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Timmoranuk

DSLRs and scootering

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I have a hanker for a scooter. Ideally I'd like to mount an NA-7D (12-20mm and 200mm Zen) up front, a couple of wide angle video lights and a NA-DP4 on a long (custom) HDMI cable as far aft as possible. Presently I shoot video with a couple of Fisheye Aquavolts.

 

Immersed weights are:

 

NA-7D, camera, lens and port: 1 & 1/2 lb (handles removed)

2x Aquavolts, 4 x ULCS clamps & 2 x ULCS 12" buoyancy arms: 3 lb

Mounting plate: say 8 oz

NA-DP4: say 8 oz

 

So the potential all-up payload is about 4 & 1/2 lb.

 

Research to date tells me that an X-Scooter 650 has reserve buoyancy of only 2 lb, a Submerge Magnus may have about 5lb of lift and a Gavin could be custom configured to provide sufficient reserve. The X-Scooter E/O port would allow umbilical video lights to draw power from the scooter, thus saving weight but clearly not sufficient saving to get within the required 2 lb. Sadly, I do need the illumination of some decent video lights as much of the footage will be shot over wrecks at technical depths in temperate water. The monitor will be invaluable when shooting static footage. The only change to this rig I envisage may be swapping the NA-7D, 10-22mm and Zen 200mm for a NA-5D3, 8-15mm and Zen 230mm.

 

As always, I'd be most grateful for any advice. Many thanks, Tim

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HI Tim

 

I am running a Nikon D7000 in a Nauticam on a XScooter CUDA 650 and the XScooter Deluxe Camera mount and height extension option for the larger domes.

I have the ZEN 9" dome port as it really adds some positive buoyancy to the rig, I tried the Zen 100 Mini dome but it was just too negative.

with this rig I find I need three float stix and a small amount of lead in the bum on the scooter.

 

Personally I try and run the lights on another scooter so there is no backscatter. If you wanted to run them on your scooter then I would suggest plugging them into the XScooter battery or if you dont want to drop the runtime use E/O cords and hanging the batteries on yourself. I am running 2X 35W Light Monkey HID's with 15aH packs but planning on going up to the 50W heads for some more grunt in the low light.

 

Here is a video we did a couple of weeks ago in about 3-4m vis, no way you could do this with the lights on the camera scooter. I have to say I don't feel any performance difference with the DSLR hanging off the bow of the CUDA

 

Link to Video http://www.uwphotog.com/p810425504/e11621b87

 

 

And some bling pics

 

post-10908-1331209276.jpg

 

 

post-10908-1331209264.jpg

Edited by Chriso

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Thanks Chris.

 

My mental arithmetic is sadly suspect... The potential all-up weight may be 5 & 1/2 lb to 6 lb, say 6 & 1/2 lb to 7 lb with some lift to spare. The Aquavolts have self-contained batteries so initially I considered that an umbilical system would save weight. However even a 50w Light Monkey umbilical video head is 1 lb negative, which is more or less the same as the Aquavolt, and the profile of the Aquavolt will be much better suited to being pushed through the water column at speed rather than the concave reflector of the Light Monkey HID. An alternative could be the Green Force Squids and I'm waiting for some figures on these.

 

In common with most of my u/w photography, I see this project as a solo diver so I won't have the opportunity to have 'off-scooter' lighting. I agree that controlling backscatter from on-scooter lights can be challenging but actually our deep wrecks offer stunning water clarity for temperate waters.

 

I was hopeful of making progress with the CUDA 650 and was advised by the UK dealer that its possible to down-size the battery to one which was used by the CUDA 550 and to up-size the hull to one used by the CUDA 850. But this wasn't confirmed as a possibility by Dive Xtra. Its a shame as the CUDA was a front runner. Sadly, it 's difficult to find a recommendation for the Gavin...

 

It now seems as though the Magnus may be the only scooter which can offer the required lift and then with some modification - possibly a longer body and Submerge seem willing to create a special for me. There is one available in the UK so I'll be giving it a trial in the deep and dark waters of NDAC soon.

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Hi Tim

As Scooters go I just don't think I could ever ride anything else than the X, they are just well made and the efficiency and run times are just sensational. If you want information in custom designs just contact XScooter directly, they have always been very quick in answering all our questions.

 

Is there any reason you are not wanting to use external buoyancy? I don't know of anyone over here running scooters and camera in salt or fresh that has not had to use some sort of external buoyancy. for me I find a couple of float stix fine but others with more gear are using GATES or Ultralight tubes. Its pretty much essential if you want a perfectly balanced rig.

Edited by Chriso

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You are absolutely correct Chris. I should be looking at additional buoyancy to make the installed camera system neutrally buoyant and not to rely on inherent buoyancy in the scooter. Once I have the camera system complete, I will have to look closely at how I can strategically attach syntactic foams like Divinycell without causing undue drag and bulk. The major advantage for me will be that this approach will open up a wider choice of scooters. Still work in progress then...

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Hey Tim

Here is a pic of me and my rig from last weekend, photo taken by Shannon Conway

 

Scooter is the CUDA 650

Nikon D7000 in Nauticam, Port is the Zen 9"

 

The camera mount is by XScooter with the added height extension to accommodate the larger dome

 

post-10908-1332518000.jpg

Edited by Chriso

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Thanks Chris. How much reserve buoyancy do you think the CUDA 650 scooter has with your camera rig attached? Enough to mount a NA-DP4 too? I expect having a monitor mounted as far aft as possible will help with the trim...

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Thanks Chris. How much reserve buoyancy do you think the CUDA 650 scooter has with your camera rig attached? Enough to mount a NA-DP4 too? I expect having a monitor mounted as far aft as possible will help with the trim...

 

Hey Tim the bow has no lead in the scooter and I am running 4 float sticks on the top of the housing on some ultralight arms.

The Stern I am running 8 oz (226g) of lead.

 

The Scooter is still slightly bow heavy when stationary but when running at nominal speed it is perfectly balanced, I imagine this is the dynamics of the BIG dome and the water displacement it creates.

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Got myself one of these tank-mounted Thrusters. It's perfect for over hauling whalesharks and leaves the hands free to operate the camera. Not too expensive (around $1500) either. No buoyancy problems, just take 2kg (4lb) off your lead. It has a remote control that can be operated by a disabled diver. 45 mins per charge at around 3knots. (Not fast enough to dislodged your mask.) 8kg in the checked baggage.

post-4197-1332657976.jpg

Edited by John Bantin

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I had a chat with Pegasus last week, and I agree with you John. The Thruster is the most practical travel friendly blue water DPV available, for video and stills and has no buoyancy related issues either. Pegasus quoted me $2900 for the standard package; 1 battery and a slow charger and $3955 for full package; 2 batteries, fast charger and Peli case. Prices ex store, US. Where did you get $1500 from?

 

But for deep, dry-suited and twin-setted UK diving I'm not convinced. Perhaps a pair of thrusters, one on each cylinder would work but boat entries and exits with twin 15's, a couple of stages, DSLR rig and a couple of Thrusters would be highly impractical... The single speed control - on or off, is another downside.

 

That said, I do have some blue water expedition diving planned and the Thruster would be a 'nice to have'...

 

Thanks for your kind suggestion, Tim

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I had a chat with Pegasus last week, and I agree with you John. The Thruster is the most practical travel friendly blue water DPV available, for video and stills and has no buoyancy related issues either. Pegasus quoted me $2900 for the standard package; 1 battery and a slow charger and $3955 for full package; 2 batteries, fast charger and Peli case. Prices ex store, US. Where did you get $1500 from?

 

But for deep, dry-suited and twin-setted UK diving I'm not convinced. Perhaps a pair of thrusters, one on each cylinder would work but boat entries and exits with twin 15's, a couple of stages, DSLR rig and a couple of Thrusters would be highly impractical... The single speed control - on or off, is another downside.

 

That said, I do have some blue water expedition diving planned and the Thruster would be a 'nice to have'...

 

Thanks for your kind suggestion, Tim

 

They've obviously restructured the pricing since I got mine! Sorry!

 

I'm at Male airport at the moment. It does raise a few eyebrows at security.

Edited by John Bantin

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Tim,

 

Have you looked at Bonex?

 

http://www.bonex-systeme.de/static/scooter_e.php

 

They look to make light, well thought out and built scooters. Unfortunatly I don t have any hands on time with them, but they do come highly recommended.

 

Rgds Erol

Edited by ErolE

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Tim,

 

Have you looked at Bonex?

 

http://www.bonex-systeme.de/static/scooter_e.php

 

They looks to make light well thought out and built scooters. Unfortunatly I don t have any hands on time with them, but they do come highly recommended.

 

Rgds Erol

 

 

I've used a Bonex. It is so fast you can set it to rip your mask right off!

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IMHO the revised pricing of the Pegasus has made them very unattractive considering that they only have a practical application to a travelling diver who probably has to hold down a real job for 48 weeks a year. Add shipping, duty, clearance and VAT and their appeal lessens even more... It's a shame as I can see some real purpose in a Thruster but not after the price hike.

 

Bonex scooters were described to me as "Rolls Royce". I must get to see one. Bonex made the following suggestion go me.

 

He will get an Scooter with the size of an Reference RS,

 

But inside is the motor of an Reference model 2011 ( 24 V ) with an Ecos battery.

 

The scooter will weigh about 14 kg . For a good balance you will need further 1,5 kg lead weight = 15,5 kg.

 

You will have the possibility  to mount  about  3,5 kg camera and be neutral. 

 

 

 

The facts of this scooter are:

 

Max speed:                       67 m/min ( like Reference 2011 )

 

Run time full speed:      about  85 min.

 

Run time cruising:           till 150 min

 

Size:                                      Ø218/300 mm,

 

Length:                                690 mm

 

Max depth:                       200 m

 

Charging time                   9 hours

 

Including:                           charger, emergency switch, torque control, tow cord

Edited by Timmoranuk

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Tim, don't mess about. Get one of these: http://www.divernet.com/Diving_Gear/diver_...ob_jet_412.html

How can all those Saudi princes be wrong? !!!

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Hi,

 

I read this thread with some interest as I've gone about mounting my 7D Aquatica rig on both a N-19 and Cuda 400. I'm using the SS video mount which is nice enough. I haven't used the Dive-Xtras video mount, but opted for the SS one as it was mostly build from delrin and I suspect will be less negative. I had to DIY a custom mount to adapta the Aquatica to the mounting plate; I did this to raise the rig off the plate for the 8" dome Im using and to mount it as the holes didn't align anyway.

 

I've been using the rig in caves dives (mostly Florida) and deeper wreck stuff (50-100m range). My experience to date has been mixed, soem success and some dismal failures.

 

I solved the buoyancy/trim issue using 50mm diameter PVC pressure pipe, 300mm in length. I glued the pressure (domed) end caps on these and they've been to 120m so I've no concern about depth. I haven't calculated the buoyancy but they seem to provide anouth lift to get the rig neutral - trim is a little shot but scooter even in high flow caves was ok.

 

I literally strapped these buoyancy pipes to the scooter body, then put on the mount and then clicked in camera. Issue number one is that with the floats on the scooter, if there camera is not mounted it makes the scooter unusable. After some dramas the other day on the surface (where I couldn't clip in the camera) I've decided that floats must go on the camera, so that the scooter is usable without the camera mounted. I'm going to work on a quick disconnect system that mounts these to the base of the Aquatica handles, in parallel to the direct of travel to minimise drag. Quick disconnect because at the last minute on a deep dive I may decide not to mount the camera to scooter and want to ensure I have some flexibility on the dive deck of a boat.

 

My other comment is engagine the camera with mounting plate to the scooter with other hald of mount is annoying on the surface in nice conditions. it becomes hard in a mild current (you get blow off the boat) and absolutely idiotic in a 4kt current (yes I did that too). I've not been game enough to mount the camera to the scooter and have to thrown in the water; it would be ideal but the boats we dive off are either too big or too small to allow this, plus support crew is limited. Cave entry/operation is somewhat easier due to the controlled environment.

 

For what it's worth, I did a brain dump of my initial thoughts at http://damiensiviero.com/scooter-dpv-mounted-video/

 

With regard to lights, I'm using either self contained handhelds (similar to your aquavolts) when I can get away with it. When I need lots of like, I using two 100w LED heads on cables to canisters that I just clip off to myself. The latter setup is ok when running, but getting the lights setups, canister clipped off, etc.... again on the surface (or bottom) is a pain in the ass. I don't use E/O style QD cables, though I imagine this woujld make things easier.

 

I too considered hooking into the Cuda power outlet but since it doesn't have an on/off switch, the E/O connector is always live and doesn't mix well with salt water. I could imagine a scenario where the E/O cable got ripped out which wouldn't be good from an electrolysis point of view (from what I've gathered). My Cuda 400 also has a limited battery capacity and doesn't have the necessary juice to run 200w of light + the Cuda at full speed.

 

Incidentally I thought drag would be a major concern, but in practice it had not been. Heaps of power in the Cuda and even an UV-26 held up nicely in Ginnie Springs, though the flow was down.

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