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Professional on dry land - Strobe insights

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#1 BSC_Matt

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:12 PM

Hi All,

I'm new here and new to underwater photography though I am professional photographer. I am currently building my first rig in preparation for a dive trip this January. 

Strobes are all that I need and I am struggling to make a decision. 

 

I have a big question. How many divers use TTL? I barely use TTL when I photograph on dry land but I imaging you are always looking for more simplified use underwater.

 

I understand the Ikelite strobes don't use TTL when not paired with an Ikelite housing. Does anyone use Ikelite strobes on non Ikelite housings? 

 

I'll take any other information or suggestions anyone would like to share. Can't wait to get underwater!


Edited by BSC_Matt, 18 December 2017 - 11:13 PM.


#2 troporobo

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:35 PM

I use Inon strobes with an Olympus camera and fiber optic cables. I use TTL almost exclusively when shooting macro and it rarely fails to do exactly as expected.  When shooting wide angle results with TTL are less consistent and I'll switch to manual. The difference for me is due to the fact that macro images are 100% illuminated by the strobe whereas with wide angle I'm working to balance ambient light. 



#3 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:35 AM

TTL accuracy mainly depends on TTL Converter and right cable. I know a lot of people who shoot now with modern TTL converters and fiber optic or electric cables, getting 95% successful shots. Of course automatics simplifies the work of underwater photographer.

But if you use a camera built-in flash for optical TTL synchronization, in some cases it works good enough, but in many cases it gives very different results for TTL, because of technical reasons.  Better use TTL-converter.

 

You can use TTL with Ikelite strobes on other housings too, because many TTL-Converters officially support Ikelite strobes. Such TTL circuits are available for Nauticam, Sea&Sea, Aquatica, Seacam, Subal, Sealux, Hugyfot, Isotta, and some other housings. 


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 19 December 2017 - 07:45 AM.


#4 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:08 PM

Hi, in response to your questions, UW photographers who use small cameras, say like the Olympus Tough TG4, use TTL almost automatically as it works very well with small, compact cameras.  With dSLR cameras most of the guys I know use Manual shutter and f stop settings as TTL is patented by the big guys like Canon and Nikon and seems not be easily accessed by the strobe manufacturers.  In some strobes, such as the Sea&Sea YS-02 and the discontinued Inon Z240 TTL is very hard to use, so again Manual is the rule.   Personally, I shoot my Olympus TG3 and 4 on automatic, and my Nikon D7000 and D800 on Manual.

 

But my wishful thinking is that TTL sure would be nice for dSLR cameras if it was easy to use.  I will be interested in the comments and opinions of other Wetpixelers. 



#5 ChrisRoss

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:41 PM

Manual is pretty easy really, once the setting is dialled in I tend not to change it a whole lot, you are always working in close so there's a lot less change in the light fall off compared to land.  I've tried TTL a little and the results were OK on macro, wide angle was very hit or miss.  This was with INON Z-240's with fibre optic connections. 

 

Your biggest problem initially is to keep your buoyancy control as good as you had without a camera. The bigger question will be what strobe to buy, do you want fibre optics or sync cords?  What system are you wanting to hook your strobes up to?



#6 BSC_Matt

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:47 PM

Thanks guys.
Im still a little confused to what a TTL converter is. And do they make them for the A6500 in a Fantasea housing? I know, I went for the low end housing.
I bought 1 used S&S YS-D2 to start with. I ordered this LED strobe trigger that cuts out the pop up flash but still optical.

If I can use a TTL converter can someone suggest a good one? Or anything I need to know about them?

Also a new question. Is it bad practice to mix strobe brands? Im sure there are color differences to take into consideration but strictly technically.

#7 TimG

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 09:56 PM

Hi Matt

A TTL converter is essentially a pack of electronics that can be installed into the housing which will allow TTL control of the external strobes. Simple as that. So you get the same TTL control as you would using an SLR above water.

Sorry, can’t advise on the A6500/Fantasea combination but I’m sure someone on WP will know and chip-in.

Have a read on the Reef Photo website for more about TTL converters. They’ve got a good explanation.

Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
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http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#8 BSC_Matt

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 10:41 PM

Thanks. I did a little more reading and though I get the concept it looks like most of the TTL converters are made for Canon and Nikon or specialized for specific housings.

I may consider switching housings if necessary. Nothing has been under water yet so I can still return it.

Edited by BSC_Matt, 19 December 2017 - 10:45 PM.


#9 TimG

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:57 PM

Yeah, I think you're about right there, Matt. The major housing manufacturers (say, Nauticam, Subal, Sea&Sea, Aquatica - and apologies if I've missed off anyone crucial) do offer - or the housing will allow -  TTL convertors. I think the Olympus users can use TTL convertors too.

 

I must admit I really like using TTL especially for macro (as troporobo wrote above) but there are lots of really top u/w photographers who just go manual. It's not that hard.

 

The housing choice is always a difficult one. Once you have picked a housing route, you tend to put a lot of cash into ports, extension and zoom rings. The costs of those really mount up. So picking a housing you are very comfortable with and which can grow with you (the brand at least if not the specific model) is, I reckon, quite important.

 

So if a housing which offers a bit more complexity or adaptability is important to you, yeah, it's worth pausing for thought before you dunk the beast.


Tim
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Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

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


#10 Cerianthus

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:58 PM

I would have a read in the threads http://wetpixel.com/...?showtopic=6199or http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=16492

 

old(er), but very useful.


Gerard

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#11 Undertow

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 02:36 PM

You don't need no stinkin' TTL. Never used it UW, never wanted to. 

 

I've used mixed strobe brands for a couple years now (Inon, Ikelite) since my 2nd Inon flooded. Its not ideal but works fine as long as I gel the Inon to match the Ikelite. I have them very close using a mild CTO, I think 1/4. 



#12 BSC_Matt

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 02:47 PM

You don't need no stinkin' TTL. Never used it UW, never wanted to. 

 

I've used mixed strobe brands for a couple years now (Inon, Ikelite) since my 2nd Inon flooded. Its not ideal but works fine as long as I gel the Inon to match the Ikelite. I have them very close using a mild CTO, I think 1/4. 

 

What about general color temperature? It appears that everyone wants warmer lights but most manufacturers lights are closer to daylight balanced. I was also interested to find few options out there for color balancing diffusers or something made to fit. 



#13 ChrisRoss

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 08:53 PM

Colour temperature sets how blue water is, so warmer strobes means you as you push back to daylight colour balance you non flash illuminated water becomes more blue.  INON make diffusers in a couple of different colour temperatures.  Speaking of INON these seem to have a better reputation for reliability than Sea & Sea who have recently introduced a variation of the YS-D2 to address reliability issues with the flash tubes.  There are a few Z-240 on sale second hand on the classifieds section of wetpixel right now.

 

Regarding returning your housing I suggest you look at port availability for your housing, the port chart indicates some items are expected next year, so won't be available right now .  Also look at features like layout, accessories availability, particularly a vacuum system to help ensure you o-rings will seal once you hop in the water.   This is the port chart:  http://www.fantasea....nsPortChart.pdf



#14 BSC_Matt

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:55 AM

Thats a way better port chart than the one Ive been going by all this time.
It still doesnt talk about TTL converters but the housing does have a port for a vacuum valve. Am I crazy to dive without a vacuum valve?

#15 TimG

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:34 AM

Crazy? No.

 

But it has to be one of the best investments you can make on your system. The Vivid, for example, is about €200. That's a small price to pay for the peace of mind.


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

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


#16 ChrisRoss

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 01:36 AM

Definitely get the vacuum valve, the external pressure seats the o-rings before you get in the water.  O-rings are dynamic seals they need to be pushed upon by the water (or the atmosphere) to seal.  You are actually most prone to flood at the surface.  Having a vacuum pulled helps ensure the o-rings are loaded.  Also means the ports is harder to dislodge by knocking and will stay in place even if you don't engage the lock, you can't open your housing till you release the vacuum, due to the pressure of the atmosphere.



#17 BSC_Matt

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 01:50 PM

Chris, 

Can you recommend options for vacuum valve for the Fantasea housing? It has an M16 port. I currently only see an option by Nauticam. Just not sure iff there are other options. 


Edited by BSC_Matt, 27 December 2017 - 02:05 PM.


#18 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 06:00 PM

If it's got an M16 port, then I'd recommend the Leak Sentinel by Vivid Housings. I just got mine (for an older Nauticam with M16 port) and love it. Installation was a breeze, and use is simple.

 

http://www.vividhous...ak-sentinel.php



#19 BSC_Matt

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 06:07 PM

If it's got an M16 port, then I'd recommend the Leak Sentinel by Vivid Housings. I just got mine (for an older Nauticam with M16 port) and love it. Installation was a breeze, and use is simple.

 

http://www.vividhous...ak-sentinel.php

Thats the one I have my eye on unless I find other options to choose from. 



#20 ChrisRoss

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 07:31 PM

The Nauticam valve is good, but electronic indicator is part of housing, the leak sentinel incorporates this into the valve, so seems like the way to go for a non Nauticam housing







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