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Beneath The Sea Coverage- Day 2
By Joseph Tepper, March 26, 2011 @ 11:55 PM (EST)

Editor's Note: This is the second day's coverage of the three day Beneath the Sea expo. You can also view the opening night's coverage and from the last day

Well folks, our Beneath the Sea coverage began yesterday with a preview of some of the booths and activities, but we have saved the stuff you have been waiting for, for today- underwater photo/video gear.

Amidst the sea of people swimming through the narrow booth aisles at the expo, I managed to circulate all of the photo/video booths on the floor, searching for the coolest new gear. My first stop was at the Equinox housing booth, where I found the new housing for the Canon 5D mark II.

Equinox’s housing for the 5D was on display for the first time this weekend, showing off the company’s signature, simple design- the four basic controls included are menu, shutter, menu select, record, and playback.

With a standard port (more options can be customized to fit almost any lens) designed for the popular 16-35mm, the housing weighs in at a neutrally buoyant 11 pounds and retails for $1599.

Also on display was the company’s new Scales series, which allows videographers to place any colored skin on top of their housing- including pink!

After spending some time with the Equinox guys, I moved on to my good friend Jean Bruneau at the Aquatica booth, who had a few new product designs to flaunt as well. One of the new designs includes changes in the base locking system inside the AD7000 housing –a housing the subject of a DPG review by Keri Wilk- as well as a newly machined macro port.

Aquatica has streamlined the manufacture process and ease of camera removal for its users, by eliminating the additional clutch found inside the older AD7000 housing, making it more “user friendly.”

By switching to a 5-axis manufacturing machine, Aquatica has been able to trim down their Macro Port (18426) to a “substantially lighter weight” and to soften the edges around the port.

The Aquatica housing for the NEX, which can be read about in more detail from the Our World Underwater coverage, also made an appearance at the show.

In addition to the already released equipment on display at the Aquatica booth, Jean has informed me of a pole cam in the design process, as well as a new focus light, which will max out at 800 lumens.

Packed into the crowd like sardines in a can, I was able to swim my way over to the Backscatter booth. While displaying the same set of equipment as at Our World Underwater a month earlier (the coverage can be found here), the booth was still packed, as divers checked out the coolest gear- including an enormous  housing for the Panasonic AG 3D-A1!

The always-crowded Backscatter booth.

The Gates housing for Panasonics 3D camera –shooting 3D by recording onto two separate sensors- took up almost the entire table.

The next booth on my list was Ikelite’s, which had their new housing for the entry-level Canon DSLR, T3i, on display. Although this model includes all of the features that have made Ikelite successful, including the polycarbonate material and integrated TTL, the company had used the new housing to introduce a new set of tray/handles.

Ikelite’s new lightweight handles are designed to fit all models, including the dome ports, which caused a tight fight when combined with other Ikelite housings.

Another popular booth was that of Olympus, which focused its display on its four recently released products and housings for the Stylus To ugh 610, Tough 810, XZ-1, and EPL2 (Pen 2). The tough 610 is a 14MP tough, compact camera ($299) that is shockproof, and waterproof (16ft), and will also shoot 720 HD video, displayed on its 3 inch LCD.

The other tough-compact on display, the 810, will retail at the slightly higher price of $399, and is similar to its 610 brother in most ways except its waterproof ability to 33ft and a built in GPS system to track shooting locations.

The XZ-1 is Olympus’ latest attempt to get back into the high-end compact market that Canon and Nikon seem to have invested in over the last few years. This model  features a fast 1.8 lens, 10MP sensor, exterior aperture ring for manual co ntrol, and raw capabilities. The XZ-1 camera will retail for $499, while its housing price is set at ($299).
Like at Our World Underwater, the Olympus housing for the EPL2 was on display, attracting numerous attention from passers by. For more info, visit the OWU coverage.

Other booths included Ultralight, which in addition to its usual array of arms and tray systems, had on display its new mount for the GoPro camera.

The mount allows easy attachment to any standard one inch ball adaptor such as that usually used for focus lights on SLRs.

The mount can also be combined with its own tray to create the world’s smallest HD, underwater video setup.

One of my favorite new gadgets at the show was the new tripod introduced by XIT 404, on display at both their table and at Backscatter’s. The new tripod includes common features like machined aluminum, but is perhaps most unique by its “twist clamp,” which unlike most control systems only requires a single twist to loosen or tighten the clamp.

The base for the tripod comes in two forms: pod version (for Light and Motion systems with battery packs) and pod-free.

The tripod can also transform into the facsimile of a pole cam thanks to the strength of the materials and the “twist clamp” and Backscatter's Jim Decker.

That’s all the equipment and news for now! For more information and coverage of Beneath the Sea, check out yesterday’s post or wait for tomorrow’s. Until then…





 

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