Our first appointment was with Mike Elliot of XIT 404. The company manufactures accessories for housings and cameras. Mike introduced us to his redesigned legs for the XIT 404 tripod. Called 20P, this reflects the fact that they are 20% lighter than the original ones, while still retaining the same strength and usability.
XIT 404 used to supply different 3D printed housing saddles for different housing models for their tripod. Mike emphasised that the current way of doing this had changed, and a piece of rubber could be used to simply hold the camera while it is connected with its tripod screw.
Although not new for DEMA 2016, Mike also showed us his zoom and focus rings for mirrorless cameras. They are now available only in black as it was discovered that lighter colors could cause reflections in dome ports. Lenses that they are available for include the Panasonic 7-14mm and the Olympus 60mm macro.
Mike is currently designing a rail system for underwater timelapse. He envisages two motorized systems, one for GoPro sized and another for bigger, heavier cameras. These are still being worked on and there is no predicted delivery date as yet.
Our next visit was with SAGA. Jordi, Jose and they introduced us to the Trio lens system. This features a dry lens enclosure containing “flip down” lens elements of +5 and +10 strength.
Hence the system has four options: +0, +5, +10 and +15. Although primarily deigned for macro lenses of around 100mm, the Trio also works well with 60mm lenses too.
It mounts via a 67mm thread and SAGA offers an adaptor for non conical ports that do not ave this thread, like those from Subal and Aquatica. These adaptor are push fit and lock on with a friction fit O ring.
In addition, there is a fiber optic ring flash designed for use witH the Trio. As the subjectTO focus distance is potentially quite far when the Trio at +0, this is not ideal, so SAGA recommends it be used on +5 through to +15 only. This can be ordered to fit any strobe.
The Trio will retail at around €700.
We then went to chat with Rick Voight and Randy Fredlund at Vivid Pix. They showed us through their Vivid Pic Land and Sea and Restore apps. These former offers quick, semi automatic correction of underwater images.
There are two different versions, Land & Sea (for snorkeling depth images) and Land & Sea + (for scuba depth images).
The software uses an algorithm to correct images for color, contrast, brightness and sharpness.
For shooters who are looking for this simple image fix the process couldn’t be easier. First, select your image to edit, then pick the best of nine adjusted images and finally save it. Land & Sea + also includes the ability to “un-bend” fisheye images.
A green water fix will be coming in the first quarter of 2017 and a video editor is in development.
Land & Sea retails for $24.99 and Land & Sea + retails for $49.99. There is also an iPhone app for $4.99 called Vivid-Pix Land & Sea.
Light & Motion
We headed on over to the Light and Motion booth. Heidi Hall first showed us the new SOLA 3800 video lights. Offering 3800 lumen, these lights offer a burn time of 50 minutes at full power, with a recharge time of 1.45 hours.
Heidi showed us a battery pack that can be used to charge the batteries between dives when required. This is available in 3 or 6 cell versions and there is a package available including the SOLA 3800 and the 6 cel portable battery pack priced at $899.
Another accessory is a dome port. This softens the torch’s light output. The version for the 3800 retails at $99.99 and increases the beam angle underwater from 90° to 110°
The next new product is the SOLA PRO 9600. This features a 9600 lumen output and a burn time of 59 minutes at full power. Again recharge time is around 1.45 hours and Light & Motion offer a dome port.
Heidi also spent some time showing us through the Stella surface video lighting range. The SOLA Pro 9600 and 8000 can be equipped with a SOLA PRO Air kit that enables them to be run continuously topside. In this configuration, they can be fitted with a wide variety of light modifiers including Fresnel, barn doors, and glo bulbs.
They can also be fitted wit the Profoto adapter to link into softboxes. Mounting options include C stand, bar and pistol grip and there are several power options, including continuous mains power and 12V vehicle power.
Daniel Emerson told us that the light provided by the Stella lights has a very high CR and TLC indexes.
The Stella Pro 5000 retains the 9600’s waterproof performance so is hence safe for use in and around the water.
Next we met up with Harald Karl, Vladimir Mladenovic, and Marko Rusov at Subal. They explained to us that ergonomics are the company’s top priority right now. The anodizing of Subal housings are scratch resistant and is a 50 micron layer. As of January all housings will come with the electronics for a vacuum as standard.
All Nikon housings come with 5-pin connectors standard. The front porthole can be threaded to accommodate any one of four different manufacturer’s ports: Seacam, Nauticam, Sea & Sea, and Hugyfot.
The first housing we looked at was the Subal housing for the Nikon D500, a camera that the underwater community has certainly been a buzz about. Subal incorporated a new locking system on the back of the housing, which makes it easier to open.
The D500 is a relatively light and ergonomic housing. It also has auto loading with springs. The ISO can be adjusted with the right finger. Although we weren’t able to see the Nikon D5 housing in person, we spoke about some of its features, include an underwater photographer requested water line for easily lining up over-under shots.
Subal are shipping their housing for the Nikon DF
We then looked at the 5D Mark IV, which is now shipping.
The housing for the Sony a7II can be fitted with a front port adapter to accommodate the Nikonos 15mm lens. It has manual focus and aperture control.
We also took a look at their colorful new Leica series of housings. The Leica series housings really embrace the essence of the Leica camera and are geared towards Leica owners. They come in black, blue, green and silver. The camera is a bottom load and locks with a mechanism very similar to what is on the Leica camera itself. The back of the housing has a window for live-view focusing. There is also a 5-pin Nikonos connector. The Subal Leica housing can also be fitted with an adapter to hold the 15mm Nikonos lens.
Then we met with Jean Rydberg and John Brigham of Ikelite. They took us through the updates to their housings, which are very modular.
They now have a more ergonomic zoom dial and shutter lever – which can now have an extension added.
All dry-lock housings now come with one handle, which can easily be stacked with a second handle for upgrading. There are still two backs that can be used to give housings a different depth rating, 50 or 200 feet.
They also showed us the low profile dome, which has the same radius as the 8” dome, it’s just reduced in size. This dome will accommodate the 8-15mm lens and even the Sigma 50mm with no chromatic aberration.
Housings now come with a vacuum valve pre-installed. There is also a new trim system to add weight to the base of the housing. TTL can be installed in any housing.
A larger diameter flat port is coming out later this year.
The modular system keeps everything very serviceable as many things can be swapped out if they ever fail.
Next we looked at the Ikelite Canon housing that accommodates the 5D Mark III, 5DS, 5DSR and the 5D Mark IV. The housing retails for $1495. One upgrade here is the switch from nickel-plated buttons on the back to hard anodized aluminum. Not only does this cut down on weight, but it reduces rust possibility. Another switch is the laser etching of controls on the back.
John showed us their new 9” dome port that has shed a whopping 2 lbs. of weight due to a material change. This can mount directly onto the housings and only has one o-ring groove.
Ikelite has focused on reducing weight where they can and another material switch can be found in the aluminum tray, which is now machined instead of cast.
We walked over to see the housing for the Olympus TG4 and TG3. It is 67mm threaded with a side trigger and a simple tray.
We also looked at the housings for the Canon Powershot G9X and the Canon Powershot G7X, which retail for $199 and $299 respectively.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 MK III, IV, and V has been updated as well. Updates include a new ergonomic shutter lever, better zoom control and a spare port for the vacuum valve. Retail price is $550.
One other housing we looked at was the updated Canon EOS 100D Rebel SL1. Updates include an ergonomic shutter lever and knob, spare port for a vacuum valve and it comes with a single handle that can be easily stacked to add a second handle. The housing is depth rated to 200 feet and comes with 5-pin TTL connector. The housing retails for $1649.
Then we checked out the housing for the Panasonic GX85. The housing will also accommodate the previous model GX80 and the GX7 Mark II. TTL is included in the housing but a port is not. Retail is $975.
- Booth Visits: Seacam, Aquatica, ULCS and Nauticam.
- Booth Visits: XIT404, SAGA, Vivid Pix, Lights and Motion, Subal and Ikelite.
- Wetpixel/DivePhotoGuide underwater imaging party.
- Booth Visits: CineBags, Isotta, Acquapazza, iDivesite, Backscatter
- Booth Visiits and Stephen Frink: Gates, BS Kinetics, Fantasea, Fisheye, Keldan, Sea&Sea, Inon