DEMA Show 2009: Day 2 - Booth coverage insanity!

DEMA 2009, Day 2: Page 4 of 5 (page controls at bottom of this post)

ReefNet #672

Keri and Les Wilk manned the ReefNet booth this year, and Keri was very excited to show off the revised SubSee Magnifier, a larger, 52mm diameter multi-element lens with 67mm mounting thread compatible with full-frame DSLR cameras without vignetting. Available in multiple power options (+5 or +10 diopter versions) and with anti-reflective coatings on all surfaces, these lenses look to be extremely popular with the macro and super-macro crowd. Keri mentioned an overwhelming amount of pre-order interest, and hopes to receive the lenses in stock shortly.

To use the SubSee Magnifier with your housing, ReefNet produces the made-to-order SubSee Adapter, a lens holder manufactured through rapid prototyping of durable, lightweight ABS plastic to accomodate ports by Aquatica, Ikelite, Subal, Sea & Sea, Seatool, Olympus, Light & Motion, Hugyfot, Seacam, and more. The Adapter allows the Magnifier to be swung into or out of place quickly, without having to unscrew lenses or attachments.

Reef Photo (Fisheye, Seatool, INON, Patima and more) #767

Ryan Canon at Reef Photo & Video hosted a large booth including representatives from Fisheye, INON and Patima.

INON products in display included a Canon 50D/40D underwater housing with the “Insect Eye” port attached. The official name for the insect eye is “INON Underwater Micro Semi-Fisheye Relay Lens UFL-MR130 EFS60”. Say that fast 3 times in a row. Although this lens made a splash at last year’s DEMA, images from it have still not quite made it into popular magazines outside of Japan, perhaps due to the difficulty of obtaining a unit overseas. Eric Cheng be diving one of them in November and December, and he is quite excited to give it a try! Also from INON were their suite of popular strobes, and a new light called the LE250, a small modeling / video light at 250 lumens.

Jae Lee took me through Patima products, including a new 2700-lumen video light (!). The large sensor on new dSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark II need quite a bit of light to record good underwater video, so lights like this are a welcome addition to the consumer and prosumer underwater market (they have been long available to pros). The PL-2700W features three separate LED bulbs, each powered by its own battery. Each one can be turned on in succession, for a total of 3 power levels. The charger looks convenient, but only charges 2 batteries at a time, so you might have to get 2 chargers to charge the 3 necessary batteries at the same time. A removable diffuser is also available, which gives the light 100 degree coverage.

ZEN domes were on display en force, with 230mm, 200mm and 100mm domes as well as wide-angle adapters for Canon G10/G11 housings on display. ZEN domes are coated carefully, and Ryan assures me that internal reflections are virtually eliminated by the coating process. The 230mm port is $1899.95 and the 200mm dome is $1399.95 (and shipping now).

The 100mm dome port is especially interesting, and is designed for fisheye lenses (similar to a Nexus port that has been around for a long time). The little fisheye port is compatible with the Nikon 10.5 fisheye and the Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom. The Canon and Sigma fisheye lenses are not supported because they have a metal shade that cannot be removed. Dome works with Subal, Sea & Sea, and Nauticam. Seacam and others coming soon.

Fisheye Canon G10 and G11 housings were on display. These things are beautiful, and people are buying a ton of them. Also on display were Fisheye FIX lights, which are tiny and nicely-designed. FIX lights now have flip filters for red, 6000K and 4800K color temperatures.

There was also a Seatool housing for a Sony lipstick cam. A receiver can be optionally housed for underwater use or simply hung around one’s neck during polecamming. The unit records AVCHD to Memory Stick, and has optional wide-angle lenses.

Seatool also has a housing for the Panasonic GF1 micro four thirds camera. This could be really interesting, but I’m told that current distribution arrangements make it impossible to sell in the States for a reasonable retail price.

UPDATE: Ryan called me over later on to show me two new products by a Spanish company called Saga. One is an adapter for the INON Underwater Micro Semi-Fisheye Relay Lens UFL-MR130 EFS60, AKA “Insect Eye” AKA “WAM” (Wide-angle Macro, coined by Douglas Seifert — I like it!). The Saga insect eye adapter is an adapter that allows the use of the port with Subal, Sea & Sea and Seacam housings. Others may also be available. The second product from Saga is a telescoping macro port, which can be unscrewed to lengthen, supporting everything from a 50mm to 100/105mm macro lens.

Seacam / Canon #768

Eric Cheng and Matt Segal visited the tandem Seacam and Canon booth to find Stephen Frink and Liz Johnson showing off the recently released Seacam 5D Mark II housing, and Canon CPS Representative Chuckie Luzier holding the brand new Canon 1D Mark IV dSLR and Canon 100mm IS Macro lens. The 1D IV maintains the same body shape as the 1D/1Ds III cameras, and Stephen was excited to show us that the existing Seacam housing for that line fits the new camera (Canon users rejoice!).

The 1D Mark IV currently uses the FEL button to start/stop video recording, potentially requiring adjustments to the housing lever throws for perfect video integration, but otherwise a very painless progression. Filling out the display was the range of Seacam products: the Seaflash 150 strobe, glass ports, adjustable length strobe arms and tripods, and remote triggers and view screens.

UPDATE: We were so distracted by the Canon 1D Mark IV that we totally forgot to mention that Seacam was showing their new underwater housing for the Nikon D300s SLR. We’ve added a bunch of product shots of the new housing to the slideshow, so check them out, if you’re interested. The photos look typical for Seacam, which is to say that the housing looks beautiful and well-designed.

Subal #661

Subal was showing off their high-quality, popular housings for digital SLRs. Subal’s design hasn’t changed in awhile, but they were one of the first manufactures to nearly perfect their housing design, so they haven’t had to make many changes. All housings are typical “Subal style,” which Rolf Sempert defined as emphasizing small size and ergonomics.

On display were:

The video button on the prototype will be moved to be more easily reachable for improved ergonomics.

Watershot #964

Jonathan Lorenzen and photographer Tim Calver were at Watershot’s booth showing off their new baseline housing for the Canon Digital Rebel T1i / 500D, and a high-end housing for the Canon 5D Mark II.

The Rebel T1i housing features a new latch (one-handed), new base, and new handles. Wetpixel reviewed the 450D housing earlier this year.

The Canon 5D Mark II housing is ergonomic for video, and is $3300, including housing, base, handles, flat port, 1 bulkhead (+1 optional).

The following ports are available: flat port for 50mm, extension for 100mm, 6” dome port. Coming soon are 8” and 9” dome ports, which use the same glass as Seacam ports.