BOOT Show Day 1
The BOOT show is the world’s largest watersports show. Among the 14 giant halls that the show occupies at Messe Dusseldorf, Germany, is hall 3, which plays host to the scuba diving industry. Further tucked into this space are exhibitors showing underwater imaging gear. Wetpixel spent the day visiting stands and hanging out with folks at the show.
Paul Orphandidis and Harald Karl showed me the new models from Subal at the show. Their is a new housing for the Canon 5Ds/5Ds r and 5D Mk III cameras. It features fiber optic strobe triggering ports, as well as electronic N5 bulkheads.
This lead on to a discussion about Subal’s new TTL circuitry. This is installed in the housing and connects to the camera via a hot shoe. It gives the option of either optical or conventional wired TTL. In the case of optical, the circuit is connected to a fiber optic bulkhead that has an LED within it. This takes L type fiber cables and can be fitted into a standard housing port. The circuit can actually provide output to both electrical and optical bulkheads simultaneously. The system hence allows the retro fitting of fiber optic TTL to older Subal housings, although Paul was at pains to stress that this needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
The new circuit is currently available for Inon Z240, and Sea&Sea YS-D1/YS-01 strobes. Subal plan to release additional versions for YS-250 and Ikelite strobes soon. Harald told me that Subal have actually achieved full functionality with Nikon’s iTTL protocol and flash release modes, including rear curtain sink and are around 8 weeks away from the same with Canon’s eTTL with plans to produce aversion for Sony’s TTl too. The circuit board can be flashed with updates if required and and it features an output over ride. Karl mentioned that the company are working on an external TTL output control dial that can be installed into a spare port too.
Another new product is a housing for the Leica M rangefinder camera. It features very attractive retro styling. The Leica M has an LCD LIve view screen and offers manual focusing
Lastly, Paul showed me the company’s new housing for the Sony a7 II. An important change with this new housing is that it now has Type 3 ports, with the extra throat that this provides allowing the use of wider bodied lenses and adaptors
Subal plan to start shipping their new housing for the Nikon D5 at the end of February, and an additional one for the D500 in April.
The World Shootout
The World Shootout announced its results live on the main stage. The ceremony was live streamed.
Congratulations to all the winners! Wetpixel will post the full results soon.
Seacam’s trademark dark booth hosted several new products. Seacam owner Harald Hordosch took the time to show me through them. A major new departure is the addition of a new range of housings. To date, Seacam has offered their Silver housings for pro level camera bodies, and their Prelude range for prosumer cameras. To this is now added the Compact range too. Harald is at pains to stress that these are constructed in the same way as the Silver range and share many common features, but are for mirrorless cameras.
The first Compact housing to be released is for the Sony a7 II. There are two versions available as the a7 II s and a7 II r have slightly different diameter mode dials. Seacam have used a special clam shell gear that attaches to the mode dial in order to prevent pressure from being exerted on the dial unevenly, hence the need for two versions.
The housing provides access to nearly all the controls, including the customisable buttons and lens release and is compatible with the full range of Seacam ports, allowing the use of all lens combinations. The camera’s LCD is tilted at 30° in the housing and it has a built-in sunscreen for viewing the screen in bright conditions.
It is equipped with three bulkheads, capable of taking S6 or N5 strobe bulkheads as well as HDMI monitor feeds or a vacuum leak detector valve. Currently, Seacam support manual triggering of their strobes with Sony cameras.
Returning to bulkheads for a moment, Harald showed me a new fiber optic bulkhead design. This is installed within the housing, and uses two small batteries to fire an LED located in a bulkhead. The camera is connected via a standard hot shoe. It is currently available for manual strobe triggering only, but TTL will follow shortly. This can be ordered with new housings, or retro fitted onto existing ones as the user requires.
Another significant new product from Seacam is the Seaflash 60D. Available in versions for Nikon and Canon, the strobe offers full TTL and an output of 65 watt seconds, giving a guide number of about 25 in air (around 8 underwater) with a beam spread of 100°. Color temperature is 4400°K.
The strobe is powered by 4 standard AA batteries in a sealed battery compartment which give around 250 flash cycles at full power or 3 hours of pilot light use. Obviously, these figures will vary somewhat depending on the types of battery used. They are very light and compact, with a weight of 550g at the surface and are neutral underwater.
Manual strobe control is via 5 steps as well as slave and SOS modes, with an LCD screen providing information to the user. Strobe triggering is via either S6 or N5 as required, and there is a standard fiber optic connection too.
The Seaflash 60D can be fitted with a macro protector and diffuser, using a new secure bayonet fitting. The strobes are shipping with a short S6 cable and macro protector as standard and will retail at €1100.
Seacam are currently working on a new housing for the Nikon D5 and (most liklely) a housing for the D500.
Page 1: Subal, World Shoot Out, Seacam.
Page 2: Nauticam, Underwater Photography Global Championships, Keldan, Isotta, Orcalight.
Page 3: Easydive, H2O Photo Tools, Subtronic, BS Kinetics, Inon, Hugyfot.