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jeremyinsf

Aquatica Clamps vs Ultralight, and Nauticam Float Arms

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Hello - my first real post here - am curious to get some feedback. I have a LX-10 and Natuticam housing/tray etc.

 

I need to add some triple clamps and am curious if people have opinions on the Aquatica Delta 3 vs the Ultralight version?

 

Also, I'm considering adding the Nauticam float arm 90mmx220. It would go 'above' the camera, connected to said triple clamps, and then stix float arms attached to the clamps for the lights. The float arm has good lift but is large. Anyone have experience with it that they can share with me?

 

Thank you!

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Hi Jeremy - and welcome to Wetpixel. We hope you find it a really useful and enjoyable forum.

 

I can't offer feedback between the two systems but I have been using the Ultralight system for almost 20 years. It's great stuff. I'm still using all the original arms, clamps etc that I bought in the early 2000s and they have never let me down. For once, a good underwater equipment investment. Stix is great too.

 

I would comment though on Triple Clamps. I tried one once and figured that unless a human has an additional third arm, trying to manage two lighting fixtures attached to a housing via a triple clamp is an exercise in futility. One or both arms never stay in place whilst you are adjusting one of them or something else. An utter pain. It's just too complicated in practice although it sounds good in theory.

 

Just a thought :crazy:

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I own Aquatica clamps (not triple ones) and I'm happy with them. I have no comparison to Ultralights but I have used cheaper clamps before and the Aquatica ones are definitely better.

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You ask about float arms - the 90x200 you mention has 700grams of lift, just feels like that may be too much lift for a small housing unless you have some really heavy lights to offset. You DO NOT want a rig with positive buoyancy, very difficult to handle.

 

What you need to do is get a luggage scale and weigh your complete rig (incl lights etc) underwater - just hang it from a lanyard or similar so it's completely submerged - fresh or salt is fine the rig will be about 3% more buoyant in salt water. The weight you measure is the maximum amount of buoyancy you need. Given the float arms come in fixed denominations you add enough buoyancy to cancel most of the weight without going over. As an alternative you could go a little over and add weight to fine tune. You may find one big arm is enough or that two smaller arms gets you closer to where you want and it may be that shopping around for different brands to get in the right ball park is necessary.

 

I take it you are using triple clamps to clamp off the single float arm above the camera - I can see that working as you then fix the position of the two third arms with the float.

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Posted (edited)

I have some of the original Ultra light arms that were anodized blue.

35 years later they are now mostly silver!

Replace the 'O' rings when they wear down.

Draw your conclusions!

 

As previously noted, triple clamps frequently require a third arm. Try to configure with out them!

Edited by okuma

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ChrisRoss makes a good point on not wanting your system to be positively buoyant.

 

After setting up my system on a dive trip, I usually take the housing with a macro port attached for a dive without strobes or camera/lens fitted just to test that I have everything put together correctly and it's all water tight. It is SERIOUSLY buoyant and an utter pain to manage - to the extent I really struggle to stay neutrally buoyant at anything above 6-6 metres. The darned thing is just dragging me up.

 

As Chris suggests, the scales check is a very good way of finding out how much buoyancy addition/subtraction you need. I have found though that with switching ports/lenses etc you can spend so much time faffing around with buoyancy levels that it is only marginally worth the effort. Whilst you don't want a system that will pull you to the surface, nor that will plummet to the dark depths, I've found that allowing a pretty wide "Goldilocks spot" is the way to go. That way I don't change arms/floats whether using WA or macro and it makes transitioning between modes that much quicker and less hassle. Yeah, it's a bit more negative on macro than WA - but not enough that it would give me cause for concern; and macro dives tend to be close to the bottom so there isn't so far for gear to drop......

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On the topic of goldilocks spots I ended up with two configurations. One is of use with the 170mm dome and the other with the macro port and small 100mm fisheye dome. The 170mm dome use a 135 gr and a 210 gr buoyancy arm each side and the macro uses a 390gr arm and a 200gr non float arm each side so 690 gr for the 170mm dome and the fisheye port/macro port has 780 gr total. The 170mm dome is positive with the macro configuration, this means I'm about 90 grams negative with the 170mm dome at the maximum. That seems a reasonable compromise to me.

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ULCS triple clamps are great. Get the model with the cut-outs and you can position with greater freedom. Make sure you never use a triple clamp as a double or you will damage the clamp and it wont hold properly. Oh, and one more thing, in my experience the Nauticam buoyancy float arms dont clamp as tight as ULCS arms. It may be the blue o rings or ? So that might effect how a triple clamp holds? The original ULCS triple clamp holds strong with ULCS arms, but there isnt much play in the positioning. Im currently using the ULCS triple clamp with cutouts to hold two focus lights and the adjustments are wide ranging and very useful. It clamps really tight, so firm I need to keep it looser. Best, Carol

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I've been using a combo of ULCS and old Aquatica clamps for 13 years. I recently purchased a couple new Delta 3 clamps and I must admit they're fantastic. Really impressed by the ability to lock it down and easily release it. Great handle design - I do find the ULCS straight-bar handles get caught on things very easily. I also agree about the limited usability of triple clamps - bought a couple years ago and never use them now, very awkward.

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