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RETRA LSD - using the RETRA snoot

Retra LSD Strobe Snoot

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#1 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 11:09 AM

Hi Oscar can you give us a summary of the intended features in the update?  Also, are we clear to use the external battery packs at this time?

 

I think the flashes are great, and I am getting better lighting than ever on my shots.  It is one of the best gear upgrades I have done.

 

Can you  post any tips for using the  LSD?  I find it very hard to coordinate holding the camera and manipulating the light to the correct position, and I don't have a buddy to hold and point the flash.

 

Thanks!



#2 TimG

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 10:15 PM

I spent a whole dive trip a few weeks ago using the LSD and thought, on occasion, I'd beat it to death on a rock.

 

I agree, very hard to coordinate - even harder, I found, to light the right place - and, weirdly, to get the exposure right.

 

After about 25 dives I found that only having one strobe attached helped - obviously with the LSD on it. I had it mounted at an angle of about 30 degree directly above the housing - and reasonably firmly tightened but still able to adjust slightly. I was using an Inon Z240 and, most of the time, had the focussing light switched on with a red filter on it. 

 

I found many times that I could get the strobe into the right position - as confirmed by the focussing light. But when I fired the shutter the image was quite often pitch black - even though without the LSD the exposure, using TTL, was perfect. I  just could not figure out what the issue was and it almost drove me crazy. 

 

Some Lessons Identified: superb buoyancy skills essential, massive patience and time, serious focus on what you are doing, a dive buddy with the patience of several saints.

 

I did get some great results though- well I thought so. I'm not sure my partner appreciated them quite as much  :crazy:

I'\d most certainly use it again on my next trip, The potential is amazing but, wow, a steep learning curve for sure.

 

So, thoughts, Oscar?

 

 

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Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#3 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 11:50 PM

Hi Guy and Tim, thank you for starting this thread.

 

The basic principle for using the LSD is about locking the focus point and positioning the light spot inside the frame. 

 

When shooting a static subject like a christmas tree or a blenny inside a hole you will easily find your focus point. Take a few pictures without the LSD to confirm the focus and the framing and then move away to position the LSD without scaring the subject. If the sunlight is strong, find a natural shadow behind a rock or use your hand if the focus point is not to far away or position your dive buddy to make a shadow with his body. Now you can position the light spot into your frame. The square mask can be useful to identify the focus point of the LSD as the corners of the light spot will appear sharp once it is in focus. These two steps will ensure you already have a light spot very near to the desired position and you only need to make small adjustments when shooting the subject.

 

For moving subjects like nudibranch or shrimp the process is similar. Because the subject will be moving and the terrain will change you may find yourself wanting to move the focus of the camera and the light spot more. Starting with a static subject is easier and allows you to play with different mask shapes and focus point of the LSD. With repetition the subject/focus area/light position will be easier to arrange and you will find a starting position more quickly before making smaller adjustments.

 

 

Thank you


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#4 TimG

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 02:15 AM

Thanks Oscar

 

This is all makes good sense to me.

 

I did find that once I had a fixed focal point and focus I could take images - then slowly pull the LSD slide (that has the varying diameter holes) through the snoot and gradually take images working to get the slide to a smaller and smaller opening. I thought the slides terrific.  The straight headshot of the arrowcrab resulted from this technique.  Starting with a largish slide hole and narrowing it down. (I almost felt sorry for the crab after he/she endured what must have been 20 minutes of crab paparazzi).

 

And DEFINITELY start with non-moving objects till you get your eye in.

 

One suggestion I would make. I found it worth creating a small lanyard to attach the LSD to my housing. I could then take the LSD off to set up the shot whilst it floated fairly happily on the lanyard - and then reattached it. Reattaching underwater is easy. I also looped the slides on to the lanyard - although still managed to lose one which, lucky me, was found and rescued by another diver later in the day!

 

It's a cracking tool even if, as I said previously, intensely frustrating to start with. And beautifully made by Retra - plaudits there, Oskar


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#5 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 06:05 AM

the ideal would seem to be to have have the camera and flash separated and either the camera or the flash on a tripod so that only one thing is moving at once.  But that is often not possible so you have two moving things to coordinate:  the camera for composition/focus, and the flash to light the subject.  This is what I am finding very difficult to coordinate especially when the flash is constrained by the arms/clamps even when fairly loose, so that when you move the flash you push the camera off target, and vice versa.  

 

I am thinking of hand-holding the flash in my left hand while I manipulate the camera with my right.  That will allow much faster movement of the flash to light the subject and allow independent movement.

 

I wish someone would make a "spring" clamp so you could press a lever to instantly open the clamp for removing and replacing the flash.  Would make off camera flash much easier to do and then immediately replacing the flash without twirling the traditional clamp lever.

 

Really, what I need is a buddy to point the flash where I want . . . . 


Edited by guyharrisonphoto, 31 July 2018 - 06:06 AM.


#6 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 06:37 AM

Having good clamps and arms is helpful when using the LSD alone. In splash-in competition where time is limited we usually had an assistant to point the LSD. But if you had enough training before it was easier to mount the LSD in the way you are used from training and have the assistant search for different subjects instead.

 

We made the oval shaped masks so that when you are pointing the LSD at an angle it still projects a circular pattern onto the subject. This means you can have the LSD laying on your housing/port which makes it easier to manoeuvre. 


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#7 Gudge

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 01:39 PM

I wish someone would make a "spring" clamp so you could press a lever to instantly open the clamp for removing and replacing the flash.  Would make off camera flash much easier to do and then immediately replacing the flash without twirling the traditional clamp lever.

 

I use a Carbonarm Quick Release arm for the strobe I use with my LSD.  Lets me release/attach the strobe without having to play with the clamp:

 

https://www.carbonar...6808286321.html

 

  

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Edited by Gudge, 31 July 2018 - 01:53 PM.

Canon 7D MkII, Nauticam NA-7DMKII housing, 2 x Inon Z240, 2 x Ikelite DS160, Tokina 10-17, Canon 60 & 100 macro, Sigma 150 macro, Kenko 1.X Teleconverters.

 

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#8 ScubaFinland

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 04:09 AM

I have experienced same difficulties when LSD is attached to my housing. It is very frustrating. On a previous dive trip I had a dive guide to hold the LSD and the results were good. The only problems is that when the guide is holding LSD, the subject to LSD distance varies, its sometimes too close, sometimes too far. So I get under and over exposure pictures with same settings. Still, the most of the exposures are good. 

I have also noticed that I need to use full power of my Inon Z-240 and sometimes also to use higher ISO if wanting to use smallest aperture (highest number, in my case f22). Are there other similar experiences? Or is it just me doing something wrong?



#9 TimG

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 04:49 AM

I have experienced same difficulties when LSD is attached to my housing. It is very frustrating. On a previous dive trip I had a dive guide to hold the LSD and the results were good. The only problems is that when the guide is holding LSD, the subject to LSD distance varies, its sometimes too close, sometimes too far. So I get under and over exposure pictures with same settings. Still, the most of the exposures are good. 

I have also noticed that I need to use full power of my Inon Z-240 and sometimes also to use higher ISO if wanting to use smallest aperture (highest number, in my case f22). Are there other similar experiences? Or is it just me doing something wrong?

 

I certainly noticed issues with exposures with images which I thought should have been exposed correctly being black. I really couldn't figure out the problem! Maybe I should have tried full power! 


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#10 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:24 AM

At the focus distance of 175mm (in water) the LSD Ultimate combined with the Z-240 (type4) will achieve a correct exposure with setting 11 on the strobe and approx. f22-f30@iso100 on the camera. 

 

If you are generally getting darker images it may be due to the age of the strobe. Flash lamps and capacitors can loose their power potential over time.

 

If you are getting darker images only in some situations it may be due to:

- the light spot getting out of frame

- the mask is not locked into position and is covering the light path

- the LSD is positioned too far or too close from it's focus distance


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#11 bear35

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 04:23 AM

Excuse me if I repeat something that has already been said...

I find the best way of using it is to set a strobe above your housing, when you find a subject you want to photograph lock the focus onto the subject with the camera.  Move away slightly and find somewhere where you can look through the viewfinder holding the camera with one hand and moving the LSD (you will need to switch on the focus light) until it lights up the area in focus. The arm clamps need to be tight enough to keep the LSD from moving once positioned.

I have done this from the first time I used one and have never had a problem, I do have Retra strobes though so I don't know if it makes a difference because the LSD locks firmly on the front of the strobe.







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