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Ikelite suspended the development of housings for mirrorless cameras


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#1 gobiodon

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:04 AM

I've just read this few minutes ago on the homepage of ikelite:
"As the result of a number of unexpected delays, Ikelite has chosen to suspend the development of housings for current model mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras. Affected models include, but are not limited to:

Olympus PEN E-P1, E-P2, E-PL1, E-PL1s
Panasonic GF-1, GF-2
Samsung NX100
Sony NEX-3, NEX-5

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Ikelite continues to develop new housings for other popular models of Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Kodak, Panasonic and JVC cameras. We look forward to supporting you for your future lighting and photographic needs."

Source is here:
http://www.ikelite.c...ess.html#060611

I think it's a big mistake. The mirrorless camera market is not just growing well but in my opinion these small cameras are very suitable for underwater photography, especially considering the recent baggage restrictions.
What do you think? I hope they won't abandon completely this segment.

Cheers

Marcell
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Minolta Dynax 7000i, KonicaMinolta Dynax 7D, sony a100, Ikelite housing for 7000i and sony a100, two Ikelite Ai strobes
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#2 oskar

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:24 AM

I agree that mirrorless (in some form) is the future for UW. The question is what this means though.

Possibly because the development and competition is so fierce in that camera segment, Ikelite will be too late with housings to the current generation mirrorless and therefore they are skipping a generation of the mirrorless?

/O

#3 folivier1

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 04:24 AM

It also seems that the newest models are going to "touch-screen" functions and less buttons. This may cause a problem with designing housings.

#4 Phil Rudin

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 05:53 AM

To date, all of the housings for mirrorless cameras have been designed around the use of fiber optic strobes to achieve TTL. The strobes that excell in that area are from Inon and Sea & Sea. Fiber optics is not a technology that Iklite has embraced with open arms, prefering to continue to build hard wired strobes with TTL converters. I think that all of the cameras with touch screen features allow for manual over ride so this should be a large issue. Also in regard to the Olympus PEN houings they have a great track record at a $599.00 retail price point and Iklite would have a hard time trying to enter that market space.

Phil Rudin

#5 johnspierce

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:26 AM

To date, all of the housings for mirrorless cameras have been designed around the use of fiber optic strobes to achieve TTL. The strobes that excell in that area are from Inon and Sea & Sea. Fiber optics is not a technology that Iklite has embraced with open arms, prefering to continue to build hard wired strobes with TTL converters. I think that all of the cameras with touch screen features allow for manual over ride so this should be a large issue. Also in regard to the Olympus PEN houings they have a great track record at a $599.00 retail price point and Iklite would have a hard time trying to enter that market space.

Phil Rudin


Fiber optic adapter for Ikelite strobes

http://ikelite.com/w...iber-optic.html

I think they are embracing fiber optics, but you can't expect them to throw away their tried and true strobe technologies which are still in significant demand. I agree they will have a hard time competing with Oly's housings, Sony's NEX5 however is a market ripe for a lower cost alternative to Nauticam/Aquatica.

I also wonder if the mirrorless market is big enough for them to make a profit. The good mirrorless systems are essentially the same price as an entry level Canon or Nikon DSLR which arguably has better manual controls for U/W use. I am particularly impressed with the NEX5 and it's big APC sensor, but what is the breakdown of people who actually house their cameras? Is it mostly entry level cameras then a big jump to 1000+ DSLRs? I don't know those answers, but they might play into Ikelite's decision to not support mirrorless at this time.


BTW, I personally think Canon and Nikon are both missing the boat (U/W pun here...) by not entering the mirrorless market.

John

Edited by johnspierce, 09 June 2011 - 06:33 AM.

Nikon D800 | Aquatica Housing | Inon Z-240


#6 loftus

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:29 AM

It has to be incredibly difficult for the housing manufacturers to keep up; it simply makes no economic sense for them to make housings for such a wide variety of cameras. Think about the permutations of Camera type (DSLR, P&S and Mirrorless), Camera Brand, and individual camera model. Impossible.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#7 Phil Rudin

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 11:17 AM

Hi John,

I am aware of Iklites fiber optic adapter which only works in manual and I would hardly call that an embrace of thefiber optic technology. I would suspect it is more of a way of keeping existing customers from jumping ship to the newer technology not already built into their strobes. While I agree that Iklite makes some fine strobes, many of the mirrorless camera buyers are entry level or consumer compact owners looking to reduce the size of the equipment, have things be as fool proof as possible and keep costs in a range below the entry level DSLR systems.

Phil

#8 johnspierce

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

Hi John,

I am aware of Iklites fiber optic adapter which only works in manual and I would hardly call that an embrace of thefiber optic technology. I would suspect it is more of a way of keeping existing customers from jumping ship to the newer technology not already built into their strobes. While I agree that Iklite makes some fine strobes, many of the mirrorless camera buyers are entry level or consumer compact owners looking to reduce the size of the equipment, have things be as fool proof as possible and keep costs in a range below the entry level DSLR systems.

Phil


Yes, if you must have TTL with optical, Inon and Sea&sea are the ticket there. However, I shot optical / manual for several years on compact cameras and it's really not that big a deal. TTL is not the panacea it is presented as. If you are trying to keep your kit as compact as possible, Ike is not the ticket. I would not be surprised if we don't see an Ikelite fiber optic strobe in the near future now that DSLR housings are embracing optical.

Nikon D800 | Aquatica Housing | Inon Z-240


#9 derway

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 04:55 PM

I find it sad that ikelite is not diving in here, with micro 4/3, and nex.

If you want to use ike DS strobes, with optical triggering, and TTL, it is no problem, using the heinrichs optical digital adapter, which connects to the strobe using the ikelite nikonos connector cables.

It works a charm with nearly any digital camera.

Don
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#10 gobiodon

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 11:44 PM

I expected ikelite to come up with a standard mirrorless body and port system , which would be accommodated to mikro4/3 and nex cameras. I can see the short life-cycle of these cameras might be a problem. Sony has already refreshed the not yet 1-year-old nex3/5 and panasonic is just about to come out with a further shrunk GF3. While the G series of panasonic is relatively large. On the other hand, probably the best NEX for UW usage will be the upcoming NEX7 with a predicted bigger size. Seeing the very dynamic mirrorless market, I can imagine, that it's difficult to design a standard housing core.
Support of the flash system is another problem. My only grippe with my NEX5 is that it's not compatible with the sony alpha flash system. If sony wants to implement a wired support for this camera, the new TTL protocol should be decoded again.
Despite all these problems I think ikelite should focus on these cameras. Maybe starting with the next generation.

Cheers

Marcell
Marcell Nikolausz
Minolta Dynax 7000i, KonicaMinolta Dynax 7D, sony a100, Ikelite housing for 7000i and sony a100, two Ikelite Ai strobes
Portfolio: http://www.flickr.co...57604023368278/

#11 JackConnick

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 10:56 AM

Ikelite is Ikelite. They do some things very, very well and others have you scratching your head. Actually this is true for many housing manufacturers... ;-)

I know that they felt like they were going to have to come up with a new housing size, then a new port system, etc. It's a catch 22. That's a LOT of investment folks.

Many of their present Panasonic housings are quite popular. Their LX5 housing should of been a great product, they are the only ones I've seen to have decoded the Olympus/Panasonic TTL protocol properly. (Heinrich's solution is not very user friendly or easily installed.) A very nice thing for those having Ike legacy strobes. But then they crippled it. IMHO, by not having a way to properly add on a wide angle external lens without terrific vignette. I am waiting to try the "old school" Olympus PTWC-01 lens with it. It works like a charm with the s95.

They will come to the realization that the market has moved on at some point. Hope it's not too late.

Jack

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#12 DrMark

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 02:32 PM

I am really disappointed that they are not going to make a housing for the Panasonic GH2. This looks like the perfect camera for me (I currently shoot 1/2 of my dives with video and the other 1/2 with still. I don't want to have to take two cameras and two housings on another 24K mile dive trip again). I also have 2 DS160 strobes. Hopefully I'll be able to use them with some other manufacturer's housing.

--Mark

#13 derway

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:45 PM

Hi Mark,

Yes, you can use the heinrichs optical digital adapter, which will give optical TTL with most modern strobes, inlcuding ike ds, for most modern digicams.

reefphoto has them.
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sony V3/ikelite/DS-51/Heinrich DA2 slave

#14 underexposed

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:29 PM

I am really disappointed that they are not going to make a housing for the Panasonic GH2. This looks like the perfect camera for me (I currently shoot 1/2 of my dives with video and the other 1/2 with still. I don't want to have to take two cameras and two housings on another 24K mile dive trip again). I also have 2 DS160 strobes. Hopefully I'll be able to use them with some other manufacturer's housing.

--Mark



I'm using my GH2 with a 10Bar housing and two Ikelite strobes via the hot shoe with the Nikkinos to Ikelite connectors in manual mode and have no major issues with it. I haven't shot much video but here is a link to a few clips. GH2 underwater video

I moved on from Ikelite housings a couple of years ago but still am very happy with their strobes. I have one of their old TTL slave sensors that I use when my wife isn't and I wish they still made them because although it's big it works well. I like that Ikelite uses the TTL code and hot shoe approach because it is much better then dealing with the cameras flash. I can take about 2 flash shots a second using the DS161 and the hot shoe but only about one shot every 4-5 seconds if I use the internal flash to trigger the strobes. This is something I think they have done the right way. Maybe not the most marketable way, but it is the best solution as a user.
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#15 DrMark

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:54 PM

I'm using my GH2 with a 10Bar housing and two Ikelite strobes via the hot shoe with the Nikkinos to Ikelite connectors in manual mode and have no major issues with it.


Just to make sure I understand though, you cannot use TTL with the Nikkinos connector, right? I am basically stuck with full manual strobes, right?

Since Ikelite decided to not develop a housing for the Panasonic GH2, I will have to use one of the other manufacturer's housings. As far as I know, the only three options are the 10Bar, the Nauticam, and the Diveros housings, and none of them offer digital TTL with my two Ikelite DS160 strobes. It looks like the best option is the HeinrichsWeikamp converter, but that works off of the camera's internal flash, so it will limit the speed at which I can take shots, and really suck down the already too small battery in the GH2.

Darn! I wish Ikelite would reconsider.

--Mark