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RETRA Strobe Thread


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#101 Tom_Kline

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 06:02 AM

Nice report. Batteries are wired in series so the voltages can add up. Just remember that negative out (what you see with the battery in place) in the first (left) position and alternate from there. Battery level indication is what makes the strobes professional grade IMHO. Seacam left this out of their 60D strobes which is a very sad omission.

Tom


Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
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Currently used housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkIII, EOS-1D MkIV, and EOS-1DX; and Nikon D3X. More or less retired: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H.

Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 200mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 60D, 150D, and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

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#102 ianmarsh

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 08:40 AM

Hello all,

 

Just back from 12 amazing days aboard the Bilikiki in the Solomons. Absolutely amazing dive trip! Best trip since beginning the Life Aquatic in 1972:)

 

The only issue with the trip is we arrived a few days after the coral spawn, and at times backscatter became an issue. But there were a lot happy animals around! Amazing guides on the boat. Thanks Tina and Oli:)

 

Headed away with all new camera set-up (to me) including a shiny new pair of Retras with a Seacam-D800 and UW Technics TTL board.

 

The strobes were fantastic! Beautiful quality of light, easily controlled and lots of it if needed. As noted by others, it allowed you to focus on the viewfinder instead of the knobs.

 

Battery life with Eneloop pro's was excellent. At least 3-4 dives before i would swap out batteries, mostly out of habit.

 

They were robust, and with the provided (thick) neoprene jackets, were neutrally buoyant and out of harms way.

 

TTL was difficult to sort out because the UW Technics board was not calibrated for these strobes. They did mostly work on the YS-D1 setting, but not at aperture extremes, so I mostly shot manual, which wasn't an issue.

 

I had contacted Oskar 10 days before leaving, and he had the strobes in my hands in good time. Excellent customer service, feedback and followup.

 

All in all, I am very pleased with these strobes. I dove with full confidence they would not let me down.

 

ian


Edited by ianmarsh, 16 December 2017 - 08:45 AM.


#103 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 06:25 AM

Hi Everyone! 

 

Thank you for posting your reports and sharing your thoughts. It's really helping us understand where we need to improve and your positive feedback is very supportive. This underwater strobe would not be possible without your input!

 

We will continue working in this way and we look forward to keeping in touch. 

 

Our heartfelt thanks for your support and Happy Holidays!


www.retra-uwt.com


#104 Barry Field

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 09:23 AM

I wonder if the FIX / upgrade to solve the TTL issue on the UWT circuitry be an easy fix?
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#105 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 09:57 AM

I wonder if the FIX / upgrade to solve the TTL issue on the UWT circuitry be an easy fix?

 

Hi Barry, regarding the UW Technics TTL converter we are sure that in the future there will be better compatibility. At the moment no additional calibration was made on those converters to support the Retra Flash but I believe that this will change during next year.

 

Thanks


www.retra-uwt.com


#106 Tom_Kline

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 09:58 AM

I wonder if the FIX / upgrade to solve the TTL issue on the UWT circuitry be an easy fix?

 

 

The RETRA strobes will not be able to do any sort of wired TTL.  There are just TWO contacts in the wired bulkhead. They are for basic flash synchronization, nothing more. There is thus no Nikonos film style TTL as found in older strobes. Therefore the various converters for using Nikonos TTL will NOT give you TTL!!!


Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
Oceanography & Limnology
Currently used housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkIII, EOS-1D MkIV, and EOS-1DX; and Nikon D3X. More or less retired: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H.

Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 200mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 60D, 150D, and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

http://www.salmonography.com/

 


#107 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 10:06 AM

Oh, I thought the question was regarding optical TTL which Ian mentioned had not worked completely on the UW Technics converter set to the YS-D1 setting. 

 

Regarding electrical TTL it is true that we do not support this option. TTL is only available via optical fibre.


www.retra-uwt.com


#108 Tom_Kline

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 10:19 AM

Oh, I thought the question was regarding optical TTL which Ian mentioned had not worked completely on the UW Technics converter set to the YS-D1 setting. 

 

Regarding electrical TTL it is true that we do not support this option. TTL is only available via optical fibre.

 

Not familiar with the Technics units but there are a number of TTL converters out there, including discontinued ones. Many have been discussed here on Wetpixel over the years. I believe most of these are for converting from Nikonos TTL to digital camera TTL.


Edited by Tom_Kline, 26 December 2017 - 10:21 AM.

Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
Oceanography & Limnology
Currently used housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkIII, EOS-1D MkIV, and EOS-1DX; and Nikon D3X. More or less retired: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H.

Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 200mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 60D, 150D, and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

http://www.salmonography.com/

 


#109 adamhanlon

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:54 AM

Retra Flash is in the house...

 

180103-ahanlon-6524.jpg

 

180103-ahanlon-6528.jpg

 

180103-ahanlon-6529.jpg

 

Thanks to all involved for getting it to us!

 

Adam

 

 

 


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#110 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:45 PM

Looking good, Adam


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#111 tangfish

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:11 PM

Eagerly awaiting direct comparison w/ Z-330, Adam :clapping:



#112 Nicool

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 02:39 PM

Great that you're testing the strobes Adam!

I was planning to quietly wait for the review and probably not invest in new strobes before 1-2 years... but one my my Z240s now needs serious repairs and i have a long-awaited dive trip upcoming... So very interested to hear back :-)

 

One request if i may - to you as reviewer or to Oskar as manufacturer: how robust are the Retras vs over-heating?

I believe my Inon didn't like how excited i got in a recent dive where there was good photo action... but i still want to be able to photograph these things :-)

 

cheers

Nicolas



#113 adamhanlon

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:15 AM

I have been testing battery durations and have been firing the Retra Flash continuously for around 230-250 flashes at high power. The strobes have been immersed in room temperature water (around 15°C). The strobes have been cool to the touch throughout.

 

I should point out that I have been doing the same with the Z330 recently, and they have not been heating up either...

 

This is not particularly scientific and is simply an observation on our testing so far.

 

In terms of the review, I will be finishing the UK testing of the Z330, Retra Flash and iTorch Symbiosis SS2 on Saturday. The review will then go to the Caribbean with Alex Mustard till late January and then all the strobes will go to the Red Sea with me in early Feb. Many thanks to Emperor Divers for hosting me.

 

I will keep responding to specific queries on here too.


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#114 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:10 AM

Hi Nicolas, the problem with overheating is usually at the lamp where the majority of heat is generated. For this reason we are using high quality quartz glass which has a much higher melting temperature compared to borosilicate glass used in most photo flash. Higher melting point means there is less chance for cracks to occur on the lamp at high temperature. Besides this we make our housing from a single piece of aluminium so the heat can spread away more easily. For one of our tests we triggered the lamp 1000x times at full power in 2s intervals using 8 batteries and it didn't go wrong.

 

Thanks


www.retra-uwt.com


#115 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:07 AM

In terms of the review, I will be finishing the UK testing of the Z330, Retra Flash and iTorch Symbiosis SS2 on Saturday. The review will then go to the Caribbean with Alex Mustard till late January and then all the strobes will go to the Red Sea with me in early Feb. Many thanks to Emperor Divers for hosting me.

 

Just to clarify, I am only taking the Inon strobes (from Adam) with me to the Cayman Islands next week. But I am pretty sure that photographers in my workshop group have the Retras (I know one has them on order and is hoping that they make it in time), so we can probably do some back to back tests.

 

Alex


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#116 stewsmith

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:07 AM

Yaaay. Mine arrived today. Cant wait to use them in Indo/Raja next month. Build quality is as others have said, very good.

Canon 5D MK2 - Sea and Sea housed - 17-40L 100mm - Sigma 15mm FE - twin YS250 pro's and gadgets galore

 

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#117 dmshore

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:38 PM

Just returned from a week on the Cayman Aggressor IV.  Sadly, the weather was poor, so we did not get a chance to make our way to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.  I booked the trip just a month before the great Dr. Mustard's Cayman workshop was announced.  I would have done that workshop instead in a heart beat!

 

To preface my summary of the pair of RETRA strobes I rented from Bluewater Photo, I'm rather new to the UW photography scene.  I've been shooting for about two years now.  I've used S&S YSD2s with my EM1 in Nauticam housing up until now.  Given that my wife has opened the pandoras box of UW photography, I needed another set of strobes for our trip.  After the wonderful reviews of the RETRAs I've read, I decided to give them a shot.

 

In a word, WOW.  These strobes are solid.  Construction is fantastic.  The strobes look and feel great.  I took a comment in Alex's review in the Sept/Oct UWP to heart: instructions are NOT necessary.  I turned them on and jumped in the water.  The control knobs are simple to use.  Power changes were a breeze.  During the trip, I only shot in manual, so I cannot speak to the performance of TTL.  The battery life display was a welcome addition... it sure beats guessing if you are at 75% or 25% before jumping in the water.  The quality of light was excellent, but again take that with the grain of salt that I'm still in my learning curve.  Given the overcast conditions, I rarely had the turn the strobes beyond 25% of max output.  Only shooting directly towards the sun at the surface on the rare sunny day I encountered did I have to crank it up much beyond this.  Given the low power setting, I was easily able to get 2-3 dives in before I felt compelled to switch batteries. 

 

One interesting thing that happened halfway through my trip, I had trouble with the strobe firing with rear-curtain mode on my camera.  I normally leave my camera on rear-curtain, but on day four the strobes would not fire.  Upon switching to standard flash on the camera, the strobes started working again without issue.  I'm not sure if this was a camera problem or a strobe issue. 

 

To summarize, I like the RETRA strobes a lot.  I will be curious to hear more comparisons to the latest Z330s before purchasing a set, but I would be very surprised if a pair of RETRAs don't wind up in my Pelican case sometime soon.

 

Here are a few shots from my trip.

 

David

 

20180110-_1106715.jpg

 

20180110-_1106817.jpg

 

20180111-_1117012.jpg



#118 ianmarsh

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 02:42 PM

Hello all,

 

Just for fun, I thought I'd try some pool tests of Retra TTL using a UW Technics board in a Seacam housing.

 

To be fair, the Retra is not profiled for this board, so I set the board on Setting1, which is the profile for S+S YS-D1,  and Inon Z240. This was suggested by Pavel.

 

Test conditions were:

 

Pool, very dim ambient light

1/125 sec, 

ISO 100 and 400,

Aperture f2.8 - f32,

Measured distance 0.75 meter,

Nikon D800e with Nikon 105 Macro G lens,

Seacam Silver housing, UW Technics finer optic bulkheads

UW Technics controller Position #1

Rear curtain flash

 

Analysis:

 

The point of this exercise is to compare Retra TTL to baseline (YS-D1)

 

1) Not sure what happened with the first two frames of the Retra ISO 400 test. Didn't spot this in the pool. Maybe too trigger happy?

2) The system works well enough for Retra using these parameters. It should get you in the ball park for macro at ISO 100.

3) ISO 400 is more variable on both strobes. It's all over the place with Retra.

4) It is within the range of what Lightroom can cope with.

5) Best at apertures f8-f22, probably the sweet spot.

6) I would probably add +0.7 eV of compensation

 

I would use it on a shot where you might not get a second chance...certainly better than my best guess!

 

I haven't tried Reta TTL on wide angle.

 

Overall, it's pretty good:)

 

Maybe Pavel will write a firmware update for this strobe? (Hint, hint)

 

ian

 

 

 

Attached Images

  • 3 ContactSheet-SS400.jpg
  • 4 ContactSheet-R400.jpg
  • 2 ContactSheet-R100.jpg
  • 1 ContactSheet-SS100.jpg

Edited by ianmarsh, 21 January 2018 - 03:05 PM.


#119 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 10:11 PM

 

Maybe Pavel will write a firmware update for this strobe? (Hint, hint)

Hello Ian,

We contacted Oskar, suggested to write TTL profile for Retra strobe. Hope Retra team will support the idea.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 21 January 2018 - 10:45 PM.


#120 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:48 PM

Hi Ian, thank you for the testing, we really appreciate everyone's feedback on this forum!

 

I already have Pavel's address and we will get a strobe there as soon as possible. 

 

Thanks


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