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CeeDave

Aquatica A5000 w/ TLC arms

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Hello,

 

I am a (mainly wide-angle) Nik V shooter making the move to digital. After a lot of reading of this forum and others, I plant to get the Nik CP5000, WC-E68, Aquatica dome, and A5000. I understand this is a bit sharper and wider than the wet-changeable Aquatica lens, and I'm choosing optics over flexibility. For now, I will use my SLOW but adequate SB105, maybe going to that speedy DS125 when my credit cards stop smoking.

 

I have some questions about arms (esp. since I haven't shot much macro):

 

If you have TLC/Aquatica stuff, are you generally happy with it? What's good and bad?

 

Anyone have recommendations on arm length combos for macro? 4x8x8 or what?

 

Any recommendations on ball mounting vis-a-vis using the nonpivoting adapter? Is the extra articulation worth the fuss and money? Is one benefit flexibility in now being able to swap middle and upper arm sections (both being double-ball, I reckon...)?

 

Any experience with light mounting options, esp. the saddle vs the tap (1/2-20) mount? Do they work well with lights that are big enough to work as focus aids/dive lights?

 

Thanks,

CeeDave

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I have an A5000 housing that I am selling. It is in great shape. See the classified forum for more details. I am selling b/c I upgraded to D100 Digital SLR. I have been using the Utralite arms which have pivoting arms and I have been very happy with them. I also have a focus lite that mounts to the top of the camera that has worked well for me. The one I used with the A5000 might be a Light & Motion product, sorry I do not remember. But, I know I bought it from Backscatter (www.backscatter.com). Ultralite also sells a product that mounts to the top of my SLR housing and holds a flashlight, which is what I am using now. They might sell others that will work with A5000 housings too. I have found that you want to be sure to get a focus lite that is mounted on something that is flexible so you can easily move it around (especially when doing macro).

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I have the set-up with the TLC arms and am very happy with them.

 

I am getting the 4inch upper(which they would call the lower) that attaches to the strobes to combine with the 4inch lower and 8 inch middle section. I had been using the 4-8-8 combo but found I had to get creative to get the strobes in position for macro.

 

I leave Wednesday so I hope it gets here soon.

 

I also use the tap spotting light mount and really like it as it is easy to adjust and has worked very well for me.

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I agree with Ysemtough, the 4-8-8 arm combo is difficult for macro shots.

 

I also found that the angled SB-105 arms can be difficult to use in that you have to spin the arm around sometimes to get the angle you want on your head, if you want to get creative. I would suggest the ball mounts for the strobe heads and get another ball clamp.

 

You want to get the double bracket for the arms, and mount the 4" section upside down, angled out. Then you can mount the other arm sections first up then down, giving a W sort of look. It's really compact on-board and you can easily pull out to max length for W/A. Then order the molded grip and mount on the top of the left side of the bracket. You can put your ball for the focus light on that handle, or use the tap on top of the housing. One thing I noticed with the top of the housing is that the Nikon double sync cords can get in the way of the focus light if you need to angle it for a macro shot. I use the UK sl4 light, but it's not strong enough for focus in night dives, cold water diving. I did mount a 20w shockwave for fun, and it made a big difference, and could also be used for a night light, but it is a big setup. It might be worth the very expensive mod light from Light and Motion.

 

One thing I have noticed about the TLC arms compared to the Ultralight arms is that the Ultralight arms have more holding strength. You really cannot crank the clamps hard enough on the TLC arms tight enough to hold above water. The arms from TLC are more robust and larger, and less expensive than the Ultralight arms.

 

In general, you will miss the instant speed of the shutter release of your Nikonos, the compact size of it, and you will not get the same results as you do with that 20mm lens. I have soft corners on shots with my we-68 lens. Some posts here indicated to me that it could be a focus issue, but I have not had a sharp corner to corner shot yet.

 

As for the strobes, you will find they work much better with this camera, in terms of speed, as most shots (maybe not WA) do not need full power and they recycle very fast (get Nimh batteries). The ttl works if you shoot from a distance greater than 2' from the subject, but you will have to manually set the stobe compensation to -2 in the camera menu. In general, I find that despite this setting, the strobes are still too hot with this camera, and many shots are blown out in the highlights. Yes, because it's digital you can see the results and do-over, but with the Nikonos the ttl was bang on most times anyway.

 

You will benefit from all that is digital, in trade for these other disadvantages.

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