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Nauticam Float Arms - NA-D850 Housing

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Hello,

 

I am looking into migrating my camera setup from ultralight arms with StiX floats to Nauticam carbon fiber aluminum float arms. Since my setup is quite common, want to ask for arm size recommendations.

 I am using a NA-D850 housing, 2x Sea&Sea YS-D2J strobes, with 2x 5" and 2x 8" UL arms.

Any input is truly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

 

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Same equipment here, same question.

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Just wondering why you want to make the change. Are you looking for extra buoyancy? Or a slicker looking system?  

I tried going from ULCS with Stix (same arm set up as Oscar) to the Inon Mega Floats - but hated it and sold the Mega Floats. Too much buoyancy and two bulky.

For what they cost, the Stix do a great job.

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I spent a lot of time trying to figure this one out myself. I bought a fish scale and measured the buoyancy of my most common port, light, and macro converters combinations. I finally decided the stix floats on the arms and on the macro ports give me way more adaptability than I could get with float arms. Plus I can throw a bunch of them in a checked suitcase without worrying about them going missing. 

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The port you are using makes a big difference, domes requiring significantly less added buoyancy than macro ports.  You will need differing amounts of buoyancy when you change from one to the other setup.

Best method is assemble everything and then weigh it on a luggage scale with the rig fully submerged.  The weight UW is equal to the amount of buoyancy needed to be neutral.  Once you have the weight look for arm combinations with buoyancy up to but not greater than the UW weight.  You don't want to be positive.  The issue you run up against is that the arms are only available in widely spaced buoyancy so getting an exact neutral combination is difficult unless you want to go positive and add weight in small increments to get neutral.  You also need to use them in pairs to keep the housing symmetrical otherwise it will be trying to twist as you shoot and that further limits the possible combinations of arms you can use.

The closest combination might be two large or could be 4 smaller arms.

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Hello,
 
I am looking into migrating my camera setup from ultralight arms with StiX floats to Nauticam carbon fiber aluminum float arms. Since my setup is quite common, want to ask for arm size recommendations.
 I am using a NA-D850 housing, 2x Sea&Sea YS-D2J strobes, with 2x 5" and 2x 8" UL arms.
Any input is truly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
 


You can’t balance this rig without consideration of the ports used.
In broad terms float arms are needed in three situations
1. Compact cameras with wet lenses where the rig weight is static
2. Rigs where stix floats do not offer sufficient lift.
3. Diving at 30 meters and deeper

Case 2 tend to be DSLR like video set ups.



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On 12/14/2019 at 8:17 AM, TimG said:

Just wondering why you want to make the change. Are you looking for extra buoyancy? Or a slicker looking system?  

I tried going from ULCS with Stix (same arm set up as Oscar) to the Inon Mega Floats - but hated it and sold the Mega Floats. Too much buoyancy and two bulky.

 For what they cost, the Stix do a great job.

Hello Tim,

Thank you for your response. Not really looking for extra buoyancy. Great to know about your experience, and very helpful in terms of decision making.

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18 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

 


You can’t balance this rig without consideration of the ports used.
In broad terms float arms are needed in three situations
1. Compact cameras with wet lenses where the rig weight is static
2. Rigs where stix floats do not offer sufficient lift.
3. Diving at 30 meters and deeper

Case 2 tend to be DSLR like video set ups.



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Thank you so much! As far as the ports, what I usually do is to add a StiX adjustable float belt for the macro port. That has worked out so far.

Based on the input from the people on this thread, I'm leaning towards continue using my ULCS arms with StiX floats.

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On 12/14/2019 at 9:17 AM, TimG said:

Just wondering why you want to make the change. Are you looking for extra buoyancy? Or a slicker looking system?  

 

My complaint is drag in the water. Sometimes I need to rush into a shot, and those arms have a lot of drag.  They also pogo back and forth when I stop after going quickly, and that moves the camera back and forth for a second or so.  I shoot the same STIX weights for both dome and macro ports, and they have sufficient buoyancy.

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2 minutes ago, phxazcraig said:

My complaint is drag in the water. Sometimes I need to rush into a shot, and those arms have a lot of drag.  They also pogo back and forth when I stop after going quickly, and that moves the camera back and forth for a second or so.  I shoot the same STIX weights for both dome and macro ports, and they have sufficient buoyancy.

Hey Craig

Isn't movement in the arms more likely to be as a result of either worn arm o-rings or maybe not quite tightened enough? I've been using Stix on the same ULCS arms since 2010 and have never seen the Stix being the cause of arm movement.

Stix/ULCS are obviously bulkier than Stix-less ULCS and maybe some of the slimmer buoyancy arms - but they are significantly less bulky ( and therefore less draggy)  than, say, the Mega Floats.

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The issue with arms moving is to a good extent due to the different materials used for o rings and the slight differences in diameter of the ball joints.

I have checked and while nauticam and ULCS are pretty much the same Inon are slightly different diameter - we are talking minor differences

in terms of orings the clamp do not grip well if you mix orings

So the solution is to use the same arms or at least same orings, the soft nauticam and inon are not useful and I prefer the old school buna of the ucls

If you look at my rig you will notice there no blue orings even at the housing handles

https://interceptor121.com/panasonic-gh5/fisheye-zoom-rig/

Edited by Interceptor121

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On 12/16/2019 at 1:01 AM, TimG said:

Hey Craig

Isn't movement in the arms more likely to be as a result of either worn arm o-rings or maybe not quite tightened enough? I've been using Stix on the same ULCS arms since 2010 and have never seen the Stix being the cause of arm movement.

Stix/ULCS are obviously bulkier than Stix-less ULCS and maybe some of the slimmer buoyancy arms - but they are significantly less bulky ( and therefore less draggy)  than, say, the Mega Floats.

The STIX just add to the problem which would be there without them.   The strobes have enough drag and mass hanging out on the end of the 5+8 inch arms to cause most of the issue.  When I have to fin quickly to get into position for a shot and then stop, the whole rig seesaws back and forth for a second or two with camera and strobes moving in opposite directions.   I figure a smooth, round float would be more streamlined and perhaps have less of an issue in this respect.  Not to mention being a bit easier to push the whole thing through the water.  When I'm in a hurry for more than a short distance, I usually turn the rig sideways, putting one strobe between my legs and the other up around the side of my head to streamline it.

Oddly I don't seem to have to issues with the amount of floatation going between wide angle 230mm dome and 105mm macro ports.

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I use INON float arms with my rig, with original blue and orange o-rings and don't experience any issues with arm movement.  I have the small mega float arms with Nauticam aluminium arms on my macro and fisheye port.  I use a medium and medium large arm each side for my 180mm dome.  The strobes are INON Z-240

You won't have issues apart from the macro rig being heavier swapping between macro and dome port as long as you don't go positive.  With my rig the two small INON mega arms are enough to go positive with my bigger dome, but work fine with macro and 100mm fisheye dome.  You need to weigh your rig in water and work out a combination that will work with both ports. 

You do have to crank them down on land to stop them drooping but in water I back them all off and they work fine without any hint of the problems you describe.

With the mega float arms I use the long clamps due to the diameter of the float arm.

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I use INON float arms with my rig, with original blue and orange o-rings and don't experience any issues with arm movement.  I have the small mega float arms with Nauticam aluminium arms on my macro and fisheye port.  I use a medium and medium large arm each side for my 180mm dome.  The strobes are INON Z-240


The z240 or any plastic strobe will hold with mixed orings try some 800 m+ grams video lights and it will be different
Nauticam and Inon oring are similar so if you use nauticam and inon only you have a better chance but none holds the same weight of ultralight arms and black orings I have done torque tests of all sorts this is direct experience not someone else advice


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On 12/16/2019 at 1:01 AM, TimG said:

Hey Craig

Isn't movement in the arms more likely to be as a result of either worn arm o-rings or maybe not quite tightened enough?

 

No, I think you might be misinterpreting what I am describing.  As for the o-rings, I noticed after a couple of years that I no longer had good control of the drag setting as I tightened my clamps.  It was pretty much getting to be all or nothing.  Crank those clamps down TIGHT, or they were just too loose.  Very hard to set a good amount of drag where the strobes didn't move, but could be turned to the right position easily.  At one point I decided to try putting some grease on them - what a mistake!  Eventually I determined that the orings were probably worn, and I replaced them all.  After replacement, good as news.  Crank down a little tight, can still easily turn the strobes as desired.

What I am taking about I suppose COULD be just due to movement at the housing/arm o-ring  But it seems more like a general bending of the entire strobe arm.   Think about rushing into a position and suddenly stopping.   You have the camera already almost at your eye, but as you bring the camera up, those strobes are 'bouncing' an inch or two at the end of their arms (wide to the sides) and the camera is bouncing in the opposite direction a quarter- or half-inch at a time.  Think of a car with worn shocks going over a bump and one end of the car bouncing up and down and gradually dampening out to nothing.

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The primary reason for ball arms to stop working is oring hardening
There is a maintenance procedure on ULCS website
My set up is well over 10 years old and grips just fine. I have a small issue with the clamps something screwing incorrectly seems like those locked by sea salt work better (talking about the screw going onto the non adjustable side)


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