October 24, 2008 - 12:40 PM
Nauticam, a total newcomer to the industry, demonstrated their new, patent-pending white-balancing device for dome ports. The WB-PORT is a translucent white iris that can be opened and closed via a knob on the side of the port. Similar to the way an ExpoDisc works, the Nauticam diffuses incoming light, and provides your camera’s sensor with an “average” light value with which to white-balance.
At the moment, you may think that this product is aimed only at the filtered SLR crowd. You’re right, of course, except that we are on the brink of massive convergence. Two SLRs that shoot HD video have already been released; once you stick a fisheye lens on your camera, how are you going to white-balance? Even a white slate held up to the dome point isn’t going to give you enough coverage for a proper white balance (you can’t zoom). The Nauticam may end up being a good solution this this problem.
On land, filtering incoming light works well when the lens is pointed at a light source. I’ve given this method a try underwater by converting a Light & Motion flip filter into an ExpoDisc, and I have to say that I’ve gotten mixed results. Still, if you’re shooing a fisheye lens in a dome point (*see below for comments about why this may not work), you pretty much have no options for proper white-balancing unless you are on a sandy bottom. It’s great to see new people coming into the industry with revolutionary products.
A demonstration of the Nauticam white-balance port
The Nauticam WB-PORT should be ready by January 2009, and will fit Nexus, Ikelite, and Sea & Sea port openings.
Also, I tried to convince Edward to build an extension ring version (it looks like it might not be possible, but I can hope!). A 25mm port extension that supports white balance would be a great addition to my arsenal of underwater photography accessories.