DEMA Show 2009: Day 2 - Booth coverage insanity!

DEMA 2009, Day 2: Page 3 of 5 (page controls at bottom of this post)

Ikelite #1542

A few days ago, Ikelite announced their brand-new DS161 Movie Substrobe. Although it looks very similar to their venerable DS160 Substrobe, which looks similar to their older DS125, the DS161 Movie packs three high-power LEDs and can throw 500 lumens of continous lighting for 5 hours. It is quite possibly the first real hybrid strobe / video light on the market, and we applaud Ikelite for getting to market first.

The continuous lighting is adjustable in power. At the moment, the lowest power setting is 50%. At full power, the light will burn for 5 hours. Ikelite stresses that leaving the light on will not affect the number of strobe flashes very much. Shooting one shot every 20-30 seconds, Ikelite only noticed a 15% reduction in the number of still flashes on a charge before the battery drained.

Ikelite was also showing their new 4-port lock system for SLR housings (now standard; old housings can be upgraded).

New Canon G11 and Canon S90 housings were also on display.

On the video front, Jean Brigham noted that their compact video housings have been very popular (FLIP and JVC Picsio housings).

Keldan #1069

Keldan slimmed down their booth this year to showcase their newest product, the LUNA 8 LA-V, a 5-power level (10W-40W) adjustable LED video light. Daniel Keller walked us through the design process behind the product, explaining how multiple high-efficiency, color-boosted LEDs were integrated to achieve measured CRI of 96 at 5000K while maintaining a battery life of 80 minutes on high power. The light maintains a 90-degree beam angle in and out of water through use of a polycarbonate dome, and adjusts from 750-2100 lumens.

Daniel targeted those who care about CRI and quality of build, and the technical data was very impressive, including CRI measurements at various water travel distances and comparisons with standardized D50/D55/D65 light sources. Tested to 200 meters and weighing only 0.1 kg in water, the aluminum LUNA 8 LA-V is expected to retail at $1990. This is the first of Keldan’s lights to be designed specifically for video, and we feel it has one of the most even, clean beams of any light at the show.

Light & Motion #1463

Light & Motion’s booth was much smaller than it had been in previous years, but it was (as before) clean and slick. Light & Motion was showing off a suite of LED video lights as well as redesigned Bluefin Pro and Stingray+ housings, which are sleek and highly-ergonomic due to electronic controls.

The Stingray+ video housing starts at $1999 and features a high-quality Sony LCD on the back (the same one used by Sony for the HC3 camcorder). New infrared controls allow full menu control and true one-button white balance (upgrade to $3299). We have a video of the macro-based one-button white balance in our media gallery just below here — check it out!

The Bluefin Pro upgrade gets full menu control, one-button white balance, a flip macro filter, and a gorgeous OLED screen. Did I mention that the OLED screen is gorgeous? If you’re looking for a bright, sharp, colorful screen, it will be worth the upgrade from the stock LCD.

Smaller, brighter, lighter! On the lighting front, Light & Motion was showing revamped Sunray LED video lights. The Sunray 1200 upgrades the 1000 and now features absolutely tiny light heads throwing 1200 lumens of light. The Sunray 2000x is much smaller and lighter than was its predecessor due to a standardization of battery pod size (smaller — same as Sunray 1200). Beam pattern has also been improved to be wider and less spotty.

Also very exciting: a successor to the ModLight! The Compact Imaging Light is a 600-lumen, fully-sealed underwater light. It features a no-penetration design, which means that it cannot be flooded. 3 power levels, 70-minute burn time, tiny and light design, and a switchable red LED make this new light unique. The design reminds me of a bike light — not surprising, given Light & Motion’s history and product line. Check out the video in the gallery of the Compact Imaging Light prototype switching from white to red LEDs.

Price will be $569, shipping on February 15, 2009.

Nauticam / Nauticam USA #767

Nauticam has absolutely exploded from out of nowhere with a line of well-designed underwater housings. Edward Lai and his daughter, Jacqueline, were at the booth to show off the NA-D90 housing for Nikon D90, a Nikon D700 housing, and CAD drawings of a Canon 7D housing (coming in December).

Nauticam’s philosophy is to “reinvent the wheel whenever necessary.” Indeed, there are very nice touches all over the product line. The straight external viewfinder has large optics, which make it bright and sharp, with comfortable eye relief. A patented knob allows for external diopter control to allow for in-water adjustments. The finder is also available with adapters for Sea & Sea, Nexus, Aquatica and Ikelite housings — they are totally user-installable with no custom work required.

The housings have been designed with ergonomics in mind, and I found all of the controls to be right where I expected them to be.

The port lock is totally cool. You pop the port on (no twisting) and lock it. An internal bayonet mechanism rotates into place! When you release the port, it just comes right off.

Port adapters are available for Nexus, Ikelite, Aquatica, Subal and Sea & Sea ports. All port adapters are designed so that existing extensions work as they did on previous housings — all distances remain the same, which means that fisheye lenses continue to function even with adapted third-party dome ports.

The extension rings also LOCK into place, which is a first. A large port and gear diameter ensure support for big lenses that might be released in the future.

Also on display was the white-balance port, which was shown in rough form at DEMA last year. The design has been improved; the entire white-balance mechanism now pushed forward before closing, which means that it now supports fisheye lenses. Last year’s post sparked heated debate about the usefulness of such a device, but with video coming standard in all new dSLRs, we’re going to need a way to white balance while using wide-angle lenses. Most of the arguments against such a thing came from film shooters, anyway. They just don’t understand.