The Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) Singapore has been an important dive show for many years, but as the big market of China developed, show organizer John Thet has expanded the ADEX brand with shows in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. These shows, aimed specifically at the Chinese market, are now grander and bigger than the Singaporean hosted one. However, ADEX Singapore still attracts large numbers of exhibitors and visitors. For 2018, it drew 62,079 public and trade visitors.
For us underwater image makers, ADEX drew all of the biggest names in manufacturers and photographers. This year, the legendary Doug Perrine joined the illustrious list of underwater shooters who have delivered talks at ADEX Singapore.
This year’s most talked about story for the underwater photographer’s world has been “Eneloopgate.” To recap, Panasonic released a statement suggesting their ubiquitous NiMH rechargeable “Eneloop” batteries, should not be used in underwater strobes. Since this was published on Wetpixel, community members have added further anecdotal stories about the batteries giving trouble in strobes in the comments section.
Thus, the first thing I did was to check with the manufacturer reps about this issue. Seacam’s Harald Hordosch unequivocally insisted Seacam Sea Flash 60 strobes can certainly use any rechargeable AA sized NiMH batteries. He read an email statement from his engineer:
In future versions of the Sea Flash 60, there will be an off-gas valve added as an additional safety feature, even though Harald says presently the SF60 strobes are safe to use any brand AA batteries, which fit the specifuications of a standard or rechargeable AA battery.
Takuya Tori San of Inon Japan, was also on hand to quell fears of Inon strobes “in”-compatibility with Eneloop batteries. He told me all Inon strobes have an off-gas valve, which allows the dangerous gas to vent when the battery discharges in use.
Basically, all this was much ado about nothing, since this issue has been around for years and dealt with by engineers. However, there are legacy strobes which don’t have the electronics or off-gas valves, which may will a problem when used with Panasonic Eneloops. Panasonic probably made the statement as protection against litigation, and set the underwater strobe user world in panic, in doing so!
With “Eneloopgate” squashed, the other big strobe story came from Austria’s well known silver housing manufacturer. A familiar face at ADEX over the years, Harald proudly told me his Sea Flash 60 strobes now have high-speed synchronization with Canon cameras, which means there is no more limit of the slow 1/180-320 shutter speed with E-TTL II strobe protocol.
This would be the first strobe manufacturer to do so on a non-Canon strobe. I’ve tested housed Canon flashes in an attempt to get higher sync speeds, but to get the power needed, I had to carry around 4 Canon strobes, which made for cable hell! I look forward to testing the Sea Flash 60 in high-speed sync mode, especially in TTL mode with other strobes!
As for other news from Seacam, they will release housings for the Sony A7RIII and Panasonic GH5.
It’s always fun to talk to Mr Nauticam, Edward Lai, because he loves figuring out problems using physics and engineering. One of the biggest problems with underwater imagery is the issue of wide angle rectilinear lenses having soft corners. 2016 saw the then launch of the WWL-1 conversion lens. Released at DEMA 2018, Nauticam has produced another wide angle conversion lens, aimed primarily at full frame SLR cameras. The Wide Angle Conversion Port (WACP) corrects the underwater image so that the land and camera sensor can faithfully reproduce ether scene. In order to achieve this, the WACP is significantly bigger than the WWL-1 bigger and come with its own flotation collar.
Wetpixel’s Alex Mustard, along with Scubazoo’s Jason Isley, tested the prototype last year. Nauticam showcased the full production model of their WACP at ADEX Singapore.
The 0.36 Wide Angle Conversion Port (WACP) is a dry type sealed lens that is based on the optics of the WWL-1, but further improved. To counteract the light dispersion property of water, Edward Lai and his team used different optical glasses and lens curvatures. Nauticam are actively testing the WACP’s compatibility with full frame and cropped sensor SLR camera lenses, as well as some mirrorless ones. It is best to check in with your local Nauticam dealer to find out a specific len’s performance with it. Suffice to say that the image produced via almost all wide angle lenses with the WACP is superior to that produced with a conventional dome port. Still, the difficulty of correction makes using a lens that has too wide a field of view was a real limitation.
Edward says it’s been tested to 5k video and even on the 50mp D850, the results have been considered “good”. The wallpaper in the Nauticam booth used an enlarged picture taken by Alex using his D5 with the WACP.
As usual, Nauticam are one of the quickest to produce housings for the latest cameras, and the Sony A7RIII now has a housing. The NA-A7RIII will have access to all major controls and the use of all Nauticam ports and accessories.
Mr Inon, Takuya san, was on hand as always to show off the latest wares from Inon. First off was the long-awaited upgrade for the Z240, the Z330! It’s more powerful, has a wider beam and has even more accessories, including color filter domes, all while still using 4 AA batteries. There will be additional accessories like a -4 ND filter and a snoot for the Z330.
First seen at DEMA 2017, Inon released a X2 housing for the Canon EOS80D, which is a 2016 camera. This housing is distinct in that it’s designed to be slightly larger to help with buoyancy. It’s now shipping, along with another housing making its debut is the MPK-HSR1 for the DSC-RX0, Sony’s latest tough action cam competitor against GoPro. To go with the new housing for a new camera, the new UWL-100 28M55 wide conversion lens gives the RX0 100° field of view underwater and the LF1300EWF, a 1300lm domed wide angle focus light, with a shutter-linked AUTO off feature, which turns off when it detects strobes firing, both shipping now after their DEMA announcement.
Wetpixel member and friend, David Cheung of Scubacam was at ADEX, showing his homemade VR360 housing made for GoPros and soon the Sony DSC-RX0. David told me the rendering time for stitching 6 GoPros feeds together is dauntingly long. Wetpixel’s Eric Cheng has blogged about the computing power needed to do VR360 work!
Fabio Benvenuti of Easydive has become a bit of a fixture at ADEX the last few years. Easydive housings are still the only housing that is easily upgradeable at the touch of a USB upgrade on the housing electronics, making Easydive housings the quickest and cheapest housing upgrade there is out there, even if the camera manufacturer changes the entire camera controls on the new body. Want to change brands or move to a full frame mirrorless from your APS-C system, just buy the software update. It’s that convenient!
At ADEX this year, Fabio mentioned he will soon have the firmware update for Leo3 Wi for the Sony A7RIII camera. And all his Leo3 Smart and Diveshot housings are compatible with the latest phones via their app.
Several brands were consolidated in a big booth under their local agent Dive Sea Singapore. They were put in a different section of where the other housing manufacturers were, and I almost missed them entirely!
Isotta Italy’s Elisa Isotta showed off the Italian red housing manufacturer’s latest offerings, which included housings for the Panasonic GH5, Nikon D850 and Olympus TG5.
Snoot lights have become quite popular, giving underwater photographers more options to shoot with selective lighting. One accessory manufacturers have been using are optical condensers to focus light beams into a tighter beam. The new Weefine Smart Focus 6000 LED light has 3000lm, but in flash mode for photography it can go up to 6000lm, which they claim equals Gn16 at 40 cm. It also does normal, red and UV lighting.
AJ Saito of Recsea was showing of the Recsea wares, including the Olympus TG-5 housing.
Unfortunately, ADEX 2018 did not have the same presence of underwater imaging manufacturers as it has had in previous years. The rest of the underwater imaging companies there had nothing new to show at ADEX since DEMA, except to maintain a presence for brand recognition.
Around the show
ADEX had over 70 speakers doing talks all over the show. Topics varied from ocean conservation, underwater photography to tech diving. With 62,000 visitors in a city of 5.8 million, it’s much more impressive than even DEMA.
With that many things happening at Suntec Convention Centre, here are a few interesting tech options that could help with underwater imagers.
The Sublue Shark Mix underwater scooter allows a GoPro to be put in front of it while propelling the user up to 3.4mph underwater. With some modification to hold a small housing for a A7, it’s another way to get those dolphin chase shots.
Some productions require “behind the scenes” clips for a DVD or a “making of” segment. This autonomous underwater drone from iBubble can follow a diver around and shoot the scenes for you, using a GoPro and it even has lights for the camera. It’s the DJI Phantom for the underwater world!
The Rest of ADEX
Wetpixel is a supporter of the ADEX Voice of The Ocean competition for underwater Photo/Video/Art. The winners of this year’s competition can be seen here.
However, before the judging of the competition started, a legend in the scuba world was presented an award. Peter Hughs, who started the Dancer fleet of liveaboards, received
And that’s all from ADEX 2018! Please check out the Wetpixel/Sam’s Tour party pictures here.