BOOT 2007 Expo Report
by Simon Klaiber
Note: All photos at end of text.
First of all, the most unpleasant thing about the BOOT Show is the absence of Ikelite. It is really sad, that one of the most prestigious UW-Photo manufacturer and his products is completely absent at one of the most important trade shows in Europe. This is nothing new, as far as I know Ikelite or his distributors were never at the BOOT.
The second mostly absent manufacturer is
Sea & Sea
On the booth of their distributor Aqualung they showed some S&S equipment but nothing new and the staff was more interested in showing BCDs (they have nice ones), regulators and Suuntos Dive-Computers.
Subal had a new 400D Housing and a Model of the D80 Housing at the booth. I also had the 5D housing in hands. They are all very well made but I don’t like the positioning of most of the controls.
I also asked them for a 45° viewfinder. They told me, that they are working on it. They are looking on at the UK-Germany and Sealux Viewfinder and might support one of them in the future.
I really hate these guys! Every time I was at their booth on the BOOT I feel the urge to sell my (still unplanned) first born to get one of their housings. They are so ergonomic, well engineered and .... expensive! They had their new Nikon D200 Housing on Display.
They also showed me a pair of stackable wet-diopters. Nice work you can describe with the same 3 adjectives as the Housings. If I remember correctly one was 1,5x and the other 2,5x.
Since it is the hot topic at the moment I also checked out their 45° viewfinder. Of all the sportfinders I have “used” on the BOOT expo this was definitively the best but also the most expensive.
Sealux showed two new housings this year. One for the Nikon D80 and one for the Canon 400D. As always their Housing are well engineered but I found that the controls on some of the housing are only ergonomic if you have rather big hands. Since I have small hands for my size this is something that annoys me easily so it might be ok for most of you.
They have a sports viewfinder that they call 150° viewfinder. Compared to the 45° Finder I would call it 30° viewfinder, but hey that’s marketing. Optical it is nearly as good as the Seacam viewfinder but for my taste it is to long and I like a 45° angle more. Positive is that it does not cover the LCD at all.
On the video side they had a Housing for the Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD Camera and a new External LCD Monitor on display.
If you have a housing-fetish you should have a look at the Hugyfot Housings. They are now distributed in Germany by Digideep’s Andi Voeltz.
They showed mainly showed their Canon 5D but had also a Canon 400D Housing and a Nikon D80 Housing. The design is very sexy and as a specialty they offer Adapter for the most Port Systems, so that you can use your old ones. The only thing I didn’t like on the 5D Housing was the missing *-button lever. The *-Button is placed well but I’m not sure if this is convenient enough if you are used to have auto focus programmed on it.
Hugyfot offers the Inon 45° viewfinder for their housings. It is not bad but I liked it least of all sportsfinders I have seen on the BOOT. They also offer to integrate a Heinrichs TTL-Converter.
At the booth of UK-Germany I was mainly interested in their new 45° viewfinder that Helge engineered. It is a good piece of work and over all I liked it second most after the Seacam viewfinder even though I found the Sealux a bit better optical. Uwe was stating that it was at par or even better than the Seacam but I could not really follow him on this.
I haven’t really looked at the BS-Kinetics in the past years since they forked from Bruder. I was positively surprised. Their housings are at a high level, comparable with Sea & Sea or Subal. BS-Kinetics makes the housing bodies out of carbon fiber what gives them a very cool look.
They offer Housings for nearly evry common SLR and Video Camera. They can do this by offering 5 Standard Housing Molds for SLRs and 8 Standard Housing Molds for Video Cameras and customize them for the specific Camera. Since they normally do this by order they are also very open to custom wishes.
They had a Housing equipped with the UK-Germany 45° Viewfinder but Bodo Sutterer – who is a really nice guy - told me that he is going to do a comparison test with all sportfinders on the market and will then decide which on to use in the future for his products.
But Bodo’s main object of pride was a Housing for Sony’s first 3CCD HD Camera HVR-V1E with LANC based Electronic Controls and Integrated LCD.
A the BS-Kinetics booth they also sold award winning (Antibes & Rome) “Oceans Night” that is really worth watching.
Subtronic has incorporated a modified Heinrichs TTL-Converter into their strobes that works pretty good (at least out of the water). They also have the option to have the batteries seperateable. They have chosen the clever solution to put the battery pack inside a Strobe arm.
Gun-Lux makes acrylic video housings with exchangeable control electronic for a wide range of cameras.
The main attraction at their booth was a stereo video housing for 3D Movies like they show in IMAX Cinemas. It consists of a Housing with 2 Sony HD cameras and a synchronized control electronic.
The video can be shown on special stereoscopic LCDs (they had 2 of them at their booth) or in a special theater with a setup with 2 beamers.
Awarded with the Red-Dot Design Award the Silverfish Video-Housing is really an eye-catcher. It comes with a generic LANC control that can be used with a wide range of video cameras.
There was plenty of other stuff that I had not the time to look at closely:
Olympus had a sub booth at the big PADI booth and there was a lot of advertisement for the new PADI digital UW-Photography specialty course.
Hartenberger had some strobes on display but the booth staff told me that only Mr. Hartenberger himself knows about them and he was always gone when I came by.
A couple Dive-Shops had “cheap” DSLR Housings like Fantasea or Patima on sale and there was on or two booth with “homemade” housings that looked to basic to be interesting to me.
-By Simon Klaiber