Throughout the years, Ultralight Control Systems has undergone significant transformations, all aimed at enhancing our position as a distinctive business offering camera accessories to both the underwater and cinema industries. What sets us apart is our commitment to manufacturing all our products in the USA, using US materials, and hand assembling and packaging them at our warehouse in Oxnard, CA.

Our journey began with our very first underwater dealer, Backscatter Video & Photo from Monterey, CA, who joined us in mid-1994 and remains our largest dealer to this day. Another key player in our story is Bluewater Photo from Culver City, CA, who joined our family in late 2010. Both have contributed valuable ideas for new products that have been incredibly successful.

Over time, more underwater dealers joined our network, including Reef Photo and Force-E from Florida, Splash Underwater Imaging, and Squires from Manila, among others. Our international reach expanded with dealers like Fisheye Photo from Japan, Cathy Church from Grand Cayman, and Digital Dive from Germany.

The cinema industry became a significant focus for us around the early 2000s, with Filmtools from Burbank, CA, joining us in late 2014 as our first cinema industry dealer. Manios Cine Tools from Greece and other notable dealers, such as the DV Shop from Toronto, Canada, and TSF Cineboutique from France, followed suit.

While the landscape changed with events like the Covid pandemic and the Actors and Writers strike in 2023, Ultralight Camera Solutions, formerly Ultralight Control Systems, has remained resilient and adaptable. Under new ownership since March 2020, we rebranded in May 2023, continuing our legacy with a bright future ahead of us.

We've weathered these challenges by making strategic adjustments, discontinuing some products, redesigning others, and introducing innovative solutions. Our commitment to offering products in various colors reflects our dedication to individualism and ease of identification for camera setups.

If you're a big or small dealer who resonates with our values and vision, we invite you to join our expanding dealer network. Contact us, and let's embark on this journey together toward continued success.

It's safe to say we're all unique in our own ways, and that's what makes life interesting, right? Having choices is key to enjoying what we do, whether it's in diving or any other aspect of life. I mean, imagine if we were all just clones of each other—boring, right?

Speaking of diving, there's a whole spectrum of options out there, especially when it comes to gear. From outerwear like dive skins and wetsuits to innerwear and thermal protection gear, the choices are colorful and diverse. And let's not forget about equipment like buoyancy compensators, masks, and snorkels. Each offers its style and flair, allowing us to express our individuality even underwater.

However, one area where I've noticed a lack of color options is camera equipment and accessories. Sure, there are a few choices, but black seems to dominate the scene. As someone who's been diving for over thirty years and now owns Ultralight Camera Solutions, formerly known as Ultralight Control Systems, I've seen firsthand why some people shy away from too many options.

underwater and cinema camera setup

As consumers, we're all about having options, right? We want manufacturers to give us what we want, even if it means paying extra for those customized choices. But from a manufacturing standpoint, offering a plethora of options can be a logistical challenge. It means more parts, more inventory, and more complexity, which not all dealers are keen on dealing with.

ultralight AC-CSF colored

Since taking over Ultralight, we've expanded our product line to include over 250 parts, with a significant chunk of that growth coming from our colored camera accessories. But with more options comes more responsibility—more inventory to manage and more headaches for our dealers and sometimes for us as well but it's worth it.

There's a whole process involved when it comes to coloring aluminum parts. For black, we use Type III hard anodizing, which provides durability in any environment. But for colored parts, we have to go with Type II anodizing, which isn't as tough as Type III and can wear or scratch more quickly depending on use.

Despite the challenges, we're proud to offer a range of colored accessories, from ball adaptors to knobs, allowing divers and filmmakers to add some personality to their gear. And hey, why not accessorize when you can, especially with a company like Ultralight that's committed to quality and innovation?

At Ultralight Camera Solutions, we're all about pushing the boundaries of underwater imaging technology. We provide high-quality equipment made right here in the US with a lifetime warranty. So go ahead, dive in, and capture those memories in full color.

It's interesting how things unfold over time. Ultralight kickstarted its journey in 1994, manufacturing camera accessories specifically tailored for underwater photographers. In the early days, our focus revolved around creating arms, clamps, strobe adapters, trays, and base adapters compatible with camera and housings from Nikonos, Subal, Nauticam, and Aquatica. While the product lineup has evolved, one thing has stood the test of time, our arms and clamps.

In fact, Ultralight pioneered the design of the arms and clamps that remain integral to our offerings today. A glance at other manufacturers reveals the imitation of our tried-and-true clamps, T-knobs, and arms. Rather than being irked by this, I see it as a compliment. After all, they wouldn't replicate our products if they weren't reliable and effective amidst changes in camera housings, strobes, lights, and other equipment.

Our products boast longevity and resilience in diverse environments. Early on, cinema camera assistants discovered the versatility of our products. Using our AD-1420 or AD-3816 paired with AC-CSF clamps, DB-05 arms, and a monitor mount like our AC-MB allows for superior camera monitor angles compared to alternatives. Interestingly, these parts were initially sourced from our underwater dealers.

These products have become staples for Ultralight, enduring replication by others. We were also trailblazers in introducing O-rings around the center of each ball end. Fast forward to 2010, we innovated further with the AC-CSF clamp featuring a cutout, now known as the AC-CSSK. Dubbed the Sues knuckle, this, along with the triple clamp AC-TCSJK or Jacks Knuckle, was a collaboration with Jack and Sue Drafahl, original owners of Ultralight.

These clamps played a pivotal role in Ultralight's push into the cinema industry while continuing to benefit the underwater industry. The cutout clamps, along with the double cutout clamps we now offer, allowed unprecedented arm positioning, a novelty introduced by Ultralight.

A serendipitous moment occurred with the double cutout clamps. A mistake led to the creation of these clamps such as the AC-CSSK2, initially sitting in a bag until brought to attention in a camera assistant Facebook group. The positive response paved the way for their addition to the Ultralight lineup, and they've since become a success among underwater photographers. Even these double cutout clamps are now imitated by other manufacturers, turning my unintentional mistake into a valuable contribution.

ultralight cutout ball clamps

This blog has been an enjoyable journey, delving into past data, recalling memories, and narrating the story of Ultralight—a story that deserves to be told. We've been at the forefront of many firsts, and our commitment to innovation ensures we're not stopping anytime soon. Like our products, we aim to endure and leave a lasting legacy!

Ultralight Camera Solutions is a leading provider of high-quality underwater photography equipment catering to professionals and enthusiasts alike. Our products are all manufactured, assembled, and packaged in the US with US materials and have a lifetime warranty. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Ultralight continues to push the boundaries of underwater imaging technology.

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