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insomniac

Nauticam WWL-1 Lens / Buoyancy Collar Review

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I thought I should start a thread dedicated to the Nauticam WWL-1. We've discussed this in other / less appropriate topics and it's time it has a one dedicated to it. I want to start off by saying that although I know own both the Lens and the Collar I have yet to be underwater with them (first trip planned to Socorro in June, followed by a cold water (drysuit/dry gloves) trip in Sept to BC, Canada).

 

My first impression is that this will be a really nice product, as long as you don't plan on changing the lens out during the dive. It's virtually impossible to access the red release switch on the bayonet mount with this collar installed. Maybe if you could attach a string / fishing leader or something similar to the red button to pull on it to release it easier). But it definitely very difficult to do (on land with bare hands)... Also, you can barely make out the white guide marks once the collar is installed. Since I have trouble doing this on land, I can only imagine what it would be like underwater.

 

I tried on a pair of my dry gloves (on land) and it was impossible for me to activate the release switch. This was somewhat upsetting as my cold water trips involve shots that are both wide angle and macro on the same dive (ie: Nudibranchs / Giant Pacific Octopus / Lion's Main Jellyfish). This means, if I want to use the collar, I will have to accept only using one lens per dive. And even for warm water, with bare hands the odds of me switching out lenses will most likely be more trouble than it's worth...

 

Also, it took me a while to attach the two little screws that hold this in place; I struggled for a good 15 minutes before I finally used the flash light on my phone to figure out why it wasn't lining up and then persuaded the hole in the foam to come close to lining up with the hole in the lens. I am sure I will get better at it in time; but I don't see myself removing it and putting it back on more than necessary.

 

This means if I want to use both the CMC and WWL-1 lens on the same dive, my only real choice will be to deal with the added weight of the lens without the collar installed. The collar is supposed to relieve about 1.5 pounds of weight (making it about 5oz negative while attached), so I am sad that they cover the release switch with this design. I almost with they would have made it less buoyant while still retaining the ability to easily swap out lenses while on the dive. Maybe this is the plan with the aluminum version of the collar they are working on. I'll report back to this thread in a few months after I have actually experienced it underwater.

 

Nau-WWL-Float-5.jpg

 

 

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Despite my better judgement; I might actually take a hot wire to this and attempt to cleanly notch out the area where the bayonet mount release is located so can reach it with my finger with dry gloves on.

 

Anyways, there is a chance will never get used in the water before I go destroying it... $50 is expensive for a piece of foam; but cheap when it comes to scuba camera gear, so I might just try it...

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Ok, so instead of cutting into my foam; I think I will be drilling a tiny hole into my red plastic bayonet mount release lever/button and running a small diameter wire through it. I tested out releasing the lens with a GoPro tether I had laying around, and it worked surprisingly well. But with it just looped around, it could easily fall off the red button underwater. I think if I drill a tiny hole through the button and run an inch or two of stainless wire (ie: fishing leader line / go pro tether) terminated to a stainless steel keychain ring it will be low profile enough and still really easy to release (even with dry gloves on), but not so easily that it will accidentally release...

 

One other thing I noticed; the lens cap is dang near impossible to remove once this float is installed. You can't get the surface area/grip on it and it fits really tight... I ended up putting on a pair of "grippy" gloves on to get a better grip and still could barely remove it. Once thing is for certain, it certainly makes using the lens more difficult; but hopefully it's worth not having 22 oz of negative weight hanging off the front of my compact camera...

 

Here's some pics for those interested:

 

IMG_5650.JPG

 

IMG_5651.JPG

 

IMG_5652.JPG

 

IMG_5653.JPG

Edited by insomniac
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Great thread!

 

I've been using the WWL-1 with the LX100, primarily for video and really like the results..

 

I will be posting some results soon.

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Has anyone tried the Stix buoyancy collar ? It uses a velcro strap to secure it to the lens. Might be more versatile.

 

I used one on my old Gates video housing with superwide lens.

Edited by ronscuba

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There are some solutions coming in the next few weeks to improve access to the lens release button, and provide cover solutions, when the foam ring is attached. I'll update this thread when I have them in hand.

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I've used the WWL-1 on my NA-M10 for several dive trips now. All warm water, no gloves. I balanced the weight out with STIX floats on two of my (outer) 8" arms....the other two 8" arms (closest to the camera) are the big carbon fiber Nauticam floats. Lens/port is the 12-50 macro.

 

First, the lens is terrific; here is a shot from the Grotto at Rota (near Guam) with ambient light, 12-50 at 16mm (15 and shorter give vignetting): https://www.flickr.com/photos/127470676@N07/26046905744/in/album-72157667604603685/.

 

Second, putting-on/taking-off the lens (with the bayonet mount) is easy, but disconcerting. I try not to think about dropping it...

 

Third, storage of the lens when not in use is on a bayonet receiver mounted between the two arms on the left side. I tried it on the right side, but since I'm normally gripping the camera in my left hand, it was quite unbalanced. The right-side bayonet receptacle has a CMC.

 

Fourth, the whole rig seems easiest to handle by mounting the lens before I enter the water and have the rig handed to me with the lens already in place. Of course, this means I need to dismount/remount the lens underwater to get rid of air/bubbles in the space between the port and the lens. For exiting, I put the lens back on the port.

 

I now have the foam ring for the lens. Huge. Looks like I can still get at the red release button OK (no gloves) and the now-invisible little white mark to line up the lens with the bayonet mount has been replaced by a large white line on the foam ring...even easier to see. My first chance to use it will be in about a month.

 

I hope I no longer need the STIX floats on the outer arms.

I hope the increased awkwardness of handling the lens will be compensated by the decreased apparent weight.

I'm going to continue to try and dock it between the two left-side arms.

I've ordered the XXXL LensCoat Hoodie to protect it.

 

I'm considering some way to mount a handling strap on the lens so I can put my hand through it when removing the lens from the dock and take my hand out after the lens is on my port. The rotation needed to dismount and mount the lens is making this hard to figure out!

Edited by tursiops

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I think I came up with a somewhat crazy, but in practice really really nice way to mount the lens, and use a tether. It's impossible to describe, and I am still waiting for a few parts to arrive; but I will upload photo's on Thursday of how I plan to have it configured.

 

Ryan - I think I will wait to drill the holes if that's the case, can't wait to see what they've come up with.

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This is my setup (sorry for the poor photo)

 

2x 90x150mm Floats

1x 60x200mm Float

 

And I have 2 bayonet holders on both 90mm floats, I can then remove the WWL, dock it and then use the CMC or the camera without either.

 

677551b612e080e3c3e203160d27f4cb.jpg

 

On top of the floats above I have 2x 60x250mm and 2x 60x200mm on the arms for the lights. The rig is still 210g neg.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Trickster, your photo is much appreciated, but not understood. I can't even figure out how the camera is oriented! Are we seeing the bottom of it? I assume there is a tray that holds all the arms? Where is it?

 

You really have three float arms on each side, plus one across between the arms? Doesn't this require a triple clamp? Where is it?

 

I suspect your set-up is pretty cool, but I can't tell. Help!

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tursiops: It looks like his camera is pointing to the right, and he appears to have an external screen attached to the top. On his arms it appears he has some Keldan video lights....

 

Ok, as promised; here's my crazy setup!!! On land at least, I really really like the location of the bayonet mount on the static arms above the camera. They never move and the center of gravity makes it easier to hold it with the lens on the arm than when the lens is on the camera. Plus, this location allows me to tether the lens to the handle in case I were to drop it (I am a dropper)... When I have the buoyancy collar installed, it does fit; but get's a bit crowded and rubs slightly on the static arm upside down ball mount bolt. I might have to trim off about a 1/4" of depth off the collar so it is not quiet as thick, but not sure how to do that without ruining it.... Anyways, pictures speak louder than words, so here you go. Sorry for the poor quality/lighting, they were taken with my phone:

 

IMG_5655.JPG

 

IMG_5656.JPG

 

 

IMG_5657.JPG

 

IMG_5658.JPG

 

IMG_5659.JPG

 

IMG_5661.JPG

 

IMG_5662.JPG

Edited by insomniac

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Wow.

The camera is almost incidental to that rig!

 

Buoyancy: Does it all balance out with the three float arms plus the collar on the WWL-1? It occurs to me that all the hardware (7 clamps plus other stuff) demands a float arm just for it!

 

Handling: Have you tried lifting it up into a boat, or being handed it in the water? Do you carry it by the long clamp at the center-top?

 

Minor: How does your compass work with all that metal nearby? Is the GoPro just cable-tied to the big float? I assume a second strobe is on the right side, but not shown?

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It's actually a lot more compact than it looks in the picture. The extra arms over the top are (optional) depending if I plan to swap my wet lenses out or not. The beauty of this system is; I know own enough parts where I can rig it lots of different ways. The setup on the very last picture is the most compact when I am lens swap mode, as I am using a short clamp vs the long clamp over the top... I actually really like having a ball mount on the top as I can put a strobe on that with a snoot to get some great macro shots without dealing with my arms being in the wrong position all the time; or I can shine a light in the down position and get great even lighting that I don't have to move around a lot... Fully rigged it's still slightly negative underwater; but feels good...

 

Again, I can remove a lot of pieces / weight if I don't plan on doing a lens swap while under water (pretty much all of level 3 :).

 

The thing I hate most is when a camera is rigged in such a way where if I move one arm it affects something else. This setup (except for the one with the lights flanked out on the far edges), allows me to move everything independent of each other. So if I reposition a strobe; it doesn't move a light; or I don't have to worry about knocking a lens into something. The wet lens is very heavy, and even if I don't use a float, the location of the lens towards the center of the rig causes it to feel much lighter than if it were flanked out on a float arm. And if I have both lenses off the camera it will feel more balanced. Plus I am concerned about mounting a big lens to an arm and then have it bump into something, get scratched on the sand, etc.

 

As for the other strobe; I have yet to buy it yet; but that's where it's going... Or in the most compact form I would run a video light off that arm and the strobe off the other.

 

As for handing it off to the boat, it works just fine to grab the rig by the top clamp when it's rigged that way.

 

As for your compass question; the only thing I that interferes with it can be the gopro. I have to be really careful to make sure it's positioned far enough away to not totally affect it (and yes, I have a special mount for it that just uses one zip tie). I really like having the compass front and center, but sometimes when navigation is uber important I give the gopro to the wife; and just mount the compass and my dive computer on the large float. Aluminum is not magnetic so that doesn't affect the compass; although I have noticed that stainless steel clamp springs that have been in water can start affecting it; but not ones that are brand new out of the box. I am guessing that the stainless part of the stainless steel diminishes over time; and thus becomes slightly magnetic.

 

As to everything being secondary to the camera, you are correct. But I've found that by going "overkill" on lighting produces much better pictures than having a really really good camera and crappy lighting, so that's where I've spent my money first. I had a somewhat similar setup for my TG-3. 3k in lighting and arms and $300 in camera...

 

 

Finally, sometimes I just like to clip the camera off to a D-ring when I am doing a difficult safety stop (strong current, etc) or walking to and from a shore dive. Having the majority of the "mass" centered in the rig; and in this mode makes it relatively easy to do:

 

IMG_5661.JPG

 

I can clip the shackle to my BCD and it holds tight against me. I will say though, that with the wet lense, strobes, and lights fully rigged it can weigh up to 15lbs when out of the water. But what's another 15 pounds when I already have 30 pounds of lead for a drysuit dive, and heavy LP100's. That said, I do prefer dive boats with elevators:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfd7TPrW9fI

Edited by insomniac

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There are some solutions coming in the next few weeks to improve access to the lens release button, and provide cover solutions, when the foam ring is attached. I'll update this thread when I have them in hand.

 

I was wondering if there's any update on this?

 

Cheers!

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Well,

 

I found that with the very small zip ties you can get a secure fit around the little red release button (with no modifications) pretty good. It gives you something that sticks out and you can pull on to release.

 

Oh zip ties and duct tape; you complete me...

 

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions.

Edited by insomniac

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