The Aqua Planet - a new website for underwater videographers Photo

The Aqua Planet - a new website for underwater videographers

A new website has been introduced that will be of interest to underwater videographers and anyone interested in watching short films of the underwater world. The Aqua Planet is the product of Keith Manning who works as a dive instructor in Thailand. The website aims to be the “YouTube” of marine-related themes by offering free hosting of web videos related to the marine environment.

The website interface is well laid out and easy to navigate around, the videos themselves open up in a good sized window for viewing simply by clicking on the thumbnail. With up to 100MB available for each video, sharing your videos is as easy as creating a free user account, adding a title and description, and uploading the file.

For anyone out there looking for a place to host their videos online, the Aqua Planet looks like a great place for all of us underwater enthusiasts.

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UK-Germany 45° Viewfinder Photo

UK-Germany 45° Viewfinder

Housing manufacturer UK-Germany has announced a new 45° viewfinder. Wetpixel member Helge Suess has posted several photos and details about it in our forums. According to Helge:

The finder has an angle of view of about 40° at a distance of approximately 45mm from the rear lens. This allows to view the whole viewfinder area with a mask at a scale of 1:1. It has a ball lock to snap in position at 90° steps when rotated. The finder is not restricted to UK-GERMANY housings. It is available to all housing manufactureres and DIY projects, and may be easily customized to fit housings on request.

No pricing information was made available yet.

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Amazon.com pulls shark fin products from inventory Photo

Amazon.com pulls shark fin products from inventory

Victory! Today, Amazon has pulled all shark fin related products from their offering. No official statement has yet been made by the company; however it appears that they have chosen the ecologically responsible path.

Wetpixel brought this issue to the public in a post dated Jan 1 (followed by a front-page post on Jan 4). Within hours, members caused this story to spread like wildfire to many major media outlets around the world. Members pressed on, and after only 10 days of protest,  a major corporation has pulled an objectionable product line from their offering. This is an impressive feat—a testament to the power of the internet to inform and drive action. In the uphill battle to save shark populations from extinction, there are some wins. Way to go, folks!

The next step is to impress upon Amazon the importance of taking a public stand against trade of endangered species (in this case sharks). Take a moment to send a communication to Amazon voicing your support for their immediate action and asking them to take this stand (customer service at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and investor relations at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

*UPDATE*: If you would like to voice your support for Amazon’s decision to remove shark fin products and press them to take a public stand on this issue, please feel free to you use the following text: (continue for full text)...

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Shawn Heinrichs joins moderating team for conservation Photo

Shawn Heinrichs joins moderating team for conservation

Please join me in welcoming Shawn Heinrichs to the Wetpixel moderating team! Shawn will help to promote and lead discussions related to conservation and environmental issues.

About Shawn: Shawn Heinrichs is an independent videographer and filmmaker who specializes in underwater and adventure travel.  His passion and work have taken him to the corners of the planet in pursuit of wild encounters with some of the oceans’ most impressive creatures. Shawn is dedicated to marine conservation and is active in a number of conservation initiatives. His video offers a perfect medium to capture the majesty of the underwater realm and communicate it to the world, in hopes of creating increased public appreciation, understanding, and action.  Shawn shoots in high-definition with a Sony HDV-FX1 in a Light and Motion housing.

Remember, we have other moderators, too!  If you’re interested in seeing the team behind Wetpixel.com, please check out the About Wetpixel page.

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CES brings new HD camcorders from Sony, JVC, and Sanyo Photo

CES brings new HD camcorders from Sony, JVC, and Sanyo

At CES, a few manufacturers announced new HD camcorders. Sony produced two new camcorders to replace the HDR-HC3, the HDR-HC5 and HDR-HC7. Both have a higher resolution CMOS sensor, Carl Zeiss Vario lens and rated at 2 lux minimum, recording in HDV.

JVC showcased their HDD Everio GZ-HD7. The 3CCD camcorder uses the AVCHD codec, writing to a 60GB hard disk for up to 5 hours of HD recording and more at lower resolutions. Fujinon supplies the 10X optical lens and also the mounting system for the 3 1/5” CCDs.

Sanyo presented the successor for the Xacti VPC-HD1, the Xacti VPC-HD2. Boasting to be the smallest HD camcorder, the little camcorder shoots 720P Mpeg4 onto SDHC memory cards. And it can shoot 7 megapixel still pictures as well.

Stay tuned on the Wetpixel Video Gear and Technique forum as 2007 promises to be the year of HD camcorders. Discussions on the new releases, by manufacturer: [Sony] [JVC] [Sanyo

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First look at Fantasea FD-40 housing for Nikon D-40 dSLR Photo

First look at Fantasea FD-40 housing for Nikon D-40 dSLR

Diving and watersports photo accessories manufacturer Fantasea Line has provided Wetpixel with first-release images and information about the upcoming FD-40 housing for the Nikon D-40 digital SLR.

Due out in mid-February, the FD-40 will retail for around $1099, and will come standard with a full-range zoom port and one year of flood insurance. The housing will have a 5-pin standard Nikonos-type sync port and will work in iTTL with Fantasea’s FSB-800 strobe housing.

Look inside for additional details and to view the photos…

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Deadline for Our World Underwater and DEEP 2007 competitions Photo

Deadline for Our World Underwater and DEEP 2007 competitions

The January 7, 2007 deadline for the 2nd Annual Wetpixel and DivePhotoGuide International Photo & Video Competition and DEEP Indonesia 2007 Underwater Photography Competition is Jan 8 at 12PM NOON, Pacific Time!

We can’t imagine anyone would pass up a chance to win a part of over USD $55,000 in prizes, ranging from 21 different dive trips around the world to an extensive selection of dive and photography gear.

Winning images in the Wetpixel and DivePhotoGuide competition will be announced and presented at the Our World Underwater festival in Chicago between Feb 9-11, 2007, and winners of both competitions will have their images printed in some of the most popular dive magazines in the world (see contest site for publishing partners).

Submit your entries before it’s too late! For more details, visit UnderwaterCompetition.com.

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Claude Ruff photographs, creates ‘le Rubis’ panorama Photo

Claude Ruff photographs, creates ‘le Rubis’ panorama

On a trip to Egypt last May, Wetpixel member Claude Ruff (Claude) decided that a panorama would be a unique way to capture the well-known wreck of le Rubis submarine. Claude took the time to write about how it all came together:

It’s about 200 feet long and 30 feet high! There was just one problem: there are generally a lot of people there…knees in the sand, moving forward slowly, I took a bit more than 80 shots during about 20 minutes…

Keep reading to see the impressive final product, a composite of 30 images painstakingly blended together. The panorama was first posted in the “Your favorite shot of 2006” discussion - be sure to contribute your own favorite photograph!

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Sea & Sea to announce DX-400D housing for Canon Digital Rebel XTi Photo

Sea & Sea to announce DX-400D housing for Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Sea & Sea is planning to announce their “newest and most technically advanced digital SLR housing,” the DX-400D for Canon’s Digital Rebel XTi.

The housing will feature a built-in leak-sensor and eTTL/eTTL2 circuitry, compatible with Sea & Sea’s new YS-110 DS-TTL strobe and other YS-series strobes.

Read on for the full press release from Sea & Sea…

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