Wetpixel show coverage: Photokina 2012

Photokina 2012: Wetpixel show coverage day three.

I started my last day at Photokina 2012 by visiting Howard and Nadav Rosenstein on their Fantasea stand.

They showed me their housing for the Nikon P7100, which is very fully featured and has access to all the camera controls.

It is rated to 60m, and sells for $399. It is defintely seems to be an improvement on the Nikon branded underwater housing for the camera.

They were also exhibiting a tray and light for the GoPro POV cam. The light’s outpu is 700 lumens with a beam spead of 75°. It has a burn time of 1.5 hours and a depth rating of 100 meters (330 feet). It retails at $200.

Fantasea is also planning to release a housing for the Canon G15. This will allow the use of the accessories that Fantasea produces, which include a wide-angle dome and a macro conversion lens. The dome has the option of adding a blue or green water filter.

The dome sells for $200, the macro ports for $120 and the filters $15 each.

I then headed over to Panasonic with Reef Photo’s Ryan Canon. We looked at the GF5, GX1 and GH3 micro 4/3 EVIL cameras.

Panasonic LUMIX GF5.

Panasonic GX1.

The GH3 has a new 17.2 megapixel sensor and is heavily optimized for video use. Control surfaces include separate adjustment dials for shutter speed and aperture.

Video output is possible at 1080 60p (50P) and at a 79 mbps bitrate. It is likely that hacks for video performance are already being developed.

Key underwater lens choices for the LUMIX cameras includes a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 power zoom, a 7-14 f4.0 zoom, an 8mm f3.5 fisheye and a 45mm f2.8 macro. This currently represents the best range of lenses for underwater use especially if it is considered that many other manufacturers are using the micro 4/3s standard and can also be used with Panasonic cameras.

Ryan and I then headed over to Zeiss. The company has just introduced its first autofocus lenses. These include a range of lenses for Sony E and Fuji X mount, with focal lengths and nomenclature of 12mm f/2.8 Distagon, 32mm f/1.8 Planar and 50mm f/2.8 macro.

Zeiss had design prototypes of the first two on display, but do not expect to be shipping the 50mm until spring 2013. Whilst we were on the Zeiss stand, we were shown some test shots taken with their APO Sonnar 2/135 lens. The corner sharpness appears to be amazing. This is not a AF lens however, and so is hence of limited use underwater.

I then went on to look at the Fuji X-E1 EVIL camera. This has an X-Trans CMOS 16 megapixel APS-C sensor that has a highly random pixel arrangement, which, the maker claims, does away with the need for an optical low pass filter. It also gives an extended dynamic range.

The camera has an OLED EVF and dials for exposure compensation and shutter speed. Current lense choices include a 14mm f2.8 wide-angle, an 18-55mm f2.8-4.0 zoom and a 60mm f2.8 macro. The latter has a focus mechanism that extends out of the front of the lens, which will make port selection awkward.

The company has a 56mm f1.4 macro on its roadmap that may deal with this however. This, and a 10-24 f4 zoom, will be available in 2013. Edward Lai of Nauticam confirmed that they will be supporting this camera with a housing soon.

The centerpiece of the underwater imaging area was a display of the winning images from the 2011 Epson Red Sea shootout.

David Pilosof (unfortunately with his eyes closed!)

I met with organizer David Pilosof and discussed his plans for the 2012 contest.

A unique feature of this year’s contest is a national team event, billed as the “2012 International Underwater Photography Olympics”. It will be held from 4 to 10 November.

Again not underwater related, I couldn’t resists a visit to the Kessler stand. The company produces a wide arrange of jibs, dollies, and tripods for use in film and for amazing timelapse sequences! Fully powered electronic motion control is available, at a significant price.

Just before leaving, I managed to snatch a few images of the new Canon underwater housings for the Powershot S110 and G15.

  1. Day one: Sony, Canon and Nikon and others.
  2. Day two: Subal, Nauticam, BS Kinetics, Olympus, HGTV.
  3. Day three: Fantasea, Panasonic, Zeiss, Fuji and the Epson Red Sea Shootout.
  4. Conclusion.