DEMA 2017 Roundup

Bluewater Photo's Dema 2017

Product Roundup

 

 

Every year DEMA showcases some of the latest and greatest innovations in the Scuba Diving world. As always we hit the show floor to find what our great vendors have coming up, or being updated so we can bring you the best and most exciting products for underwater photography.

This year our associate Ron Watkins traveled to Orlando along with Bluewater Photo owner, Scott Gietler, and they've compiled a great list of exciting new products to keep an eye out for!

Acquapazza

If you want to color coordinate your camera gear and have a housing that stands out from the others on the camera table, then Acquapazza is a great choice.  But the color isn’t the only thing that differentiates these well-engineered and precision machined housings.  They continue to innovate and this year introduced a really nice housing (APPA-GH5) for the LUMIX GH5 camera that caught our eye at a nice price point.  This well designed ergonomic lightweight beautifully machined housing has well marked controls and they have a really nice touch, especially the shutter release.  Equally impressive is the sleek housing for the Sony A6500 with the popular angled LCD window for easier viewing and large port throat to accommodate larger bodied lenses for the Sony camera.  Both are unique features that distinguish this housing from its competitors.

Aquatica

A common theme this year are popular new cameras, the Panasonic GH5, Sony A7R III and Nikon D850. As expected Aquatica will be releasing housings for all of these cameras. The GH5 should be shipping any day now, and they hope to release the D850 before the end of the year. Look for the A7R III early in 2018.

Big news on the D850 is the use of self-aligning controls, which allwo for an easier camera installation and more accurate control function. Scott noticed the handles on the D850 felt a little too close, but don't worry, Aquatica offers extenders for all of their handles / housings, which can easily allow you to customize the fit of the grip on your housing.

Further exciting news is that Aquatica is working on the relase of their own UW monitor, but it is still in the pre-production phase.

Big Blue Dive Lights

Big Blue continues to add to its product line of over 40 different models of lights and this year they upgraded a number of models with more lumens but kept the price the same.  Who doesn’t like extra free lumens!  The new light that we really liked that they introduced is the VL4000P that has their signature easy to use controls for four different power settings and an essential red mode for those skittish subjects like mandarinfish.

 

Fantasea

Fantasea continues to deliver on high quality ergonomic and affordable housings, ports and accessories.  One great addition that Fantasea now offers is a bayonet port adapter for their UWL-09 lens. This will make use of the lens on your housing much easier than having to screw it on and off underwater.

For the mirrorless line up they've updated their A6000 housing, released a battery pack for the A6300/A6500 housing and icreased support for a variety of Sony lenses, and others will soon be available such as the Tokina 10-17 and Sony 90mm lens utilizing the new Sea & Sea port adapter.

The new Sea & Sea port adapter allows Fantasea housing users to attach the full range of ports that Sea&Sea offers. This will allow use of more lens options with the Fantasea housings.

One last innovation that Fantasea is releasing is a flash trigger designed for their A6XXX series Sony housings. In addition they will be releasing a Universal flash trigger designed to work with nearly any housing. Keep an eye out for more details.

Fisheye (Fix)

A pioneer in high quality lighting FIX continues to innovate and introduce top of the line versatile lights. Their new multi-purpose 4000 Lumen FIX Neo Premium DX II light serves as a focus light, continuous video/photo light, and by adding a fiber optical cable can also serve as a 4000 lumen burst strobe while taking stills.

This compact, well designed stylish light provides a 3000L adjustable continuous light source. Optional accessories can be added to the light include an acrylic light dome for a wider angle of light coverage and softer edges. We expect to see this light released in January 2018.

iDivesite (iTorch, iDas & More)

Kelvin from i-DiveSite had some of the most innovative products with some key features that shooters of all levels will appreciate.  The new BCB (Buoyancy Control Battery) Arm looks like something that James Bond would have on his UW Camera setup (minus the laser beams).  At first glance, it looks like other common buoyancy arms but has some ports sticking out of it that will come in handy. 

The first port allows you to change the buoyancy of the arm while diving, so you can adjust the buoyancy of your rig at different depths. You can attach the low pressure hose from your BCD to add air and or use the purge valve to release air. This could be useful as you end your dive on the surface, you may want to add air to the BCB arms to make your camera rig positively buoyant so that if there is a fumble in the handoff up to the boat, your rig won’t sink like an anchor. 

Kelvin is always thinking and had several new products that impressed us including iTorch Venom RGB 4000 lumen light with an adjustable color control that creates a single or multiple color pattern for added creativity in your macro shots. 

But the coolest ergonomic device he unveiled was his new Universal Remote Control unit that allows you to control the power level of up to two strobes from a compact display mounted on top of the housing without having to reach over to each strobe.   Add the optional handle controllers and the strobe controls are at your fingertips without ever moving you hands off the handles.  All macro shooters will realize the significance of these remote controllers as frequent power setting changes require the shooter to remove their hand from the camera and reach over to two strobes one at a time while the subject swims away and you miss the shot.

Ikelite

Ikelite had several of their photo pros at the booth including Ken Keifer who was displaying his impressive photography taken with some of their newer products.  The new housing for the much anticipated Nikon D850 was very impressive and ships with a tray and left arm included so that you have a good base unit to start at a very affordable price.  It is easily expandable to add an additional handle when you want to expand to two strobes as well as adding other accessories.  For ergonomics, you can add an extension to the shutter lever so that it is closer to the handle depending on how long your fingers are.  The curved shutter lever was particularly nice and made it easy to blindly locate it quickly with your finger.  This housing also has the newer tray mount system that allows the camera to be inserted and removed from the housing easily.  After handling this at DEMA, we are anxious to get it in the store and are currently taking pre-orders for it. In addition, Ikelite is working on housings for new and upcoming cameras such as the Sony A9, Nikon D7500 and Canon 6D Mark II.

Keldan

The Swiss made Keldon lights are a favorite among serious videographers and this year they added to their compact video light selection with new models ranging from 9000 lumens up to a whopping 30,000 lumens (in a ‘compact’ light).  The largest is called the Keldon Video 24X and yes it will light up a large area evenly with a soft beam pattern and has a variable power control dial which is easy to adjust even if you have thick gloves on.   Another nice feature of these lights is the rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack with charge indicator.  Although these lights are referred to as compact, there was nothing compact about the amount of light coverage they produce.

Kraken Sports

Kraken is well known for their smart phone housings complete with vacuum seals and a proprietary software app to control the functional of your iphone/android phone’s camera. This year, Kraken introduced some very innovative features for their line of lights as well as a new Hydra 8000 lumen light to fill out their line up between the Hydra 5000 and 10,000. What is really cool and convenient is an easily removable lithium ion battery pack with a usb port connection built directly into the battery so no additional charger unit is required saving us photographers space and weight in our bags.

They also have a really nice macro line of adjustable beam Hydra lights 900/1000 which are perfect for remote lighting and back lighting your subject.  I know a couple of pro photographers that use these little Hydra lights as their secret weapon in creative lighting. 

However, what a lot of macro shooters will be most interested in is the Light Ring 3000  which not only delivers a constant even light for your subjects at up to 3,000 lumens of brightness, but also has a burst mode which effectively converts the ring light into a strobe-like light to allow you to use smaller apertures than the constant light source, a really benefit for gaining better overall depth of field and control of your images.

Nauticam

Nauticam, always a leader in innovation who excels with both simple compact camera housings all the way up to high end, professional video housing solutions was displaying some great new options at DEMA this year.

One we were excited to see and learn more about was the Nauticam NA-C200 housing for Canon C200 cinema camera.

The Canon C200, with its 8.8 megapixel dual pixel Super 35 format sensor, is posed to be a very popular camera with serious underwater movie makers and videographers, who want the advantages of 4K video and raw video format, but don't want the cost or complexity of a RED system.
 
The Nauticam C200 housing is relatively small, and very easy to use. Memory cards, battery compartment and SDI connection are all easily accessible. Most Canon APS-C lenses are supported, like the Canon 10-22mm, along with HDMI/SDI output and electronic record. All major controls of the camera are supported and the ergonomics felt excellent.

We saw the new SMC-2 an impressive diopter tailor made for dSLR lenses, which boasts 4x magnification, where the original SMC gives a mear 2.5x. We were impressed by how reasonable the size and weight of the SMC-2 was, given the extreme magnification. We suggest that customers get a good amount of supermacro experience under their belt before shoouting with the SMC-2

In addition Nauticam also had the new full frame DSLR wide angle conversion port on display. As anticipiated this lens looks to be pretty incredible, offering a very sharp wide angle option, which cost less than the combination of a high quality wide angle lens, gear and 9" dome port. Despite the smaller size (than a 9" dome port) the lens returns excellent quality results, with minimal blurring or abberations that are common with wide angle lenses.

The advantages of the WACP are many. It is very sharp when both stopped down, and wide-open, which is great news for underwater videographers. You can also fully zoom through, which gives you a great range underwater.

Be warned though, the lens is large and heavy (though much smaller than a 9" port)! To counter this, Nauticam includes the buoyancy collar which takes the weight from negative 3.5lbs underwater to just negative 1/2 lb. The lens works with a variety of 35mm and zoom lenses, allowing for flexibility in your system. Contact us for more details and to find out if your lens is compatible.

Sea & Sea

Sea & Sea continues to work at releasing new housings, and we got to preview the new housing for Nikon D850 at the show. Look for this housing out soon, and hopefully a preview from us in the next few weeks!

You can pre-order the Sea & Sea D850 housing. We expect it to be available in early December. Scott Gietler used the housing at DEMA and found it to be very small, light, ergonomic, and easy to use the front and rear control dials with one hand. Changing ports with their new port lock system was simple. Overall we expect this to be a very competitive D850 housing, especially appealing to people who want a smaller form factor.

In addition, Sea & Sea plans to release new glass dome ports, optically superior to their current line of acrylic ports. These ports will be available in 4", 6" and 9" glass domes.

The new YS-D2J strobe is now out and available at our store. All parts are sourced from Japan for this strobe.

 

 

SeaLife

New this year is a SeaDragon 4500 lumen photo/video light that provides up to 1 hour @ full power and comes with separate rechargeable batteries that can easily be switched out between dives so that you never run out of juice. The Sea Dragon 4500 is a great improvement on the quality SeaLife video lights, and features a high CRI of 96, a quality COB LED array and wide 90° beam angle. 

SeaLife also entered the mini 4K video camera market with the RM-4K that is very compact and can easily be mounted to any camera or to one of their handle assemblies and paired with their SeaDragon 4500.  The RM-4K has a nice built-in back screen with easy to navigate menu and it is capable of stills as well, but primarily intended for video.

XIT404

Known for its specialized products for underwater photography and videography that improve the user experience, XIT 404 had some new toys that would make great stocking stuffers.  They have released the Dive Stick Plus that is threaded to accommodate the Olympus T4/T5, GoPro or other camera or video camera with the standard thread pattern on most units.  A slightly different variation of this is the Dive Spike that is meant to be stuck in the sand with a camera or video recorder attached to it and serve as a hands free monopod.  If you have never done this with your video recorder, stick it in the sand with the Dive Spike or one of their tripods at the beginning of the dive and leave it running and then at the end of the dive, pick it up.  You will be amazed at just how many critters get up close and personal to your camera.  And for those Olympus T4/T5 users that want an easy way to attach a Magic Filter on your lens, XIT has a custom made filter holder that attaches to the end of the lens for color enhanced ambient light video.

11/06/2017
 
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