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phxazcraig

Holy Cow! How will I pack a 230mm dome port?

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I just purchased my first DSLR housing and a couple of ports. Nauticam NA-D810 with 105vr port and 230mm Nauticam dome port for my 16-35vr. I have dual YS-D1 strobes, and a Fishlite focus light.

 

I am stunned by the size of that dome port! Once I got used to it, I pulled out my Thinktank Airport International V2.0 roller bag to see if there was a way to pack this gear and keep it out of my suitcase. I'm sure I'm not the first person to wonder how to pack that massive dome port.

 

IF I remove two ball mounts from the housing I can probably stand it up in the deep end of the bag. Then I could (barely) fit the dome port in the other 2/3rds of the bag, but other than some small and light accesories, nothing else is going in that bag. That would leave me with arms, strobes, macro port and dome extensions to carry elsewhere, plus my lenses. Lenses can go in a waist bag, no problem.

 

Alternatively I can pack the dome port in a suitcase and (probably) get everything else in the roller bag.

 

What's the answer here? I really don't want to check any glass into an airplane belly, but I don't see much choice. I absolutely don't want an additional Pelican case or checked bag. I already travel with two full suitcases, much of which is dive gear.

 

Anybody got pics of a packed backpack with housing and (big) dome port?

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I have the same domeport and a D800 Setup. I know the Feeling.

My solution is to put the Camera into the Housing ( incl macro port and lense). Then I wrap wrap some Neoprene around it and carry it in the Lanyard.

The Domeport and lenses goes into a backpack ( looking small actually).

The rest gets checked, incl Strobes.

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I feel your pain! I was shocked when I got the Subal DP230 by the difference in size between it and the DP-FE dome. An inch sure makes a difference!

 

Like you I really struggle to pack my dive bag - and here in Europe we generally only get one 23kg bag allowance. I use an old FedEx padded shipping bag, cut to size for the dome, which I lined with a couple of sheets of polystyrene; then taped firm with ducttape. This provides reasonable protection for the port without adding too much weight or bulk. It then goes in the bottom of my Eagle Creek roller bag along with my BC, reg, fins, wet suit, mask etc - plus strobe arms. The rest of the camera gear is in a Pelican 1510 and a camera bag. Clothes? Who needs them for a dive trip: two pairs of swimmies, 2-3 T-shirts and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

 

I did try using a soft supermarket-type soft cool bag for the port and hand-carrying it into the cabin. But I then had three pieces of hand luggage and thought it too risky.

 

Yep, travelling with a 230 dome is no joke.

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I never had and i never will have such a big dome,
but what i do is to use a Tupperware like container where the dome fits snug in.

4 Holes on the side and 2 bungie cords will hold the dome inside the tupperware and make a great dome protector too,

to avoid that someone bangs the dome on the boat or ladder.

It don't look very sophisticated bit it does the trick on the boat and maybe filled with foam during the travels.

Be extremly careful if the dome is in acrylic, the seams of the original neoprene cover scratched my acrylic dome during a choppy boat ride!

 

Yes, as already said, the only way to travel with dome ports is inside either a trolly or a backpack,

in my case, minidome, cameras, chargers, lenses, cables, external disks and 2 Z-240 strobes go in my photo backpack.

Housings, arms, floats, etc goes in checked baggage (with a few pieces of clothing...)

 

Chris

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If you take the arms off the housing it fits much better.

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Thanks for the replies. Hadn;t thought about taking the arms off the housing, but in my case I don't think it gains me much.

 

What I CAN do is fit pretty much all the camera dive gear into my Thinktank - except the dome port. I'm thinking of finding some sort of plastic container to put the dome in for protection and wrap it in my wetsuit and BC and just have it in the checked luggage.

 

I wear a Thinktank waist bag (Speed Racer) at the same time as my backpack (if I use a Thinktank backpack instead of the Thinktank roller bag). That can hold my camer and three lenses, two of which would be underwater lenses (105vr and 16-35). Somehow I have to fit my 24-70 and 80-400g in, which I could do if not carrying the 105vr. Putting the D810 inside the housing would free a bit of room, or just allow me to carry my D800e as well for above-water shooting.

 

Here's a question for all - any downside to putting stuff inside the extension ports (for packing)? I could at least put in some socks, or spare bits of dive gear. The extensions for the 105vr and dome port are pretty big.

 

I think I might be able to get most of the gear into my backpack (Thinktank Airport Accelerator), including dome port, because there is significantly more space in there without wheels and handle. I just don't want to mess up the configuration I have for non-diving photography. And I have an as-yet-unused Thinktank roller bag to play with. (Unused because I couldn't fit all my photo gear in it, like I can with the non-roller bag. They are about the same size on the outside).

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Yep, I put bits and pieces, wrapped in bubble wrap, inside EXRs.

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I am using a old Regulator bag as a Domeport bag/protector.

I found one that is fitting the 230mm pretty good.

There is a perfect pouch on the upper side. There I fitted a sheet of flat Plastic.

On the sides I can fit a couple of Swimming trunks or similar. My original thought was bubble wrap on the sides, but ....

 

/Erik

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I fill the housing and the flat macro port with soft stuff, including spare parts wrapped in bubble wrap,

but due the round surface i would not use the dome port as they are more complicated to clean.

 

I personally would not put the dome in the checked luggage, especially not if only wrapped in bubble wrap and a wetsuit,

but this is my personal point of view.

 

As i will leave back to Costa Rica next Wednesday i can send you a photo of my Loewepro Vertex backpack ready to go.

 

Chris

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I'd like to see the backpack with dome, for sure.

 

I just cannot manage to get the dome into the backpack, at least not with the housing. It's one or the other I'm afraid. That said, I do have two backpacks to try - the roller bag (actually not a backpack) and a true backpack (Thinktank). The backpack has more room inside than the roller bag (quite a bit), but I don't think the areas where space is gained will apply to the dome. (Possibly, if I tilt it).

 

If I CAN get the dome and housing into one of my packs, it means the majority of the other parts will not fit, meaning macro port, dome extension and two strobes. I can probably get small bits like arms, cables, clamps, etc, in there.

 

I'm thinking that maybe I'm going to have to put it into my wife's carryon, but that bag ends up getting gate checked about 15% of the time.

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Hand carry?

The picture is GH4 setup but I was doing same with 5D3 and 230mm glass dome.

Another plus is they don't weigh camera in airport.

 

gh4_travel.jpg

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Hand carry?

The picture is GH4 setup but I was doing same with 5D3 and 230mm glass dome.

Another plus is they don't weigh camera in airport.

 

gh4_travel.jpg

 

You hand carried all that into the cabin???

 

What did you do with the camera during the flight? Don't tell me you spent 8 hours with it on your knee.... :crazy:

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You hand carried all that into the cabin???

 

What did you do with the camera during the flight? Don't tell me you spent 8 hours with it on your knee.... :crazy:

Of course Tim. I don't let go my baby. Lol.

 

The housing going in overhead bin. FYI. :)

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Of course Tim. I don't let go my baby. Lol.

 

The housing going in overhead bin. FYI. :)

 

Wow, I'm impressed. You are The Man! :notworthy:

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Hand carry?

The picture is GH4 setup but I was doing same with 5D3 and 230mm glass dome.

Another plus is they don't weigh camera in airport.

 

gh4_travel.jpg

 

Wow, I'm impressed too. Holy shit :notworthy:

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Mine always travels in the hold in the box it came in. Wrapped in bubble wrap and in a hard-shelled Samsonite suitcase. It has made many, many flights and never had a problem. If it comes to it, that is an option. Alex

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Hi,
exept the volume, its often a question of the weight....
Cabin luggage is very limited....
On the other hand, if you put it in your other luggage, if unlucky, it comes maybe too late,...
You can easily get all other stuff anywhere, exept your camera gear....
With Dslr i put the big dome in an old regulator neopren pack, in the boarded luggage...
All other essentials where in my hand luggage....
Now with Mil, all the things fit in the cabin pack...
But i think now about going back to Dslr..

Regards,
Wolfgang

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Feedback from my first trip with the dome.

 

First off, there was no way I could put the housing, ports, strobes and the dome in my carryon. Really, I could not combine housing and dome, regardless of other equipment. I managed to put all my camera gear EXCEPT the dome (and the camera, for that matter) into a rolling Thinktank bag. The dome ended up wrapped in bubble wrap and put into my wife's carryon.

 

And it got pulled by the TSA at every security checkpoint. It looks quite interesting in an x-ray.

 

Coming back from San Juan, Puerto Rico, American Airlines insisted my wife's carry-on was a inch or two too tall, and they forced her to check it through to the final destination. The dome arrived just fine.

 

If I travel alone, I'll be forced to put the dome into checked luggage. Or the housing. I'm inclined to pack the dome in a suitcase as at least I'd then have all the other gear with me, including a macro port.

 

Once at my destination (cruise ship), I next found out how big and heavy this rig is to carry. (About 30 pounds). Save yourself right now and plan on some sort of wheeled carrier, which I didn't have.

 

I had a 30 pound camera bag on one shoulder, and 30 pounds of dive gear on the other. Those piers get mighty long when trudging alone under that load. Because of the size and weight, I could not carry both my dome port and my macro with me at the same time. Because of the weight, mostly, I ended up using the dome port only for the first day. It was quite a lot easier to manage the macro port, even though it wasn't a lot lighter.

 

Next time - some sort of wheeled bag, and if the dive boat is sizeable, I'd consider swapping ports between dives. Would have been nice to have the option in St Lucia.

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Hey phxazcraig

 

I read your two emails about your trip with interest.

 

Yep schlepping a 230 dome around is quite a job - and you are right, you have to be pretty darn keen to do it often when travelling. I've done a few posts about travelling with one. It's always a challenge!

 

I was sorry to read though that you are having edge sharpness issues. I had the same thing with the Nikkor 16-35mm in a Subal housing with a 190 dome. I used the +2 diopter as recommended - but it was still pretty awful at the edges, although, as you say, sharp as a tack in the middle.

 

So I upgraded to a (Subal again) 230 dome. Edge sharpness is better but needs to be at f11 to be really good. Centre is really sharp at pretty much anything. I still use the +2.

 

I'm not sure though why you are still having poor edges with a 230 dome and a +2. Can you see any difference between the shots at f8 and at f11? Perhaps Nauticam users can offer some suggestions.....

 

You mentioned too that poorish viz made wide-angle pics tricky. Yeah, always a problem. But, if I might suggest, you need not let this put you off too much.

 

if you want to shoot "big vistas" then, of course, poor viz makes it pretty hopeless.

 

But if I've found if you concentrate on one close element in the image (maybe some nice coral or reef structure) perhaps slightly to the left or right of centre - and then balance the other side with an approaching diver, I've found the the viz quality is nothing like as much of an issue. But you do need to be within say 1-2 feet of the main element of the image. The slightly less clear diver just adds to the image (for me anyway!) and creates a story and a context. Another advantage is that the edges are generally not as crucial. And, yet another advantage... you are not trying to light the whole image with strobes (pretty hopeless in my experience with Inons Z240s) but only lighting the key element of the image - perhaps with both strobes on the same side lighting the off-centre, say, coral, or reef feature. You can balance that with ambient lighting for the exposure on the diver.

 

I've found even in turbidish water you can create some good wide-angle images, e.g. Lembeh. I was down in the southern Red Sea a couple of months ago and although there was about 60' of viz, there were an awful lot of floaters in the water which wasn't great for "vistas" but no problem for the "isolating" type images.

 

Sorry, I'm not at home at the moment so can't upload a couple of examples to show you - but I hope you can get what I'm on about. I'll try and upload something when I'm home.

 

Hope that might help a bit!

 

PS: just had a thought, if you click on my Shutterstock gallery underneath my signature you can see some there. They're aren't revolutionary by any means - actually pretty bog-standard - but it illustrates what you can do with W/A in less than ideal viz.

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PS: just had a thought, if you click on my Shutterstock gallery underneath my signature you can see some there. They're aren't revolutionary by any means - actually pretty bog-standard - but it illustrates what you can do with W/A in less than ideal viz.

I'll have a look.

 

as for edge quality, I was somewhat surprised it was so bad, considering buying a 230mm dome was in large part an effort to gain good edge quality. I should note that I've read in the past about having to stop down the 16-35 quite a lot to get good edges, so I will be trying that next. However, shooting at F11 with wide angle also generally means good natural lighting, unless I'm shooting close to a wall where I can light with flash.

 

I'll post a couple of pics here related to my (only) two dives in St Thomas using the 16-35. The first is one my wife took with a Canon s120 and no flash, which I think gives a good idea on the water conditions:

http://www.cjcphoto.net/caribbean2015/images/151213-062119-00-59-s120.jpg

 

And the next is an image of my wife taken with the 16-35 on the same dive. I think it's maybe more a testament to what one can do in post than anything definitive of the lens and dome. She was close enough to be lit well by my strobes.

http://www.cjcphoto.net/caribbean2015/images/151213-032524-11-35-d810.jpg

 

I have been working on putting up my trip picks on a web page, but it's not ready yet. And the 16-35 pics I've got so far are all cropped to hide those problem edges. Most of them were shot at F8, I think.

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I've used 2 different methods

 

1. Tupperware container in checked luggage. I found one that fit my Aquatica 9.25" dome perfectly.

 

2. Kata CC-195 bag as carryon. Its a video gear bag but the shape is unique - the bags cross section (height x width) stated as 24x27cm. Perfect for a 23cm dome to sit upright. I can fit my full rig including dome in this bag. The size is questionable as a carry on but i've never had a problem.

 

**Wow looks like Manfrotto bought Kata. Seems its now the Manfrotto CC-195

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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I have a big SKB (similar to pelican) case. Housing, strobes, ports, focus/zoom gears, arms, clamps, focus lights, battery chargers, and all that type of stuff goes in. It came with foam to pluck in order to make a custom solution, in a few layers, so I plucked away until I got everything expensive a spot. With the remaining area for the rest, I plucked it all out leaving a fairly large empty area (which seems to fill quickly). Full it weighed 68lbs for our trip to the Maldives last fall, but everything made it there and back without any problem (United & Singapore Air). I didn't have to pay any fees on it due to flying with business award tickets, but that wont be how it goes every time -- I wish!!!

 

I can take some photos of how I pack it if anyone is interested, since it's a few weeks from flying.

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