DEMA rolled on Friday, with some of the most exciting photo and video gear still to be profiled, photographed, and taken out for a topside spin.
The theme for Friday seemed to be housings, with underwater enclosures for cameras ranging from slightly-larger-than-dice-sized GoPro HERO Sessions to sleek mirrorless cameras and even larger-than-life cinema quality cameras. Scroll down for coverage from the booths of Ikelite, Nauticam, Gates, and much, much more…
Something seemed a little different at our first glance at the Ikelite booth. Rather than a sea of totally clear housings, we spied gray, opaque fronts to the classic Ikelite shape. What could be going on?
As it turns out, the engineers at Ikelite have some exciting news. What began as a project to transform their traditional dive housings into those used for surf and other watersports, might just revolutionize how we customize our setups for all forms of underwater photography.
Ikelite's new style of housing accommodates a thinner, lighter back plate to be used in non-traditional underwater photography (surf and watersports)
There’s no official name for Ikelite’s new series of housings, but they might best be described as a more streamlined version of their previous dive housings, resulting in a more cost-effective, lightweight product. The standard version comes with just access to essential controls, without electronics, and is depth-rated to 45 feet.
A ton of effort was poured into saving cost and limiting weight/bulk. Push buttons are now constructed from lighter anodized aluminum, rather than nickel brass. The tray the camera comes with is carefully (and craftfully) extruded and machined. Or, in the words of Ikelite’s John Brigham: “Literally every gram earned its way onto [these housings].”
The zoom knob has undergone a dramatic redesign to reduce bulk, while increasing ease of use with better grip
The durability and limited weight of this new line will definitely appeal to surf and watersports photographers. However, with just a simple switch of the back plate to a “dive back” the camera can be used down to 200 feet, while still retaining the lightweight, versatile features of the “watersport” front.
A lot of thought also went into the corresponding new port system. The widened port accommodates bigger lenses, popular for watersports and action photography. Ikelite has included rare earth magnets into a retainer, which works to keep the zoom gear in place within the larger ports. Locking the port into place is simple, with three threaded screws—that means there’s no advanced mechanical turning action, which might otherwise pinch the O-ring, resulting in flooding.
On display: Ikelite's new port mount system and magnetic lock ring for the zoom gear
The new port system kicks off with three versions. First, there’s a large diameter flat port, popular with surf photographers shooting wide angle. Then, there’s a low profile 8-inch dome, and finally a standard 8-inch dome port for more traditional dive photography. The dome ports come with an anti-reflection pattern machined into the acrylic.
As for which cameras will be matched by this new style of housing, initial models include those for Sony’s RX100 both III/IV and I/II, Canon G7X. The housing will be available for all current DSLRs, including the Nikon D7200, D810 and Canon 7D Mk II and 5D Mk III. Stay tuned for pricing and availability.
Ikelite will be making these new style of housings for select compacts, such as the Canon GX7 and Sony's RX100 series
Inon may be known best for their strobes, but the Japanese company is quickly expanding its product diversity with new housings and accessories. Inon seems to be aiming to cover both the entry-level and prosumer Canon DSLR markets by offering housings for the EOS 60D and EOS 6D.
The Inon X-2 housing for Canon's EOS 6D
The Inon X-2 housing for the EOS 70D, along with the underwater macro semi-fisheye lens
They also had on display new accessories, including a lens mount for the standard GoPro housing (which differs in design from the old “dive housing”). This accessory makes it possible to simply snap on wet lenses, without the need to waste time screwing them in.
Inon's new port mounting system for the GoPro standard housing
Also a cool new option for GoPro users, Inon is releasing a carbon fiber arm. Lightweight and durable, the arm is ideal for extending the reach of your camera. Alternatively, it can be weighted down thanks to a simple bottom plate that is compatible with any standard weight-belt-style lead.
The Inon monopod offers the ability to attach a dive weight
Another manufacturer specializing in neat-oh camera accessories, H2O Tools displayed their new line of fluorescence filters. The excitation filters come in versions for most Inon and Sea & Sea strobes. The prices of the filters range from $20 (excitation filter) to $100 (housing port/mask filters).
H2O's new filters for UV underwater photography
Small things make a huge difference in underwater photography. With this in mind, H2O is rolling out an extension knob for Inon’s S2000 strobes. This is a great solution when diving with gloves, or just to make changing output and mode generally easier, as it extends away from the tight space of the strobe roughly an inch.
The added length of the knob makes strobe operation easier
BS Kinetics housings have that signature carbon fiber look. Matching this look is their prototype housing for Sony’s a7 II. The housing features fiber-optic strobe connections, but there’s space inside the housing for an electric–fiber-optic converter. The housing is expected to ship in January 2016 with an approximate price tag of $1700. Also new is a small, wide-angle port, which is 6 inches in diameter. It’s an ideal size for getting in tight for close-focus wide-angle.
The housing comes “dive ready” with a standard flat port included in the price
BS Kinetics is also working on a 7-inch monitor housing. It fits several different monitors of that size, but is available with the Aputure monitor for $900
We got our first look at Octomask at DEMA 2014. It’s an innovative solution for those who want to capture their dive or snorkel with a GoPro, while keeping their hands free. New this year from the company is a low profile version of the mask, ideal for freediving, where there’s less space to equalize.
Popular demand from users influenced Octomask to make a version of their teardrop and traditional masks in a super cool black matte silicon finish
A new prototype includes the ability to add on a small light, such as this SideKick
While we’re on the GoPro track, GoScope is showing the first dive housing for the new HERO Session, depth-rated to nearly 200 feet. With the housing comes a filter kit, all included for the retail price of $69.95. The filters include “snorkel,” blue water and green water.
The first and only dive depth-rated housing for the HERO Session
GoScope’s surface mount is also unique because you can attach two GoPros at once, facing different directions. Selfies, anyone?
We recently published a technique article on how to use a ring flash for macro photography. Apparently, we sensed a trend, as Ultramax has a prototype ring flash on display at DEMA. It features 16 fiber-optic cables to deliver even lighting, even inches away from the subject. It is designed to fit Sea & Sea’s YS-D1/D2, but is compatible with Inon strobes via an adaptor.
The fiber-optic ring flash makes getting even lighting much easier than positioning strobes
Also on display at Ultramax is the Riff TL300MK3, a torch that can transform into a video light with the addition of a filter
It’s not enough just to use your smartphone as an underwater camera these days: Diveroid turns Android phones into a dive computer, still camera, video camera and compass.
The aluminum housing features a built-in battery and is compatible with most Android models
10 Bar pretty much makes a housing for any camera model you can imagine. Having said that, they’ve also moved into the accessories game with recent additions of a snoot with built-in target light for Inon and Sea & Sea strobes. The light from the snoot makes it easy for you to aim the tiny beam of light, without guessing.
10 Bar also offers a video light snoot for using a continuous beam to selectively light an image or movie clip
Got light? 10 Bar has a new square-shaped light, fit with 144 LEDs. The shape allows it to be combined with other lights—you can have a wall of light if you want
The big news over at Gates wasn’t necessarily the refined, high-end housings they offer for video cameras—rather, we got a look at the much anticipated final version of the GT 14 video light.
Features of this light that make it stand out include an impressive Color Rendering Index value of 90, easily replacable custom battery, and a 30-minute beam time on full power, which is 14,000 lumens.
In terms of design, there are some key features that are bound to please even demanding videographers including a big power adjustment ring for easy use even with thick gloves and a physical lock release for increased security. The light has mirrored power output signals on each side, meaning you can see exactly where you’re at, regardless of the light’s position.
The GT 14 also has a unique design that allows flowing water to keep the light cooler
Ok, now to the big boys, in the form of the Gates housing for the Arri Mini Alexa. Gates tried to keep the housing as small as possible to make it travel friendly. It worked: With two pelican cases under 50 lbs, you can travel with a cinema-grade setup. Space is saved inside the housing too, with a belt drive system to control the gears.
The camera’s GPIO box goes under the camera, allowing 12 assignable control buttons. To start, these buttons are included: White balance, frame rates, and exposure index (equivalent of ISO in stills). Just in case electronic control fails, you can still access focus, iris, and zoom and record through mechanical control.
The new 10-inch dome provides better optics when focusing close up
The Gates housing for the Transvideo monitor features access to 4 “smart” controls. It will be available by the end of November
Of note, Gates is also nearly finished with the housing upgrade for the new RED Weapon. Once installed (price to be determined), the housing will be backwards compatible with previous RED models.
What better way to finish off the day’s coverage than with the final step of photography: post-processing. Actually, Vivid-Pix has made post-processing much less of a process and more appealing to entry and amateur level photographers with their “one click” editing software. The company run’s statistical analysis through a patented algorithm, which produces the most likely result to please your eyes—all with one click.
Of course, you can go in and modify certain settings to your specific taste. But for the most part, the “one click” takes care of most adjustments, including color balance, brightness, sharpness and contrast. Watching a demonstration of the software shows off its one-click capability. But you should try for yourself with a free 30-day trial.
New for this year, Vivid Pix is unveiling their “Land and Sea” software, which brings the same one-click simplicity to topside and above-water marine photography. Vivid Pix’s software ranges from $20–$60.
Ok, so you’ve edited your photos in record time. What do you do with all of that saved time? Vivid Pix Prints offers the ability to etch your photos on almost any surface available, from the basics like glass to more exotic materials such as bamboo. Coffee mugs, mouse pads and magnets are all also options. But for photos that are slightly out of focus or just not quite perfect, we suggest taking your revenge by making them into a cutting board!
Day 3 means we’re three-quarters of the way done with DEMA 2015. But don’t fret: We’ll finish off the rest of the booths tomorrow and share some of our favorite memories from this year’s show. Until then…
Fantasea FG7X II
Ikelite Housing for Nikon D500
I-DiveSite Venom 35s
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