We just came back from a fantastic show in Long Beach, CA. This year’s show was very exciting, with plenty of cool new products, interesting seminars, mind boggling films at the UW film festival and of course – lots of raffles, prizes and fun!
I was excited to get my new Sony A6300 and use it at the Scuba Show! All the images and videos below were taken with the A6300 + 16-50mm lens. Most photos were taken on ISO 6400!! Incredible low light capabilities on this camera. Underwater review coming up soon…
BigBlue Dive Lights
BigBlue showcased their wide array of dive / video / technical lights, allowing the visitors to try them out and compare. Their lights range from the compact AL250, which is a fantastic backup light for cave divers or for spotting little critters, and ends with the VL30000P, which is a monster light that produces 30,000 lumens (!!!), for those serious videographers who are looking to light up their scene as if it were topside in broad daylight.
The mid range lights are the most popular among enthusiast UW photographers, with the Black Molly II and III leading the popularity contest, as one of the best value lights in the market. The Black Molly III emits a powerful 2600 lumen beam, at a super wide 120 degree beam angle, while maintaining a very compact size and light weight. The Black Molly II is pretty much the same, but two LED’s were replaced with warm light LED’s, which allows it to emit two different light temperatures at 1800 lumen each, as well as red light for focusing.
Another noteable light is the VL5800P Tri Color, which has a very high rating of 5800 lumens, warm and cold light modes, a compact size and an excellent price tag – only US$579.
Beneath The Surface
Whatever you need to connect, housing to lights, trays to strobes, action cameras to housings – BTS’s got you covered!
Their growing line-up of excellent trays and arms has been leading the market for several years now, improving with every year, adding new features and new designs.
Their boomerang trays for GoPro have been very successful, and this year they added the single boomerang as well.
Their latest innovation is the Trigger System for GoPro, which mounts on their standard boomerang tray, and allows the user to fully operate both buttons of his GoPro, without lifting his hands from the grips. This is a huge help in keeping the natural flow while filming and saves hours of cutting out the shaky start and end of your videos, during the editing stage.
Fantasea’s well anticipated G9X is finally here, and it’s creating quite a buzz. This small, stylish camera looks great inside the high-quality Fantasea FG9X housing and creates a small, versatile system, with excellent capabilities and many optional accessories.
The biggest challenge on the G9X was the camera’s touch screen, which makes it harder to use underwater. However, Fantasea have manufactured an innovative housing which supports the touch screen with 5 dedicated buttons. They’ve also included a detailed manual on how to pre-set your controls, so that you can optimize your underwater usability. Simply follow their lead, adjust the settings and you’re good to go!
We have already tested the G9X underwater in the Red Sea, with the Fantasea housing. Check out our review.
Another cool new product is the tiny Radiant 1000X, a very small 1000 lumen light, great for close-up videos and as a focus light.
We were happy to see the new opaque housings at the Ikelite booth. Ikelite’s new line-up looks and feels very sturdy especially the A7II housing which is becoming increasingly popular. Ikelite has created the most affordable, high quality housing for the FF mirrorless, making it accessible for those who prefer not to spend almost double the price for an aluminum housing.
The new lightweight action housings were also there, and it’s amazing to feel how light they are! Throw them in your backpack while traveling and you can shoot in any weather and any conditions, without compromising on size and weight.
The new NA-D500 was the star of the booth, released only a couple of weeks ago, and already in high demand! We had a close look at it and boy does it shine.
Nikon’s new DX flagship is going to be a very popular camera among enthusiasts, both topside and for underwater. Boasting 4K videos, exceptional low light capabilities (1,640,000 ISO?!?!) and a few more amazing features, this camera is the at the peak of current technology.
The rising star in the Mirrorless section is Sony’s A6300, which brings DSLR quality to compact size. Nauticam’s housing for the A6300 is surprisingly small, and supports a multitude of lenses, including the versatile kit lens 16-50mm. Using the flat port, one can mount both a macro lens and a wide angle lens such as the WWL-1 and get a very diverse system, capable of shooting any kind of frame underwater during a single dive!
The Symbiosis light is the hottest thing since sliced bread! I-Torch managed to cram a powerful strobe and a varying power video light in one, making it easier to take photos and videos on the same dive, without overloading yourself.
The SS-1 is a the basic model, without the LCD screen and with a 1000 lumen light integrated on top of the strobe. You can either shoot on manual mode or use the semi-auto mode, which senses your proximity to the subject and adjusts the light accordingly.
The SS-2 is the Pro model, which features a useful auto-rotating LCD screen, with backlight and the same wonderful features.
In the action cam section, I-torch have recently released the Weefine DiverGo – a full HD action cam with an integrated depth and temperature sensor, capable of excellent quality videos and photos, while showing and saving the depth in which you took the photo. Pretty cool!
Sea & Sea
Not a whole lot new over at Sea & Sea, but we did enjoy playing around with the A7II housing, which is a very impressive piece of engineering. It fully supports the Sony A7II / A7RII / A7SII and various lenses.
Sea & Sea have also showcased the rugged MDX-D810, for those serious Nikon users looking to benefit from Sea & Sea’s excellent YS converter system – which allows rapid flash fire without waiting for your internal pop-up flash to recycle.
Sealife are going strong with the floodproof, Micro 2.0 action camera, which is designed for underwater shooters looking for an easy-to-use, high quality action camera, without worrying about flooding, or messy controls.
They have just released a Super Macro Close-Up lens for the Micro 2.0 / HD, which allows you to shoot small critters from only a few inches away. A useful white straw is located on the bottom and helps you figure out the right distance to your subject. And no, it isn’t visible in the frame 🙂
Sealife have also expanded their mounting accessories line-up, Flex-Connect, finally allowing cross branding with almost any piece of gear out there. They now have standard ball mounts and YS mounts for their lights as well as for their great tray and arm system, so that you can use your existing gear with their products without a problem.
Check out the Sea Dragon Mini 650F light:
Aquatica revealed their prototype for the Nikon D500, not yet ready, but at the final stages of production. This great new housing will fully support the DX flagship and will be sold with UW technics optical flash trigger as an optional add-on. Controls are all conveniently placed at your finger tips with the same rugged exterior which we are used to seeing from Aquatica.
Light and Motion
The Sola line-up needs no introduction. It has been leading the market for several years now, with excellent high-end lights, accurate beam angles, unique controls and factory sealed lights. The Gobe’s are also popular thanks to their small size, great ergonomics and usability above water as well as below.
The most popular mid-range light is currently the Sola S/F 2500, which provides the best value and ideal power output for the enthusiast UW photographer.
The tiny Olympus Tough TG-Tracker is at the cutting edge of action camera technology, shooting 4K videos with an integrated accelerometer, barometer and thermometer, built in flip LCD and a built-in 60 lumen video light! Oh yes, and it’s waterproof to 100ft / 30m, shockproof to 2m and generally life-proof! All this for just $349. That price tag is hard to beat!
It also comes with a useful pistol grip and two choices of ports (flat and dome) for underwater and above.
Great show this year! See you next year at Long Beach!
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Dive safe and mind your fins!