I was referring to the currently available Subtronic Sirius. At 800 euros (about a grand) it is well built but still has a GN of only 8 (at ISO 200). Not terribly bright but fine for macro I think.
In my mouser catalog, 3000 lumen COB LEDs are still about $30 each. You can get $5 COB leds but they are only 450 lumens. The problem I think is that we need like 40,000 lumens to make a good strobe flash. I know the lab at UCSB that did much of the Nobel work on blue LEDs. The guys there are not sanguine that you can make an alternative to a xenon tube any time soon. That being said, I have heard rumors of a new strobe coming out this fall that is supposed to be GN 32 (on land) and be LED based with 200 flashes from an 18650 battery. I don't believe it but we can hope.
Here is some data from our local pool. Not quite the way the Backscatter boys did it. Put a bright white screen against the wall (about 11 feet deep). Put the strobe on a tripod parallel to the screen (PITA). Shot the strobe 20 times, averaged the shots using an image processing tool in Matlab. Also put a strip of photodiodes along the screen at the axis of the strobe light. Here is data from the photodiodes. I can post the error bars, but all shots were within 5% or so except one shot with the S2000. Note this is all from a single example of each strobe so YMMV. The intensity scale is completely arbitrary, my waterproof flash meter was in fact not so waterproof so I have only intensity measurement.
Correct on the physics until a better light source is developed, but is a distraction that misses the point.
High voltages are part of electrical devices, such as televisions. Everybody who works with electricity knows how to handle voltages, low and high. Otherwise we would not live in an electrically powered world. To cry Wolf! about electrical hazards misses the real problems.
One strobe problem is reliability. Current strobes much too often are not reliable. For example, the YS-D1 and Chinese YS-D2 strobes were unreliable, with their multiple failures documented here in Wetpixel.
The other strobe problem is service, good repair service is mostly not available, or is unreasonably expensive.
It is true that everybody who works with capacitors knows how to discharge them, it is the people who don't know but try anyway (there are lots of them) that will get hurt. I think the issues are more complex than you are thinking about. Reliability is tough to gauge and the reporting is extremely biased since you only complain if your strobe breaks. I am currently using 3 Inon Z240 strobes that are more than 8 years old with about 200 dives per year on them meaning something like 20K flashes on them. The tubes are a bit discolored but their output measured with a good flash meter is still 90% as much as new. I also have a couple of 4 to 5 year old YS-D1s that are working fine (except they needed firmware updates). And yes I am very aware that the plural of anecdote is not data but in our lab xenon flash tubes have run hundreds of thousands of flashes with no issues. Getting stuff that is made in very low volume is always expensive to service, in the studio a Bowen flash head would cost 40% of its new value to get fixed (but you could replace a flash tube yourself. If you want super reliability get a housing for your land strobe, and then you know you will have a strobe that is labelled for at least 100K flashes. Or you could go into business yourself fixing strobes if you think the profit margins that the strobe repair guys have is lucrative.
Housed land strobes are still around (they are a bit big) and work well but I think the real problem is that underwater guys always think smaller is better and smaller sells so a lot of electronics gets put into very small cases and those need to be waterproof.
I have had Ike strobes but my big issue with them is the proprietary battery and charger. Everyone knows that Ike service is good because everyone has had to send their strobes back more than once.
I agree with most of what you are saying, but I am quite sure that no strobe manufacturer would agree to supply repair or replacement parts to anyone other than an authorized repair facility. Strobes have big capacitors in them that can hurt you if you don't know what you are doing. Not as bad as some scientific gear based on capacitors (we had a nitrogen laser in our lab that had a label that said "touching the capacitors when charged will lead to death with a high degree of certainty) but still bad enough. I am pretty sure it would be tough to get insurance to cover that kind of risk. For me, when I have a failed strobe I send it to Devin at Pacific Housing, he can get parts and is considerably faster than either S&S or Inon.
Well you are going to run into some laws of physics issues. The SMC is stronger than +10, it is about a plus 12 or 12.5. The CMC is stronger, the SMC-2 is stronger still, BUT as you add diopter power working distance and DOF will both get smaller. With the 105 the +10 will give you about 2.2 magnification, while the SMC will give you about 2.5 x. WIth the 60 the +10 will give you 1.5 x and the SMC will give you about 1.7 x.
I just ordered some of the same multi-fiber material that S&S and Nauticam use, I will see if it can be coiled. BUT using standard 1 mm fiber, my new coiled cables can trigger YS-D1 strobes from the Nauticam LED trigger.
Coiling of fiber cables can be a pain in the butt. After many attempts (stubborn SOB), i found that if you take a piece of wooden dowel (about 8 or 9 mm or 5/16 inch in diameter) and drill two holes that are the diameter of your fiber through the dowel as far apart as you want your coil. I drilled them 90 degrees offset from each other but that doesn't matter. Push about 25 mm or inch through the first hole, then wind the fiber tightly around the dowel til you get to the other hole then push another 25 mm through the second hole. Place the dowel and fiber in a pan of cold water, then heat the water til just boiling, then turn off the heat. The important part is to now let the water sit til it cools. Push the straight pieces back through the hole, and voila a perfectly coiled fiber optic cable. I had previously taken the coil out of the hot water and cooled it rapidly but letting it cool slowly is the magic.
The fiber I use is from Industrial Fiber Optics, part number GH4001 1 mm fiber with PE jacket. It is $1.55 per meter. Works with both of the Inon plugs (the straight and the 90 degree) and with Inon strobes will easily trigger with the Nauticam LED trigger. If you want to get really fancy, you can get from them the 217 core stuff for $6/meter. The 613 core (what Inon/S&S and others use) is $7.50 per meter. This will trigger the S&S strobes from the LED trigger.
You can also get this from them for $25 or so. makes nicer cuts then doing it by hand.