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phxazcraig

Bouyancy questions on Nauticam D810 rig

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I've not had it underwater (even in a pool) yet, but I'm going diving with this new rig in December. Nauticam NA-D810, dual YS-D1 strobes, a V24 Fishlite focus light and two ports.

 

The ports are Nauticam 230mm dome, with Nikon 16-35vr lens, and a Nauticam port for a Nikon 105vr.

 

I have previously used a Nauticam Sony RX100 II rig with the dual strobes, and it was a little negative with a set of float stix.

 

What do I need to get the right bouyancy with the NA-D810 and the ports I have? I don't know if that big dome will be positive or negative. Same with the macro port. I have an extra set of Stix floats, though only 5 inch arms to mount them on.

 

I have a pic of the previous rig with strobes and arms I'm transferring to the DSLR rig here:

150103-114918-00-44-s95.jpg

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Hi!

 

I don't use Nauticam but my Subal system won't be so different.

 

You'll probably find you have to play around a bit to get it perfect - depending on how picky you are. The 105mm port and system will be less buoyant than the domeport and Nikkor 16-35. I have Stix on my 5" and 8" arms (both sides) and this makes, for me, a 230 dome port with Nikkor 16-35mm slightly negatively buoyant. If I let go of the rig it will drift slowly down. I don't find I have the problem that some people report of "twisting" with pressure on their wrists as the domeport tries to turn dome-side up..

 

The macro is less buoyant, as I say, and that will definitely sink if I let it go. But, have to say, this does't bother me much and I don't switch floats between wide-angle and macro.

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Monday I was able to get a bit of pool time - in 60F water! Got a bit of testing done, until my tank happened to run out of air. (Sigh)

 

I only had time to test the big dome with 16-35vr and no close-up diopter. I was a bit surprised to see the dome want to float up. The whole rig is just a smidge negatively bouyant in fresh water. I assume that it will be maybe just a bit positively bouyant in salt water. If the macro port is close, all should be just fine for the first dive.

 

It did not seem that I needed the diopter, but I didn't get a chance to test. I also noticed after the test that I'd shot everything at F4, so I'm not sure I can judge the corners yet. (That water was really cold!!! Wasn't thinking too clearly).

 

I got a chance to solve a few problems before getting in the sea. After the rig was sealed up (and vaccuum pumped), I turned on the camera and got a CF card error. I've had this before and cleared it by popping the card in and out, but you can't do that underwater. I set the camera to save to the SD card instead, and all was well.

 

Looking quickly at some of the shots, I could see underexposure. ISO 64 wasn't cutting it as the sun went down on a cloudy day. Kicked that up to 400 and histogram was good.

 

I'm certainly not used to shooting such wide angle. I'm now worried about plowing the dome into coral as I get closer than I think. I'm wondering if the +2 diopter I have might increase magnification as well as reduce focus distance? I'll check soon above water.

 

To those who've shot with VR/IS lenses - on or off underwater? I'm inclined to think it's a very good thing underwater.

 

Kinda wish I had more like a 24-70 range to use instead of 16-35. I'll either be wide (16-35) or long (105 macro) with nothing in between.

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Hi

 

VR definitely "off" underwater.

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Hi,

 

I have the NA-D800.

 

The Wideangle part with the 230 Dome is quite ok. It twists a wee nit upwards.

It was never bothering me. I assume that the only remedy would be to add some weight to the bottom Sunshade.

 

The Macroport is another isue. Your Setup gets clearly negative, since you remove a lot of air ( big dome).

I solved by threading some stix floats ( as you have for your strobe arms) on the Lanyard.

I was a bit worried that it would get wobbly when taking Portrait, but is ok.

If I end up doing lots of Portraits. Then I sometimes reattach the "lower" Lanyard part to the upper.

 

 

/Erik

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Hi

 

VR definitely "off" underwater.

Reasoning? I'm inclined to believe the opposite, given the likelihood of slowish shutter speeds, probably around 1/100th, and difficulty in holding the camera steady. I think it made a big difference when diving with point-n-shoots to have it on.

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Hi,

 

I have the NA-D800.

 

The Wideangle part with the 230 Dome is quite ok. It twists a wee nit upwards.

It was never bothering me. I assume that the only remedy would be to add some weight to the bottom Sunshade.

 

The Macroport is another isue. Your Setup gets clearly negative, since you remove a lot of air ( big dome).

I solved by threading some stix floats ( as you have for your strobe arms) on the Lanyard.

I was a bit worried that it would get wobbly when taking Portrait, but is ok.

If I end up doing lots of Portraits. Then I sometimes reattach the "lower" Lanyard part to the upper.

 

 

/Erik

Yes, in fresh water my dome port wanted to twist up, but not objectionably. I think the whole rig may be postively bouyant in salt water, but that shouldn't be an issue. (I could always take some of those floats off). I'll be checking the rig out in salt water the first time next week in Puerto Rico, and I'll have it adjusted as best I can before doing too many dives.

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I have the NA-D810, two Z-240, photo 800 focus light

 

WA with 170 or 200mm dome, 8 jumbo stix floats (2 per arm x 4 arms)

 

Maco 105 with SMC & multiplier, the 8 stix floats above plus a stix ring float around the port. For the ring float, removed the velcro strap and ran bungee through it (doubled over so it's in effect two strands) and tied it between the top of the ring. I can loop where I tied it over the cold-shoe mount for the focus light and it stays in place really nicely.

 

It behaves pretty much identically in fresh and salt water. I am not sure how much difference the 230mm dome makes as I havent tried one yet. I may pick one up in the spring, though, so we'll see soon if I decide to.

 

I think some longer arms would be good for WA, also.

Edited by CamelToad

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Reasoning? I'm inclined to believe the opposite, given the likelihood of slowish shutter speeds, probably around 1/100th, and difficulty in holding the camera steady. I think it made a big difference when diving with point-n-shoots to have it on.

 

Hi

 

Sorry to be so long replying to this - I've been travelling (unfortunately not for diving!)

 

Sadly I can't now remember the reason for not having the VR switched on underwater. Doh! While your logic makes complete sense, and above water I'd agree entirely, there is something about the underwater environment and movement that, I'm sure I read somewhere, that VR does not help. But then if you found it works for you, go for it!

 

No doubt another Wetpixler will chip-in and explain the reason.

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There are some thoughts on VR in this review: http://www.amustard.com/?page=kit&ext=105vr&

 

Many thanks, James. Interesting!

 

Mustard cuts it as usual.....

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Feedback time.

 

I just got back from a week cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, diving in St Thomas, St Croix, Antigua, St Lucia and Grenada, 11 dives in total. I use the rig (Nauticam housing for Nikon D810, dual YS-D1 strobes, V24 Fishlite) with the 230mm dome only once (St Thomas, the first day), and the 105 macro for the rest of the dives.

 

The system worked great. My first time using a DSLR underwater, and I'll do things differently next time, now that I have some experience. I can't really comment too much on image quality as it was *potentially* excellent, but limited in practice due to both murky water and (mostly) my ignorance for shooting DSLR underwater.

 

The DOME - my wife calls it 'Cyclops'. Here is a shot of me with it in St Thomas, and while the color balance is point-n-shoot typical, the water really was about that murky.

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

 

In salt water, the rig is quite bouyant. I did not take off the floats from the arms, but I did end up adding 2 lbs of weight to get down! Underwater, the bouyancy wasn't much of an issue, but there were times that the rig really pointed itself straight up, and that helped tangle my air line into the strobe arm clamps a few times. (Trying to decide now if better to point the clamps away or not).

 

I put a +2 diopter B&W filter on the lens (Nikon 16-35vr) and left VR on. I found the lens to be quite sharp in the center, and very disappointing toward the edges. I'll have to try stopping down extensively there, which will require excellent lighting for reef shots. I was quickly shooting at ISO 800-1000 as it was, and F8, 1/125th as in this shot:

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

 

I never had a shot with edges I liked. I'll definitely have to experiment a lot there.

 

My impression shooting that wide underwater - something very new to me - is that it's best done in incredibly clear water. The only time I wanted the dome on was in St Lucia, where I had near perfect conditions at a place called Turtle Reef.

 

I only shot with the dome for the first day. Why? Other than the need for clear water, it was 99% because the think is SO FREAKING BIG AND HEAVY! The logistics of getting my gear on and off the cruise ship to the dive boat were significant. I was carrying approx 60-70 lbs (half of that camera gear) over my shoulders. AND then also sometimes carrying another 30 lbs of my wife's gear when she was struggling. I don't ever want to do it again without some sort of wheeled luggage to truck some of that around. I was carrying the camera mostly set up (except strobes) in a 36 can AO cooler bag, which served as my dunk tank back in the shower of the cruise ship. It was definitely easier and lighter to have the macro port on there, and I couldn't figure a way to carry both ports with me to the dive boats.

 

So - 2 dives with dome port in poor conditions. Can't judge too much from it.

 

The MACRO - compared to the dome, it was a breeze to carry. Slightly negative underwater, I could dive with my usual 8 lbs, but I ended up going with 10 to make it a bit easier to stay down on the bottom trying to shoot small critters.

 

The 105vr - I really like it, but sometimes hate it too. I like it for all the reasons one likes a 105mm macro - plenty of working distance. I hate it when I can't take a 'normal' shot because the angle of view is so narrow. I'm so used to a camera with a zoom lens like the RX100 or the Canon s95. You would have no idea where I was diving based on the shots I could take. On the other hand, I could get shots that were impossible otherwise. I'm starting to consider goofy ideas like carrying a second camera (point-n-shoot) with me somehow to get ambient shots (or close-focus shots if diving with the dome).

 

I like the challenge of diving and photography put together. It's a good thing too, or I wouldn't be happy with the logistics of carrying and diving with that big of a system.

 

I still need to get closer, to mostly fill the frame with a subject instead of relying so much on cropping. Doing that with surge presents a lot of challenges for me.

 

Here's a shot of a Bearded Fireworm in Grenada:

http://www.cjcphoto.net/caribbean2015/images/151217-034734-96-20-d810.jpg

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I think the bigger dome wont be near as much of a problem on a liveaboard or a shore/boat resort that's a bit more "white glove" (or a lot more).

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I agree. My biggest problem was that I was diving from a cruise ship, and I had as much as a mile walk with camera and dive gear.

 

I'm planning on traveling to Roatan again this year (Reef House Resort), and I plan to have both dome and macro ports on the boat each day, PLUS my RX100 rig (without lights). I may shoot macro or dome on one dive, then swap the lights to the RX100 rig for the next.

 

What I'd really like is some way to carry two cameras underwater, and not be overwhelmed by the amount of equipment to deal with while diving...

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