I am writing in regards to getting underwater photography gear neutral underwater.
After a recent housing change i find my current set of arms and arms accessories unadequate, and before i order anything else, i'd like to give all this a decent thought, and hear some advice from others.
I started shooting in 2008 with regular ULCS strobe arms (2x 8" and 2x4"), which i completed with 4x large Stix floats and 4x jumbo Stix floats.
My feedback on this setup: obviously getting closer to housing neutrality made my whole shooting experience much better. Only painpoint was that those Stix floats take a lot of time to dry, but that's minor.
Moving to another housing in 2013 (NA-EM5 + 45 degrees Nauticam viewvinder + subsee +10 diopter), these weren't sufficient anymore, so i put the Stix floats aside, and replaced the 2x 8" ULCS arms by 2x Nauticam carbon fiber float arms (200mm x 60mm).
My feedback on this setup: benefits were getting the right amount of buoyancy & arms drying easily, but i wasn't totally satisfied as i felt strobe arms manipulation to be trickier than with the Stix floats: i had to screw the clamps very tight to avoid the float arms from going up, and then strobe repositioning got unpractical. Also, i must say my gear wasn't symetric: i had a flexitray left handle, but no right handle (handstrap), meaning the right arm was closer to the optical axis than the left one. I believe this contributed to the un-practicality.
Now (2016) i am moving to a Nauticam DSLR housing (NA-D300s), complemented by my 45 degrees viewfinder.
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When shooting with 60mm macro + focus light, i don't have adequate equipment to make my rig neutral:
-my 2008 setup with Stix floats doesn't provide sufficient buoyancy, but i felt it provided great comfort in strobes repositioning. I tested it yesterday. Here's how it looks like one one arm:
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-my 2013 nauticam float arms make the housing (too much) positive
One idea i have is to buy 4 extra jumbo Stix floats, and add them to my ULCS strobe arms (2x 8" and 2x4"), replacing some of the large floats possibly. I tested (on land) that i could squeeze 4 jumbo Stix floats on a 8" ULCS arm + 1 jumbo & 1 large Stix floats on the adjacent 4" ULCS arms, and this would bring extra buoyancy, hopefully enough! Here's how it would look like on one arm:
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Have any of you got the same feeling that very large float arms (like my 200mm x 60mm Nauticam carbon float arms) make strobes re-positioning too cumbersome, because they are just too buoyant?
Would i workaround this problem and get a more user-friendly gear by spreading lots of Stix floats over the 4 arms sections?
Any other solution(s) to offset the weight of a large DSLR rig while keeping strobe arms easy to re-position?