BOOT 2013 round-up
Andrej Belic has kindly agreed to provide some personal coverage of the 2013 BOOT Show. This is a consumer show that takes place every year in Düsseldorf, Germany and is a huge event since it doesn’t feature only diving, but all other aspects of watersports like yachting, sailing, kayaking, and many more.
So I walked along the booths stopping by at the things that interested me most, asking questions and taking pictures. This is not a complete report, only some hints about major news.
Nauticam & BS Kinetics by UW-Fotopartner:
Nauticam was presented by its German distributor and generally features the most extensive lineup of all housing companies. From small compact cameras to medium-sized SLRs to pro housings to medium format to Red video cameras. Nauticam usually is the first to come up with new housings for new camera models: all new SLRs that were released last year by Nikon and Canon have Nauticam housing counterparts. On display were Nikon D800, D600, D7000V and Canon 650D.
BS Kinetics housings are unique among the manufacturers insofar as they’re made of Carbon. Carbon housings are popular among cold water divers because of their thermal insulating capabilities. The carbon look is quite cool but the material requires more thickness than those of aluminum housings, so they housings are not lighter than ones from alloy. Their newest design has some metal wires woven in that looks nice.
The friendly Seacam representative showed me their new smaller S45 viewfinder. Seacam was the first featuring angled viewfinders some 15 years ago and now they have advanced their range to smaller models less obstructing the camera monitor.
They are now offering three strobes: one 100 Ws model, a 150 Ws strobe and a 150 Ws strobe with advanced depth capabilities.
Also new is a conical macro port with a smaller diameter at the front end as well as a new achromatic diopter. I saw some Nikon housings but none from Canon.
Subal was featuring their universal electrically controlled video housing and Nikon D800 and D4 models.
Subal housings are renowned for their comfort and accessibility to all camera functions and with the last generation this went even further regarding fingertip control and connections.
This is however at the cost of some weight and size gain, whereas previously Subal housings were the smallest and lightest on the market. There was also a demo model of the D600 which had a nice white color.
Aquatica & Amphibico by Marlin:
The German distributor had an impressive array of the newest models on display: Aquatica D800 which looked very techy with its black finish and the Canon counterpart 5D3.
Since Aquatica has bought Amphibico they have invested much effort in new video housings.
On display was a very small housing for the Sony FS100 called Genesis and a larger technically advanced model for Red cameras called Rouge. It has fingertip control and some advanced electronic functions for zoom, focusing, etc. Very impressive.
The team that has successfully converted Nikonos RS-lenses to be used on Nikon DSLRs presented their Nikonos Conversion System for Nauticam, Subal and Seacam. Currently they’re investigating the possibility of Nikonos RS for Sea & Sea and there’s an adaptor coming for Sealux.
Their big news is a prototype of an electronically controlled universal underwater housing for Nikon and Canon SLRs has been constructed. The proprietary software basically works with all Nikon and Canon models that have a USB connection. Fingertip control is provided by piezo buttons and rotary controls. The housing features a large 7” HD-monitor on the back and an integrated electronic viewfinder system that projects the camera’s viewfinder information onto the monitor. Liveview is enabled with some advanced electronic functions like RGB histogram and different focus peaking modes. Manual focusing works via software eliminating gearing on lenses. The housing has a large port opening capable of accommodating all third-party ports via adaptors. It’s also the first housing that has enough space for all Nikonos RS lenses including the venerable 20-35 zoom.
is a German company that has made photo and video housings for years. Regarding functionality they’re excellent. For example they were the first to present a unique 30° viewfinder. Their video-housings are on a par with Amphibico. And Sealux’ pricing is very reasonable. The metallic powder coating is constantly evolving in color and they have their own-made monitors and lights. On display was 5D3, D800 and D7000.
Hugyfot had an impressive array of major camera models: D600, D800, 5D3 and GoPro which had its premiere at the BOOT show. All housings have a unique and immediately recognizable design with their ubiquitous shape and the provision of the Hugycheck vacuum pump and monitoring system. Regarding accessories there were viewfinders, large homeports and monitors.
The housings are priced at a lower level making them a viable low-cost alternative to the major brands.
What was perhaps most interesting this year was the vast array of rebreathers available. I counted no less than 15 different models. Hollis by Oceanic showed three models. There was a semi closed model named Explorer which has an advanced on demand valve reducing bubbles in comparison to a constant stream valve.
Another rebreather was the Sentinel Expedition model. Made by British-based VR Technologies, it’s a full featured Trimix model which has everything an advanced rebreather diver will ever need. The Explorer and the Sentinel feature carbon dioxide sensors for additional breathing safety. The most interesting model perhaps was the Prism II, a newly developed evolution of the Prism, one of the first rebreathers available to the market. The Prism II looks nice and isn’t all too heavy weighing some 22 kg without filling and CO2 scrubber. It has US-made Shearwater electronics with Trimix capability and the option of a second controller; either a second shearwater or one from VR technologies.
Poseidon had on display their well renowned Discovery model, being a very light rebreather weighing only 12 kg. They also had on display a new tech version that is trimix capable and quite larger than the original Discovery. The Tech rebreather is currently waiting for its certification and will be available somewhere at the end of the year.
There were also some other rebreathers like different models from Submatix: fully electronically controlled trimix versions to semi closed to pure oxygen versions. Another one from JJ CCR:
A travel company named Orca had some 10 different rebreathers on display: Innerspace Systems Corp (ISC) Megalodon and Pathfinder, Inspiration/Vision (though this is the most common rebreather I only saw one model), rEvo, and many more.
There was a technical looking electronically controlled rebreather from a French company named SF2: a huge canister made of carbon with scrubber, electronics and counter lung inside with only some wiring and rebreather hoses visible on the outside
In my opinion, the most interesting new model was a small rebreather named the Pathfinder from ISC. This weighes only 12 kg without scrubber and filling gas. This makes it the lightest rebreather with the Poseidon Discovery but offering full trimix capability. It also features some advanced functions like wet connectors for ultimate reliability.
Hint: On some of my photos there’s a reddish color cast on colors that are usually black. This is because I used an infrared enabled Nikon D7000 since my “normal” camera depleted it’s batteries. On the other hand it was interesting to see which black colored materials reflected infrared and which didn’t.