Tuesday is the first day of the DEMA show for 2011, and Abi Smigel Mullens and Adam Hanlon spent a full day chatting abut new products and meeting people.
Our first meeting was with Aquatica. Jean Bruneau was on hand to take us through the Canadian company’s new developments. Their recent acquisition of Amphibico was vey obvious as the two companies were side by side on their stand. The new Genesis housing for the Sony FS100 was being shown. This features a bayonet fitting that allows the use of all Aquatica ports, and the secure closure latches of the Amphibico video housings.
Jean also showed us their new 45° viewfinder. This new product has been much discussed on the forums and it is really good to see one. It is a really small neat elegant solution.
In terms of ergonomics in general, Aquatica’s engineer, Luc Beauregard, was on the stand and he was telling us that he has a box of assorted diving gloves of different thicknesses and types that he uses to ensure that the controls on Aquatica housings are accessible even whilst wearing gloves.
He was also chatting about the forthcoming housing for the Sony NEX-5N. This has been substantially redesigned from the existing NEX-5 housing, with the addition of Amphibico style closures and a side sealing o ring rather then the traditional face sealing one. The new housing will also have traditional fiber optic ports and no “window” for the built in flash. Unfortunately, this means that there will be no upgrade path for existing NEX-5 housing owners into the new housing with the NEX-5N, although this is unlikely to affect many people.
Aquatica has responded to the demand for close-up wet diopters by producing two new units with +5 and +10 magnification. Both feature a dry sealed space between the lens elements and a combination of a push fit system and a 67mm thread. The company has a new adaptor that will allow owners of all Aquatica macro ports to fit these onto their existing ports, using the push fit system listed above. This is supplied with nylon fixing screws that avoid damage to the ports finish.
Joe Brendahan of Amphibico then showed us a new monitor, that uses an OLED display. This uses the existing Amphibico monitor housing, but with a higher resolution LCD. We questioned him on how he saw the company’s future direction lying and he envisages a future with 3D cameras, especially the Sony consumer versions and also stereoscopic housings utilising two cameras.
Jean caught us again for a couple of new products in the TLC line of strobe arms. This range now offers a specific adaptor for the Ikelite TTL converter and a four ball T plate adaptor, which allows for the addition of up to 4 1” balls per T plate.
Early in the morning of day one of the show Jim Decker, Sterling Zumbrunn and Berkeley White of Backscatter took the time to show us some of their new equipment. The first item was press released just yesterday (November 1st) and goes by the engaging name of Wahoo.
Named for the keen vision of its namesake, the Wahoo is a slim and smartly designed underwater housing for the Sony CLM-V55 monitor.
If you have ventured into the world of underwater SLR video, or even topside for that matter, this is an accessory you won’t want to pass up. The 5-inch screen offers full 1080 HD resolution via hard wired HDMI cable, a 450 foot depth rating, focus peaking, a slim shade and glove friendly controls. The problems of feeding an HDMI connector through a port in a housing have been elegantly solved by creating a dismountable shield that, when removed, allows the cable to pass.
A word about focus peaking. This feature switches to black and white for maximum contrast and highlights focused areas in bold red. This mode will give you a huge advantage in the underwater focus game and is certainly something that will change the way you shoot video.
There are currently versions available for Aquatica and Nauticam housings.
The Wahoo housing is shipping next week and is priced at $1299. Alone the monitor is $499.
NightSea is also in the Backscatter booth and Charlie Mazel walked us through some of his new and incredibly cool equipment. Of special note, Backscatter is now the exclusive worldwide distributor of NightSea.
NightSea equipment allows divers to photograph and view fluorescence underwater, even during the day. First up was the Blue Star dive light which is a blue LED light that comes with a yellow mask filter - all you need to view fluorescence underwater. Retail: $162 for the package.
To photograph it you’ll need: A light to look for fluorescing subjects, an excitation filter for your strobe to convert the white light to blue light and a barrier filter for your camera lens to record only the fluorescent emission. Strobe adapter for any strobe retails at $139 and lens filters range from $45 to $100 depending on the mm thread.
Charlie also showed us a working prototype of a converted SOLA 1200 that emits blue light, with special blue LED’s and a correction lens. This will be available at $699.
Fisheye have a number of new products this year including a new housing for the Canon S100. The camera features 1080p video recording, and an image processor that is 6 x faster than its predecessor. The housing features a one-touch recording button, access to the cameras multi function dial and can accept wet lenses.
Fisheye had some new lights on their stand too. The FIX 5000 outputs 5000 lumens with a 120˚ beam angle with a stepless control of the beams and a 75 minute burn time.
The 3500 has a 3500 lumen output and an LCD display showing battery status/run time/light brightness. It will be available in mid December and is shipped with a diffuser.
Lastly, they released the the MG300 aluminium 300 lumen.
I met with Ed Richards on the Equinox stand. This video housing manufacturer has elected to cater for a price-conscious segment this year with the introduction of the innovative Recon video housing. It will acept any hand held consumer camcorder, and is supplied with a soft grip handle as standard.
It is made of a see-through polycarbonate tube and has numerous optional extras available including a pistol grip and a lighting bar with handles. It retails at a very competitive $199.
To complement this, the company are offering a range of neoprene bags suitable for storing lenses, ports or even the whole Recon camera. Available in three sizes and colors, the bags will retail at $8, $9 and $10.99 respective to size.
GoPro’s presence at the show is a surprise this year, but Equinox have a housing that they have produced for the Midland XTC 300 POV cam. This will retail at $250 complete with housing and camera. The housing is optically corrected for underwater use as standard.
Lastly, at the higher end, Ed showed me some of the developments that have been done, especially with 3D camcorders. Equinox support the Sony TD10 and JVC T10 and both housings offer full control, including convergence adjustment.
We met with Stephen Frink and Harald Hordosch to chat about developments with the Seacam range of housings. Seacam have a policy of incremental improvement and development, and this was evident with numerous refinements to existing products. The Prelude housing for the Nikon D7000 has evolved with button access for ISO and WB added. This is partially in response to consumer demand for these features, but mostly due to Nikon’s positioning of the D7000. Harald pointed out that the adoption of the D7000 by underwater photographers is largely due to the lack of an alternative! The evolved D7000 Prelude’s price is unchanged.
In line with the Prelude concept of simpler housings for people staring their journeys into underwater image making, Seacam will produce a simpler strobe: the Seaflash 100.
This has a 100W/second output in a compact body weighing in at 1kg including the rechargeable battery. The strobe has the same controls as its larger sibling the Seaflash 150, barring the LCD display. Seacam will be offering fiber optic strobe triggering in its housings and strobes soon.
Harald also showed us the S10 viewfinder that also ties into the Prelude concept. He is at pains to point out that the price savings involved are due to streamlining construction and design, rather than compromising performance or quality. The new products are often significantly lighter due to this simplifies construction too. For example, the S10 has its optics housed within the Seacam housing wheres the S45 and S180 viewfinders are both complete housed units, enclosed in an additional Seacam housing.
Stephen mentioned that he has been shooting with the Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens, and has had great success using it with the Seacam Shadeless Macro Fisheye port, particularly for close-focus-wide-angle.
This lead on to a discussion of lighting techniques for this, and Harald mentioned that within two weeks, he will have the Seacam School, written by photo pro Kurt Amsler on the Seacam website.
In the line of product refinement, Seacam has removed some extra metal from the interior of the balls on its arms, and made the base adaptors significantly smaller and lighter. Whilst these may seem small changes by themselves, when taken in conjunction with a camera rig in total, they will help save precious weight. The refined arms will float in both salt and fresh water.
Lastly, Stephen confirmed that Seacam will have a housing available for the new Canon 1D X.
Light & Motion.
Daniel Emerson, CEO of Light & Motion and Andy Sallmon, Sales Rep, walked us through the ever evolving Light & Motion product line.
They started with the SOLA photo light line that has been repriced and lumen increased. The SOLA 1200, at a whopping 1200 lumens, is powerful enough to be used as a video light, has three levels of red light and is priced at a reasonable $699.
The SOLA 800 replaces the previous SOLA 600, is now 30% more powerful, emits 800 lumens at full power and has three levels of red and white light and is priced at $499.
The original SOLA 500 retains all of its features and has been repriced at $299.
The designated SOLA video light 1200 now comes in a 2000 lumen version as well. This SOLA Video 2000 has a increased 70 degree flood (no spot) and is priced at $899. The much loved SOLA Video 1200 still retains its 12 degree spot and 60 degree flood at 1200 lumens and sells for $699.
Hello SOLA 4000. This baby is perfect for SLR video and is roughly the size of a still photo strobe. With an output of 4000 lumens it is fantastic that the battery is self contained. Also an engineering gem are the two safety features to ensure SOLA 4000 owners meet TSA requirements. One is a switch that disconnects the battery from the light and the second is the ability to completely remove and then invert the LED array and heat sink. This makes it impossible for the torch to trigger inadvertently. It has an 80 degree beam and can go from 500 lumens to 4000 in 1/3 increments. Pricing is $1599 for one and $2999 for two.
Sea & Sea.
The first thing Sea & Sea had to show us was the newly designed YS-D1 strobe. This strobe is about the size of the YS-110 with about 25% more power. It takes 4 AA batteries, has more ergonomic backplate switches and employs Sea &Sea’s new slave TTL system, “DS-TTL II.” The YS-D1 also has a maximum light output of Guide Number 32 and is the first slave TTL strobe equipped with an EV control function. These strobes are shipping in January 2012 and are priced at $699.
Sea & Sea also showed the newly released housing for the Canon EOS 600D.
Additionally, Sea & Sea has introduced the 180 Degree Viewfinder for their housings. Because the viewfinder sticks out from the housing quite a bit, it is user installable, as it is necessary to remove it for travel. At 1.2x magnification, the 180 Degree Viewfinder is a piece of gear any Sea & Sea housing user won’t want to miss out on. The viewfinder becomes available in January and is priced at $999.00.
New World Publications.
I headed over to the new World Publications stand to see Ned and Anna Deloach and Eric Reisch. They recently released their travel version of the Reef Fish Identification guide for the Caribbean, Bahamas and South Florida and I picked up a copy for a later review here on Wetpixel. Ned said that they are planning to release multimedia type apps for many of their publications, but it is sometimes necessary to consult paper, and this new version at least gives the travelling diver that option.
Also on the stand was the new guide *”Diving Indonesia’s Birds Head Seascape” reviewed by Drew Wong on Wetpixel earlier.
Tuesday 1 November: Pre-show set-up.
Thursday 3 November:Booth visits.
Special report: Shawn Heinrichs receives the Sea Hero of the Year Award.
Slideshow of images from the Wetpixel/DivePhotoGuide Pool party.
Friday 4 November: Booth visits
Saturday 5 November: Booth visits
Slideshow about the “people of DEMA”
DEMA 2011:Final thoughts and conclusions.