I was exhibiting at the Golden Dolphin dive show in Moscow from 14 to 17 February. The Russian dive market is emerging and different from that of other countries. One interesting aspect of this is that photographers express a significant preference for Canon cameras. As it happened, three new housing models for the 5D Mk III were debuted at the show. Interesting underwater video surveillance and communication systems were presented as well as some unique Russian-made underwater video housings.
Nord Sea is a Russian producer of dive lights and underwater surveillance systems for commercial diving. They had dive and light tank combinations in various sizes and lumen outputs on display. World record rebreather deep diver Pascal Bernabé is using one of their lights. Home grown surface operated video surveillance and communication systems were also presented.
Nauticam’s Russian distributor Pavel Kolpakov and his assistant showcased all the new SLR housings currently available. Also exhibited was their highly sophisticated Red Scarlet housing. In addition, there was an impressive array of compact housings as well as SLR models for Nikon D600, D800 and D4 and Canon 5D Mk III and 1DX. They also presented some new Fisheye LED lights.
The Red housing’s complicated control system was very impressive. I think that is the most sophisticated mechanically controlled housing I’ve encountered thus far.
Subal’s Rolf Sempert had Nikon D800 housing and, for the first time, the Canon 5D Mk III on display. Here Subal has stuck to its tradition of building small and light housings. Ergonomics have been improved over those of the 5D Mk II housing and the 5D Mk III features a removable monitor backplate for the PS-30 live-view finder.
The only manufacturer of carbon fiber housings presented some video housings and a model for the 5D Mk III. They have also adapted their housings so that the Nauticam magnified viewfinders can be used. BS Kinetics owner, Bodo Sutterer, gold me that he is currently working on a housing for the Red Epic made of carbon fiber. This may well work well as it will be lighter than an alloy one and it will feature better thermal insulating capabilities, making it appropriate for arctic waters.
Seacam’s Russian distributor displayed the first Canon 5D Mark III housing. Seacam has improved the ergonomics over previous models and the housing looked unique with its shiny silver appearance and matching strobe arms and strobes.
This was an interesting Russian producer of bright yellow tube housings. Though the housings are called 120M they are apparently waterproof to 200m. When I asked why this was so, I was told that they were initially constructed to withstand the pressure at 120m, but afterwards the engineers tested them successfully to 200m. The housing features universal electronic controls (incl. White Balance) for all Sony consumer camcorders including the newest 3D model and they were showing some impressive footage on a monitor. Perhaps the most interesting fact was the extremely competitive system price of $1.100 for including housing, 3” monitor, electronics and port.
Andrej Belic was also present at the show with his Nikonos Conversion System. Apart from making Nikonos lenses work on Nikon SLRs, adaptors have been constructed for various mounts and it seems that sooner or later there will be adaptors for all housing brands.
Also displayed was a prototype of his universal electronically controlled housing for all Nikon and Canon SLRs with USB connection. The specifications still aren’t final, but the housing’s piezo buttons will have electronic access to all camera functions plus advanced electronic features like separate RGB histograms and focus peaking in Liveview mode, software enabled manual focusing and more. The housing will feature an integrated electronic viewfinder system for unrestricted photography and a 7” HD-monitor. The large port opening will accommodate all Nikonos RS lenses and third-party port systems via adaptors. There will be more features to be announced and it is planned that the final housing will be available by April 2013.
Rebreathers seem to become more and more popular and there were some interesting models on display:
A fully-featured trimix rebreather called Sentinel:
A smaller model named rEvo with US-made Shearwater electronics:
A light rebreather for recreational diving from Poseidon with some special color coding:
Lastly, an AP-Diving Inspiration with a custom “bling” gold anodized housing and tanks. Real Russian style! It wasn’t made only for display, I understand that the owner is diving with it, too.