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DEMA 2019 Coverage: Part 3
By DPG Editorial Staff, November 17, 2019 @ 08:00 AM (EST)

Editor’s Note: This is the third of four parts of DPG’s DEMA coverage. Check out our DEMA 2019 Home Page for a comprehensive look at this year’s show.
 


Admittedly, we’re feeling a little tender after another epic DPG-Wetpixel Underwater Imaging Party, but we weren’t going to let that deter us from hitting the booths hard on Day 3! After checking in early with Aquatica to talk ergonomic housings, we paid a visit to Ikelite and saw their new strobe prototype, before getting our minds blown with the clever stuff happening at Gates and Easydive.

 

Ikelite

There’s big news brewing in the Ikelite booth with the revealing of a prototype of the successor to the company’s hugely popular DS161 strobe. According to John Brigham, the new strobe—as yet unnamed—boasts 30% more capacitance, a softer and wider beam, a chrome colored reflector, and a tinted flash tube to achieve a 4,500 to 4,800K color temperature. We were told that older battery packs will work with the new strobe, and naturally, you’ll also be getting the same industry-leading TTL exposure implementation.
 

John Brigham lifts the lid on Ikelite’s forthcoming strobe in the DS160 series
 

Ikelite also showed off their Canon EOS Rebel SL3 housing, which John called “the best price-to-performance ratio when it comes to underwater photography today.” That’s because you can get the camera, housing, dome port and lens for less than $2,000. Maybe the DSLR isn’t dead after all!
 

Ikelite’s housings represent excellent value but don’t compromise on functionality or reliability
 

A dream DSLR rig with 8-inch dome, tripod system, vacuum pump, and center-mounted GoPro
 

Ikelite’s tripod system allows you to add a dive weight—instead of bouyancy arms—keeping your rig streamlined and lightweight for travel

 

Aquatica

We found a quiet moment before the show started to chat to Blake Stoughton about the intricacies of Aquatica’s underwater housings. We got to see their recently announced Nikon Z7/Z6 housing in the flesh, with its new 1-inch diameter port to accommodate HDMI 2.0 connections to external monitors or recorders. As Blake noted, the company makes every effort to ensure all important controls are at the user’s fingertips when holding the housing with the two integrated grips. He also noted that all Aquatica housings come standard with a moisture alarm and vacuum gear.
 

If there was any doubt that Aquatica is an old hand at this game, Blake points out that this is the company’s 37th year exhibiting at DEMA—mighty impressive!
 

Aquatica’s new housing for the Nikon Z6/Z7 configured with Nikonos bulkheads; Ikelite and fiber-optic options are available, too
 

With more still shooters getting serious about video, Aquatica are responding by moving into making underwater monitors, starting with the first in a series, the 5HD
 

The 5HD boasts a 5.7” IPS LED backlit display and Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution

 

Gates

The word “pro” is bandied about all too often among manufacturers of underwater imaging gear, but when it comes to Gates, we really are talking cutting-edge tech aimed at top-tier “working” folks. To prove the point, Gates had set up their Pro Explore and Pro Action housings, which are compatible with the distinctly pro-level cameras from RED and ARRI. Gates’ John Ellerbrock showed us something called the Laowa 24mm Probe lens, which gives a wide-angle “bugeye” perspective and features a ring light mounted at the tip. The company has developed a special port ring system and adapter that allow you to use this unique device underwater.
 

John Ellerbrock makes everybody else’s gear look like toys…
 

That’s the business end of the Laowa 24mm Probe lens with a mirror accessory that you’d use to shoot critters from different perspectives
 

If a Gates housing for a RED cinema camera is a bit too “pro” for you, perhaps consider a more modest Sony 4K camcorder

 

Easydive

While everybody else is spending their time machining housings for specific camera models that use mechanical controls to press and turn physical buttons and knobs on the camera, Easydive has come up with some ingenious “universal” housings that control functions electronically via USB, Wi-Fi or bluetooth. Buy a new camera? No need to get a new housing—you just have to reprogram it! We were shown universal housings for mirrorless and DLSR cameras, smartphones, and even tablets.
 

Fabio Benvenuti from Easydive demonstrates their universal housings which offer full electronic control of camera—or smartphone or tablet—functionality
 

Easydive’s universal housing loaded up with a Canon DSLR. Want to switch to a Nikon? No problem: Just pop it in and the housing automatically recognizes it and maps the controls to the new camera!
 

All good things come to an end: Part 4 covers the last day of the show and we’ve got a ton of booths to get through. Make sure you check back in with us!

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