DEMA 2005 Show Report

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Text and Photos by Christa Loustalot.
Additional Photos by David Haas and Stephen Frink.

DEMA 2005

Sitting 3 booths down from Center Stage at DEMA definitely has its pros and cons:

Pro: You are treated to multiple presentations, SCUBA Radio, assorted dive celebrities, awesome live music, and the occasional T-shirt toss.

The DEMA Fashion Show…..5 times a day.

That being said – WOW! DEMA in Las Vegas could not have been any better! People are saying that it was the best one yet – and even though it was my first one, I can definitely see why. When James and Eric asked me to cover DEMA this year because they were both unable to make it (James had to work, and Eric was FORCED to go diving in the Galapagos…poor guy), I jumped at the chance. I figured spending 5 days in Vegas would more than make up for having to trudge around the show floor all week – but boy was I wrong! DEMA was the real fun – the floor was always packed, everyone was in a perpetual good mood, and the products were spectacular. Forget the slot machines….I saved my money for the show! (And for the Wetpixel Happy Hour) The only caveat was the static electricity: Dry Vegas Air + Carpet = A Shocking Experience. Ouch!

The layout was great – well organized and roomy – with plenty of dive-toy-eye-candy displayed within petting distance. I had no trouble finding the photography booths – I was working in the Fisheye booth for most of the day, and dashed away for 2 hours each afternoon to go hunting. I mapped out my routes and just went down the list. Everything was colorful and flashy, perfect for Vegas, and everyone I talked to was incredibly nice and happy to spend as much time as I needed to get the scoop for the Wetpixel report. I also found out that Eric is a VERY popular guy and everyone wanted me to say hello! I was fortunate to meet several world-class photographers and authors, run into some familiar faces, and network with the pros. Now, I have a long list of new friends, and am so glad I got the chance to meet these wonderful people!

On behalf of Wetpixel.com, Christa accepts the
Editor's Choice 2005 award from Scuba Diving Magazine

Vegas is a pretty easy town to get around in if you have any sense of direction…which I don’t. But in a city that doesn’t ever turn off the lights, it’s not a problem to wander aimlessly alone for miles looking for the shortest way to your hotel at midnight. By the last day I finally figured it out, but by then I had no feeling left in my toes and had worn my flip-flops down to nubs. In hindsight, I’d have just spent some extra money and stayed at the Hilton. Circus Circus (or Ghetto Ghetto, as my friend Tammy lovingly calls it) was ok, but there is the Creepy Clown factor to think about. If you’ve ever seen Steven King’s “It” then you know what I mean. DEMA ran shuttles every day, but they only ran until 7:00 p.m., so if you went to dinner you did not have the option being shuttled. It was either a costly cab ride or foot patrol. I usually chose the latter, and was treated to the thousands of “porn trading cards” (as I call them) scattered along the streets and in the parking lots. Ahhh, Sin City….don’t let your kids out without blindfolds.

Ok – so you’re wondering about the new photo gear. Film was of course nonexistent (except for Snapsight’s little bits of course), and the digital theme this year was “HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO”. Stand up straight and say that loudly, with conviction. The Sony HDR-HC1 was a hot ticket (among others) and almost everybody has gotten into the act. I did manage the sneak in the 5D question once in awhile…and once in awhile I got a definite answer. But mostly the word on the aisle about the 5D was that for most makers, the release date is….drum roll…. “soon”. J

Note from Editor: Special thanks to Christa Loustalot for her hard work in producing this DEMA report! Christa -- we owe you. :) Also worth checking out is Drew Wong's round-up of Sony HDV housings.