The Backscatter booth was one of the busiest of the entire show
What better way to kick off our DEMA 2022 camera gear coverage than by checking in with our long-term partner and camera supplier Backscatter. The team at Backscatter had the biggest booth in the Image Resource Center and had a host of new and exciting camera gear on display for all levels of underwater photographers.
Their newest and most exciting product is the Mini Flash 2 (MF-2) macro strobe. This new compact flash gun is an upgrade to their previous MF-1 model that comes with a ton of new features and some innovative new accessories. The goal of the product is to make off-camera lighting accessible for the masses, and they have achieved this by adding a remote transmitter and receive function to the new strobe.
Backscatter’s new Mini Flash 2 (MF-2) with Optical Snoot (OS-1) and muck stick
In simple terms, this means you can place one strobe in the sand close to your subject, and use another attached to your camera to trigger it and control its power output. Adding a red filter blocks the light from the trigger strobe while still firing the remote flash, allowing the user to easily experiment with creative side-lighting, backlighting and snooting techniques.
To make things even easier, Backscatter also created the new Remote Lighting Muck Stick, a simple but effective tool that is designed to hold the flash in place in a variety of different substrates. The adjustable anchor attached to the stick moves up and down for use in sand or rubble areas, and is so stable it is better than using a tripod. Expect to see many of these hanging from the BCDs of experimental underwater photographers in the future.
Besides its remote shooting capabilities, the Mini Flash 2 is also able to shoot automatic TTL with Olympus cameras and has super high-speed sync to create black backgrounds even when shooting open apertures. All of the accessories for the original flash work perfectly with the new version, meaning you can utilize the excellent Optical Snoot and Color Light Filters (Bold/Pastel) for even more creative output. It really seems to be the perfect flash-and-snoot combo for macro photography. If you are interested in reading more about it, you can check out our full preview of the product. We also plan to put these strobes to the test in the field this year, so keep an eye out for the full review on DPG soon.
The focus light from the Optical Snoot (OS-1) allows you to see exactly where strobe light will fall on your subject
The Backscatter Color Filter System combined with the new Mini Flash 2 opens up a world of new creative possibilties
Another of Backscatter’s game-changing products is the GoPro FLIP filter system. They are so popular that it is unusual to see divers shooting GoPros underwater without them, and at DEMA they launched new FLIP 11 filters that are better suited to the latest GoPro cameras.
Subtle changes to both of the red filters now produce better colors with HERO10 and HERO11 models, and the team now advise users to shoot without a filter above 20 feet, use the shallow filter between 20–40 feet, and the darker dive filter below these depths. Everything else about the FLIP system is the same, and owners of previous FLIP 10 filter kits are eligible for a free upgrade to the new filters if they send their existing units to Backscatter to have them swapped.
Backscatter’s FLIP 11 filters have been designed to produce better color with the new GoPros
If you have a GoPro or compact camera, you should also check out the Backscatter Wide Double Handle Tray with new Arch Plate. The addition of the arch provides the perfect handle for your rig, and is also designed to accept bayonet mounts to carry external wet lenses. As well as these new products, the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 video lights were also on display, as were various housings from Nauticam, Seacam, AOI, Isotta and Ikelite. Jim and Robin also held many talks to discuss and explain all of these products and were keen to point out that no matter what system or camera you choose from Backscatter, they will always have your back!
The Backscatter Octo housing with new double handle tray and arch plate
The new arch plate for the double handle tray is the perfect place to keep your wet lenses when not in use
The Backscatter booth held regular 15-minute seminars discussing their latest camera gear
Besides their own innovative products, Backscatter also stock underwater housings, lighting gear, and accessories from all of leading manufacturers
Seacam’s housing for the new Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera
For years, Seacam has represented the pinnacle of underwater camera housing production and design, and company owner Harald and his daughter Esther were in attendance at the show with their latest Silver mirrorless camera housing for the Nikon Z9 and for the Canon EOS R5. Both of these housings continue the company philosophy of precision, flexibility and innovation, and are compatible with all of their the existing viewfinders, strobes and ports. As a lifetime Nikon user, I couldn’t wait to check out the Z9 housing, and after a long chat with Harald, I left the Seacam booth with a new appreciation for their company and products, and the urge to dive with one of their systems as soon as possible!
The Seacam Seaflash 160 Digital flash has a reputation as one of the best wide-angle strobes on the market
The Seaflash 160 Digital gives you all of the critical info you need while remaining simple and easy to use in the field
As well as producing some of the best-looking camera housings on the market, Seacam also makes the very well-regarded Seaflash 160 Digital strobe. Many professional photographers I have spoken to consider these to be among the best strobes available today, and I hope to be able to put those claims to the test soon, too. Looking at the strobes, they have the same silver finish and slick design as every other Seacam product, and have the smoothest battery compartment closure of any flashgun I have ever seen! It can be used with both electronic sync and fiber-optic cables, and most importantly provide enough power to perfectly light wide-angle reef scenes, something that even the best compact strobes struggle to do.
Alongside the Nikon Z9 and Canon EOS R5 housings, Seacam also produces housings for all of the other popular cameras well suited to underwater use, such as the Sony Alpha 1 and Alpha 7 series, as well as older Nikon and Canon models. They also have a housing for the new Leica SL2 (and SL2-S).
Another immaculate Seacam housing and port combination, this time for the popular Canon EOS R5 mirrorless camera, with the forthcoming Seaflash 60D
The SeaLife booth promoting the company’s most popualar products using large, high-quality underwater images
As usual at the DEMA show, the SeaLife booth was big and consistently busy. Sven and his team spent the majority of their time showcasing their new 5,000-lumen video light and the super popular SportDiver smartphone case. Last year, I reviewed the SportDiver housing and was super impressed with its performance. As smartphone manufacturers continue to improve the cameras in their phones, things can only get better for the future of this product category.
SeaLife’s new 5,000-lumen video light comes with a new color boost feature
SeaLife ambassador and regular DPG contributor Tobias Fredrich also gave me the lowdown on the new video light, and explained the potential of its new color boost feature, which temporarily changes the temperature of the light from 5000K to 3500K. In practice, this means warmer colors and more realistic light balance between artificial light and ambient light.
Besides their new products, team SeaLife also showcased their other popular products, such as the Micro 3.0 camera (which we have also reviewed), their Sea Dragon Flouro lights, and their entire range of Sea Dragon photo/video lights.
The SportDiver smartphone housing is now SeaLife’s most popular product
Bjorn from SeaLife discussing the popular SportDiver housing with potential customers
A large and popular presence at past shows, U.S. underwater imaging equipment maker Ikelite decided not to attend DEMA again this year. But with so many new and exciting cameras hitting the market over the last 12 months, we were keen to know what they’ve been working on and what we can expect in the near future.
We asked Jean Rydberg, Ikelite’s President and CEO, to put together a short video to bring us up to date, and she graciously obliged, enlisting the help of Vice President John Brigham to talk us through some of their latest products. These include their brand-new ultra-compact housing for the Canon EOS R10, their redesigned ball socket arm system, and their DS230 strobes, which have proven to be extremely popular. Relatedly, they also mention how easy it is to upgrade your Nauticam housing with an Ikelite bulkhead and TTL converter, so Nauticam users have no excuse not to enjoy the new DS230s as well.
That’s a wrap for the second part of our DEMA 2022 post-show report. In our third and final part, we’ll fill you in on all the cool stuff happening at the Nauticam, Kraken, Keldan, Bigblue, and Marelux booths.
When purchasing underwater photography equipment like the product mentioned in this article, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.com.