No doubt it has joined those thousands of plastic ducks that we are told are making their way around the world after being lost from a container in the Pacific.
The fact that a camera floats does not mean that you can find it easily – not unless you’ve just dropped it from a boat and can see it before it bobs away at the mercy of the waves.
On the other hand, before the digital revolution I had a video outfit that weighed 100kg. We had to winch it to and from the water.
It was a pleasure to use once submerged, however, because I had made it neutrally buoyant with attached blocks of high-density foam that did not compress at depth.
Since then, I’ve had camera rigs that are negatively buoyant. Some have been so negative that I’ve suffered aching wrists with them on long dives.
That’s because, inevitably, the main weight has been the underwater flashguns. These are usually positioned high up so put the centre of gravity up high, wanting to turn the camera topsy-turvy.
This has become less of a problem lately, because flashguns have become lighter just as top-end DSLRs have resulted in heavier housings.
It’s nice to be able to put something down while you’re under water without it floating away, but think how nice it would be if you could just let go of your camera for a time and know that it was still hovering in the water beside you, just where you left it.

Float Arms
I have a pair of arms that are very generous in diameter and filled with air so that they add some buoyancy to my rig, but it’s not enough, considering how big the housings for full-frame digital cameras have become.
Hugyfot, the Belgian manufacturer of underwater housings for top-end cameras, has come up with a solution and I have mixed feelings about it.
Hugyfot Float Arms are supplied in a set of four pieces. They have standard 25mm mounting balls at each end and are joined together by those familiar knuckle-joints.
Hugyfot lent me a set of arms, but I used some of my own assorted knuckle-joints to fit my flashguns to the arms and to fit the arms to my cameras.
The arms are a meaty 6cm in diameter. Each pair of two is supplied in 37cm and 33cm lengths. This puts your flashguns more than 40cm from your camera-housing mounts.
Their diameter is large because presumably they’re filled with air. Anyway, they float.
As any underwater photographer knows, putting a large air-filled dome port on a housing changes the buoyancy characteristics considerably from that of a small macro port.
So this is the clever bit: the larger arms each have a red button. Take your rig under water and you can be pretty sure that, using these arms, it will float.
Pressing the button on each of the bigger arms allows them to bleed water in so that their buoyancy can be adjusted.
It doesn’t happen in a moment. You have to be patient and wait a few minutes to get everything trimmed out just right but, once you have, it will stay the same for that rig as long as you stay in sea water rather than fresh water.
You can adjust the buoyancy via this mechanism so that your camera will hover beside you. Of course, it might drift away on a current, so unless you’re in a swimming pool I suggest you use a tether of some sort.
When you pack up to come home, you simply hold each of the adjustable arms upright and press the red button to allow the compensating water to escape.

Reservations
I tried the Hugyfot Float Arms with my D800 camera in its Hugyfot housing, along with a couple of INON Z240 flashguns, in the London School of Diving’s pool in Chiswick.
I didn’t try them in the sea because I was too daunted by the overall size of the assembled rig and the space the Float Arms would take up in my bag.
They weighed more than 2kg with their full complement of knuckle-joints, whereas my usual pair of 40cm-long flash-mounting arms weighs only 600g.
If I really wanted my rig to float next to me, I would simply gaffer-tape some sawn strips of high-density foam to them.
Mine are not Hugyfot but that company makes something very similar.
I am a big fan of Hugyfot camera housings, and now have two of my own, but, Hugyfot, I think you might have difficulty persuading your customers to buy these arms. They are so big.
The other reservation I have is the price – I think they are stupendously expensive. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.

SPECS
PRICE Around £600 per set.
WEIGHT I kg each.
CONTACT www.hugyfot.co.uk
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