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rgilkes

Travel with 230mm dome?

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Hi Guys,

Previously with my my Nauticam 180mm dome, I was able to fit my dome, A7II housing, port extensions and even my regulator into my ThinkTank Airport International as a carry-on. Now with my 230mm I can barely get the dome and housing (no port extensions) in there. I am also adding 2 video lights soon.

How are you guys traveling with the larger dome? I'd really like to keep my entire kit together and not have to separate it across 2-3 bags and I don't mind checking it. Pictures of your setups would be great!

Thanks!!

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I have an older Think Tank Airport Security roller bag and a newer and smaller Think Tank Airport Advantage XT. The XT bag is lighter and as my roller bag has been weighted on every international trip I have taken in the past three years I have had to lighten the load in the roller bag. I have never had to weight my shoulder bag because the airlines assume it  is lighter.

My personal system is the Sony A7R IV with Nauticam housing and the ZEN 230mm dome which is heavy. I use the port with the Sony FE 12-24mm zoom Canon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom, FE 16-35 zoom, Zeiss 18mm and more. Because of the port size problem you have described I am now standing the port on its side in my shoulder bag along with several lenses and camera bodies. This allows me to put a lot of weight in a small bag that does not get scrutinized much.

I bag the port with bubble wrap and cary the lenses in storage bags.

The shoulder bag is an older Think Tank UrbanDisguise60V2.0

 

untitled-2347.jpg

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Thanks Phil. That's great feedback.

Right now, my shoulder bag is usually a Peak Design Everyday backpack because I do quite a bit of topside shooting on my non-dive days. The 230mm won't fit in there, but you've brought up a good point and maybe some of the things I used to be able to fit in my ThinkTank roller (port extensions, etc) can be moved to my backpack.

I feel like I spend more time trying to figure out how to travel with my gear than actually traveling/shooting with my gear. :D

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Posted (edited)

Just having acquired a 230 mm Zen dome I've begun thinking about this too. The guy I bought it from said he usually takes the whole assembled housing, with dome, over his shoulder and claims it's his personal (photography) item. He's reasoning that airlines are inclined not to interfere with that since it's obvious that it's expensive and fragile equipment. 

What do you think of that strategy? Anyone's who's tried it?

I know this person travels a lot, apparently doing underwater photography professionally. But of course, maybe he's travelling business class and they're more lenient there than in economy.

Edited by horvendile

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Sounds a strategy worth a try.

I used to travel with my 230 domeport inside a cannibalised padded envelope (yes a big one!) inside a supermarket cool bag over my shoulder. I pulled this along with a Pelican 1510 wheely-box (which held the housing and the usual bits and pieces) and a camera backpack with lenses. Over 5-6 years I never had a problem traveling to SE Asia or the Caribbean on a variety of airlines. 

Ironically the only time any of it was ever queried was on Emirates and I was flying Business! They were concerned at the weight of the Pelican case - but after I protested (nicely) that the reason I was flying Emirates Business was to be able to have the Pelican in the cabin, they relented.

So much of what you can do seems to me, to depend on how you react to airline staff if they query things. A friendly, smiley, non-aggressive, collegiate attitude goes a long way. And then there's always Business. :crazy: 

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i travel assembled (camera with lens in body with dome).

the will def. take a swipe test and look as if you were from mars, but it works pretty well

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Here's how I disassemble and pack my rig, which includes a 230mm dome, Nauticam housing for DSLR, 105mm macro port, dual strobes, focus light, etc.  http://www.cjcphoto.net/uwcamera/

Bottom line, I cannot fit the rig completely into carryon anymore.  And that is with two pieces of carryon luggage: one roller bag and one waist bag.

The housing and dome go into the roller bag, and then I fit as many other parts around it as possible.  Mostly that means two strobes, focus light, viewfinder and some misc bits.   My camera goes inside housing, but with no lens mounted.   My lenses (and backup point-n-shoot in housing) goes in my waist bag, along with a few more diving bits (dive computer).   Ultimately my 90mm extension port and my macro port cannot fit in either carryon, so I pack them in a suitcase surrounded my neoprene.   The 90mm extension (for the dome port) is just big enough that I can fit all 7 clamps I have for the strobe arms and focus light inside it.

Craig

PS - TSA loves to open that carryon when the dome port shows up on X-ray.

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@phxazcraig seeing your packed ThinkTank bag actually made me question if I couldn't fit all my gear. This is where I'm at so far:

ThinkTank Airport carry-on w/ a7ii housing, n100 to n120 extension, zoom gear, 230mm dome, 2x Sola Pro 15K (only one pictured) and (maybe) arms.

My carry-on backpack holds all my camera gear (camera, lenses, drone, etc) as well as my 70mm extension.

All dive gear goes in my large roller bag. I will have to get a proper padded case for my regulator and dive computer since they won't be in my ThinkTank carry-on anymore.

IMG_0322.jpg

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Ah - you have a non-roller bag, correct?   Some years ago I bought a Thinktank roller bag thinking a) it would be about the same size as my Airport Accelerator, and b) it would have backpack straps.  Neither was true, so I never used it until I had a bunch of very heavy dive camera gear to fill it.  The bag is considerably smaller inside due to the pull handle and the wheel wells.  It feels 30% smaller than my Accelerator, which is indeed the same size outside when closed up.    Without the wheel wells, I could get the macro port in, and perhaps the 90mm extension as well.   And it would be very heavy.   My bag is 31 pounds now.

One of the issues I have is that I can't stack anything on top of the dome, and save perhaps for some socks, I can't make use of the area inside the dome.  And it's kind of hard to fit things underneath the dome as well.  It's just a huge, inefficient lump in the middle of a bag.  It would be nice to have the whole dome inside some tupperware container so you could at least stack something on it.

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3 hours ago, oneyellowtang said:

Every port and Dome I travel with goes inside a Cinebags packing cube - this allows you to stack them, put other things around them, etc.

Highly (highly) recommended...

https://www.cinebags.com/underwaterproducts

Do you then put these cubes in the checked luggage?

For carry-on luggage, these cubes add too much weight ...

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

It feels 30% smaller than my Accelerator, which is indeed the same size outside when closed up. 

I have the Airport International roller so I do lose the space from the wheels and handle. Good to know the Accelerator gives you back some of that space, but seeing as how I already have a backpack that I carry and how heavy the ThinkTank is now, I'll probably just stick with the roller.

8 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

It would be nice to have the whole dome inside some tupperware container so you could at least stack something on it.

Yes, I agree here. I wish there was a hard cap for the 230mm similar to what Nauticam sells for the WACP and WWL.

Edited by rgilkes

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Airport Accelerator was able to fit a housing, 230 dome, 105 macro port, 3 strobes, and 20, 35, and 70 extension tubes (fits over the macro port). Handles come off to fit. Arms and clamps go in the checked bag. All the extra camera bits, focus lights, and super macro wet lenses go in a lens smuggler. Fiber sync cables went in my regulator bag in my checked bag. Weighs a ton, I’ve been thinking whether I should get some sort of folding wheel thing for the backpack. But if it’s on my back when I check in for the flight I’ve never had them weigh it. The roller bags weigh quite a bit more when empty. 

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Hi Rgikes. Do not put the dome on the bottom, under the housing. The housing is much heavier and stiffer than the dome. And you can take out the handles to gain space (like Maclean).

i use a Lowepro ComputterTrekker (backpack) to pack my housing (Aquática) without the handles, with the Canon 7Dmkii inside, the tolinha 10-17; the Canon 100 mm usb, 2 inon z240, minidome, macro wetlands, the arms and clamps, the macro port, focus light, the computer (both scuba and laptop), optical fiber cables, Suunto transmiter, 

Usually I travel with my wife, and i use her hand luggage to take the dome (8 inch, not 9...) and the handles of the housing and the port extensions.

usually I do not take a hand bag. But for next trip, as she is not going, I might take a bag with the dome port and the handles

To protect the dome I went with it to supermarkets to find a food case that would fit to it. I found one that is a snug fit, if I take the neoprene I can close the case, but usually I Use it with the neoprene even not being able to close completely the lid

 

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On 3/4/2020 at 10:21 PM, horvendile said:

Just having acquired a 230 mm Zen dome I've begun thinking about this too. The guy I bought it from said he usually takes the whole assembled housing, with dome, over his shoulder and claims it's his personal (photography) item. He's reasoning that airlines are inclined not to interfere with that since it's obvious that it's expensive and fragile equipment. 

What do you think of that strategy? Anyone's who's tried it?

I tried this domestically in Australia. The airline was fine with it but security really didn't like it. They said the whole thing was heavy, spiky and metal and therefore a weapon. I stopped myself from pointing out that if I put it in a non-padded bag it was still heavy, spiky and metal but now with an extra swinging handle. Smiled nicely, promised not to do it again and they let me through. That was in Sydney.

I travel with mine fully assembled in an Osprey Porter 46 backpack which has good side padding/protection. It's heavy but fits fine. I can even get a few extra strobes in there plus a jumper and scarf. Laptop bag or "purse" as a personal item, shoulder massage on arrival and I'm golden.

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My wife and me do not have a 230mm dome, but we have Zen DP170 and Nauticam 140 plus NA-EM5II and NA-EM1II housing.  Problem is similar. All four items are put in the Nauticam transportation bags that are intended for check-in lugagge transportation (the Zen DP170 goes into the bag for Nauticam 180), stuffed with underwear etc. and travel in the regular hardcase suitcases as check-in lugagge. So far we both are able to transport all our gear (including diving gear and literature for sepcies identification) in two hardcase suitcases plus one additional divers lugagge...

We practice this since three suba trips and domeports and housings always arrived safely (problem may be in case the suitcases are delayed in transit to the destination). No more problems with overweight in our foto-rucksacks (stuffed with fragile items as lenses, flashes, camera bodies, TCs, compass etc. ...) and also more pleasant to carry...

 

Wolfgang

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