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View Full Version : Longer digital pro flash arm for macro shots



Pillpusher
March 27th, 2012, 08:02 PM
I'm looking into upgrading both of my strobes to the long arm upgrade that Sealife apparently offers. It adds four balls to the arm, so that it may be aimed over the lens for macro shots (see below link), since the standard arms aren't flexible enough to be used very well for macro shots.
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My question is, does anyone on here have any experience with these? My main concern is that with the strobe so close, that it may washout the subject even if the strobe is set to its lowest setting. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

RonFrank
March 27th, 2012, 09:00 PM
There is no reason that a strobe needs to be sitting on the subject to be effective. It can be 1 foot or more away from the subject as long as there is nothing between the strobe and the subject matter.

There are lots of arm systems out there but they are not generally inexpensive.

Reef photo sells a lot of stuff........ This is a piece, one of many you could use the make an arm.

Nauticam 300mm / 12 (http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_97_37&products_id=5452)

Pillpusher
March 27th, 2012, 09:37 PM
There is no reason that a strobe needs to be sitting on the subject to be effective. It can be 1 foot or more away from the subject as long as there is nothing between the strobe and the subject matter.

There are lots of arm systems out there but they are not generally inexpensive.

Reef photo sells a lot of stuff........ This is a piece, one of many you could use the make an arm.

Nauticam 300mm / 12 (http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_97_37&products_id=5452)


I am aware of this. But, as I mentioned, this is not an option w/ the Sealife strobe arms. I'm not looking to replace my entire setup, I'm merely looking for info from people that have some experience w/ this item.

webstep1
March 29th, 2012, 01:49 PM
I would like to extend mine as well, where did you see the parts? There is an extension I saw at B&H (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/812252-REG/Beneath_the_Surface_FA_14_SEALIFE_14_Flex_Arm_with .html)

Pillpusher
March 29th, 2012, 03:16 PM
I would like to extend mine as well, where did you see the parts? There is an extension I saw at B&H (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/812252-REG/Beneath_the_Surface_FA_14_SEALIFE_14_Flex_Arm_with .html)

They sell them on the Sealife website for $89 a pop, or you can send your arm in for an upgrade at $49 a pop.
SeaLife Parts Direct (http://sealifepartsdirect.com/list.php?action=accessoryPage&model=FLASH)

Still hoping to hear from someone that has experience with this add-on though.

Dom Perignon
May 23rd, 2012, 12:15 AM
Definitely a must.

I ride my Sealife quite hard and often got frustrated by the flash placement, wishing for those extra inches (darn, that sounded like one of those tuba enlargement pills ads!).

1-Close up shots: just today I used it on 10 occasions (my first 2 nudibranchs, 1 cm long crabs, 3 seahorses...). All too small and often stuffed between corals that sits between you lens and your flash.


2-Night dives semi-close subject: place flash a couple of inches above lens so subject is evenly lit + reduce backscatter (used it two days ago).


3-Night dive/deeper/darker dives : the extra inches allows you to place flash farther away from subject when there is a lot of particles.


BTW you can do the job yourself for a big 15$. Search SB or google 'sealife flash loc-line' to find the right diameter of loc-line segments (you need 4 of them).


I got mine from an online dealer (usually sell those for machine shops) for 15$ + shipping.


I also ordered extra to make myself a dive lamp holder to shoot video at night (I prefer to spend my $ on dives!).



Let me know if you need more info.



m
(live from RHR in Roatan)

Pillpusher
May 23rd, 2012, 12:36 AM
Definitely a must.

I ride my Sealife quite hard and often got frustrated by the flash placement, wishing for those extra inches (darn, that sounded like one of those tuba enlargement pills ads!).

1-Close up shots: just today I used it on 10 occasions (my first 2 nudibranchs, 1 cm long crabs, 3 seahorses...). All too small and often stuffed between corals that sits between you lens and your flash.


2-Night dives semi-close subject: place flash a couple of inches above lens so subject is evenly lit + reduce backscatter (used it two days ago).


3-Night dive/deeper/darker dives : the extra inches allows you to place flash farther away from subject when there is a lot of particles.


BTW you can do the job yourself for a big 15$. Search SB or google 'sealife flash loc-line' to find the right diameter of loc-line segments (you need 4 of them).


I got mine from an online dealer (usually sell those for machine shops) for 15$ + shipping.


I also ordered extra to make myself a dive lamp holder to shoot video at night (I prefer to spend my $ on dives!).



Let me know if you need more info.



m
(live from RHR in Roatan)

Thanks for the info Dom. I don't suppose you have any sample pics you can post, do you? I'm really curious how well it works for macro. Actually, I went ahead and upgraded both arms and will be trying them out myself next month in Bonaire. I'm just hoping that placing the flash directly over the top of the lens, as they described, won't cause the subject to be washed out b/c the flash is too strong. It'll probably take a little practice, but the added flexibility should be an improvement over the previous setup.

Dom Perignon
May 28th, 2012, 12:36 AM
Hello Pill,

You won't regret it.

No worries about washing out: if/when the flash is too strong, you can always dial it down or turn it off.

I do have pix but won't have time to figure out how to post them until a couple of weeks.

If you don't have much experience with the flashes I would recommend you practice at home b/c it took me a while to get used to it. Before buying my flash I had managed to take awesome pix but had to relearn with the flash. The results are amazing.

Make sure you have a set of battery back ups. The flashes don't eat that much but I change my rechargeable batteries after each dive (both for the flash and the camera).

If you are in need of a AA/AAA charger look for the intelligent ones, which will let you 1-pick the current at which you charge (low = slow charge = less heat = longer overall life of the batteries; or faster when in a rush); 2-test the remaining capacity of your batteries (after a while they lose some of it); 3-rejuvenate you batteries (long process that gets some of the lost capacity back. I bought mine on Amazon for 60$ (LaCrosse BC charger with 8 batteries).

Enjoy.

Marc

SeaLife Cameras
June 4th, 2012, 10:42 PM
The new long arm (SL9603) has been thoroughly tested by SeaLife with great results. Make sure you are using the Digital Pro Flash Diffusers to prevent over flashing macro pictues. Also, set the camera to Ext Flash Auto or Ext Flash Manual mode and select "Macro Flash" setting, which uses the smaller aperture ideal for macro pics.

The long arm accessory is helpful for better backscatter control and macro aiming ability. It comes completely assembled and includes the mounting tray, neck adapter, extended foam grip and safety cord (inside arm). It easily retro fits to any Digital Pro Flash head – Simply unscrew the Allen wrench bolt from the neck adapter, remove the old arm and screw on the new Long Arm.

We do not sell flash arm links because it requires special parts, tools and assembly procedures. The internal safety cord will need to be cut and lengthened. Special thread-lock adhesive and torque specifications are used to secure the arm to the base and adapter. The grip foam would need to be extended. The new Long Arm solution is the only way to ensure it meets our manufacturing specifications and long-lasting durability.

Pillpusher
July 10th, 2012, 03:52 PM
Just as an update, to anyone considering lengthening their strobe arms, I definitely recommend it. I extended both of mine and found it to be a definite improvement by offering more flexibility not only for macro/super-macro shots, but it also allows you to move the strobes further outside to lessen backscatter. Also, as long as you manually adjust the strobe strength, placing the strobe in the position mentioned in the OP does not wash out macro/super-macro shots, even when using two strobes. I attached pics of a few of my first attempts at using the DC1400's super-macro setting, and the extended strobe arms.

129278129279129280

On second thought, the cleaner shrimp may have been on macro.

rhysherriott
January 8th, 2013, 03:01 AM
At SeaLife,

I have been looking on line for this extension and haven't been able to find it on google or your website. would you be able to send me some info on where I can purchase this?

Thank you

Pillpusher
January 8th, 2013, 03:12 AM
The arms are still on there... They are dead last though at the bottom of the page. They don't sell just the extension, they are replacement arms. You can also send in your existing arms and they will swap them out for about half the price.
SeaLife Parts Direct (http://sealifepartsdirect.com/list.php?action=accessoryPage&model=FLASH)

deeper thoughts
February 14th, 2013, 05:37 PM
Great.. I guess size does matter:rofl3:


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