Using a Nauticam Multi-Purpose Clamp: The Best Solution to Several Equipment Challenges
A clever design that makes living with your underwater imaging gear so much easier - once you understand how it works!
Here at Reef Photo & Video we are constantly asked by customers "How can I..." or "What is the best way to...". And depending on how you finish those sentences, it is amazing how often the answer is to use a Multi-Purpose Clamp with the appropriate accessory attachments for their needs. The next question is often "Sounds good, but I can't really visualize how it is going to work". So the purpose of this article is give you some of the useful options possible with what many of us have come to consider a "must-have" accessory.
The Basic Multipurpose Clamp - Large Size
Using the MP Clamp on its own is extremely popular as it provides an ideal Lanyard mounting location. Many of us have found using lanyards on our housing set ups to be a life-saver for long carries and boat-diver hand offs. But it took a little while to figure out that the best place to mount the lanyard when you are using strobes or lights is to attach the lanyard high, up by the "elbows" of the strobe arms. This allows the housing to hang neatly like a hand bag without strobes and arms flopping about. It also puts the lanyard at the highest point, making it easier to hand your rig back up to someone on the dive boat when done with your dive.
Using MP Clamps for the "elbows" of your arms provides a secure Lanyard mounting location.
This arrangement also allows for convenient carrying of the housing set up over your shoulder if using a long enough lanyard. For more on using lanyards to make life easier check out our article here.
The MP Clamp comes in standard and long versions. Anytime you use float arms, the long version is more user friendly. It is also a good choice for mounting the lens holder option described below.
One last note on the stainless steel shackle that comes with the MP Clamp. This part is borrowed from the yachting world and will last a lifetime, but if you are going to use this for your lanyard, you need to secure the threaded pin with some Loctite thread locker. Nauticam does not fully secure the shackle as many people will be removing it to install one of the accessories below. If you do not use some thread locker, it will eventually work itself loose and will likely fall off when you do not want it to.
NAUTICAM STROBE MOUNTING BALL FOR FASTENING ON MP CLAMP
Perhaps the most popular accessory for the multipurpose clamp is the Strobe Mounting Ball. This ball is easily installed in the opening created by removing the stainless steel shackle that comes with the MP clamp. Anyone who has experienced the frustration of trying to use a traditional Triple Clamp to hold three ball mounted accessories understands that a triple clamp is not a very effective solution for managing accessories that may need to be adjusted during a dive. Loosen the handle a bit and all three items flop down together.
Video Light on an Multi-Purpose Clamp with Strobe Mounting Ball
Nauticam designed a much more friendly solution by affixing a rigid ball to the side of the clamp. This allows the primary clamp to function as normal and fixes a rigid point to mount a secondary accessory by another clamp. Each clamp can be adjusted independently without interference allowing the use of strobes and video lights on the same arms, a Gopro and video light mounted on a housing, or a focus light mounted on a single strobe arm. The applications are almost endless. This solution may cost more than a triple clamp, but avoiding years awkward aggravation is well worth it.
Another plus of this option is that the strobe mounting ball still makes a perfect location for attaching a lanyard, just as the shackle worked.
Nauticam Light Mounting Stem
Another option for an alternative lighting mount to add to the Multi-Purpose clamp is the Nauticam Light Mounting Stem. This option is designed to integrate with any "YS" style light mount that is popular in the industry. While this option is a little less flexible than the strobe mounting ball, it is extremely compact and eliminates the need for an additional clamp.
The YS Light Mounting Stem makes for a very compact alternative
Nauticam Mounting Adapter for MP Clamps
Yet another option for the MP Clamp is Nauticam's clever Mounting Adapter to use with lens holders. Many people have loaded up their strobe arms with foam floats and don't have room for anything else directly mounted on their arms. But with the growing popularity of underwater wet lenses that can be removed during a dive, we need somewhere to put them. The Nauticam Mounting Adapter offers a location to install many of Nauticams Lens holders such as their Bayonet Lens Holder II.
Lens holders on an MP Clamp make out-of-the-way storage.
Everyone seems to find their own best way to use a multi-purpose clamp. If you have more questions, let us know - we all use them at Reef Photo & Video.