Z Gear BCD Light Mount

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Dirty-Dog

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Full Disclosure:
I have no financial or personal relationship with the folks at Z Gear. I was given this BCD mount to review with no stipulations, editing or preview of the review by the supplier.

Z Gear supplied mount with both the standard (for harness webbing up to 3.5") and larger strap. When ordered from their web site, you will select whichever size is appropriate for your harness.

Inside the package:
1 plastic clip, intended to be attached to your light via lanyard just in case. I suspect most people already have a clip on their lights, but if not, or if you're ordering a new light, having this included is a small but nice touch.
A one (short) page set of instructions. Honestly, if you need instructions for this device, you probably should limit your water activities to a wading pool. With supervision. The paper also includes the usual "don't sue us" disclaimers.
And the mount itself.

First impressions:
The mount consists of a rigid plate with a velcro strap, used to attach the plate to the shoulder strap on your BCD or BP/W. There is a short, straight arm, and an arm bent 90 degrees. Both are articulated (ball and socket) at both ends, allowing for a pretty fair degree of adjustment. AT the end is a two-prong "hand" that uses a captured bolt and camlock to grasp your light.
The articulated arm is preset to what Z Gear believes to be the ideal tension. This will, inevitably, need to be adjusted from time to time. Adjustment is done with a Torx bit, so don't plan on doing it during your dive. This adjustment should be a fairly uncommon occurrence, so I wouldn't necessarily add a torx bit to my save-a-dive kit.
The "hand" has a ribbed semi-soft rubber liner and is nicely adjustable. At it's smallest, it will provide an amply tight grip on my index finger. Opened up, it will grasp a Princeton Tec Torrent. Tension for the hand is provided by a captured bolt with a cam lock lever and should be reasonably reliable. Locked, the end of the lever is tight against the hand to arm junction, which should prevent it from being snagged and released inadvertently under any but the most unusual circumstances.
The mount, arm, and hand seem solid and well constructed. Tension out of the box is stiff, but this is probably a good thing, to prevent random re-aiming of the light.
Concerns:
I wonder how solid the mount on the harness will be. Given that it's being attached to a canvas web, I suspect there is going to be a certain amount of wobble in the aim point. How significant this will be remains to be seen.
For those diving a long hose, the light mounted to the shoulder will be one more thing that hose can wrap around. Again, the impact this has on air sharing will have to be tested.
We will be on Cozumel in a few weeks, and I will post an update with further impressions when we return.

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TONY CHANEY

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Dirty-Dog, very well written report. I did a beta test on the Z Gear BCD camera mount several months ago. I sent the finding to Z. What I did find out is that it might work for everyday jacket style BCDs but way too floppy for BP/wing setup. I also had the problem with the pre bent arm in that there was no way I could point the camera to get the dive since I am almost always horizontal. It seems that would work OK for divers that tend to dive more vertical. The long hose was also a big issue when it came to a fast donation. Not a real problem if you have time to think and remember that there is a camera on your shoulder but seldom, when the silt hits the fan, do you have time think too long. The mount is very well built and rather simple to mount. Have fun in Cozumel and let us know how it works.
 

Randy g

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I tried it and didn't really like it with the BP/W and long hose. It kept getting caught every time I donated.

For a regular jacket style bcd, it probably works fine.
 

Dirty-Dog

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Since my original post, I've taken this mount on dives off Bonaire and Cozumel.
In order to get something of a variety of viewpoints from people with different levels of training and different gear setups, it was used by me (IANTD Advanced Nitrox/Deco) Sue (PADI AOW, Nitrox) and Kim (PADI OW).
I wore it on a DiveRite BP/W with either a travel or classic wing, using a longhose and a bunji backup.
Sue used it on a ScubaPro LadyHawk and Kim used it on a Sherwood Luna. Both use conventional recreational reg setups, with Sue using an AIRII and Kim an octo.

The mount grips the light very well, and I had no worries about the light falling off. However, the light wobbled irritatingly (because it's connected to webbing, not something solid) and all three of us found the need to orient the entire body to aim the light irritating.

As expected, I found the mount to be a significant entanglement issue when donating the longhose. This could possibly be made less of an issue if the mount were on the left shoulder, but I wore it exclusively on the right. I only have one eye and it's on the right. A light mounted on the left shoulder just isn't going to work well.

I think the ideal way to use this mount would be as a pair, one on each shoulder, with wide beam video lights. This would minimize the need to reorient the body, as well as moving the jitters out of your immediate field of view.

I think the mount is a poor choice for anyone using a long hose setup. While one could decrease the severity of the entanglement issue with practice, it will always exist to some degree.

For the most part, I think camera-mounted lights and/or a goodman handle will be a better choice.
 

tbone1004

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I'm with you in my evaluation of the mounts. I have been using mine for about the same amount of time and I wish they had made the mounting plate wide enough to thread into the webbing instead of strapping it over the rigs webbing. Would have required a very slight design change to make it so it could work either way, but as is it is not very stable especially while using a DPV. In a cave I didn't have donation issues but wasn't in backmount. Still have some work to do to try to figure out how to best use this, but hey, that's why we're evaluating it right?
 

Z Gear

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I'm with you in my evaluation of the mounts. I have been using mine for about the same amount of time and I wish they had made the mounting plate wide enough to thread into the webbing instead of strapping it over the rigs webbing. Would have required a very slight design change to make it so it could work either way, but as is it is not very stable especially while using a DPV. In a cave I didn't have donation issues but wasn't in backmount. Still have some work to do to try to figure out how to best use this, but hey, that's why we're evaluating it right?

We are sorry to hear that the mounts are not working out for you. I will have to reevaluate on what to do about this problem. I appreciate the time taken to make the review,although it is not really in my favor,I did ask those to give my their honest opinion of the mount and both you provided that. Perhaps I can come up with some alternatives that can address some of these concerns for future hands free light mounts by z gear.
 
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Dirty-Dog

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The only problem which strikes me as unfixable is the entanglement risk for people using a longhose. Most of whom will be using a can light and goodman handle anyway.
 

tbone1004

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ZGear, no worries, it is as simple as making the baseplate mount accept 2" wide webbing instead of the 1.5" that is used now. That will allow the mount to be threaded onto the rigs and make for a much more stable mount. The product itself works very well, and it may have greater degrees of success on open water rigs, but since mine is on a sidemount rig and/or a traditional bp/w, that's all I can comment on
 

Z Gear

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ZGear, no worries, it is as simple as making the baseplate mount accept 2" wide webbing instead of the 1.5" that is used now. That will allow the mount to be threaded onto the rigs and make for a much more stable mount. The product itself works very well, and it may have greater degrees of success on open water rigs, but since mine is on a sidemount rig and/or a traditional bp/w, that's all I can comment on

This I can do. No problem. Thanks for the inputs.
 
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