DEMA 2014 wrapped up on Saturday—but there was still a bunch of cool new underwater photo gear to check out before the end of the show. The final day of our coverage features a look at DSLR and mirrorless housings from some of the top manufacturers, including Ikelite, Nauticam, Sea & Sea and Seacam.
Over at the Ikelite pavilion, the company had on display their latest DSLR, mirrorless, and compact housings. Well known in the industry for timeliness in releasing equipment, Ikelite showed off their housings for some of the most recently released cameras, including the Nikon D750 and D810, and the Canon EOS 7D Mk II and EOS SL1.
Ikelite’s housing for the Nikon D750 retails for $1800, making it one of the most economical options for housing your prosumer DSLR.
Announced in August, the Ikelite housing for the D810 comes with Ikelite’s signature built-in TTL circuitry, meaning you can change the strobe output without taking your hands off the housing.
Also new at the show is Ikelite’s series of mirrorless interchangable lens (MIL) camera housings, kicking off with the Olympus PEN E-PL7 and OM-D EM-10, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7. The housings feature a set of interchangeable ports to accommodate the ever-expanding selection of compatible lenses. There’s a wide dome for fisheye lenses, a “semi-dome” for wide-angle zooms, and a macro port for macro lenses.
Ikelite’s housing for the Olympus PEN E-PL7 (above) and OM-D EM-10 (below).
In addition to the incredible selection of new housings on display, there were also a number of lighting and accessory products. Most notably, Ikelite is getting into the fluorescent underwater photography game with yellow lens filters and exciter filters for their DS strobes and Vega lights.
You can now get Ikelite's Gamma lights in the additional colors of purple and pink.
Ikelite’s Mark II arm system is redesigned with a rail to allow for accessory attachment, as well as being lighter and sleeker.
There are also two new viewfinders that are compatible with both Ikelite’s DSLR and MIL housings—a 45-degree version and a 180-degree magnified version.
When we finally managed to worm our way through the constant crowd surrounding the Backscatter booth, there was a ton of new stuff to see—from pro-level video lights to GoPro accessories.
Perhaps the biggest addition to the Backscatter equipment line-up this year is the Macromate Mini, designed specifically to aid in close-up use of the GoPro. It features the same craftsmanship and optics as the DSLR version, but fits into Backscatter’s popular Flip 3.1 filter bracket. We can also confirm that the Flip 3.1 will fit the new HERO 4 series.
Using the Macromate Mini reduces the minimum focus distance to the subject down to about three inches, with a +20 multiplication effect.
For wide-angle photography, Backscatter offers a variety of filters that fit their Flip 3.1 system, including Shallow, Deep, Dive, Green Water, and Nightsea Fluorescence filters.
Of course, you can always light up the entire reef with one of Orcalight’s video lights: the 15,000-lumen SeaWold 860, 22,000-lumen SeaWolf 1560A, or canister-style SeaWolf 2260A. Interchangable front modules means the user can choose between 60–120-degree beam angles.
All three lights were on display at the Backscatter booth.
The Dive and See monitors (both 7-inch and 5-inch sizes) are designed for the discerning professional videographer who wants to see every detail in his frame on the ultra-high resolution LCD panel (1280x800 pixels).
Two years ago, Backscatter became the official U.S. and Caribbean distributor for Olympus’ diving/watersports products. So it’s no surprise to see a wide array of proprietary Olympus housings on display at their booth.
The 16-megapixel mirrorless PEN E-PL7 can be paired up with the Olympus PT-EP12 housing, which provides access to all essential controls at an affordable price.
Here’s a question: Why house a waterproof camera? It may seem surprising that several housing options now exist for the Olympus Tough TG-3, but it appears to be a more-than-competent camera, with features like “telescope mode,” which allows macro subject to come within an inch of the lens.
There’s also a new line of lens ports from AOI that are made specifically for Olympus’ PEN/OM-D housings, designed to fit the majority of lenses popular for underwater use on these mirrorless cameras. The 60mm macro lens, Panasonic 8mm fisheye, and other rectilinear zooms are all covered by the port line.
AOI also makes the RGBlue II light, a 2,700-lumen modular video light that offers a selection of LED heads and batteries.
Over at Ultralight, we learned about their latest accessory, a hot shoe to YS adaptor, allowing you to mount your strobe or video light right directly on top of your housing.
Meanwhile, Seacam has redesigned their viewfinders to make them much lighter—actually half of the original weight. The new viewfinders come in 180-degree and 45-degree varieties.
Seacam’s newest housing for the Nikon D810 displays their new, lighter viewfinder.
In addition, there are several housings in the works over at Seacam. In the upcoming months, expect to see a cinema housing for the Canon C300/C500. More generally, we’ve learned that Seacam will be going in the direction of producing more mirrorless housings, starting with the Sony A7.
Seacam is also working on a compact strobe rated at 50 watt-seconds that runs on AA batteries. All of these developing products will be launched at the Boot show in Germany in the spring.
I-DiveSite, known for their arm systems, accessories and lights, has launched a new brand—Sharkhon. Sharkhon is a complete line of accessories for action and compact cameras, machined from aluminum and available in a variety of colors.
Rather than limit users to single configurations, the Sharkhon parts are completely customizable. You can build anything from a simply tray and arms to a quadruple-ball to mount four lights. In terms of pricing, an average double-handle tray will retail for around $200.
I-DiveSite has also introduced several new models in their prosumer video light line-up. The Venom 50 is a 5,000-lumen light with a fiber-optic port that allows it to be adjusted with a new control within thumb’s reach of your tray handle. The light and remote are in prototype form and are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2015. Also, the Venom 35 is a 3,500-lumen light with both red and spot settings in addition to the wide beam—although it lacks the fiber-optic port for remote control.
Another new lgiht, the C92 features COB LEDs—multi LED chips packed together as one light source—to produce an impressive color rendering of 92 at a 100-degree beam angle. It’s expected to be available in January or February.
A little something special: A wheel tray designed to be flipped and turned into a tripod for stability or time-lapse photography.
Sea & Sea
Sea & Sea has released a slew of DSLR housings in recent months, including those for the Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mk III. These new housings feature internal, built-in TTL converters.
Sea & Sea’s housing for the new Nikon D810.
The MDX-5D Mark III for the latest incarnation of Canon's EOS 5D.
The Sony Alpha a6000 housed by Sea & Sea.
We also checked out Sea and Sea’s newest compact strobe, the YS-03. An entry-level unit, the YS-03 comes with a guide number of 20 and is billed as an ideal solution for those looking to purchase their first external strobe with features like TTL flash exposure through a fiber-optic connection.
News broke just before DEMA that Gates would be offering an adaptor kit for Nikon RS lenses. Considered among the best in terms of image quality, the lenses are now fully integrated (iris, focus, zoom) with Gates’ RED housings.
The adaptor kit is available for $5625, with kits for other housings expected to be available soon.
Another major pre-DEMA announcement from Gates is their new GT14 video light. Don’t look right at it: The GT14 puts out 14,000 lumens with a color rendering index of 90 and a color temperature of 5,600 degrees K.
In water, the light has a beam angle of 90 degrees and offers burn times between 30 minutes and 10 hours thanks to the seven-step adjustment levels.
The Sights of the Show Floor
Yes, we love gear. But it’s the people of the industry that make DEMA a truly unique experience. When we weren’t running around trying to cover every new piece of underwater imaging equipment, we managed to catch up with some of the best people in the industry.
John Thet and Alice Grainger of Scuba Diver Australasia and Scuba Diver Ocean Planet.
The Backscatter booth is filled with tons of underwater photography goodies.
Boys will be boys: Mark and Frank of Worldwide Dive and Sail.
Members of the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) pose for the DPG camera.
Sharkhon at the I-DiveSite booth is among the most colorful new brands at this year's DEMA.
Where there's a Wilk, there's a way! Team Reefnet working hard at DEMA 2014.
Personal highlight of the show: The daily coordinated Ikelite T-shirts.
The Prawno girls might have had the coolest looking booth at the show, and some pretty sweet apparel, too.
Backscatter’s Joel and Jen Penner relax at the DPG lounge with Publisher Matt Weiss, Editor Joe Tepper and photographer Keri Wilk.
Well, that’s a wrap on DEMA 2014. After nearly a week in Las Vegas for the industry’s largest show, DPG is jet-setting back to our home base in Brooklyn to catch up on some sleep. Until next year….
— Team DPG
More DEMA news here:
Fantasea FG7X II
Ikelite Housing for Nikon D500
I-DiveSite Venom 35s