Written by Megan Griffin
Now, I know that’s not the answer you’re looking for, but based on which equipment you use, what buoyancy compensation you have and which wet lens mounting system you prefer; there are a myriad of options we can explore. So let’s get started.
Assess Your System's Buoyancy
We like to suggest that all of our customers assess how much negative buoyancy they have and how much compensation they need. Nauticam and Inon both have Float Arms that are designed to offset this negative buoyancy as well as lens holders to work in tandem with these arms.
It's a good idea to research your personal setup to see how negative or neutral your equipment is. Most of the time you can find the weight of the item in water on the product's website but it's important to know that water densities vary depending on the salinity of the water making these numbers nothing more than an estimate to go off of.
Some lights are lighter; such as most Sea & Sea and Inon strobes, while others like Keldan Video Lights or Ikelite strobes are heavier in water. Also, don't forget about any wet lenses you may have.
Doing a float test in a tub or pool is a great way to asses your system's buoyancy. If you do decide to change up your system before a big dive it might be in your best interest to perform a buoyancy check before you dive.
Know Which Lens Mounting System you Have
(And which one you want)
There are a few ways to swap out wet lenses, starting with the simple 67mm thread that comes standard on most wet lenses and ports. From here you can either utilize this thread or simplify your lens change with a bayonet mount or a flip adaptor.
Bayonet mounts can be used with many wet lenses with a 67mm thread. Inon calls their bayonet system an LD mount and Nauticam calls theirs a Bayonet Mount. These systems are similar but not interchangeable.
You can mount your Nauticam Bayonet Holders on either the standard arms, the 70mm diameter arms, or the 90mm diameter arms and you can mount your LD mount on any standard arms or Inon float arms.
Flip Adaptors are faster and easier to use than bayonet mounts but have limitations as to which lenses they can be used with. The most prominent lens that cannot utilize a flip adaptor is the WWL-1 which comes standard with both a bayonet mount and a 67mm thread and can only be used with these options at this time.
If you don't already have a lens mounting system but are looking into getting one it is easiest to match the lens mounting system you get to the lenses and float arms you have. To look through the mounting systems available at Reef Photo & Video click here.
Now For Our Options
Arms are typically used on either side of a housing to mount strobes or video lights. Thanks to a variety of lens holders; standard arms and float arms alike become valuable real estate to mount our wet lenses when we aren't using them. Nauticam and Inon both create lens mounts for several different types of arms and mounting styles.
When mounting external lenses on a side arm, we've found it best to place the bayonet holder on the arm closest to the housing to make moving the strobes easier. Float arms are typically used closest to the housing, making a float arm lens holder an ideal choice for mounting.
While a side mount option can be a perfect solution for macro wet lenses, many of our customers find that the weight and size of larger wide angle lenses like the WWL-1 can cause the arms to fall too much when it's mounted on one side or the other. To combat this we suggest mounting the lens in the center.
The Single Center Arm
If you have a 5 inch arm and a clamp lying around then you can mount your Wet lens with the addition of an M10 ball mount. This method is not ideal for a double lens holder, but is a good solution for those who are trying to work with what they have.
When you don’t use arms and lights you can simply add two long clamps and one double ball arm to mount a lens holder. If you do find that your system is negative then it’s probably in your best interest to invest in one float arm so you can use a float arm lens holder.
Crossbar with Arms
When using lights, a set of multipurpose clamps can help create this crossbar technique. This too can be done with either a float arm in the center or a standard arm.
If you are only switching between macro lenses without a wide angle option a Flip holder is an easier, faster and more practical approach than any of the other options. These come in both the Single and Double varieties from Nauticam and Saga.
All Together Now!
The main reason to stick to the bayonet mounting system would be to use the WWL-1 with the CMC-1 and CMC-2 on the same dive, giving you complete versatility. Keep in mind that when you are trying to get a macro shot you need to get close to the subject to achieve focus and if the WWL-1 is facing forward it is at risk of getting bumped or even scratched. In this case we recommend that you rotate the bayonet holder for your WWL-1 so it is facing upwards, and the float collar or shade can protect the glass from contact.
The number of holders on your arms should equate to the number of wet lenses you bring on your dive. This gives you the ability to use your port without a wet lens, and provides you with a free hand while you swap lenses.
We hope these options help you in your pursuit of perfect buoyancy and versatility! If you have any questions you can click here for our contact information.