Day 1 booth visits.
Day 2 booth visits. More visits with suppliers and discussions about new products.
Day 2 Wetpixel/DivePhotoGuide Cocktail Party. Let’s get this party started.
Day 2 Special Report on the KISS GEM Rebreather
Day 3 booth visits and anti-shark finning protest
Day 4 booth visits
Slideshow of people and places at DEMA
DEMA 2010 Wrap-up
Day 2: More booth madness.
INON is being hosted in Backscatter’s booth this year, and they took time to sit down and show us a variety of new products, including a series of revamped accessories for the Canon S95. The current INON grip works with 80 different compact housings, and they are releasing a new mounting base to work with the S95 OEM housing. This base introduces a new locking mechanism for add-on lenses for greater ease of use. In addition, INON is releasing a brand new wide conversion lens specifically for the S95. This lens features a wider rear element, and optical glass to reduce diffraction and produce superior corner sharpness, delivering a 100 degree field of view. The lens hood is an optional add on. INON is also offering a dome conversion lens which will produce approximately a 130 degree field of view. INON also offers a converter to allow the use of 67mm screw mount wet lenses. They truly have produced a versatile system for what will undoubtedly one of the most popular compact cameras of 2011.
INON is also supporting the Canon OEM housing WP-DC34 for the G11 and G12 with a fibre optic mounting base and cable kit which will be available in the beginning of December. The mount looks like a clean solution for adding a strobe to Canon’s plastic housings.
Inon also showed a new snoot set for the z240 and s2000 strobes, similar to the snoots introduced earlier this year for the d2000. The snoots feature three different diameters, allowing for different beam widths.
One of the most new interesting accessories that INON is bringing to market is an adapter plate that allows their strobe mount to be added to tripods such as Joby Gorillapods. This is a great solution for photographers looking to experiment with remote strobe placement and snoot photography.
Several booths including both Backscatter and Reef had INON’s X-2 housing on display for the Panasonic GF-1, which started shipping recently. They have developed an adapter for the flat port that allows their wet dioptres to be used with the Panasonic 14-45 lens, adding additional versatility to that setup.
INON says they are currently investigating the GF-2, and trying to find ways to work around the touch screen. INON also mentioned that they are developing a housing for the Canon 60D, which will be modeled after their previous housings for the 40D and 50D, and will be available early next year.
We met with Edward Lai, Nauticam founder and CEO Chris Parsons from Nauticam USA at their large booth to discuss the recent housings that Nauticam has developed and announced. We started from Nauticam’s first foray into the EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangable Lenses) market, and worked our way all the way up the ultimate high-end medium format housing.
The NEX-5 from Sony is the first EVIL camera that Nauticam has develop a housing for, and they’ve indicated that there will likely be many to follow. It features a compact design, and Nauticam has developed ports for a wide array of lenses, including their innovative Nikonos V lens adapter, which now features a holder for Magic Filters.
In addition to all of the Nikonos lenses, Nauticam has developed flat ports for the 16mm pancake lens, the 18-55 zoom, and a brand new port for the 30mm Sony alpha SLR lens that works on the NEX with an adapter, now with autofocus supported with the most recent firmware upgrade. They also have a dome port for the fisheye adapter that screws onto the 16mm pancake.
There are different configurations for handles available including a hand strap, single handle, or double handles. All in all, Nauticam has put a tremendous amount of thought into the NEX-5 system, including re-engineering the latch closing mechanism on the housing itself, and a internal port-locking bayonet system similar to the one featured on their SLR systems. They have shown that they are taking the mirrorless EVIL market very seriously, and will bring these developments across to the micro 4/3 system as new cameras emerge from Panasonic and Olympus. Chris confirmed for us that the ports for the NEX-5 are also intended to work with future micro 4/3 housings.
Nauticam was showing all of their current Nikon and Canon SLRs, but the newest and most exciting housing was the recently announced housing for the Nikon D7000.
Edward Lai told us that the engineering team had very little time with the camera, since they only first saw pictures of it in Photokina coverage in September, and they really pulled out all of the stops to have the housing ready for DEMA. Considering the extremely short timeframe, the housing represents a very impressive piece of engineering. It features a new latch system that has the safety release buttons next to the latches, rather than actually on them as they are on the housing for the Canon T2i. It seems that with each recent housing, Nauticam has refined the latch system a bit further, and this new iterations looks to be the easiest and most comfortable option yet. The D7000 also features buttons that are made from plastic instead of aluminum, a replacement that was done to decrease the size of the shafts and decrease the spring load, making them much easier to push. The D7000 also features the new patented two stage shutter release system, which makes a half-shutter press much easier to detect. The D7000 will be shipping by early December.
Edward Lai also showed us new optional miniature electronic bulkheads, that can be swapped out in place of the optical bulkheads. Or, for the ultimate in flexibility, users can drive two strobes optically off of a single fibre optic bulkead using Nauticam’s new double optical cable, and still have an electronic connection to spare.
Nauticam also showed a new 9.25 inch white balance glass dome, which will complement their previous 8 inch acrylic WB dome.
Nauticam had their custom port to support the INON Insect Eye fisheye macro lens on display, and Chris indicated that this will now support the older version of the Nikon 60mm macro lens (AF-D version) on cropped sensor cameras, in addition to the previously supported Canon 60mm EF-S macro lens.
Finally, we had the opportunity to see the housing for the Phase One 645DF, which supports three different backs of resolutions anywhere from 30 to 60 megapixels. The P65+ back which is the top of the line is the only back that is full frame, so it is the ideal option for use underwater. The two primary lenses are the 28mm wide angle and the 120mm macro. The housing uses the same ports as Nauticam’s existing SLR line, but the 9 inch port is recommended with this system. At approximately $85,000 for the top of the line system including $10,000 for the housing, it’s not for the faint of heart, but commercial applications, including fashion pool work certainly exist for such high resolution imagery. Nauticam indicated that they had at least 3 US dealers interested in carrying the Phase One 645 system on a rental basis. We asked Edward about more affordable medium format solutions such as the Pentax 645D, and he indicated that Nauticam is seriously evaluating other options in the medium format market.
Zen Underwater had a variety of ports on display, from micro 4/3 EVIL camera options to DSLR wide angle options. For the Olympus PEN system, Zen has developed a series of port that cover a range of lenses usable on that camera, including the 8mm fisheye, 7-14mm Panasonic, 9-18mm Olympus, 8mm Panasonic fisheye, and 45mm Panasonic macro.
Each of these port is available as an add-on option to the Olympus OEM housing for the E-PL1.
In addition, Zen had on display their usual range of DSLR ports including the 100mm, 200mm and 230mm options for Subal, Sea & Sea, Nexus, Nauticam and Aquatica. These ports feature optical glass coating for maximum image quality.
Reef Photo and Video.
Reef Photo featured many compact camera options including Zen ports, INON products as well as Fisheye housings. We checked out the new Fisheye housing for the Canon S95. The housing will maintain the same price point as the s90, although the manufacturing is now handled by Nauticam instead of Seatool. Noticeably, the S95 features a port locking mechanism which is identical to the Nauticam NEX-5.
This housing looks like a slick option to house the successor to one of last year’s most popular models. Fisheye was also showing off the prototype of their new LED light, the Aqua Volt 4500. One of the most impressive features of this high intensity light, is the stepless adjustment for controlling power output.
Reef also hosted Saga, who showed off their fibre optic ring flash prototype, with a price and ship date yet to be determined. The design of this unit looks quite interesting, with the distance of the fiber optics easily adjustable from the subject.
We had an interesting conversation with Phil Rudin about the current state of the EVIL marketplace. Phil had some illuminating commentary, having extensively shot both micro 4/3 and the NEX-5 extensively.
While the NEX-5 has benefited from the superb housing design from Nauticam, as well as the largest sensor available in the mirorless class, the lens selection available for micro 4/3 cannot be ignored. Phil specifically pointed to the availability of fast primes for quicker autofocus as a significant advantage of micro 4/3. It will be very interesting to see how Sony responds with additional lenses as the system evolves. Phil also showed us a viewfinder magnifier from UN that greatly improves the view of the PEN LCD screen,
Lee Jae-Hyug from Patima showed off the company’s 3D camera set up. Using two Panasonic HDC-TM700 camcorders, the housing has two camera mountings, for either vertical or horizontal orientations. Patima have full control of each camera, and the user can adjust the convergence point of the two eyes. It is supplied with a monitor, which can display each eye simultaneously.
The company has also released a housing for the popular Canon G12 compact camera.
Aquatica has released a series of new products in time for DEMA. Jean Bruneau took the time off from a busy stand to show some of the key products. Aquatica now offers dome ports in 4 diameters from 4” to 9.25”, macro ports and extensions to suit macro lenses from both Nikon and Canon.
The new housing for the Nikon D3s, offers a really slick port and lens gear release mechanism which allows one button control for both these functions.
They also have an elegant solution to strobe triggering, with the use of a micro switch to switch on or off the pins in the flash connector.
The D3S housing has also been equipped with really rugged cold water controls as standard. This change will now filter into the rest of the housing range.
The new EVIL cameras have been addressed, with a prototype on display for the Sony NEX-5. This will have ports available for the 18-55, the pancake lens and a 4” dome for the fisheye adaptor.
The lens and port release functions as per the SLR housings have carried through onto this smaller housing, and it is equipped with 2 fiber optic ports and a 3 position camera flash control lever. The housing’s control are designed to mimic the camera’s controls, with a “jog dial” type control for menu functions on the rear. Lastly, the camera saddle is cleverly designed to act as a “stop” to keep the camera’s LCD at the correct angle for viewing through the housing’s window.
Aquatica were displaying a prototype of their new remote image capture system. Unique features on this include the ability to strip it down into suitcase size sections, a tilt mechanism controlled by the user, a video monitor (currently SD) and video spectacles.
Lastly, all new Aquatica housings will proudly display their Canadian heritage with the maple leaf emblem.
Ikelite has added a new video light to their range: The Pro 2800. Powered by a NiMh battery pack, the light has an output of 2800 lumens, has three power settings, and gives a 90 minute burn time at full power. Each battery pack can accommodate two light heads, and there is also the option of mounting dual battery packs if extra burn time is needed.
Their other new product is a package comprising a JVC Picsio WP10 camera, in a polycarbonate housing. Iklelite also offer the same camera and housing packaged with a Pro V8 LED video light.
Bob and Steve confirmed that the company is investigating housing options for EVIL cameras, with release expected from mid January 2011 onwards.
Daniel Keller of Keldan Lights has a unique product, video lights that are not only white balance corrected, but also color rendering corrected in terms of the distribution of color across the spectrum. His Luna 8 LA-V CRI addresses this discrepancy by adding a very specific combination of colors via LEDs. The torches output is 3000 lumens (after passing through the lens), has a wide range of power options and gives 55-220 minutes on a charge.
Keldan also offer a high output non color corrected version on the Luna: The High Flux. This gives 5000 lumens of power, but is not color corrected.
Both versions have an optional UV light module that will provide interesting lighting effects for UV florescence shooting.
The range is complemented by the Luna 4 L-H, which could be used a a focus light, particularly if it is combined with the optional diffuser reflector. This gives 3500 lumens and a burn time of 55-220 minutes.
Light & Motion.
Amy Mack of Light and Motion showed us their dive, photo and video lights at their booth. They maintain separate lines of Sola lights, one geared toward dive instructors, one for photographers and two for videographers. The operation of the lights is simple, with a standard switch pressed forwards and backwards to control the power output. The dive and video lights are nearly identical, as both contain spot and flood functionality, with the difference being in the type of mount.
The Sola line has power outputs of 500, 600, and 1200. Amy told us that dive instructors prefer a wrist mount, while obviously photographers and videographers prefer a mount that will allow them to attach the lights to strobe arms, and LMI accommodates this with both ULCS ball mounts and loc-line mounts.
The size of the Sola lights are very impressive, it’s hard to imagine a more powerful light at their footprint. Light and Motion also had on display prototypes of the Sola 4000, which will be available in April 2011 at a retail price of $1599 per light head.
The 4000 is neutrally buoyant, and includes a cyan filter for warming the color temperature and a diffusor for widening the spread of the beam.
Amy told us about the engineering process at Light & Motion, mentioning that everything is handled in-house. In particular, LMI paid particular attention to the glass and reflectors, ensuring that maximum output is achieved. All lights are carefully tested and benchmarked. The first version of the 1200s were re-engineered after they were found to be lower than the desired level of output, and the designers ended up driving the LEDs higher to achieve maximum brightness.
Light and Motion has reduced the price of their entire housing line, and is planning to support the latest offering from Sony and Canon released at CES 2011. In addition, their engineers are giving serious consideration to the NEX camcorder that will be compatible with all of the currently shipping NEX lenses.
UPDATE: Light & Motion has been listening to feedback from photographers since the SOLA lights were released and has added power levels to the red focus light in the SOLA 600. The new SOLA Photo 600 features 3 power levels for red by reducing power output from its 4 red LEDs. The new, lower-powered red light should make approaching skittish underwater critters more easy, and should not bleed into strobe-lit images unless photographers exposing for low light (which is uncommon at night).