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Ideal length arms for camera set up?

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Any recommendations on the ideal length for the arms on a double strobe set up? At the moment I have 6" and 4" arms but I've seen people with much longer ones nd wondering what the benefit is, if any? Thanks!

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Hi!

I've been using a ULCS 8" plus 5" combination on each of two strobes for almost 20 years and have always found it fine for both macro (they tuck in nicely) and wide-angle.

 

The argument, as II understand it, for really long arms is to improve wide-angle coverage. But my own experience with Inon strobes (Z220 and Z240) is that it's much better to concentrate the light onto a relatively small area of reef (which 8+5 does nicely) rather than try and spread light widely. With the 8+5 combination it's easy to get both strobes on the same side which is what I often do.

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Hello,

 

I use (nauticam) 8 and 12 inch arms myself. Not really do I need the length for wide angle, but it allows me to use several stix floats on each arm. I add 2 jumbo floats on the 8 inch and 4 large floats on the 12 inch, to make my camera neutral. With shorter arms, this probably isnt possible, or the floats are so close to the clamps that you cant tuck in your strobe's.

 

It also adds some extra length for back lighting and it allows me to move my strobe with retra snoot pretty far from my subject, if I want to light a bigger area.

 

If still feels very stable underwater.

 

The downside I guess, is that when tucked in, the setup is still pretty large, so it might be restricted in cracks etc.

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Hello,

 

I use (nauticam) 8 and 12 inch arms myself. Not really do I need the length for wide angle, but it allows me to use several stix floats on each arm. I add 2 jumbo floats on the 8 inch and 4 large floats on the 12 inch, to make my camera neutral. With shorter arms, this probably isnt possible, or the floats are so close to the clamps that you cant tuck in your strobe's.

 

It also adds some extra length for back lighting and it allows me to move my strobe with retra snoot pretty far from my subject, if I want to light a bigger area.

 

If still feels very stable underwater.

 

The downside I guess, is that when tucked in, the setup is still pretty large, so it might be restricted in cracks etc.

 

Good point on the space for extra Stix floats, Robin!

 

My system tends to be a bit more negatively buoyant than I would like ideally and I have a full Stix load already. (I tried the Inon Megafloats but just could not get on with them and they were WAY too buoyant).

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I am a relative beginner, but my understanding is that long stobe arms begin to become more important when shooting through lots of water - i.e. when shooting big scene wide angle shots. This is because it will help to avoid large amounts of backscatter.

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Hey Chris

 

Yeah, sort of: the import thing is to light up as little water (and its suspended goop) as possible in between the lens and the subject.

 

The aim is to get the two light cones to meet each other as close to the subject as possible leaving a triangle(ish) of unlight water between camera and subject. Big arms could help but realistically the furthest you are going to get strobe flashes to light is about 2'-3' from your camera.

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Thanks Tim,

 

calculating the distance and the strobe power whilst maintaining position...that ain't easy! I need a lot more practice!

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Thanks Tim,

 

calculating the distance and the strobe power whilst maintaining position...that ain't easy! I need a lot more practice!

 

Heheheh, welcome aboard, Chris!

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I went with 2 18" arms for a while, but changed to 2 8 " on each side now. I believe strobe alignment is more critical than going beyond the 2 8" arm set up.

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I have 3,5,8 segments and I am going to get some 12

 

Generally the 5+8 is the most versatile and unless you shoot some really large subject this covers majority of the scenarios

 

3+5 are useful for macro and also for close up video - if you don't do any video at close range you can skip this

 

8+12 am getting for great hammerhead in essence the long arm in bad visibility allow you to have edge lighting avoiding backscatter. If it was not for this trip so far I have done fine with 5+8

 

 

To give an idea considering a 90 degrees strobe for simplicity (100-110 need longer arms)

 

5+8 segment with clamps gives you 19" reach plus 6' tray 25" subject at 63 cm from the tray axis is when the strobe beams start to meet

 

8+12 segment with clamps gives you 26" reach plus 6"tray 32" subject at 81 cm from the tray axis

 

In reality as strobes have more than 90 degrees typically when you add more length you don't gain the same distance but a factor of 0.7 for each unit you add

 

This assuming that you put the strobe at 9 and 3 o clock otherwise the subject gets close and closer or backscatter comes

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I use two 8 inch and 2 6 inch and am happy with that for macro and wide angle.

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Does anyone have an opinion on brand of a tray & arms? Currently considering the Kraken TR06 tray with 8+5 arms & the Nauticam Flexitray with 8+5 arms. Ive also read where the ULCS arms are great as well. Thoughts on brand, price, and durability of each? Can you mix and match different brand of tray with different brand of arms?

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Does anyone have an opinion on brand of a tray & arms? Currently considering the Kraken TR06 tray with 8+5 arms & the Nauticam Flexitray with 8+5 arms. Ive also read where the ULCS arms are great as well. Thoughts on brand, price, and durability of each? Can you mix and match different brand of tray with different brand of arms?

What camera is this for?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I've had my ULCS arms, clamp etc for almost 20 years and they have been excellent and look, pretty much, good as new. I can recommend them highly.

 

If you use the 1" ball size that ULCS use you should, in theory be able to use other 1" ball accessories. Although you might find that sometimes items don't necessarily stay locked when the clamps are tightened because of subtle differences.

 

I'd suggest it's worth spending a little extra on the clamp and arms. You need only buy them once. Get good ones!

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Thanks for the info Tim! Do you have an idea as to how many floats I will need? Olympus TG5 with Olympus housing, kraken 3500+ light on the cold shoe, and then double D2J strobes, 8+5 arms.

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For the TG5 ULCS is probably the best choice as they are lighter and I suppose you have a plastic housing

Buoyancy wise it will be 1 to 1.2 kg negative ball park i would get a set of jumbo and one of large stix floats

 

 

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I've had my ULCS arms, clamp etc for almost 20 years and they have been excellent and look, pretty much, good as new. I can recommend them highly.

 

If you use the 1" ball size that ULCS use you should, in theory be able to use other 1" ball accessories. Although you might find that sometimes items don't necessarily stay locked when the clamps are tightened because of subtle differences.

 

I'd suggest it's worth spending a little extra on the clamp and arms. You need only buy them once. Get good ones!

 

What tray do you use with your ULCS arms?

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What tray do you use with your ULCS arms?

 

 

I've got a DSLR so don't need a tray. But if you go on to the ULCS website, you can see what they have available and chose something suitable. If you tell us your camera I'm sure folks here can advise.

 

http://www.ulcs.com

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I agree with Interceptor121 on the Stix floats. Inexpensive (relatively speaking) and effective. They're a good combination with ULCS arms.

 

https://www.backscatter.com/group/Stix-Buoyancy-Float

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The tg-5 housing has a single screw you will need the compact tray

I have one to sell lol

 

 

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thanks guys for your quick and informative responses, just what i was looking for in trying to make a decision!

 

Tim, I've got an Olympus TG5 with the Olympus PT-058 housing.

 

Mr. Weybridge UK,

what make and model is the tray you have to sell? pics?

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Ultralight i have tray and a few handles but if you are not in UK it may nt make sense

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I use a two 16" Big Blue arms on each side and shoot mostly wide angle. The main point of having long arms is to bring out texture and shadows to add depth in your image and not as much about light coverage. Most people with little arms and wide angle will have flat lighting and won't look as good. For macro the arms can be shorter since the subject will be close and the lights won't need to be out as far to produce the same results. I wouldn't look at arm length for coverage vs effect on shadows. I almost always set up my left strobe as my key light and fill in the shadows with the right. The fill light should be set lower just enough to fill the shadows to keep the 3D look. I they are both set at the same power setting and angled the same way everything will look flat and 2D.

 

Macro can get away with small arms since the distance is closer and lights won't need to be out as far to skim the light for maximum shadow effect.

 

If you're in pitch black and you have a flashlight next to your head while pointing it at an egg it will look flat like a piece of paper. As you bring the light further out, the shape of the egg will start to show and go from looking 2D to 3D. I adjust strobe position and angle for every single shot to bring out the most texture and flattering light.

 

Light concepts are the same out of water as they are in the water and you'll never see a professional photographer with the light source so close to the lens.

 

Here are a couple examples of what I'm talking about. The wide arms bring out the texture in the rocks and reef. If they were closer it would look flat and less impactful. The image of the reef couldn't be done with shorter arms. I needed the arm out as far as possible on the left to create the depth in the reef and used the right strobe primarily at the two fish to isolate and make them pop from the the background.

post-54473-0-35860500-1553170725_thumb.jpg

post-54473-0-15679300-1553170793_thumb.jpg

Edited by Fruitographer

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Hello,

 

I use (nauticam) 8 and 12 inch arms myself. Not really do I need the length for wide angle, but it allows me to use several stix floats on each arm. I add 2 jumbo floats on the 8 inch and 4 large floats on the 12 inch, to make my camera neutral. With shorter arms, this probably isnt possible, or the floats are so close to the clamps that you cant tuck in your strobe's.

 

It also adds some extra length for back lighting and it allows me to move my strobe with retra snoot pretty far from my subject, if I want to light a bigger area.

 

If still feels very stable underwater.

 

The downside I guess, is that when tucked in, the setup is still pretty large, so it might be restricted in cracks etc.

For floats, I just took some PVC with end caps glued on and they work great. I image of someone recently that had water bottles taped to the arms which would be even better because you could put water in them if needed to adjust the perfect buoyancy.

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