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ChristineA

Are buoyancy arms generally needed with a setup?

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I am slowly gathering equipment to take my Canon 6D underwater. I am acquiring all Ikelite products (housing, strobes, arms, ports etc) and I have no idea what kind buoyancy this rig would have. From experience, does this setup tend to be positive, negative or neutral? Would I need buoyancy arms and if so, what kind would you get?

 

Thanks!!

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The first thing I did with my Ike system is get rid of the arms. I much prefer the ULCS arms with stix floats on them. I also dislike the Ike tray, but haven't changed it. I did, however, get rid of the Ike handles on the tray and replace them with ULCS handles, one a removable handle.

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Hi Christine,

with your (heavy) Ikelite strobes you will most likely need floats.

You can use it without floats but it is very uncomfortable to dive and photograph with a camera rig beeing

negative and having the tendency to tip over. When i changed to floats and got my rig perfectly neutral i discovered that

my hand joints dont' necessary have to hurt after a dive with my camera.
Also using the big dome port or a plan port will change the buoyancy and you should be able to add or remove floats

to keep your rig neutral.
My solution is that the rig is always floating and if i should change port i just add some small weights to compensate the different buoyancy.

Chris

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I agree with Chris here in that your aim should be to get the rig as neutral and longitudinally balanced as possible. Keep notes on what you need for each different configuration of lenses, focus lights etc.

Ease of use underwater is your goal.

 

 

Richard

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You will probably like some additional buoyancy. Less with an 8" dome than with a macro port because the dome has it's own buoyancy. Interestingly, I had to add buoyancy when I switched from ikelite housings to aluminum. Heavier on the surface does not necessarily mean heavier under water.

 

I used my Ike setup for two years without buoyancy on the arms, but macro was really making my arms tired.

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I am slowly gathering equipment to take my Canon 6D underwater. I am acquiring all Ikelite products (housing, strobes, arms, ports etc) and I have no idea what kind buoyancy this rig would have. From experience, does this setup tend to be positive, negative or neutral? Would I need buoyancy arms and if so, what kind would you get?

 

Thanks!!

 

Hello Christine,

 

I have two Ikelite i60 strobes with Nimh batteries. In order to achieve neutral buoyancy with these attached I have added floats that displace over 1.5 liters of water. However, Ikelite's newer 160/161 strobes have lithium batteries that each weigh 800 grams less than the bateriies on my strobes - you might need any kind of floatation if that's what you're using.

 

John McCracken

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Ten years ago, floatation arms were unheard of. Now, everyone has them. I guess that we all feel that they help...

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I agree with Allison. Ike arms arent great. We do the standard ulcs arms with stix. We had the ulcs bouyancy and didnt think there were as good as the stix.

 

My ike setup is very heavy as i have a tripod with 3 legs and 3 lights. So for macro it sinks like crazy. But i kind of want it that way. For the tripod. If i shot photos i would want it as neutral

as possible.

 

Dustin

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The nice thing about the stix floats is that you can add and subtract them, depending on what set-up you are using. Extremely user friendly and affordable.

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Thanks for your responses everyone, I really appreciate the feedback!

 

So it's clear from your comments that extra buoyancy is a must with this Ike setup. I got 2 sets of arms by Ikelite - its obvious that these aren't a favorite amongst you guys, but I am on a budget and they were a good deal so I'm stuck with them for now. What kind of buoyancy options are available for Ikelite arms? I've looked on website like backscatter and blue water photography but I can't seem to get a clear explanation as to what would work with these arms... the Stix looks like the most efficient and practical solution but do they work with Ikelite??

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Thanks for your responses everyone, I really appreciate the feedback!

 

So it's clear from your comments that extra buoyancy is a must with this Ike setup. I got 2 sets of arms by Ikelite - its obvious that these aren't a favorite amongst you guys, but I am on a budget and they were a good deal so I'm stuck with them for now. What kind of buoyancy options are available for Ikelite arms? I've looked on website like backscatter and blue water photography but I can't seem to get a clear explanation as to what would work with these arms... the Stix looks like the most efficient and practical solution but do they work with Ikelite??

The Ikelite arms are just fine, just buy the jumbo stix floats for buoyancy - I used those for a couple of years on Ike arms. The buoyancy is more important than the actual arms. I like the ULCS arms better; but it's not that big a deal. Edited by johnspierce
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I use the Stix floats too. I have been pretty happy with them until my last trip. They seam to be losing buoyancy. Where 7 jumbos use to be just right 8 are not enough now. Anyone tried the new Nauiticam Carbon Fiber floats yet? If so what do you think?

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I use the Stix floats too. I have been pretty happy with them until my last trip. They seam to be losing buoyancy. Where 7 jumbos use to be just right 8 are not enough now. Anyone tried the new Nauiticam Carbon Fiber floats yet? If so what do you think?

 

Interesting; I've been using the same jumbo floats for about 5 years with no issues.

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On the recommendation of a veteran dive photographer, I tried making my own arm foats for my Ikelite strobe arms out of pool Noodles. The Noodle floats gave me some bouyancy on the surface, but lost bouyancy when I dropped under the surface. I'm sure pressure put the squeeze on my homemade floats.

 

I shoot with twin Ikelite DS-161 strobes and the 161's are heavy. I switched to using Stix floats. The Stix products work well. I use float arms and a modified Stix float strap which fits around the extension for my flat port. I beveled the edges of the floats on the strap to make it fit angles on the port extension. I space the floats on the strap so there are two floats between each of the extension lock buttons on my Ikelite housing.

 

The only downside to my arm/float setup is that I need switch to longer strobe arms. The length of my current strobe arms is not long enough to work well with my wide angle lens.

 

One of the best mods I made to the Ikelite housing/strobe arm rig was to make a strap system which would allow me to attach the camera housing to the D-rings on my BCD. My BCD carries the weight of the system rather than my arms and hands. It works well for beach diving and is easy to clip into when the camera rig is passed down to me after I make entries during boat dives. I don't have to wrestle the camera rig when making surface swims.

 

-Tinman

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Interesting; I've been using the same jumbo floats for about 5 years with no issues.

I can pretty much tie it to a series of dives in Michigan to 140 feet. Not been the same since. I have had mine for 3 or 4 years.

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I can pretty much tie it to a series of dives in Michigan to 140 feet. Not been the same since. I have had mine for 3 or 4 years.

Aha... That makes sense. I never go below 110.

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Some fairly dense pipe insulation (Home Depot or Lowes) is easy to put on the arms. You can hold it on with velcro tabs, or zip ties. As mentioned, the buoyancy does change if you're using an 8" dome, versus the macro port.

 

And BTW, the Ikelite DS 160/161 flashes are almost neutrally buoyant.

 

You can also add foam on the bottom of your tray. However, the key is for the rig to not want to "roll" with any floats on it.

 

The insulation as floats will set you back big bucks. Like $5.

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Buoyancy arms should be compulsory in my opinion! Typically the worst reef wreckers are inexperienced people with negative housings. Please take onboard all tips here and gent a nice neutral setup. It will save your wrists and make dives more enjoyable too!

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