Beneath the Sea 2010 has kicked off and after a quiet Friday night, the crowds hit the Meadowlands Convention Center hallways in droves on Saturday. I joined the masses and cruised the aisles to check out all the underwater photo and video goodies. While there are not too many new products being debuted since Our World Underwater last month, there are some great products to see and people to talk to.
As you probably know by now, Nauticam is the newest brand taking on the industry by storm. Nauticam USA had a nice display of the current product line at the Reef Photo Video booth. Nauticam is focusing on ergonomics, but has taken it a step farther with the piano keys on the NA-7D for the Canon7D.
In other Nauticam news, you can now attach the Inon 45 degree viewfinders to Nauticam housings without any modifications.
Aquatica was showcasing more new products than any other photography company at BTS. We had announced these products earlier in the week, but now had a chance to see them in person. The underwater tripod is specifically designed for shooting video on your SLR, and appears that it will serve its purpose beautifully. It’s lightweight, pretty compact and easy to maneuver. A tripod is almost a must have item for shooting macro video with your SLR, and this is a nice option.
The Aquatica team was all too happy to show us the new line of port adapters – which seem like a product line that all housing manufactures should have. Since ports are preexisting investments for many of us, this provides additional flexibility in moving from one housing brand to another without losing the investment.
I also got a chance to check out the Aquatica 7D housing. It’s very compact and has multiple strobe connectivity options. The model on display had one Inon fiber optic bulkhead and one nikonos bulkhead, which is a configuration I had not seen before. In either case you would need to use a "Y" cord when shooting with two strobes (which I imagine that most Canon 7D shooters will be doing.)
Light and Motion
After teasing us with two different prototypes of the Sola 600 compact imaging light, the final model was ready for unveiling. It’s a handsome little light.
They also informed us that their 2010 line of housings will be very similar to their 2009 line. The main difference is a magnetic attachment for filters.
Mangrove Underwater Technology
Although not a mainstream U.S. brand, Mangrove makes some nice looking video products. They had their MVHS-S housing on display, decked out with the stabilizing wings and a unique electronic control and white balance system. It’s a wild looking set-up.
UltralightUltralight, a regular fixture at all of the US consumer dive expos, was showing off a new product - an arm and tray system for Ikelite’s Flip housing. The set up allows for adding up to two lights for truly compact 1080p underwater video. What I like about Ultralight is that you know when a company focuses on something so specific, underwater strobe arms and trays, they are gonna do it right.
Equinox didn’t have anything new to display, but they had their usual table of colorful and practical housings, which we hear are workhorses.
Backscatter was also in the house, with their usual booth full of goodies. Berkley White, however, was not in the house. Berkley where you at?
The BTS Film Festival on Saturday night showcased some of the world's best underwater image makers. The theater was packed with an audience eager to see it’s favorite underwater filmmaker's work on a big screen.
The festival is also a great place to catch up with some our friends in the industry. Jason connected with BTS president Zig after he was surprised with an award.
Reef Photo Video had an impressive display of housings and accessories. Of particular note was the Subal 7D housing that is amazingly compact. The housing also has made operating the 7D’s video capabilities easy, with an ergonomic back that lets you reach the movie activation and stop/start switches with one hand.
IkeliteAfter maneuvering through the crowds that always seem to be present at the Ikeltie booth, I was able to check out some of their new housings. Ikelite released the first housing for the Canon Rebel T2i, a combination that I think will be wildly popular amongst entry-level SLR users. You can get the camera and housing for under $2500.00, which is an amazing price for the quality of the set-up.
I also played with Ikelite’s Canon 7D housing, which looks and feels similar to all the other Ikelite housings and, as usual, is the least expensive option for taking your 7D diving.
CanonCanon was at BTS for the first time and they had a booth full of cameras. Chuckie was there to answer any questions and to help attendees demo the cameras – including the brand new T2i and the Canon 1D Mark IV. Despite all the fancy SLRs on the table, people still couldn’t get enough the Canon G11 with the Canon housing.
Stephen Frink, Publisher and Editor of Alert Diver Magazine was at the Canon booth and had copies of the latest issue available to browse. The magazine has gotten quite the facelift recently and you can tell a photographer is running the new publication because the image quality is greatly improved. Well done, Mr. Frink!
ReefNetReefNet was featuring the latest model of the SubSee Magnifier. The new models, which will be machine made from a piece of aluminum, will mark another evolution in what is becoming a popular tool for super macro enthusiasts.
SealifeSealife was constantly crowded with budding underwater photographers who got to take a look the new Sealife DC 1200 with it’s piano keys and easy set-up mode. The camera retails for an extremely reasonable $499.95
WetpixelWetpixel had a team of "Wetpixelins" manning their booth that displayed beautiful Wetpixel Quarterly Magazine. The group pose was apparently supposed to be mimicking their manikin, but you can really fill in many different reasons for what the Wetpixel team is trying to do here.
REEFClose by to Wetpixel was The Reef Environmental Education Foundation, where Anna Deloach was proudly selling the brand new Sensational Seas 2 DVD. I got my hands on a copy and will be providing a review on the full production shortly. All initial reactions I have heard have been positive and I look forward to spending an evening with some popcorn watching it.
Sea & SeaSea & Sea booth was highlighted by their new YS-01 strobe. The strobe is small, simple and relatively inexpensive. It should be a nice option for compact cameras, and can be used on SLRs with housings that offer fiber optic connectivity.
BTS 2010 felt more crowded than ever, and despite some cold weather, the atmosphere was lively -- but what else do you expect from a convention center filled with divers. Those interested in underwater imagery found themselves with no shortage of exhibits, workshops, seminars and film festivals to keep them satisfied. We will close our coverage with the short video recap the weekend. Enjoy.
Fantasea FG7X II
Ikelite Housing for Nikon D500
I-DiveSite Venom 35s
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