2019 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Singapore Asian Dive Exposition (ADEX), Asia’s longest standing and biggest dive show. It was held on from April 12 to 14, at the Suntec Convention Center. As usual, Wetpixel was on hand to cover the show’s underwater imaging and to host the infamous Sam’s Tour/Wetpixel party (link for party pics) for underwater image makers, which was held at Armoury on the Saturday of the show.
Unfortunately, while the photo competition had some fantastic images, and many new and familiar names were speaking about underwater imaging at the show, many of the smaller manufacturers did not exhibit at the show. Nauticam and Seacam were the 2 biggest housing manufacturers, with our favorite roving Inon product manager, Takuya san, showing new/prototype products for professional underwater shooters.
Instead of the usual equipment coverage first, I thought I would cover my personal highlight of ADEX 2019; the panel discussion that was held by a few of the team members of the now-famous Tham Luang cave rescue team. The standing-room-only main stage had the rescue divers recounting the trials and ingenuity of figuring out how to get 12 teen boys and one adult out of an underwater cave system.
The story was incredible in itself. However, the added craziness like Elon Musk’s bizarre involvement and similar made the story even more sensational.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that the 13 victims were rescued, and recently the Thai king gave the 2 Australian divers, Richard Harris, and Craig Challen, the Most Admirable Order of Direkgunabhorn for their part in the rescue.
I attended several other panel discussions, including the “Photo/Video Future Forward” discussion about the future of underwater imagery. This was an interesting discussion comparing the viewpoints of panelists like venerable photography industry veteran Stephen Frink to virtual reality (VR) 360° specialists Claudia Schmitt from the Jetlagged, who uses VR to promote conservation.
Returning to the equipment side of things, this year’s show was unfortunately not all that spectacular in terms of new products. However, Takuya san of Inon never fails to bring something new to ADEX, and he did not disappoint me this year.
The latest housing from Inon is the X2 for the popular and capable compact 4/3 Panasonic GX9, which uses Inon’s accessories for better lens options in front of its 24-120mm built-in lens.
Along with the new housing, Inon was also showing a new TTL converter for Canon’s ETTL, along with a prototype vacuum seal system which will work with new X2 housings. As you can see in Takuya san’s pic, he is earnest about this new prototype’s pump!
There is also a new straight viewfinder which gives a 100% view of an EVF. This works with the mirrorless camera systems.
There were also 3 new LED lights, including the LF-1100h LWf which has a wide angled beam but also functions as a focus light with an auto-off when a flash is detected.
Fantasea showed their recently released housing for the Sony A6400, via their local agent’s booth.
When it comes to LED video lights, Keldan’s distinctive purple lights are tough to mistake. Daniel was displaying a range of new filters for color correction underwater. These correct the effects of water on color; converting 5600°K to ambient light by using green/blue filters at different depths.
Keldan is also offering a color correction filter for the Nauticam WWL-1 lens, again with 3 different tones to correct at different depths.
There was also the new ultrasonic remote control for their 18/24k lights. This remote control allows the user to control when lights turn on/off and their intensity. Using ultrasonic waves, the distance to the lights can be up to 20-50m, obviously depending on the turbidity of the water and any obstacles. It doesn’t have to have a clear line of sight. I asked Herr Keller to demonstrate how the remote control works.
Industry powerhouse Nauticam had some new offerings, including their new prototype Underwater Macro Relay Lens system. This is a more advanced version of the Inon ‘Bug Eye’ relay lens system, which Wetpixel’s Eric Cheng made viral with his Lembeh video. The interchangeable system is a prototype and will be available for most devices, from those with small sensors to big cinema cameras.
With such a new system that’s a prototype, I tried to convince Nauticam owner Edward Lai to give a demonstration, but he was a bit too camera shy. However, Wetpixel regular poster and all around great guy, Peter Mooney, who is the owner of Australia’s Scubapix and Nauticam partner, volunteered to give a quick and dirty explanation and demonstration of the lens system.
Nauticam also had their new housing for the Atomos Ninja V, with HDMI2.0 wiring for the latest cameras. The new cabling required a wider port (M28) than the previous HDMI 1.4 as there cannot be breaks in HDMI 2.0. Nauticam has invested in the tooling to produce and test their own HDMI cable, and so their HDMI 2.0 system is now much neater and easier to attach. It also allows ProRes RAW recording with compatible cameras and the Ninja V.
Longtime Wetpixel friend, Seacam owner Harald Hordosch, was at ADEX but did not bring any new products. Our annual sit-down covered Seacam’s forthcoming products, some of which I’m not allowed to talk too much about! I can say that Seacam will be releasing a housing for the Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras, which will have the look and size of Seacam’s “compact” line but will retain the full functionality of the “silver” line. It is expected to be shipping sometime in June.
Another product which I’ve been sworn to secrecy about, but since I believe in spoilers (Yes, I have seen Avengers Endgame, and the ending is…), is that Seacam will be introducing an update for the SeaFlash 150, with improvements in power and retaining all existing TTL functionality for i/E-TTL.
More interesting is Isotta’s newest foray into strobes with their Red 64, This has a circular flash tube and a guide number of 22. It uses AA batteries and has iTTL compatibility. The sealed battery compartment ensures any leaks can be easily rectified by just cleaning the contacts and inserting new batteries.
A new player in the underwater strobe market is ONE UW’s ONE160x, a 130° beam angle, i, E- and s-TTL compatible strobe with a guide number of 20 and slave capability. The 160x has a full aluminum body, with the rear made from a milled piece of metal. The dual level controls are unusual in that some functions need both levers actuated. The display will flip if the strobe is turned upside down so that the user can read the screen when the strobe is either with arms above or below it.
Aquatica’s local agent showed a few Aquatica housings.
The local agent also had Ikelite’s housings on display.
One of the more interesting piece of underwater tech for was the Indiegogo funded Diveroid Mini Bluetooth gadget, which was released in 2018 and works with Android or iOS. The app allows photo/video controls and even color correction, while also logging the dive. It will even work as a dive computer using the RGBM-DIVEORID algorithm and an underwater compass! All you need is a housing for your phone,
The winner of the ADEX Voice of the Ocean 2019 photo of the year award was Wayne Jone’s “Wunderpus on Marbles.” I captured the moment the judges were scoring this winning photo:
So that’s a wrap for ADEX Singapore 2019. For the pictures of the Sam’s Tour/Wetpixel ADEX party 2019, please click here.