Beneath the Surface 3/4" Locline Flex arm

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Thomas Witt

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Hi, I am somewhat new to underwater photography and have a camera tray with 1-inch ball joints built into the handles. To connect my Inon S2000 strobes I have used 2, 8" ball joint arms, which work well but are a bit challenging to adjust underwater, and then I have Inon ball joint adapters. I am looking into trying Flex arms with my setup, two Inon S2000 strobes connected to a camera try with 1" ball joints, thus meaning I need a flex arm with 1" ball joints on each end. After some digging, I had a hard time finding flex arms with ball joints on both ends that would allow me to use it with my setup, but I found the Locline Beneath the Surface 3/4" flex arm, and a 1/2" flex arm on leisure pro.

My main questions are:
What does the 3/4" and 1/2" mean in terms of the flex arm?
Are the ball joints 1" in diameter just like the ball joints on my camera tray and the inon ball joint adapters?

Thanks a bunch,
Thomas
 

Chris Ross

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arms are generally regarded as superior to locline which gets stiff after a while. with my arms I just move the strobe where I want it and it stays there. The standard set up is two arms and 3 clamps each side so it looks like an elongated "M" .

what is challenging about adjusting your arms? generally you set each clamp to be lightly finger tight just enough so it doesn't move easily once you get in the water and don't touch the clamps again till you get out of the water. They should just hold there with friction from the o-rings on the balls and move when you grab the strobes to position them. You should not need to touch the clamps at all once you adjust the tension initially.
 

stepfen

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My 2c (as always): Forget flex arms. That simple.

I am using a set of crap/cheap Chinese ball arms (ebay or something) and they work MUCH MUCH better than my previous branded/expensive flex arms.

In case you are wondering here are some problems flex arms inherently have:
- they are not as flexible as they seem - they have a quite large minimum radius hence the places you can have your strobes are quite limited (espcially for macro / close to the camera).
- Unless they are very short, they are not strong enough to hold the weight of the strobes top side, so you need to be very careful not to unfold them accidentally (with your strobes falling to the ground) every time you (or anybody else) handle your setup topside.
- they tent to make very disturbing squeak noises every time you adjust them, especially on top side.

The only use I can think for flex arms is to add just 2-3 pieces max to a video light or something to add some (limited) flexibility.

What does the 3/4" and 1/2" mean in terms of the flex arm?
That's the diameter of the flex arm pieces (these are the two common sizes). You can pair only pieces of the same size.
 

stepfen

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BTW I have maybe 30 pieces of 1/2" flex arm that I would happily donate to anybody who might need them. I don't want to sell them to save any possible buyer from the trouble :) Problem is that I am located in Greece and postage to anywhere make even donation not worth it...
 

CanadaDan

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Adding to @stepfen 's 2 cents...

I started with the Locline system and found it problematic for many reasons...
  • As noted above when carrying the rig out of the water you can't carry the rig by the arms as joints would pop apart
  • On longer arms the lights/strobes would move/droop underwater and I would constantly have to readjust
  • The arms, because of their original design as flexible fluid pipes, hold air but will allow water in slowly under pressure thus changing buoyancy. Ended up drilling holes in segments to allow for infiltration and drainage. Was also a pain with salt build up inside.
  • Very noisy adjusting underwater and any video I was shooting would pick up the sound.
I would also suggest sticking with the rigid arms and standard ball system. You get used to it, a slight loosening of the clamp, adjust the arm and retighten slightly... becomes muscle memory.

If you do decide to switch you will need to find a way to convert your tray to locline or get a new tray. I would also avoid camera suppliers for the locline segments, WAY cheaper from a tool supplier.
 

dhaas

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Locline and the mentioned Chinese Flex arms (Intova, also sold by Fantasea and other dealers re-branded) work fine for small strobes like Inon S2000 and even Z240 / Z330 when underwater.

I used Locline for decades and the 3/4" segments work fine. I also used them with Ikelite DS51 strobes and even have some Ikelite customers using the Locline 3/4" arms with the larger DS160 / 161 strobes.

Above water I simply tilted both arms forward making the system like a tripod to set down and cross above the center to carry to boat or hotel room. The same technique for people with larger SLR or Mirrorless systems works or add one of those straps and clips to your heavier handles.

Yes, Flex arms of any type make noise when adjusting. I adjust strobe or video lighting angle FIRST then shoot or record. Any attempt to move video lighting DURING video will result in a jiggle etc. which is VERY distracting unless you'll edit it out later.

While generally cheaper and lighter I understand why people like ball joint arms and clamps. It feels solid above and below water.

But for my needs the last 4 years shooting a compact Canon G7X II camera in my Fantasea housing adding anything heavier to my rig goes against anything I want or need. Why get a lightweight housing and camera the ADD weight to it underwater???

Additionally using ball joint / clamp arm set ups I see people adding MORE bulk in the form of STIX blocks or buoyancy tube arms to ADD positive buoyancy underwater.

Diving is complicated enough I don't need more complication when to enjoy a dive. The bigger and heavier you make your system will be more you have to push through the water. Not fun.....

I'm a "simple is best" person in diving and life so don't follow my insights unless you are too!! LOL......

Just one old guy's opinion (FY I'm 67, 50 years diving this year with thousands of dives over those decades traveling all over the world.

David Haas
Haas Photography Inc.
Stow OH USA

IMG_2473.jpg IMG_3584.jpg IMG_2341.jpg IMG_2404.jpg
 

Rob9876

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My main questions are:
What does the 3/4" and 1/2" mean in terms of the flex arm?
Are the ball joints 1" in diameter just like the ball joints on my camera tray and the inon ball joint adapters?
Perhaps others can speak to this, but isn't the 3/4" the diameter of the inside passageway (originally for plumbing purposes)? And if so, I'm guessing the outside diameter is larger?

If so, would the 3/4" flex arm have ball ends that work with clamps for 1" ball joints?
 

bvanant

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There are loc-line to ball joint adapters (or there were). It is interesting that photo guys mostly use ball and arm systems while the video guys mostly use loc-line.
Bill
 
OP
Thomas Witt

Thomas Witt

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arms are generally regarded as superior to locline which gets stiff after a while. with my arms I just move the strobe where I want it and it stays there. The standard set up is two arms and 3 clamps each side so it looks like an elongated "M" .

what is challenging about adjusting your arms? generally you set each clamp to be lightly finger tight just enough so it doesn't move easily once you get in the water and don't touch the clamps again till you get out of the water. They should just hold there with friction from the o-rings on the balls and move when you grab the strobes to position them. You should not need to touch the clamps at all once you adjust the tension initially.

I have tried a 3 clamp system and it was a bit annoying moving them in the water having to undo the clamps each time, but I believe I may have overtightened. From what everyone is saying, I think I will Stick with the rigid ball joint arms. I have two 8" arms and have been using both of them on one strobe, maybe I shouldn't use that long of an arm. now that I own 2 inon s2000's I can use both 8" arms on each side, any recommendations on the size of the second level arms? I was thinking maybe 8+4 would be good or 8+6.
Thanks for the reply and help!
Stay safe!
 
OP
Thomas Witt

Thomas Witt

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Messages
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Tennessee
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My 2c (as always): Forget flex arms. That simple.

I am using a set of crap/cheap Chinese ball arms (ebay or something) and they work MUCH MUCH better than my previous branded/expensive flex arms.

In case you are wondering here are some problems flex arms inherently have:
- they are not as flexible as they seem - they have a quite large minimum radius hence the places you can have your strobes are quite limited (espcially for macro / close to the camera).
- Unless they are very short, they are not strong enough to hold the weight of the strobes top side, so you need to be very careful not to unfold them accidentally (with your strobes falling to the ground) every time you (or anybody else) handle your setup topside.
- they tent to make very disturbing squeak noises every time you adjust them, especially on top side.

The only use I can think for flex arms is to add just 2-3 pieces max to a video light or something to add some (limited) flexibility.


That's the diameter of the flex arm pieces (these are the two common sizes). You can pair only pieces of the same size.

I like to shoot macro and some wider angle pictures. I have a TG-6 with a backscatter m52 air lense and it shoots great macro and is a good compromise for wide-angle. Thanks for your response, I'll make sure to get the ball arms and try to work on my technique. Thanks for offering the Locline pieces, but after all the responses saying that the standard ball joint arm is better, I'll be sticking to that. I have two 8" arms, one for each strobe. an recommendations on what size my second level arm should be? I was thinking 6" or 4" and the 8+4/6 would work well.
Thanks for your response it helped a lot!
Stay safe,
Happy holidays
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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