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EMWL floats and accessories
Nicool posted a topic in Photography Gear and TechniqueHi all, I found a buoyancy setup that works very well on my Nauticam EMWL, as well as some accessories making my life easier shooting it, this post is to share my setup, answer questions if you have. The problem to solve The EMWL is very negative (and tends to all on its - expensive - front lens, at least on the 100 degrees one). For buoyancy, several photographers have been using very large carbon float-arms, and pushing them closer to the subject to help balance the front of the EMWL assembly. I wasn’t too keen to go that route, for 2 reasons: Cost of buying additional large float arms (my finances took a hit with the EMWL itself!) In-flexibility to change my setup underwater: I wanted to be able to take on/off the EMWL (and clip it away), which would have suddenly made the whole rig very floaty. Also, I wanted to be able to move my arms around for different lighting techniques. With big floats up-front, that would have imbalanced the rig. To my great pleasure, I found a company called E-Ocean (https://eocean.eu), had designed a bunch of photographer-friendly accessories, including a few EMWL-specific bits. The purpose of this post is to share my (very positive) thoughts on these accessories. To be clear, I am not paid to write this, but I find the E-Ocean solutions solutions made my life easier and are reasonably priced, so keen to spread the word. They are based in France, but shipping worldwide. 1/ Buoyancy solutions E-Ocean offer two floats for the EMWL: A +750 grams buoyancy collar, which mounts around the relay unit. The version I bought is meant to be assembled on-land (it’s a set of 6 half-cylinders), but E-Ocean are going to release an upgraded version that will make it easier to fiddle with floats underwater. The rationale being: you might find yourself limited in subject approach, due to the diameter of the whole thing. So far, I haven’t been too constrained, although for muck-dives where you crawl on sand, it can happen. A +200 grams collar for the focusing unit. E-Ocean’s owner Lionel recommended to use the 200g piece only with the heavier 130 degrees lens (with just the 750g float, the whole assembly would be slightly negative when using the 100 degrees lens). I chose to use it the 100 degrees lens (the only one I have), which does make the EMWL positively buoyant (now the 100 degree piece points upwards), but once connected to my D810 housing and arms, it stands much neutral. Pros: much easier to handle the EMWL underwater, less chances to let the front lens “drop” onto the bottom, a rock, etc. Cons: it increases the volume of the EMWL significantly (see below photo to get a sense of how it compares with the housing size), would restrict getting into some tight spaces (hasn’t happened to me yet) and possibly makes the EMWL a bit more intrusive/intimidating for skittish critters. In practice, I haven’t noticed a difference (mind me: I dive a rebreather, so some critters just don't care about me getting close). 2/ Lanyard/transport solution In addition, I was after a solution to easily un-mount and clip away the EMWL. Here in Sydney, we often shore dive walking among rocks (crawling sometimes…) and one one particular site, we have quite a hairy giant stride: no way I would jump that high or crawl onto rocks with the EMWL attached to my flat port. Lionel (E-Ocean’s owner) was nice enough to listen to my needs and came up with a system of 2 collars, which would attach onto the relay lens, and through which I could run a cord. They are made of a flexible but sturdy sort of plastic, and so far worked like a charm. I have no concern walking long distances (shore diving…) with the EMWL clipped to one of my D-rings on the rebreather harness. Underwater, it takes me 2-3minutes (I guess) to mount the EMWL to my DSLR (taking the time to clear off bubbles, to store the caps safely, etc). It is easy enough that I would alternate between traditional macro and WAM by clipping it back as needed. This lanyard will be in E-Ocean catalogue soon. 3/ Caps and hood I was nervous to loose the small rubber cap which came with the 100 degrees lens, and I needed a hood. 2 accessories there: A lens cap, which comes with a bungee look (have it on your wrist, clipped on harness…), has holes to let water drain, and is actually big enough to protect the front lens without touching it: extra safety against bumps. A lens hood, which can also serve as cap (though I prefer the dedicated cap when transporting the rig clipped-on): I have found the 100 degrees lens on the EMWL is very prone to flare, so I find myself attaching that hood often. Also on night dives where I need a bit more confidence against bumps, I have it on most of the time. A video is worth a thousand words so here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgR7sS-Ts9Y Not great visibility that day, but you’ll see me going through my routine of picking up the clipped-on EMWL, and attaching it to my housing. If you want to see more photos of that equipment underwater, or just some photos I took with the EMWL, follow our Instagram account or Facebook account: https://www.instagram.com/nicolaslenaremy/ https://www.facebook.com/nicolaslenaremy Safe diving! Nicolas