A personal perspective by Dave Burroughs.
I had the privilege of visiting the DEMA show for the first time, courtesy of Wetpixel.
I found the large array of underwater photography and video gear a bit overwhelming. The expertise of the exhibitors and their willingness to share that expertise was impressive.
Considering this, and looking at myself as an average Wetpixel participant I thought I would share a few impressions of what may not be necessarily the latest and most technically advanced new products. In particular I was interested in what a few of the manufacturers feel are the best compact cameras to take underwater.
First a few other thoughts.
I ran into old friend Louis Prezelin, working for Light and Motion. Now I’ve been diving with Louis when he was using a dive light he designed and built that was the size of a small submarine that took two divers to control. So it was interesting to see him working with Light and Motion and their very compact lights.
What he showed me was their Sola Nightsea system to light up corals at night with ultraviolet light. The system includes a mask filter so you can see the ultraviolet light and a filter for your camera so it can see the beam.
I also checked in with the people at Ikelite. They showed me their new Vega, LED video/still focus light. A 2000 lumen very slick design that that radiates heat to keep the LEDs to burn longer and brighter. With a number of different settings in what looks like a small flash light, it should be a very versatile light for divers, photographers and videographers. It should be available early next year.
Ikelite also had on display their new Manta optic fiber strobe. Similar in size and power to their existing DS 51 strobe, it is designed to be used with optic fiber cables. It has a pre-flash recognition technology system that will automatically adjust to your camera model and exposure mode. It should also be available early next year.
Ikelite also has new lithium battery packs compatible with their DS 125, 160 and 161 strobes. They make the strobes neutrally buoyant underwater and provide twice the number of flashes as the old battery packs.
I visited the Nauticam and Ikelite booths to see what they were recommending in the way of premium compact cameras for underwater use.
Nauticam had on display their housings for the Sony RX100, Panasonic LX7 and the Cannon S110.
According to Ryan these three cameras will shoot RAW and have separate dials to control aperture and shutter speed. They also all have one touch white balance.
Nauticam had a prototype magnifier/hood for the LCD on their Cannon S110 housing.
I have to confess that I spent the last two weeks shooting the RX100 in the Solomon’s.
Ryan felt that the Sony RX100 was the best compact camera to shoot wide angle underwater and that the LX7 was the best camera to shoot macro underwater.
Nauticam had on display their NA-RX100V video housing for the Sony RX100 that has a separate HD HDMI video monitor.
Ikelite recommended their housings for the Sony RX100, the Cannon S110 and the Cannon G15. Their G15 housing is thinner than their previous G series housings and features hard wired TTL circuitry. They also have a housing for the Panasonic LX7 that also has TTL hard wired circuitry. The Cannon G15 can be used with an add-on wide-angle dome or Ikelite’s new W-30 wide-angle lens. The W 30 is designed to be used with cameras with lens the equivalent of 28 mm or wider.
Ikelite’s Sony RX100 housing allows access to all camera controls. Their LX-7 housing will also house the Leica D-LUX 6.
They recommended the Cannon S110 as being very travel friendlily.
We visited the booth for Acquapazza. They showed the prototype of their housing for the Sony RX100. It can come with one of two port designs. One is a simple flat port with 67 mm threads and the other used an Inon bayonet system to attach auxiliary lenses. This system should also be available early next year.
It should be noted that Recsea also has an underwater housing for the Sony RX100.