Alex Mustard joined the Wetpixel team last night, and we arrived promptly at 10am for a run through with Chris Parsons on Nauticam USA. Nauticam has predictably carried on with its production of new housings and accessories, with owner Edward Lai counting that they have produced 8 new housings this year.
At the top end, Nauticam has modified their NA-645DF housing for the Phase one camera to accommodate the new 80 megapixel IQ 180 back In conjunction with this, they have produced a 10” acrylic dome with a very large radius specifically for ultra-wide rectilinear lenses. This works well in conjunction with the Phase one, but could also be used with other housings/cameras. Prices are still to be confirmed.
The burgeoning EVIL camera market has been addressed with a new model for the Olympus EPL-3. This features buttons with concave pushing areas for increased tactile feedback.
We looked at the NA-GF3 housing for the Panasonic GF3.
Chris told us that the NA NEX-5 is the companies top selling housing, and the recently released NA-NEX5N has the most pre orders of any housing so far This is shipping now at a retail price of $1650. Nauticam support the new Sony 30mm macro lens with a flat port. The Sony NEX-5N seems to address many of the issues with previous EVIL cameras, and has a very rapid AF and little shutter lag. Nauticam have an upgrade path available for NA NEX-5 owners who wish to swap over to the NEX-5N, which costs $200.
Nauticam have produced a housing for the Small HD monitor. Labelled the NA-DP4, it features a full true HDMI input and focus assist/peaking viewing modes.
The cable joins the housing via a bridging piece that connects a cable from the camera and a cable from the monitor, at the same time ensuring waterproofness.
The existing NA D7000 housing’s shape does not have sufficient room to accommodate the HDMI plug in to the side of the camera body. There is now a modified version available, labelled the NA-D7000V. In addition to the shape modification.
Other changes include the sub-command dial being moved onto the top of the housing, and the multi selector and info buttons being moved out to the outside of the housing. This has been accomplished by the use of laser cut joining pieces inside the housing. The new housing will cost $3300.
Edward showed us a prototype design for a hinged bracket to allow the attachment of 67mm wet diopters and swing them out of the way when not in use.
Nauticam have two trays available: The Easi and Flexi. Both are supplied with one handle, but can have an additional one attached if required. Different sized bolts are available to allow them to be fitted to Ikelite and M6 threaded housings, and they both stand up when not in use (on a flat surface).
Lastly, the company has a range of arms and clamps in a wide variety of sizes and fitments. The clamps have a deeper internal radius, that allows more of the ball to sit in the clamp, making for a very secure feeling connection.
There are versions that have ball adaptors and lanyard attachment points. The arms come in various lengths and types, including fittings for Sea & Sea YS mounts and Inon Z mount. Lastly, Nauticam have a cold shoe fitting ball that will work really well with focus lights on their macro ports.
We met with John Ellerbrock and Janny Friday at the Gates Underwater housings booth. The principle item on display was the DEEP Epic housing for the RED EPIC, which the team had produced in three weeks, this being the time they had available from the delivery of the camera to the start of the show.
The housing featured many unique details, amongst which is the use of ball bearing races on the control knobs to ensure a super smooth control action, and the innovative use of the REDMOTE camera remote control to control camera functions.
John went on to tell us tat when the original DEEP RED housings were released, RED had forbid Gates to replace their monitor cables with a product that was more suitable for underwater use. They have subsequently relented and Gates now produce a specific cable with superior performance in the underwater environment. Gates now offer this new cable as a free upgrade for all Gates DEEP RED housing owners.
The conversation then moved on to what was likely to happen at the scheduled Canon imaging event today. It seemed likely that Canon will release a digital cinema camera, to compete wit the RED series.
Late in the afternoon we walked over to the Hugyfot booth to meet up with Pascal Eeckhoudt. Like most of the housing manufacturers we’ve already seen at the show,
Hugyfot has come up with a housing for a top mount HD monitor. They’ve housed a Marshall Electronics 5” monitor and it has all of the crisp display options you would hope for in an external monitor, including focus peaking. Together, the Hugyfot housing and monitor weigh in at $2000 and will be available in January.
But what we were really excited about were the new Hugyfot housings manufactured out of Delrin. The significance of this material is reduced weight and cost (30% less expensive) . Although you are sacrificing depth rating (now reduced to 10m), many professional and amateur shooters strictly shoot in shallow water, pools or underwater studios, and this presents no issue whatsoever.
As an example of weight and price, the Hugyfot D7000 at the show is priced at $2350 and weighs just 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg)
Presently all Hugyfot housings can be machined from Delrin or Aluminum and we think that is really cool.
We moved on to the stand of XIT404. The California based company produces a wide variety of accessories and modified parts for housings, lenses and lighting systems. The Manta and Turtle lines are a series of modular focus/zoom gears for Canon and Nikon respectively. They consist of abase unit of gear and spacer at $250, to which can be added spacers and extenders for use with teleconvertors for example.
They also offer a range of replacement control knobs that ease adjustment of zoom or focus, for avariety of housings. These sell at $40.
XIT offer a tripod system, consisting of a base plate with ball arms attached for a variety of different still and video housings. To these can be attached either their twist-lock extendible legs, or a simpler leg that attaches using a clamp and a standard 1” ball.
For video shooters, the company offer a Pentamirror for L&M, and Subal or Aquatica housings. This device allows the LCD screens on the cameras to be viewed by looking down, rather than having to look forward and creates new opportunities for shooting as a result.
A new product, tentatively called the Remora, cleverly allows the control of Light & Motion lights from behind the housing. The device features two push switches linked to the switch mechanism on the torch via shrouded monofilament. This is still under testing, but when it is released, we will announce it on Wetpixel.
Other products include an extendible strobe arm. Future plans include the development of an underwater pager to attract a buddy’s attention in limited visibility.
Lastly to accompany the Quad Ball adaptor reviewed earlier this year, XIT404 now plan to offer a locline fitting, allowing the use of both ball and locline via one base.
They also plan to release a locline mount for fitting to the center attachment point on Subal housings.
We then returned to the Reef Photo/Nauticam USA/ Zen underwater stand to check out the new dome port options from Zen Underwater. The company offers the DP-100 4” dome port in a version for the Canon 8-16mm fisheye lens. Housing compatibility for this port includes: Subal Type 3 and 4, Nauticam, Aquatica, Sea & Sea, Ikelite and Hugyfot. All the later will retail at $899, except the Hugyfot, which is shipped with a modified zoom ring and hence costs $999.
Ikelite users will be happy to hear that Zen now has a version of the DP-100 for use with the Tokina 10-17mm on both Nikon and Canon cropped sensor cameras.
In terms of ports for EVIL cameras, the company offers a range compatible with the Olympus PT-EPO5L housing for the EPL-3 camera. These include a dome for the Panasonic 8mm fisheye, two wide angle ports for the Olympus 9-18mm and Panasonic 7-14mm and a flat port for the Leica 45mm macro lens.
Tuesday 1 November: Pre-show set-up.
Wednesday 2 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.