New Underwater Photo and Video Equipment at DEMA 2019

What's New in Underwater Photography going into 2020....
By Nirupam Nigam

The DEMA show is the world’s largest tradeshow for dive industry and underwater photo/video professionals. This year DEMA 2019 was held in Orlando, Florida and all the big names in the industry were in attendance! We were particularly curious what DEMA 2019 was going to hold for underwater creatives after momentous strides in photography made in 2018 and the start of 2019. The mirrorless camera revolution, particularly in the full-frame market, has changed the game for many underwater photographers. With better autofocus, burst rates, resolution, video capability, and lens systems brought about by camera manufacturers, we couldn’t help but wonder how underwater photo and video manufacturers would keep up. 

DEMA 2019 showed us that underwater photo and video manufactures did more than keep up – they innovated! 2020 is looking light a very bright year for underwater photography. Some of the highlights of the show included a series of new strobes, optical improvements in domes and ports, new camera housings, and more. Be sure to check out our top ten underwater gear highlights of DEMA 2019! 

This article presents our full coverage of DEMA 2019. Feel free to use the “Jump To” section below to see what innovations have been made by the manufacturer of your choice.

 


 

Jump To

Ikelite   |   Nauticam   |   Sea & Sea   |   Kraken 

Isotta   |   Aquatica   |   Fantasea   |   SeaLife

Light & Motion   |   GoPro   |   Paralenz   |   Saga Dive

 


 

 

Ikelite

A New DS Pro Strobe, Ikelite Sony A7R IV Housing, Ikelite TG-6 Dome Port for FCON-T02 lens

Ikelite is constantly pushing the boundaries of underwater photography and they definitely came out strong during DEMA, 2019. John Brigham from Ikelite walked us through their new gear including a new strobe that's so new it has yet to be named! Here’s a quick overview of what’s new at Ikelite: 

 

1. New DS type strobe (unnamed): Ikelite’s new DS type pro strobe has 35% more energy capacity, a chrome plated reflector, a new front shroud design (for more field of coverage and softer fall off), Ikelite TTL compatibility, and the same battery pack, recycle time, and color temperature as the DS-161. It will be released officially in 2020. 

2. Sony A7R IV Housing: The Ikelite Sony A7R IV housing is now compatible with the Sony A9 II! We took the Ikelite A7R IV housing underwater for an extensive review of the Sony A7R IV. 

3. Ikelite Dome for Olympus FCON-T02 Lens: The Olympus FCON-T02 lens is an amazing little fisheye conversion lens built for the Olympus Tough series camera. Ikelite is now making a dome so compact underwater photographers can make use of its capability underwater!

4. Stay tuned for Ikelite housings for the Sony A6100 and Sony A6600

 

Nauticam

New Optics (WACP-2, WWL-C) and New Housings (BMPCC 6K, Panasonic S1H, ZCAM E2) 

Nauticam is at the forefront of innovation in underwater photography, and this year at DEMA they didn't disappoint. Todd Winner and Hergen Spalink from Nauticam walked us through some of their new underwater housings, wet lenses, ports, and more! Here’s what’s new from Nauticam this year: 

 

1. Wide Angle Conversion Port 2 (WACP-2): The WACP-2 is a conversion port with true water contact optics. This means sharp corners! It is optimized to work with 14mm equivalent lenses to create a 140 degree field of view. This makes is the widest rectilinear set up on the market! It can also focus in air which is great for over-under shots. The shade has been designed to lock in 90 degree turns to eliminate vignetting.

2. Wet Wide Lens for Compact Cameras (WWL-C): The WWL-C is designed as a wet lens specifically for compact cameras. It creates a 130 degree field of view with 24mm equivalent lenses. It’s particularly great with the Olympus TG-6 Camera

3. Nauticam BMPCC 6K Housing: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is the newest cinema camera from Blackmagic. It’s an affordable option for taking 6K video! Nauticam makes an excellent housing complete with cinema gears. 

4. Nauticam Panasonic S1H Housing: The Panasonic S1H is an amazing cinema-oriented 6K full-frame mirrorless camera. The Nauticam Housing is one of the only options on the market currently available for the camera and a great option at that! 

5. Nauticam ZCAM E2 Housing: The ZCAM E2 camera is a ground breaking cinema camera capable at of shooting 4K video at 160 fps! It has proprietary RAW capability as well as ProRes RAW. At about $2K for the body of the camera and $2.5 K for the housing, the system is at a price point set to outcompete the Panasonic GH5S

 

Sea & Sea

New YS-D3 Strobe, Universal Dome Port, Sony A7R IV MDXL Housing

 

Sea & Sea is one of the top strobe and housing manufacturers in the world. All of their products are elegantly designed and made in Japan. Andy Sallmon of Sea & Sea walked us through some of the revolutionary new designs at DEMA this year. Here’s what’s new from Sea & Sea this year: 

1. Sea & Sea YS-D3 Strobe: For all those loyal Sea & Sea strobe users, this might just be the most exciting development at DEMA! The Sea & Sea YS-D3 strobe features new electronics, a spherical lens instead of flash tubes, the fastest recycle time in the industry (.6 sec at half power), a 1000 lumen continuous focus light, redesigned circuitry, and a guide number of 33 (up from 32). The YS-D3 will be available around April 2020. 

2. Universal Dome Port: The universal dome port is the port to replace all ports! It’s made of an exciting new material called PLANEXT which is neither acrylic nor glass. However, it has the same optical properties of glass, but it’s half the weight and half the price! This port will be compatible with all wide angle lenses. 

3. Sea & Sea MDXL Sony A7R IV Housing: Sea & Sea is now making a new line of MDXL housings which is an improvement from their MDX series. Their first MDXL is fittingly for the Sony A7R IV, a ground breaking camera in its own right. The housing includes ball mounts on the handles, accents, and a leak sentinel. 

4. Sea & Sea YS-01 and YS-03 Solis Strobes: The Sea & Sea YS-01 and YS-03 strobes have been upgraded and reintroduced as Solis strobes. There have been some modular changes, servicing is easier, and there’s some redesigned circuitry. 

5. Additional knickknacks: Some other new pieces of equipment from Sea & Sea include a flash trigger and a snoot!

 

Kraken

New Solar Flare Mini, Kraken Strobe, Kraken TG-6 Housing, and Kraken Snoot Light

 

Kraken Sports is a leading manufacturer of underwater photo and video solutions. They produce anything from video lights to snoots to housings. Doug Taleski from Kraken and Mark Strickland from Bluewater Photo discuss some of the cool new items from Kraken introduced at DEMA, 2019. Here are some of the new products from Kraken this year: 

 

1. New Kraken Solar Flare Mini 12,000: The ever-popular Solar Flare Mini 8,000 has been upgraded to 12,000 lumens. It includes a vacuum port and pump for added protection. It has a waterproof head so that electronics are safe in the even of a flood. It has a fiver optic port to hook up a camera if you want to make use of it’s 15,000 lumen burst capability for photography. 

2. New Kraken Snoot Light: This is a new snoot light from Kraken. It’s 1000 lumens with an optical condenser. You can screw optional color filters (green, blue, pink)

3. New Kraken Olympus TG-6 Housing: Kraken is making a new aluminum housing for the Olympus TG-6 camera. It has a bayonet system that makes switching lenses easy underwater. There is a built in vacuum pump and port in the housing – all you have to do is press the button and it will automatically pump. 

4. New Kraken Strobe: The new Kraken Strobe has a guide number of 24 and is capable of 800 full power cycles at full charge. You can add diffusers and domes and hopefully a snoot in the future. 

 

Isotta

New Red 64 Strobe

 

Isotta announced a ground breaking new strobe at DEMA this year - the RED 64, boasting a guide number of 64! Simon Lorenz of Isotta walked us through all the features of this awesome new strobe. Beyond the impressive guide number, this strobe is neutrally buoyant underwater, takes AA batteries, includes a focus light (and red light), and features a 130 degree beam angle. It is capable of TTL, manual power control, and TTL with synch cords. It also has a light tower for slave mode. Isotta anticipates the strobe to be released by Spring 2020!

 

Aquatica

New Sony A7R IV and Nikon Z6/Z7 Housing

 

Aquatica is the maker of fine aluminum housings at a very competitive price point. All Aquatica housings are machined from solid blocks of aluminum, are anodized, and painted with textured paint. Blake Stoughton, president of Aquatica, showed us the ins and outs of the new Aquatica Nikon Z6/Z7 and Aquatica Sony A7R IV housings:

1. Aquatica Nikon Z6/Z7 Housing: The Nikon Z6 and Z7 are Nikon’s first series of full-frame mirrorless cameras with their new Z mount. They have been revolutionary for underwater photographers with high resolution, excellent autofocus, and amazing video capability. Aquatica’s housing for the Z6 and Z7 is extremely ergonomic, well designed, and durable. 

2. Aquatica Sony A7R IV Housing: The Sony A7R IV housing will be shipping in mid-December, 2019. It’s a housing for a groundbreaking new camera – the Sony A7R IV – a 61 MP full frame mirrorless camera. 

 

Fantasea 

It’s all about the Vaccum System!

 

Fantasea Line is a maker of high-end, polycarbonate compact and mirrorless camera housings. This past year Fantasea has been focusing its new vacuum safety system and making sure they incorporate it into their product line (for past, present, and future cameras). Founder, Howard Rosenstein, walked us through Fantasea’s product line this year. 

 

SeaLife

Reefmaster RM-4K and Sea Dragon 5000

 

SeaLife is unique in that they create cameras made specifically for underwater photo and video. Lindsay Marion from SeaLife walked us through some of the exciting new developments that SeaLife introduced at DEMA:

1. SeaLife Reefmaster RM-4K Video Camera: The RM-4K is a small, compact video-oriented camera built to rival the GoPro. It is capable of shooting 4K@30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, and features a 140 degree field of view. It can take 14 MP photos and features a large LCD on the back so you can see what you’re shooting. The RM-4K also has a built in color correction algorithm! It retails for $299 – an awesome price compared to other action cameras. 

2. Sea Dragon 5000: The Sea Dragon 5000 features a 5000 lumen beam with an auto proximity dimmer, automatic off capability with strobes, one button, a CRI of 96, and safety features (gas off valve) so that it doesn’t explode. This will be the light to replace the Sea Dragon 4500. 

 

Light and Motion

Light and Motion Sola Video Pro 15,000, Sola Dive Pro 2000, and Sola WFRS

 

Light & Motion is one of the top underwater and topside lighting brands for photo and video! We got to check out some of their cool new gear at DEMA this year:

1. Sola Video Pro 15,000: The sola video pro 15,000 is a groundbreaking light for professional underwater videographers. It features 15,000 lumens of continuous light, run time calculations, and you can replace the underwater head with topside heads. 

2. Sola Dive Pro 2000: The Sola dive pro 2000 features a 2000 lumen beam. It’s an 8 degree spot beam so it’s oriented more for divers than underwater photographers and videographers. It’s a fast charge light.

3. Sola WFRS: WFRS stands for white flood, red spot. It’s a 1200 lumen light that was designed as a navigation and lobstering light. It’s also great as a focus light.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

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