After reviewing much of my footage from Cozumel, I came to the realization that I needed a much more stable setup for my camera. It seems that the selfie stick that came in the cheap accessory pack seemed to twist quite a bit, and it was evident in the footage as well. Well, I do some research, and it looks like most people use a tray that holds their GoPro and usually some underwater lights of sorts. I also find out that these Camera Trays as they are called are quite expensive! Many of them that include lights are usually priced starting at well above $400 for a tray and a pair of cheap lights! Prices over $799 are not unheard of for a similar setup with better lights.
Well, I knew I could build my own. They looked simple enough from any photo, it really was just a matter of finding the parts that I would build it with.
|$9.95||1||$9.95||1 1/2″ x 1/4″ x 12″ Aluminum Flat Bar|
|$14.95||1||$14.95||5/16″ x 24″ SS Threaded Rod|
|$0.55||4||$2.20||5/16″ SS Nylock Nuts|
|$0.35||4||$1.40||5/16″ SS Nuts|
|$0.40||2||$.80||SS Fender Washers|
|$9.99||1||$9.99||Pair of Oury grips|
|$1.99||1||$1.99||12″ of 1/2″ PVC|
|$45.00||1||$45.00||Loc-Line Arms with SRP Torch Mounts|
|$23.00||2||$46.00||2000 Lumen Cree XM-L2 Diving Video Flashlight (Chinese – bought on eBay)|
|$4.99||1||$4.99||SprayCan of Plasti-Dip|
|$8.99||1||$8.99||4 PC 18650 Batteries & Charger|
Dive Tray Grand Total (with lights!): $150.50
Anxious to see how the cheap eBay dive lights perform, but not too worried if they have issues as I have alternatives with me, and I did ok without lights in Cozumel. The macro lenses will benefit most from the added lights, as would any night dives I do, so I hope they perform as expected. (supposed to be good to 100m and I don’t plan to dive that deep anytime soon, so we’ll see!)
Filters and Lenses
As I learned in Cozumel, filters can make a HUGE difference in the color rendering, especially at depths. I had purchased the basic GoPro red dive filter, and it did its job well, but the GoPro is limited to wide shots and is not really good with Macro shots. So I settled down and did some research on the options that are out there, and one option kept coming out on top. The Flip 3.1 system appealed to me because of the ease of swapping between two filters with a TopFlip added, and I could choose what I would put in each filter location. The ability to go from a macro lens to a dive filter with a simple flip made this setup a no-brainer.
The flip system has a 55mm adapter that you can thread a variety of dive filters on, as well as a +10 and a MacroMate closeup lenses. The threaded filters allow you to stack them with the lenses, or you can just choose to use a poly dive filter based on the depth of your dive.
For my rig, I’ve chosen a small selection of lenses and filters, but tried to include all the possibilities I would encounter.
- Flip 3.1 Shallow Underwater Color Correction Filter
- Flip 3.1 Dive Underwater Color Correction Filter
- Flip 3.1 Deep Underwater Color Correction Filter
- 55MM Thread adapters (2)
- 55MM +10 Macro lens (for subjects 8″-12″ away)
- 55MM MacroMate Mini (for subjects 3″ away)
- GoPro Red Dive Filter