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Nauticam Vacuum Valve II


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#1 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 10:16 AM

I have a Nauticam housing coming for my new Sony RX100VA. I am only certified for 60ft and will eventually complete my advanced open water and go to 90ft max. I will only dive a handful of times each year. So far I have used a Canon S95 in the Canon housing and never had any issues as I inspect my gear before every dive. Do you feel that the vacuum valve is worth the $220 USD? If I do go ahead and get one do I want the M14 or M16 version? Thanks.



#2 TimG

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 11:50 AM

Hey Grand Poohbah!

 

I guess to an extent it depends on a  couple of things: how much did your system cost and what would it cost to replace if you flood it - and how does that compare to the cost of the vacuum valve? Is installing one cost effective?

 

And then: how good are your nerves? If you worry about your housing leaking then, I would suggest, the valve is a no brainier. If you don't worry, see para 1 above.

 

You have read on previous threads discussing vacuum valves that a good few WetPixelers see it is a very wise investment. Me, I'd argue it's the best investment i have made in my gear other than the 45-degree viewfinder. They're very good housing trip wires.


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#3 Fofo

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 11:53 AM

Interesting question, because it is an expensive piece of kit. Some people think that the reassurance that you get is worth the price, others (many of them very accomplished underwater photographers) think that it's not worth it as long as you are careful and methodical with your gear preparation.

 

I have one, and I like it, but I didn't have one in my previous housing and I was really careful with it and never had a problem. Would I buy it if I had to do it again? Probably yes, maybe not initially (paying for all the accessories for the housing leaves a big hole in the wallet!) but maybe later.

 

About the size, look at where it will be installed in your housing and it should say if it's M14 or M16.



#4 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 01:41 PM

About the size, look at where it will be installed in your housing and it should say if it's M14 or M16.

 

Sorry, I should clarify. What I meant is does it matter which size I get and why? The Nauticam housing has both M14 and M16 bulkheads.

 

I am into the new set-up for about $4500 CAD so far (camera, housing, strobe, tray, arms and video light), the vacuum valve would run me another $300 CAD or so. I'll get one if the concensus is that it is worth while having one. But I guess I'm just curious how common it is to have a flooded housing. I mean, most of the polycarbonate housings don't even have it as an option and they seem to work just fine.



#5 chrisdarke

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 03:28 PM

Its interesting what you mention about the depth, because within the realms of open water diving down to about 40 meters, most of the incidents will take place within the first 10 meters, where there is less pressure acting on the housing... the vacuum valve basically does two jobs there, lets you prepressurize so that there is less risk of a flood on the surface, and testing if there is any leaks by monitoring the vacuum pressure over time. I havent used the nauticam one personally, but I would certainly say that having one removes one of the stress components when heading down, instead of focusing on checking if there is any water in the lens dome during decent or something! The couple of times I have gone down without the vacuum monitor switched on I have certainly gotten a fright now that I am used to it! But then with my rx100 NA housing there was no vacuum valve Option and I never really stress about it, so I guess I would ask, if your housing flooded during one of those few trips your take, would your be stuck without a camera rig for the rest of the trip, and if so is it worth the 200 bucks? With regards to the size, I would check what is the size usually available on other brands of housings, since if you upgrade to another rig, say a dslr housing, you might not necessarily get a nauticam, and if its all the same, might as well pick the one that is most compatible.

#6 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 04:38 PM

You bring up an interesting point and maybe I am misunderstanding something. How does having a vacuum within the housing prevent leaks? It would seem to me like vacuum pressure would be MORE likely to draw water in. What am I missing here?



#7 TimG

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 11:30 PM

Just adding to Chris' comments, the valve works by creating a slightly lower pressure in the housing (air is sucked out) and this draws the housing back plate further onto the housing thus creating a tighter seal. As Chris points out, this is especially helpful in the first 10m.

 

In addition, and this is the main point, if the pressure in the housing starts to equalise (because of a leak) the visible alarm will start to flash a warning Red rather than its Green safe-state. 

 

If you set the housing up say 30-45 minutes before your dive (or even the night before) and you get a steady green light on the valve, you know the system is good to go. This, in my view, is a much better option that a dunk in a rinse tank before you get in the water.....

 

With the Vivid system you can, as I suggest, setup the system the night before. Once you are content you have a Green state, you can then switch off the valves electronics, leave it overnight - switch it back on in the morning and, all being well, you still have a Green light.  Thats, is very re-assuring.


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#8 Architeuthis

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 01:34 AM

I am taking fotos UW since two years and have NA-EM5II with vacuum valve: so far it prevented me two times from submerging a non-sealed housing (once yellow, once red when reaching the dive-site approx. 1h after assembly).

 

My wife is taking fotos UW since maybe 10 years (plastic housings w/o vacuum): last autumn she flooded her Olympus PT-EP10 housing (and EP-L6 camera) during a nightdive (no light in the appartment during housing assembly, since dive-base needed electricity for filling the diving bottles - she made a mistake with placing the O-ring correctly).

 

outcome: I am upgrading now to NA-EM1II and give her my housing and camera body. Together we can use now ports, extensions and lenses :rolleyes: (happy end)...

 

Would be interested to hear if somebody ever managed to flood a housing with vacuum valve and how this happened??

 

Wolfgang


Edited by Architeuthis, 09 December 2018 - 06:50 AM.


#9 ChrisRoss

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 06:35 AM

Get the vacuum valve, the green light gives great peace of mind.  On the subject of depth, O-rings are dynamic seals and need to be loaded to seal properly.  Loading the o-ring occurs due to the pressure difference across the o-ring.  As you get deeper the seating force on the o-ring goes up and the seal is better as the o-ring is being pressed harder against the o-ring groove.  Eventually the force will be high enough to break the o-ring but not at any depth you will ever dive to and which the housing will survive.  This is also why you lube the o-ring, so it can slide in the groove as it is pressured and press against the housing surfaces to form a seal

 

This is why floods are more likely in the rinse tank, bump the housing a bit and the parts may move enough to break the seal.  Now if you have it under vacuum you can't physically open the back or remove a port.  The O-rings are preloaded and sealing properly on the surface.

 

As to M14 or M16, look at the housing and see where it's likely to be easily accessed if for example you have all your flash arms attached.  Or is you need the M16 for a cable bulkhead for example  use the M14.



#10 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 09:24 AM

Awesome. Thanks for the info everyone.

#11 Deep6

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 10:40 AM

The short answer is YES!  Think of it as a one time payment for an insurance policy.  Stuff happens.  Camera replacement, loss of SD card, battery, and housing rebuild = a couple grand.


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#12 Joss

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:38 AM

Just get it, it is a no brainer. 
I have been using one on my D500 housing for 1 year and I'm very happy with it.
I dont hesitage to enter the water with a back-roll o leap step entry when required.
I dive every weekend, sometimes I do prepare the housing 2 or 3 day in advance. The baterry will last for at least 4 months and they cost only a few bucks. 
 
I hope this help.
Jose


#13 okuma

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 09:45 AM

I have had the VIVID on both mine and wife's housings. I agree with all of the preceding supporting comments. Additionaly, not mentioned is that it is usually movable from one housing to another as you upgrade over the years. Our units have been on three different housings (all Subal).


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If it is so easy every one would be doing it!

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#14 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 01:52 PM

Ok,I will be ordering one today.

 

A follow up question. I usually stuff a bunch of desiccant packs in my Canon housing when I dive as I am typically in tropical countries with lots of humidity. With the Nauticam housing is that necessary anymore if I have pumped all the air out?

 

Thanks in advance.



#15 okuma

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 03:32 PM

I've never had that problem with Subal housings.

But to be conservative, take some packets the first time.


Underwater Photography:
If it is so easy every one would be doing it!

Nikon D 500, Subal Housing, Inon Z 240 strobes.


#16 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 07:30 PM

I have the Vivid leak detector on my Canon 7D system. I don't have one on my G16 Ikelite system. I can also replace the Ikelite system for under $1000 (used) if it were to flood. I can't replace the 7D system without spending a LOT more than that.

 

So the leak detector is insurance on the expensive system.

 

So much so that yesterday when I was getting ready to dive, it wouldn't turn on. The battery was dead (just used up, no problem). Given the time frame, I just called the dive rather than dive without it. Later in the day I changed the battery (easy to do) and then let it sit under vacuum overnight (turned off). This morning I turned it on, verified the vacuum and went diving. Simply put, I will NOT dive that camera without a leak detector.



#17 Joss

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 10:20 PM

You don't need desiccant packs on the nauticam housing (or other aluminium housing).
More over, the desiccant packs might release the powder and ruin your shooting.
 
Regards,
Joss


#18 troporobo

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 05:25 AM

For less than 5% of the system cost, vacuum valves are a no-brainer in my book. Especially if you travel, and you're not going to get a second chance, even if you can afford the 95% to replace the system immediately.  

 

As for dessicants, I don't understand why that would be desirable.  Everything will equalize to ambient conditions within an hour.  I dive in relatively (!) high humidity locations but also relatively high temperatures.  Those two factors tend to go together.  I have yet to see any problem with condensation inside the housing. 



#19 TimG

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 06:05 AM

For less than 5% of the system cost, vacuum valves are a no-brainer in my book. Especially if you travel, and you're not going to get a second chance, even if you can afford the 95% to replace the system immediately.  

 

As for dessicants, I don't understand why that would be desirable.  Everything will equalize to ambient conditions within an hour.  I dive in relatively (!) high humidity locations but also relatively high temperatures.  Those two factors tend to go together.  I have yet to see any problem with condensation inside the housing. 

 

I agree with Robert. Only time I've ever seen condensation issues is with (usually small) polycarbonate housings..


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#20 thegrandpoohbah

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 08:03 AM

Well, that is my experience so far using the Canon S95 in the Canon polycarbonate housing. If I don't add a couple of small desiccant packs in there more often than not I end up with fogging inside the housing. And that's with me prepping the camera in an air conidtioned hotel room. That has happened to me in Hawaii, Mexico, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas.