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Camouflaged Nauticam EMWL?

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I was watching an episode of the latest Laurent Ballesta expedition in French Polynesia and he was using a quite long lens to photograph some fishes hidden inside corals.

Am I wrong or is that a camouflaged Nauticam EMWL lens?

I know he is sponsored by Seacam but I guess that EMWL was the right tool for the job ;)

1309641701_ballesta01.PNG.9f8ee9ceb9674f3550af349df0658125.PNG

 

Here the full episode:

 

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I don't know that it's camouflaged as such - looks like he has taped on some flotation, the lenses are quite heavy the average kit weighing around 1lg in water and on a long lever arm so getting good trim would be important.

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Posted (edited)

I've had a chance to play with all three objective lenses 60°, 100° and 130° on the EMWL.  Zooming in on the photo it definitely looks like the 60° objective lens on the end of an EMWL.

Definitely flotation and not camouflage, the EMWL makes your rig VERY front heavy, specially when you push your strobes forward as has been done in the photo.  My solution was to replace the arms closest to the strobes with a couple of Nauticam 90x170mm float arms with 450gm of buoyancy each which balanced the weight of the EMWL very nicely.

Here's a shot of my wife Mary who has the same setup as me:

_ROS7526.thumb.jpg.6f8317eeb8f70c8997ef0bd89b219046.jpg

Edited by Gudge
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On 7/1/2021 at 2:14 PM, Gudge said:

I've had a chance to play with all three objective lenses 60°, 100° and 130° on the EMWL.  Zooming in on the photo it definitely looks like the 60° objective lens on the end of an EMWL.

Definitely flotation and not camouflage, the EMWL makes your rig VERY front heavy, specially when you push your strobes forward as has been done in the photo.  My solution was to replace the arms closest to the strobes with a couple of Nauticam 90x170mm float arms with 450gm of buoyancy each which balanced the weight of the EMWL very nicely.

Here's a shot of my wife Mary who has the same setup as me:

 

I am finding myself with the same issue Gudge, also compensating with my most floaty arms at the front, but this works well if not moving the arms much. When I start doing more creative lighting, this will straight away un-balance the whole rig. 

Hoping Nauticam are watching this thread (wink wink ;)) I can only vouch for them to design a solution, suggestions below:

A custom float/collar that would fit around the relay lens. Fitting it there would mean limited disturbance when swapping front lens element underwater. Also, we need this to remain as sleek as possible, to keep the advantage of a tiny rig that marine life tolerates closer. There I see two design options:

Option 1 (my preference): a collar + shackle system, which just clips around the relay lens. Makes it impossible to use the flip holder nor strobe mounting brackets (ref 87518), so the collar should come with some sort of shackle, making it possible to clip it on a D-ring on your BCD. Then, when i want to store safely my (fully assembled) EMWL out of the way, I take it off the macro port, add the front/rear caps, and just clip it on, next to the ton of accessories I am clipping anyways (Retra snoot, Retra macro rings, car keys, etc. etc).

Option 2: this collar fits around the 87501 flip holder. Then you can use both (I can't see myself crawling through waves and rocks out of a shoredive with the EMWL still on my macro port). 

In both cases, I believe it's essential to keep the diameter of the whole thing as small as possible, in order to make it less intimidating to wildlife. 

 

In the meantime, I'll try to craft something myself but Nauticam would surely do a better job :)

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22 minutes ago, Nicool said:

A custom float/collar that would fit around the relay lens. Fitting it there would mean limited disturbance when swapping front lens element underwater. Also, we need this to remain as sleek as possible, to keep the advantage of a tiny rig that marine life tolerates closer. There I see two design options:

In the meantime, I'll try to craft something myself but Nauticam would surely do a better job :)

The relay lens is certainly the place to install it I would think, though keeping it sleek will be a challenge.  If you add up the in water weights for the 3 components of this system, you end up with about 1kg.   To offset this fully the volume of the float needs to be at least 1000 cm3 even before allowing for the weight of the float itself.  For example to INON large megafloat lifts 650 gr and is 97mm dia x approx 200mm long.   There is of course an advantage to having the flotation on the EMWL system - if you have 1kg of buoyancy on arms and remove the EMWL system completely to stow it then the rig is suddenly 1kg lighter and will probably become positively buoyant.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

if you have 1kg of buoyancy on arms and remove the EMWL system completely to stow it then the rig is suddenly 1kg lighter and will probably become positively buoyant.

Not a problem with me.  I have a second mount for the EMWL attached above my housing, when I want to shoot standard macro I move the EMWL to the alternate mount and their is very little change in buoyancy/trim of my rig.

If you've got money to burn, Nauticam also make a flip adpater for the EMWL:

EMWL_Flip-2_1024x1024.jpg?v=1596817827

Quote

A custom float/collar that would fit around the relay lens.

If not done carefully this would interfere with the controls between each stage used to bleed air bubbles between sections when the rig is put in the water.  In addition anything that makes the EMWL fatter would create problems.  I have shot images of critters in small holes and up pipes with the EMWL inside the hole/pipe.  Making it fatter would limit the ability to do this and make it impossible for the strobes to shine into the hole/pipe past the end of the EMWL.  This octopus was about 300mm inside a piece of old pipe under a jetty.  I had the EMWL inside the pipe with the tip almost touching the octopus.  There was still enough space around the EMWL for the light from my strobes to get past.  Making the EMWL fatter by adding flotation to it would have made this shot impossible:

_ROS6252-Edit.thumb.jpg.41582416631d2833f7689ec2db512c3c.jpg

 

The large float arms next to the strobes haven't proved to be a problem with getting close to marine life.  They are behind the strobes and the strobes are the closest thing to the subject, as they would be with any sized arms.

Edited by Gudge
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On 7/7/2021 at 9:45 AM, ChrisRoss said:

The relay lens is certainly the place to install it I would think, though keeping it sleek will be a challenge.  If you add up the in water weights for the 3 components of this system, you end up with about 1kg.   To offset this fully the volume of the float needs to be at least 1000 cm3 even before allowing for the weight of the float itself.  For example to INON large megafloat lifts 650 gr and is 97mm dia x approx 200mm long.   There is of course an advantage to having the flotation on the EMWL system - if you have 1kg of buoyancy on arms and remove the EMWL system completely to stow it then the rig is suddenly 1kg lighter and will probably become positively buoyant.

The other area where some floats could be added would be the focus unit, at least some of them, to pull some volume away from the front lens, sleek challenge indeed.

 

On 7/7/2021 at 7:29 PM, Gudge said:

Not a problem with me.  I have a second mount for the EMWL attached above my housing, when I want to shoot standard macro I move the EMWL to the alternate mount and their is very little change in buoyancy/trim of my rig.

If you've got money to burn, Nauticam also make a flip adpater for the EMWL:

EMWL_Flip-2_1024x1024.jpg?v=1596817827

If not done carefully this would interfere with the controls between each stage used to bleed air bubbles between sections when the rig is put in the water.  In addition anything that makes the EMWL fatter would create problems.  I have shot images of critters in small holes and up pipes with the EMWL inside the hole/pipe.  Making it fatter would limit the ability to do this and make it impossible for the strobes to shine into the hole/pipe past the end of the EMWL.  This octopus was about 300mm inside a piece of old pipe under a jetty.  I had the EMWL inside the pipe with the tip almost touching the octopus.  There was still enough space around the EMWL for the light from my strobes to get past.  Making the EMWL fatter by adding flotation to it would have made this shot impossible:

_ROS6252-Edit.thumb.jpg.41582416631d2833f7689ec2db512c3c.jpg

 

The large float arms next to the strobes haven't proved to be a problem with getting close to marine life.  They are behind the strobes and the strobes are the closest thing to the subject, as they would be with any sized arms.

Thanks for sharing the background behind this shot Gudge, nice one by the way.

So far I've spent 4h30 in the water with my EMWL and can only see 1 subject I might have struggled to do with a "fatter" relay lens. 

However, I can see many more that would have been easier to shoot if my rig were more neutral.

The downside for me with large float arms at the front is imbalance when I fiddle with arms positioning. I found that having 2 strobes pushed at the front (2-10 positions) worked well for many subjects, but I do like to play around with my lighting, and in this department i had limited flexibility with the EMWL non-lifted.

I personally would accept a bit of a "fatter" EMWL in exchange for that neutrality in water.

 

I am pleased to report I found a company who manufactures on-demand floats custom made for the EMWL (among many other smart UW photography gadgets), mine are being produced and I'll share observations once I have tested them:

https://eocean.eu/en/accueil/280-buoyancy-collar-for-nauticam-emwl-relay-lens-750gr.html

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