for all Panasonic lenses and even the Leica ElMarit 45mm.  Max depth is 70m and can be made to go down to 120m in a special build version.


The Subal GF3 housing on the left and the GF2 housing on the right

Other news will be the D800, Canon 1Dx and 5D Mark III will all have housings to be released before summer is over. And yes, the custom paint job will be available at least for some of them. Here are a few shots of the schematics for the ND800 for the Nikon D800:


The Subal ND800


The rear view


The top view



Harald Hordosch was as usual at ADEX with a wonderfully designed booth (which incidentally won best non-resort booth) with pictures from Aaron Wong.  Unfortunately, he did not have any new housings on display.  However, he did confirm there will be a Nikon D4 and D800 housings out by the end of June.  There is a big demand for Seacam D800 housings for the Olympic, and the Seacam D4 and D800 housings will have an extra port hole to allow the camera to be controlled from a laptop up to 70m away.


The Seaflash accessories, the Seacam Snoot and diffuser with interchangeable inserts for the LED light


The Seaflash 100


The rear of the Seaflash 100

On the Canon front, Seacam will try to come out with the 5D Mark III housing before August and then work on the 1Dx/c housing in September.  More interesting news but unfortunately Seacam state secret will be news that will be coming in the summer.  I’m not at liberty to give details but suffice to hint that if it happens, Harald and his Seacam team will have solved a 30 year old technical issue that many other experts have failed to do so.  Of course, you heard it here first! :)


The Sino-American:



Nauticam, by way of Scubacam Singapore, was supposed to have the D800 housing prototype on display but failed to make it. However, I managed to get a sneak peak at Scubacam and snapped a few pics. Here are the pics:


The Nauticam NA-D800 prototype front view


The back of the NA-D800


Top view. (note there isn’t a top window for LCD
and only 1 port for strobe sync ports


The side view. There is only one dial for focus or zoom.


The internal view of the front half of the housing.


The inside back of the NA-D800.


The flash actuator, which lowers the flash when it’s not required.
Does Nikon not have a menu control for that within the controls?

The housing looks good but the inside controls appear very complicated and probably not easily field serviceable should anything go wrong.  Shouldn’t be a problem for anyone except the service guy! :)  The housing is going to be ready in May and has a MSRP of US$3600 for the basic housing.

At the show, the latest offering was the Sony NEX-7 housing, which Aquatica recently dropped their housing for, leaving Nauticam the only major manufacturer to make a housing for the Sony camera. The bigger brother of the NEX-5N, the NEX-7 has better controls. At 24mp with an APS-C sensor, the NEX-7 is a power house of a EVIL camera.  The lack of a dedicated fisheye lens (it uses an adapter on the 16mm lens) and other focal lengths does leave much to be desired, since the alpha lens adapter can’t be used with the housing.  Nor is the camera cheap at $1400. Still the pictures and video are very good for such a small package.


The Nauticam NA-NEX7 housing for the Sony NEX-7 EVIL camera

The American:



Gates housings recently announced the Deep Epic housing for the Red Epic-X/M to be available for shipping.  Scubacam was sitting on their 4th housing so sales have been relatively brisk for the $19,000 housing. Obviously, the Epic housing also fits the Scarlet camera.  Unlike the Red One, the battery overheating issue has not been a problem for the Deep Epic or the Epic-X in general.  David Cheung of Scubacam, dealer of Gates housings and is renting out his Deep Epic, told me he’s had no problems at all with the housing and camera combo.


The Gates Deep Epic housing @ the Scubacam Booth


The Red Epic-X with Red Monitor


Dan Baldocchi and Michael Topolovac of L&M check out the Deep Red

Although Gates also offers a Canon C300 housing, there was no display unit at ADEX.

My journey through the convention led me to Scuba Cam‘s booth, where strangely it was the center of all things photographic in a way.  Everyone who’s anyone either hung out at Scubacam or Seacam’s booth which was next door.


David shows off the 5D Mark III with Peter Mooney and Dan Baldocchi


Mike Topolovac checks out the Nauticam NEX-7 housing


Mike Topolovac examines the Patima iPhone housing with a L&M Sola light attached


David shows off his “Komodo” dragon light display


Shawn and David pose for the camera

The Scubacam/Seacam booths seemed to be the big hangout for shooters… then again, it could just be that the cafeteria was right next to them! :)

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