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DEMA – report from an uw photographer

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John and I ready to walk the floor.

Despite having been working in the dive industry for almost 15 years, I only started attending DEMA 5 years ago. For me it is now one of the highlights of the year. Someone once told me that it is the only place where the Scandinavian Dive business gets together, and I agree.

DEMA is the largest dive trade show in the world, and this year it was in Orlando. (it changes between Vegas and Orlando). I shared a room with my old friend John Bantin, that is the former technical editor of DIVER Magazine, and hence that a quite knowledgeable guy when it comes to equipment and people. John has been at DEMA for more than 20 years and we always had great fun together when we met at shows. He knows just about everybody, which is handy at a large show like this. We once told a manufacturer that John was my father, which he believed for a long time… so the joke has come up again from time to time, in new variations.
We also shared the room with Freediver Stig Severinsen, that has been a good friend for many years now. Stig invited me to Greenland as an underwater videographer this April, to document his Guinness Record world attempts that he did under ice. A fantastic trip it was. So in total we have now spent 3 weeks on the road this year alone – which has been good. Stig is a fun guy to be around, as he has absolutely no boundaries when it comes to meeting and talking to new people. His life’s philosophy seems to be, that the more people you meet and talk to, the more options you get, to make fun and have business with and Stig has a lot of options at hand!

DEMA is a rather large dive show, but I mainly spend my time in the Imaging section. Here I get plenty of time to talk with all the owners and manufacturers of the different brands I sell, and it gives me time to understand some of the thinking behind it all. Something I use when I mix my own product line, in order to get the right products out to my customers. It is also important when it comes to service issues and technical problems, as most things can be solved easily, once you know the persons at the other end. Skype is good, but not that good.

Following is some images that shows the products I focussed on this year:

Ultraviolet lights.
Last year was pretty much the “opening year” for ultraviolet imaging lights. They have always been around, but now a lot of new ones have seen the “day of light”. i-Divesite have has a few out, but the new ‘iTorch Gen 1.3 Ultaviolet’  will make an impact. At almost half the price of the SOLA Nightsea, and as a combination of UV and video light, this will be the Best Buy in that category!

Ultraviolet has come down in price. Florescence is the new black!
Ultraviolet has come down in price. Florescence is the new black!

MOLi
The MOLi lights were by far the most interesting piece of news on the light front this year. Last year I thought Light & Motion would have had more competition, but this year you could count new videolights by the dozens… However… not many could match the quality of the SOLA. Several things need to be taken into consideration when you measure quality of light. And not many people remember to look at the big picture. But the MOLi is darn smart… lighter, brighter, wider and smarter… hopefully it will be finished soon!

Small as hell...!
Small as hell…!
Several types of attachments and a dome to make the light very wide!
…a dome to make the light very wide!

Video light
And about video light… i-Divesite will soon release the Pro-7… a 5000 lumen video light. And very very compact!
That will be a seller too!

Madness... 5000 lumen hidden in the hand.
Madness… 5000 lumen hidden in the hand.

And here is 3500 lumen in the palm of your hand!
This is what i-Divesite promises us during spring.
This little Fish-Lite will have 6 white settings and 2 red, and be able to give you 3500 lumen light.
Those LED just keep getting smaller and more and more powerful!

Can 3500 lumen get any smaller?
Can 3500 lumen get any smaller?

GoPro
There is always a new GoPro on the marked… nothing new there.
But the new i-Divesite GoPro alu-housing is new… in fact, it is not even ready yet!
It will be pressure tight to several hundred meters and have the option of adding an alternative power source. Several hours of filming with the LCD turned on… not bad!

Many hours of filming with the LCD turned on.
Many hours of filming with the LCD turned on.

FLIP FILTERS
The FLIPs are not new either, but they released an adaptor for the filter series, so the new HERO Black 3+ can use the filters as well.
The adaptor is used here on the picture… do you see it?

Where is the adaptor?
Where is the adaptor?

Boyancy arms
Buoyancy arms are not new… but at least Nauticam finally got theirs in production.
Buoyancy arms are in general more expencive than the cheaper buoyancy blocks, which you add to regular arms… so why use them? Well… these new arms from Hugyfot are adjustable. And that gives you the advantage that you can balance them to the existing water level and trim your system good enough to hold it with just one finger!
And now a new set of shorter arms came out, great for macro kits…

Trim your kit as you go down!
Trim your kit as you go down!

GoPro accessories
Lots and lots around… but this new GoPro mount is quite clever. It is i-Divesite that made a multi function handle and tripod mount in one… So, have it mounted on your tray, and take it off easy and hold it in your hand to do those special shots.
(and unlike GoPros own Tripod Mount, your can´t loose the knob, as the thread is carved into the mount)

A personal GoPro Tripod mount!
A personal GoPro Tripod mount and handle!

Hugyfot Stabilizer.
If you use very long arms with heavy video lights, many housings have a tendency to wobble a bit. Which is not cool during a video shoot. (I know this, I have tried this many times  🙁
The stabilizer keeps it all under control and add a new extra options to mount armballs for accessories.

Stabilizing frame.
Stabilizing frame.

Nauticam goes close!
Nauticam never stop inventing and improving stuff. They had a range of new housings ready but also a new macro lens.
This macro lens had a lot of attention, as they have spent a very long time getting the glass cut right!
This is supposed to be the “sharpest” underwater lens on the marked and totally free of chromatic aberrations and completely anti-reflective!
Yes… it is very expensive, but it will magnify up to 2,3x and still have more than 50mm working distance….!
We like Ultra Macro here in the North! 🙂

Ready for "up close and personal"...!
Ready for “up close and personal”…!

Meikon
Not many new Chinese companies get a huge impact on their first year on DEMA.
But as I had already partnered up with them and become Nordic Distributor a while ago, I was looking forward to meet them in person. In a very short time they have produced a number of nice looking and cheap housings that will aim for the acrylic compact marked. The same marked that Canon already produce their popular housing to. The only thing is, that these housings are smarter, and more prepared for adding wetlenses and traysystems to them. I am looking forward to introducing these to the marked!

Ready for S120, G16, RX100ll and more...
Ready for S120, G16, RX100ll and more…

Subal Video housing
The Sony FS series is fantastic.
And Amphibico has had the FS 700 model for a while. But now Subal is re-inventing the wheel and entering this space ship to the marked!
It is both manual and electronic at the same time! (in case you run out of battery?)
Subal FS 700

Acquapazza
What you might think is Italian – is Japanese…
Acquapazza makes housings in vivid colours that will ensure that you find it if you ever loose it 😉
All of the most recent models are catered for.

Bright colours!
Bright colours!

Party Party
DEMA is a lot about meeting people, and making business and getting ideas for improving your business. And where else do you go to meet and talk to people but by attending one of the many parties…?
Every year a bunch of the large imaging companies join forces and make an imaging party. Which of course is worth attending if you have an interest in the imaging world. And also a great opportunity to meet old-friends… Particularly the ones that like far away, I only get to see here.

Jean and lars (who talks the most?)
Jean and Lars (who talks the most?)

Jean is not only General Manager, but also one of the family members of the family owned company: Ikelite. I have had many Ikelite housings in my early years, and I don´t sell them, so in that sense I do not know much about the company. But Jean is certainly a bright woman, so I am sure it goes well. We spoke for a long time and agreed on… well… a fair amount of things!

DEMA AWARDS

Awards Party at Hard Rock in Universal Studios.
Awards Party at Hard Rock in Universal Studios.

And speaking of parties…The main DEMA party every year is the awards party, where selected people get recognition for their work in the dive industry. Many people have been awarded over the years, but this year it was Stuart Cove & Dr. Lee Somers.
Lee has not only been one of the pioneers of diving and dive training, but also been one of the many driving forces behind the OWUSS scholarship for a number of years. And as being the Scandinavian representative for OWUSS, I found it both extremely interesting and touching to see that old fellow get his award. He had such important words to say, and people were just astonished about the strength behind his words!
One of the other very important people in the diving industry is Glenn Egstrom, which is just as known and an equal active part of the scholarship. It turned out, that Stig had visited and lived with him in his home for a few days last year, and even brought one of his books with him to Greenland. So it was a happy reunion of the two.

Stig and Glen... both doctors and nerds... in a good way!
Stig and Glen… both doctors and nerds… in a good way!

Summary
This DEMA was probably one of the best I have attended. And it has been good to take all the new equipment into stock and slowly start distributing it to the Nordic dive business… Let´s get some Spring time…!

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Lars Kirkegaard Lars is one of Scandinavia's very experienced photo/videographers with many years of working as both an active member of the Scandinavian Underwater Community, an underwater photographer, studio photographer, TV-videographer and as a Graphic Arts specialist. Owner of FOTOGRAFIT.eu