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Beneath The Sea 2010 Coverage
By Matt J. Weiss, March 28, 2010 @ 12:28 AM (EST)

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.  

Beneath The Sea 2010

Nauticam

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.

Nauticam Underwater Housing for Canon 7D
In what appears to be an example of underwater photography's convergent evolution, the ergonomic controls referred to as "piano keys" are very similar to those on the new SeaLife DC1200.  It’s one of those innovations that makes you wonder why it took so long to implement.
Nauticam NA-7D Underwater Housing for Canon 7D

In other Nauticam news, you can now attach the Inon 45 degree viewfinders to Nauticam housings without any modifications.

Aquatica


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.

Aquatica Underwater Tripod
The new mini dome for fisheye lenses was proudly on display attached to a Nikon D700 housing. It’s a small 4” diameter glass dome, which is perfect if you’re shooting with fisheye lenses in your Aquatica housing.  I use the old school Nexus mini dome port and it makes traveling much easier. These domes are sharp and the only drawback is that they are tough to shoot over-unders with.

Aquatica Mini Dome Port

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.

Aquatica Port Adapters

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.)

Aquatica Canon 7D Strobe Connections

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.

Light & Motion Sola 600
Light & Motion Sola 600 Underwater 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.

Mangrove MVHS-S Underwater Video Housing
They also produce affordable video lights to go with their housings, including the 4,000 lumen MVS – 4L40 and the less powerful 10 watt 700 lumen MVS- 4L70.

MAngrove MVS- 4L70

Ultralight

Ultralight, 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.
Flip Camera HD Underwater Housing

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?

Backscatter Underwater Photo & Video
 
The Film Festival

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.
 
 
 
We also ran into two great underwater imagery makers, Amos Nachum and Leandro Blanco, who were sharing a laugh before the show started.
 
Amous Nachum and Leandro Blanco
 
 
Ty Sawyer found an alternate use for his award – a weapon.
 
Jason Heller and Ty Saywer
 
 
Wendy caught up with legendary underwater image makers Cathy Church and Annie Crawley before the show
 
Wendy Heller, Cathy Church and Annie Crawley

 
 
Back at the show floor…

Olympus

Olympus had the booth across from ours and displayed all their usual underwater products, which range from waterproofs to SLR housings.  They continue to be the major camera manufacturer with the most interest in the underwater side of photography.  Not only are they a leader in waterproof cameras, but they also make propriety housings for a wide variety of cameras. 
 
 
Olympus - BTS 2010

 
 
Reef Photo Video

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.
 
Subal 7D underwater housing

Ryan Canon also showed us the Fisheye FIX S90 for the popular S90.  This is a perfect combination for photographers unwilling to compromise quality for size.  As Ryan has demonstrated, it’s a very small housing/camera combo.  Despite its size, the camera packs a large sensor and the housing has the  features of those that are usually twice as big. 
Fishey FIX s90 underwater housing

Ikelite

After 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.
 
Ikelite Canon Rebel T2i underwater housing

 
The housing is relatively compact, measuring at a little over a foot long from handle to handle and weighs 7.15lbs.   It offers full access to all the cameras controls including the movie functions.

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.

Canon

Canon 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. 
 
Canon G11 and WP - DC34
 
Canon - BTS 2010
 
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!
 
Stephen Frink - Alert Divers Magazine
 
 

ReefNet

ReefNet 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.
 
SubSee Magnifier
 
If you were at the show and noticed something different at the ReefNet booth, it’s because Keri Wilk was missing in action.  However, Kris’ wife, Daniella, made her BTS debut and was more than able to fill in for Keri while he is traveling.

Reefnet - Kris and Daniella Wilk


Sealife

Sealife 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
 
SeaLife - BTS 2010

 
 

Wetpixel

Wetpixel 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.
 
Team Wetpixel
 

REEF

Close 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.

Sensational Seas 2 - BTS 2010

Sea & Sea

Sea & 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.  
Sea & Sea Ys-01 underwater strobe

 
Sea & Sea - Beneath The Sea 2010

DPG

We spent a lot of time at the booth with the Mike Luzansky and Jacalyn Pelloni from H2O Photo Pros, our new official retail partner.   H2O Photo Pros had a big announcement – they have just acquired Marine Visions which makes them the biggest underwater video retailer in the world.  It also means they will be carrying many more brands and have a much bigger inventory. Exciting news!
 
DivePhotoGuide - BTS 2010

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.

 

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