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Ikelite DS-51 vs. Inon Z-240


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#1 yukikokubo

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:13 PM

I swear that I've scoured the Internet and haven't found this specific topic approached directly. But if it has, you guys are all welcome to kick silt in my face (or just not answer this post because that would be more of a dis). The DS-125 has been compared to the Z-220/ Z-240; the DS-51 has been compared to the D-2000, but so far, I haven't read any specific comparison between the DS-51s and Z-240. I know it's primarily because one model costs twice as much as the other, which just goes to show how irrational my thought process is. I want to outfit my Canon 400D, Tokina 10-17mm and Canon EF-S 60mm. Primarily because of cost, I'm pretty much decided on the Ikelite housing and lens ports. Judging from what I like to shoot on land, I expect to be shooting wide more often than macro.

Originally, I was very attracted to the idea of getting two DS-51s but a lot of people have discouraged me, saying that the light beams are too focused and bright. Another down-side to the DS-51 is that there is no focus light. But I really like the size, weight, price, and I've heard such great things about Ikelite's customer service. I also read in the article by Jeff Farris that his first set was a pair of DS-50s and he thought that it was a great set for beginners. Which makes me stressed in advance, for thinking about the next time I will be shelling out for a new set of strobes, and I haven’t even bought my first set!

A lot of people have recommended the DS-125 but I would like to add here that I am against the idea, due to size, weight, and proprietary battery.

Many other people have recommended the Inon Z-240s, especially because I plan to shoot wide. The first downside is obviously cost, the second is some of the bad things I’ve heard about their customer service, and the third is lack of TTL. I've read the forum topics here and around, but since I've only shot with point and shoots w/o strobes underwater, it's hard for me to really assess the importance of TTL without having done it. I suppose if I buy the Z-240s now, I won’t ever have to worry about it for having deprived myself of the capability… The upside is the wide angle beam, the focus light, and the probability that I won’t need to upgrade, even after I upgrade my camera (which is probable). But is it really worth the extra $700, and the sacrifice of TTL to get the Inons?

If anybody can throw in any opinions, additional information, or pieces I may have not have considered, please do! It would so be much appreciated.


Thank you,
Yuki

Yet another newbie with lots of questions.

#2 scorpio_fish

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 01:54 PM

Throwing opinions is quite easy. Here goes.

It is possible to do wide angle with DS51s, but there is little margin for error. After adding diffusers, they aren't the most powerful strobe around either, but the lack of power doesn't always come into play.

The Z240's work well. The lack of TTL with an Ikelite housing should be a non issue. TTL with wide angle isn't a necessary thing. Some, including myself, would say that TTL and wide angle do not go together at all. It is a sub-optimal technique.

I don't find the size, weight and proprietary battery an issue at all with the DS125. I prefer unclipping the battery and sticking the charger in it. I hate taking 50 million pieces off the Inons and charging stacks of AA batteries.

Unlike my Ikelite gear, I've never needed Inon service, so I can't comment.

I find the focus light of the Inon useless.

If you mean, are the Z240's worth $700 (for 2 I assume) more than the DS51, the answer is yes. If you mean the Z240 vs. the DS125, the answer is no.

This is purely opinion, but I have used all three strobes.
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#3 james

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:02 PM

Be advised that the beam angle of the DS51's is pretty narrow. This on purpose, as when you're shooting macro, you don't want to throw light all over the background (IMO). There is a noticeable black cut-off at the edge of the light pattern for the DS51's if you don't use the diffuser.

I've used all 3 as well. For macro, I think they are equivalent (51 vs 240). For WA, I'd use 2x 240's over 2x 51's. For WA, the DS125 and Z240 are about equal.

Cheers
James
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#4 rodriguezfelix

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:10 PM

Take a look at this:

http://www.backscatt...ticle.php?ID=40

I don’t know if you’ll find the comparison between DS-51 and Z-240 because they don’t fight in the same category.

If you are planning to get an Ikelite housing, then is a no brainier... Get DS-125´s despite the cons, if you go with other brands, is your choice. Both are fine strobes.

TTL will save you lots of time when shooting macro and close up. Now for WA is not that important, I end up shooting manual and reviewing my histogram.

That said, if you want it plain and simple, YES it REALLY worth the extra 700$. Believe me, lighting is a huge part of this.

#5 yukikokubo

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 08:46 AM

Thanks, guys! Your opinions are infinitely helpful. I have decided to go for a pair of Z240s (and screw the TTL).

Reef Photo has recommended the ULCS arms to go with my setup; two 5" and two 8" to be exact. I've read that the Z240s can be somewhat heavy. Should I consider getting the bouyant 8" segments and the regular 5" segments or vice versa? I am a little concerned because my arms are VERY whimpy.

Again, the other components are: Canon 400D, Tokina 10-17mm, Iketlite housing/ port.

Doumo arigatou!

#6 Christian K

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 03:31 PM

Thanks, guys! Your opinions are infinitely helpful. I have decided to go for a pair of Z240s (and screw the TTL).

Reef Photo has recommended the ULCS arms to go with my setup; two 5" and two 8" to be exact. I've read that the Z240s can be somewhat heavy. Should I consider getting the bouyant 8" segments and the regular 5" segments or vice versa? I am a little concerned because my arms are VERY whimpy.

Again, the other components are: Canon 400D, Tokina 10-17mm, Iketlite housing/ port.

Doumo arigatou!


They are slightly negative in water, and I have seen that some consider them too heavy, but personally I haven't found them heavy at all (I use 2 with a very compact alu-housing) UW. According to the backscatter test (see rodriguez link) they only weigh 0.13 lbs (0.06 kgs) in fresh water each with batteries. But everything of course adds up and if you are concerned, just get the bouancy arms.

cheers

Edited by Christian K, 14 February 2008 - 03:33 PM.


#7 rodriguezfelix

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:43 PM

Get both segments w/ buoyancy. 2X 8" is common standard. Also, if Ryan or Richard told you 2X5" and 2X8" probably is enough.

Also with the 10-17mm, using the 8" dome helps a lot. Anything to help your elbows to don’t get sore.

#8 BotSO

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 11:34 PM

I've shot the Z-240s and the DS-125s. I'm going to stay with the DS-125s for now, I preferred the battery convenience of the DS-125s. That said, the Inons were much smaller and easier to handle.