DEMA Coverage: Compact and Consumer Cameras
And so it begins...
DPG hit the floor in Las Vegas for day one of DEMA. There were tons of new goodies – cameras, housings, accessories – and over the next four days of coverage, we’ll bring you them all!
Today, we focused on all the hot new compact and consumer-level cameras and housings on the floor—and there were tons.
Perhaps the biggest news for retailer Backscatter in recent months wasn’t a piece of equipment, but a partnership. Backscatter announced last month that they are now the official distributor for Olympus in North America and the Caribbean. “It’s a great way to add imaging to dive shops,” said Backscatter’s Sterling Zumbrunn about the partnership with Olympus. “It’s a gateway to get into underwater imaging.”
Surely enough, Backscatter headlined their display with Olympus’s OM-D camera and housing. It is the first of Olympus’s housings for EVIL cameras to included removable, bayonetted ports to accommodate the increasingly wide range of lenses for mirrorless cameras. Depth rated to 150 feet, the housing retails for just under $1000.
Nauticam Compact Housings:
The Nauticam booth is home to the latest housings for the increasingly popular EVIL (electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens) cameras, like Olympus’ OM-D E-M5. The NA-EM5 housing for the camera, described by Nautciam’s Chris Parsons as a “really popular” product, is depth rated to 330 feet. One of the big selling points for this housing is its wide port support for a range of lenses.
At the show, they were showing off the macro abilities of the Olympus 12-50mm lens. A specifically designed “macro switch” allows the photographer to lock into a desired focal length, while there is also access to an electronic zoom. The housing is now available and is retailing for $1350.
Also of note is the ability to add a SLR-quality enhanced viewfinder to Nauticam compact housings like the NA-EM5 and NA-NEX5R. You can switch out the clear back plate of either of these cameras and actually mount a 45-degree or 180-degree viewfinder.
Sealife ReefMaster Mini:
We also got our first look at the latest compact camera from the folks at SeaLife: the ReefMaster Mini. This 9.0 megapixel camera is self-contained, meaning it does not come out of the housing, and is depth rated to 200 feet. Features include enhanced underwater color correction, and a detachable wide-angle wet lens.
The mini wide-angle lens makes shooting large subjects up-close easier, allowing users to focus as close as 12-inches from the subject. After seeing its compactness and rugged feel, it seems like will well suit outdoor adventurers or casual underwater photographers. It retails for $259.95.
Fantasea Housing for Canon G15:
At the Fantasea booth, the big news is a switch from Nikon to Canon. While the company’s bread and butter has recently been the Nikon P7000 series, Fantasea is making the switch to Canon with the G15. Although still in prototype until April, the company insists the housing is “worth waiting for.” It is depth rated to 200 feet and features access to all controls of this impressive 12-megapixel camera for an expected $499.
We also caught a glimpse at their “big eye” external dome adaptor. The lens features new anti-glare coating and helps return the real angle of view for a lens when shooting in the magnified underwater world. It is available for $219.
Watershot and SeaShell iPhone Housings:
IPhone housings are the big new thing for those looking to combine compact underwater photography with…well everything they can do with their smartphone. The folks at Watershot are known for making housings for Hollywood films like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but they also have a housing for your iPhone. It is depth rated to 165 feet, and with the use of the “Watershot App” you fully control the camera and phone from the push buttons: rapid fire, front and back camera use, GPS overlays and social media sharing.
There’s also external port accessories, including fisheye and macro adaptors and corrective color filters. Have an iPhone 5? No worries—they plan on rolling out the new version early next year. The current housing retails for $99.99.
We also checked out the iPhone housing from Seashell. The SS-I iPhone housing is depth rated to 130 ft and can hold an iPhone on its own, or one that is already in a protective daily-use case. It Is similar in shape and function as the one from Watershot, but features a shallower depth rating and a higher price point of $139.
Seashell is perhaps best known for their “all-in-one” SS-1 housing. It sells for just under $200 and fits over 70 percent of compact cameras on the market. Who knows, yours could be one of them.
Acquapazza Compact Housings:
The Acquapazza booth had several new housings for compact cameras, highlighted by one for Sony’s impressive, 20.2-megapixel monster, RX100. Although only in prototype stage, Acquapazza’s housing for the camera will be available in December for roughly $1000. Features include a 67mm threaded port system and a depth rating of 225 feet.
Acquapazza also had on display their housing for the Sony NEX-5N. Unique to their housings for the NEX series is a bayonette port mount—similar to that found on top-of-the-line DSLR setups. There’s 8 different ports to choose from, which fit most available lenses for the NEX, but you can check out Acquapazza’s website for the complete port compatibility list.
What a first day! And that’s just the cameras you can fit in your BCD pocket. Tomorrow, we will bring you the latest DSLR housings and cameras like the D600 and Canon 1DX. Until tomorrow…
-Team DPG: Matt, Joe, and (introducing) Kerri Bingham and Hergen Spalink