My pair of new retra strobes arrived this week and I got out for a dive locally yesterday. I own 6 inon Z240s and have been using them since 2010 so this was a bit of a change for me. Some thoughts and observations:
- Of the two diffusers received, one fits well and the other wobbles. It fell off in the car on the way to the dive site so I tied it to the strobe arm for the dive.
- The retras are bigger than the inons
- The only way to put the battery cap down while inserting batteries is on the contacts or on the o-ring, risking picking up dust
- There is no serial number on the strobes. Luckily my insurance company is prepared to add them to my policy anyway
- The recycle time occasionally becomes really long. Camera times show dark photos after a 25 second pause in one case, and after 3-5 seconds in other cases. This is on 75% and 100% power and I wonder if it is the overheating protection kicking in. Water temperature yesterday was 15 degrees.
- The pilot light is very diffuse, and I image could be difficult to see with in bad vis. It's nice to have two power levels and the button doesn't get knocked on/off like the inon aiming light and pre-flash buttons
All that said, I was very happy with the power, coverage and light quality of the strobes. The vis was good and I don't think my strobe positioning was optimal, so hard to judge backscatter potential. The colour temperature and brightness of the images was excellent. After 170 shots, the strobes were still showing three green lights out of four on the face plate. Here are a few comparative shots all on my Canon 5D4, 14mm lens and 8" dome, uncropped.
2 x Inon Z240s, full power, one warm diffuser, one standard diffuser, f8, 1/40, iso400
Kelp with the retras, full and 75% power, f13, 1/50, iso800
Taken after a 4 second interval, would have been nice with strobes:
Fish on the run, f10, 1/50, iso400
Eyes in the roof, f10, 1/200, iso400
Overall I'm happy with them and looking forward to taking them in the caves. I'll be interested to see how they perform off camera and in warm water.