I posted this on another forum but think it might be more relevant here for those with equipment questions.
I have a Canon 7D in a Hugyfot housing with their fisheye port and a Halcyon T16 DPV. I recently received my order of the Suex video mounting system as well as a second (right) arm for the Hugyfot which is necessary to attach the Hugyfot cheeseplate. Lights are Halcyon dual 50watts on long Ultralight arms.
I took the whole shebang into the water last night for the first time and had a bit of a rough go. My comments can be broken down into three parts:
1. The Suex plate is nicely made and simple to operate. You attach a male "dock" to the underside of the cheeseplate permanently, and the camera can be mounted/dismounted from the Suex mount merely by engaging/disengaging a white lever on the mount itself and inserting/removing the dock and the housing that is attached to it. Once attached, the camera can be locked or swiveled by manipulating a locking pin that sits off the right side of the mount. Doing so with the Hugyfot housing is difficult however, even with bare hands. This is because, with the Hugyfot housing facing forward, the housing is much wider than the Suex mount and you must therefore slide your hand under the Hugyfot's right handle to tighten the locking rotation knob. Doing it with DryGloves would seem to be next to impossible unless some sort of extension could be devised and doing it as I did with bare hands is hard enough.
2. The Hugyfot cheeseplate is simple enough in design but attaches to the housing by running the two handles through eyelets that stand up on the plate. The handles themselves, as you may have noticed, can be tightened/loosened by hand merely by pushing excessively on the handle while bracing the housing, despite the little locking "cuff" that is supposed to be tightened using Hugyfot's supplied little wrench. But when you add the cheeseplate, both handles must now be attached passing through the eyelets of the cheeseplate and tightened at exactly the right moment to ensure that the cheeseplate is flat with respect to the ground. Failure in this regard means that the cheeseplate will rock either forward or backward, effectively causing the camera to be pointed upward or downward when mounted on an otherwise level scooter. In my case, I was further exasperated by experiencing a broken wrench such that I had to tighten the cuffs by hand. They came loose on me underwater which caused not only the entire housing to rock back and forth when on and off the trigger, but also the lights to fall when one of the handles worked its way loose and "fell" forward or backward relative to the housing. The heavy 50w lights certainly didn't help matters and were a pain to set correctly since the whole DPV/housing wanted to sink and twist while I was setting them. The whole enterprise was very frustrating. Note to self: don't do all this on a night dive the next time...
(Pascal was nice enough to send out a new replacement wrench and it's my hope that should I be able to tighted the cuffs properly, I can at least do away with the problem of the arms working loose and the entire cheeseplate rocking forward and backward while scootering.)
3. The Suex mount ships with a Standard male "dock" and contains only one hole running down through it through which you must pass a bolt/washer (not included) that secures it to the cheeseplate. The cheeseplate holes are such that, with only one whole, the dock must be secured off-center, either to the right or to the left. This is not a big deal in terms of balance, drag, or anything else tangible to the dive, but it means that even with locking washers attached, the housing's mass is enough to cause it to overcome the resistance of the bolt/washer/dock which means it can more or less rotate around with only a slight nudge of the hand, rendering the locking pin of the mount useless.
After discussing the issue with Suex, while they offer other docks to fit a few other cheeseplates used (Gates, etc.), the only solution for a Hugyfot owner appears to be to take it upon yourself to drill two extra holes in the Delrin dock, such that you can attach it to the cheeseplate with two bolts, thus eliminating its ability to rotate. Whether the dock is wide enough remains to be seen and this is the step at which I find myself.
After fixing the above, there are some further points to consider for my next dive. This might be a nice time to mention that there is enough clearance for the large fisheye port sitting atop the mount so that it does not touch the body of the scooter (this worry struck me as I was setting up gear just before the dive...). However, the tendency of the housing is to point slightly upward which makes getting video of the 30% or so of the environment below the scooter (which is what we normally take into view when diving) difficult. To solve this, I will a.) remove the weight plate that comes internal with the T16 for saltwater. This should make the unit as a whole only 1 or 2 lbs negative. I could alleviate this further by adding foam to the light arms, but as I fancy doing deco dives, a slightly negative scooter is preferrable to a slightly positive one that is floating up and getting in the way, b.) I will move the Suex mount closer to the nose which will make the scooter trim and thus, steering, a lot easier, and c.) I may tighten down the cheeseplate so that it is, in fact, pointing slightly down so that I don't lose the lower 30% of the environment that passes below a scooter and is not getting picked up on video.
One last point: one of the whole reasons for the operation was not only to be able to video on the go, but to provide a more stable platform for the video. In this regards, I'd say I can't accurately judge just yet, but it does appear to be more stable when at rest as compared to just handholding at rest (even though I thought I'd gotten that skill down to a science). Until I can get all the other wobblies sorted out, the rest remains to be seen.
Hope this helps someone.
OkiMikeMember Since 07 Jul 2011
Offline Last Active Dec 06 2011 04:51 PM
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Camera Model & Brand
Canon 7D, Kiss X3, iPhone 4, Fujifilm FinePix XP10
Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
Halcyon (dual) 50w HID
ULCS strobe arms