The annual BOOT show, held in the Messe Dussedlorf in Dusseldorf, Germany is the world’s largest consumer watersports show. The show draws exhibitors from many different watersports disciplines, with 30m (100ft) yachts being placed into some of the show halls. Diving occupies one and a half halls, and with in this, the show boasts a dedicated imaging area called the Underwater Pixel World, with stands for suppliers of imaging equipment and a program of talks and lectures.
The entry hall featured an authentic brass band:
As mentioned above, the show has 17 vast halls, all full of watersports equipment. Amongst these was some lovely wooden cruisers:
And something to go a little faster with:
Page 1: Day 1 coverage (below)
Page 2: Around the show(UPDATED-01-22-2012.)
Page 3: Around the show.
Several camera manufacturers had presences at BOOT, and the first stand I cam to was that of Olympus. They were showing the full range of cameras, including the PEN EVIL ones. Despite mentioning the rumors circulating on the internet about a new model, the guys on the stand refused to be drawn and suggested that any new products would be released at Photokina later in the year.
Whilst trying to get my bearings in the show, I stumbled across the Seacam stand. For some reason, they, along with several others, were not included into the Pixel World area. Harald Hordosch was on the stand, together with Gunter Ruprechter and iconic photographer, Kurt Amsler. I had seen the evolved Seacam D7000 housing at DEMA, but Harald showed me another refinement that they have incorporated into it recently. The housing was previously equipped with electrical strobe triggering circuits only, but now they have designed a plug made of a special optical transmission material that will fit onto the port.
This then takes a type L fiber optic cable, with a special end-piece made by Seacam to engage it. This fiber optic adaptor seems a simple and elegant solution for those wishing to trigger their strobes optically, and will be available for the whole Prelude range.
Harald also showed me the S10 viewfinder. I had seen it at DEMA but had not had the chance to view it closely. I was impressed with the ease of fitting into the back of the housing. It is lighter and less expensive than the existing Seacam 45° and 180° viewfinders, mostly because it consists of housed components, rather than a complete unit within a waterproof housing. According to Harald, the 10° cut-away on it seems to suit macro photography.
Moving on to strobes, Seacam has developed a frosted diffuser, complete with a red or frosted filter for the pilot light.
Lastly, in terms of new products, Harald showed me a neat snoot set for the S100 strobe, consisting of three different sized aperture pieces, which neatly fold into each other and with an opaque “grid” element. Price is around €345.
In terms of newer products on display, Seacam also had a small dome for using with the Canon 8-15mm on full frame cameras, giving a 180° field of view.
Seacam has confirmed that they will be supporting both the Canon 1DX and Nikon D4, with expected release dates for housings for both within the first half of 2012.
GoPro are on just about every imaging stand. Stefan had an interesting and novel take on providing lighting with the POV cams. He has incorporated an LED array into a base. The light has a two step output control with 1600 or 2400 lumens available, with a color temp of 5000°K. It has a burn time of 90 minutes at full power and recharges in 60. The base is gently curved, and this, in conjunction with the a 120° beam spread of the LEDs, gives a horizontal spread of 170° and a vertical one of 150°.
The unit retails, complete with camera and LCD Bacpac, at €1019.
Bodo Sutter took us through the German companies new housings. A major response to customer feedback is a big and very solid looking handle on the larger video housings. This should make topside handling much easier.
BS Kinetics are offering the Tanan housing for the Panasonic HDC Z1000 6 chip 3D camera. On the housing, full manual control is available for convergence, iris (on each eye) and AF/MF selection. Manual white balance is still available via the menu.
The Negev housing offers full controls for the Sony FS100.
BS Kinetics plan to offer a housing for both the Sony NEX-5N and NEX-7. As yet though these are still in a prototype stage. Bodo mentioned though that the BS Kinetics housing for the Panasonic G2/3 and GH2 is their top selling housing at present.
Hartenberger are offering a blue LED version of their torches for fluorescence photography. Featuring ahead with either 7 3.5W or 21 3W LEDs outputting at 450 nanometers, the torches also feature an LED read out dispelling battery percentage and burn time remaining.
Reiner Hartenburger explained that the company also offers a “red corrected” white light head. This has a red LED/s amongst the array, which helps to warm the color temperature of the lights. All the lights are available in either a diffuse or spot beam, and the larger lights also have the option of a larger neutral buoyancy outer casing to help underwater handling.
My reviews of shows tend to concentrate on imaging equipment, rather than diving gear, but some products need a mention. Atomic have offered masks for some time, with the ARC coated lenses offering a fantastic non-reflective option for underwater imaging. They have now released the Schott Superwhite Ultraclear mask. Featuring a one piece design made with Schott glass and the widest field of view in both vertical and horizontal axes, this design is sure to feature on many a photographers wish list. Retail price is $199/€139.
Markus Moll was on the Subtronic stand, with the ISR cable which incorporates Heinrichs Weikamp TTL circuitry into a strobe cable allowing for Nikon or Canon TTL (two different versions). The cable also features a port, from which you can slave a second strobe.
He also had the Fusion strobe/video light that offers a 2800 lumen video light via a 2 stage dimmable 28W LED and a 160f/s strobe in one package.
He also had the company’s video lights. The Video is a 3600 lumen light, while the Video NG is available in 5000°K 5600 lumen and 3000°K 4100 lumen versions. All the lights feature a very smooth even wide beam. The Video is self-contained, while the Video NG runs from an external 7.2 Ah battery pack.
UK-Germany did not have a stand at the show, but Sutronic were displaying their Canon 5DMkII and GoPro housings.
Markus was telling me that the UK-Germany GoPro housing has survived a 500 meter pressure test!
Daniel Keller was at the show although he didn’t have any new products on display. He released the Luna 4V at DEMA and the response to it has been very strong. One design he has been working on is a Cyan LED array that will work in conjunction with a red (magic) filter to provide illumination to shadow areas.
Subal were displaying prototypes of their housings for the Panasonic GF3 EVIL and Sony NEX-5n EVIL cameras. These appeared nearly finished and Rolf Sempert and Arnold Stepanek said that they expect them to be shipping by the ends of February and March respectively. Retail prices will be €1400 for NEX-5n and €1319 for the GF3.
Both have fiber optic strobe triggering and, on the NEX-5n the option of using an electronic cable as well. THE NEX has an optional hot shoe attachment that will allow this.
Another innovative feature on the NEX-5n housing is the viewfinder, which is set at a 45° angle, making underwater viewing much easier.
Ports for the new models will be from the existing Panasonic GF2 EVIL housing, with appropriate extensions for different lenses.
Subal also had a further refined prototype of their MC-2 monitor. This is an SD monitor, but uniquely has a remote shutter release built in to it. Ideal for garden eels or commensal gobies! Retail price for the monitor and housing is expected to be in the region of €800.
Rolf and Arnold said that Subal will be producing a housing for the Sony NEX-7, as well as the Nikon D4, D800 and Canon 1DX once these models are available.