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SEA & SEA
November 1, 2007 - 2:42PM
Sea & Sea's large booth was merged with TUSA, their parent USA distributor. They had quite a few new products on display.
Kevin McDonald showed me their new housings, which included housings for the Canon 1D Mk III, 40D, and Digital Rebel XTi, and for the Nikon D300. Sea & Sea has so far been the only booth with a D300 housing prototype on display; Kevin told me that they have a good relationship with both Canon and Nikon, and are able to get pre-production models early.
All of Sea & Sea's new housings are CNCed, which means that they are all lighter and more sleek than earlier housings.
The Canon 1D Mk III housing's ergonomics are pretty good, and both dials and the * button lever can be reached from shooting position, if you have large hands. Note that it is the * button which is accessible, not the AF-ON button. This means that users will have to swap the AF-ON and * button functions via menu settings in the 1D Mk III. The housing ships at the end of November / early December.
The Canon 40D housing prototype was similar, and has all dials in the right place. This makes me happy. The 40D housing should ship in January.
The Nikon D300 housing prototype was exciting to see. A departure from earlier models, the D300 housing provides access to the shooting mode wheel, which is necessary for Live View use. It has slanted buttons on the housing's back, which makes them accessible via left hand in shooting position. Both the D300 and the 40D have a switchable lever near the shutter release (AF-ON / AF-lock / * / etc.), which allows the level to reach two buttons, depending on whether it is pulled out or pushed in. It is hard to describe, and will be more obvious from the photos below. The D300 housing ships in December.
Sea & Sea didn't have a D3 housing on display, but it is in the works and will ship in January as well.
I took a look at the Canon Digital Rebel XTi housing, which people have been complaining about on the forums due to its simple design. Sea & Sea has made the XTi housing to work basically in point & shoot operation. Very few buttons are available on the back of the housing. Bt one thing that is cool is that the XTi housing ships with an eTTL converter inside (you can turn it on and off by a switch in the housing). So if you're looking for XTi housings, make sure this one suits your needs before buying it!
Last June, Jon Davy brought out a couple prototype YS-250 strobes at the Digital Shootout in Bonaire. These strobes are finally shipping! Kevin McDonald has been using them in the pool to shoot babies (hmm. that didn't come out right...), and he says that they have been tough and reliable. Features:
- Ni-MH removeable battery
- 3-hr charging time from flat
- 2.5 oz negative, underwater
- visual and audio ready indicator
- 105-degree beam spread
- LED aiming light (tight beam)
- 2 fiber optic ports, along with wired port
- GN32 on land
- full power recycle time: 1.2 seconds
I wish the strobes weren't negative in the water, but they seem like they would work well.
The DX-1G is a high-end compact underwater system based on a highly-regarded Ricoh camera inside. I've heard a lot of good things about the DX-1G, but haven't taken it for a spin, myself. The DX-1G is priced at $1050, but Kevin says that the Pro Package system is very popular, which includes the DX-1G, a YS-110 strobe, fiber optic connectors, tray, arm, wide-angle lens, lens holder, and Pelican case. It is priced at $2499.
The new TTL Converter III N for Nikon supports mixed strobes (the older one required the same strobe model for dual-strobe use). It also has pushed the bulkheads onto the top of the unit. The TTL Converter C for Canon's eTTL hasn't changed, but a new model will be out soon that matches the design of the new III N.