Our Strobe Problem:
Strobe failure seem to be the most common type of underwater photo equipment failure, based on Wetpixel postings. Rarely mentioned is the failure of housings, lamps, lenses or cameras.
We the users have reason to be concerned and ask questions. For instance,
What is it in the strobes’ design and parts that makes them prone to failure?
Are there industry wide strobe quality and service warranties?
Do manufacturers provide users with repair locations at reasonable rates?
Are repair manuals and repair parts available?
As far as I can tell, the answer to the above is no good answer is available, or just ‘No’.
To judge from user reports, the internal failures are electronic, such as the strobe won't turn on or off, the focus light fails, the strobe no longer flashes, or the failure is centered on the strobe tube which dims, burns out, and at times explodes. A few are mechanical as when a switch fails.
Also from user posts, Sea & Sea warrants its strobes for one year, and takes many months to repair a strobe. Inon strobes can be repaired by a dealer if one is lucky and the parts are available - mostly they are not - for about 75% of the cost, or more, of a new strobe.
At present, it seems us underwater strobe users are not getting a fair and good deal as we are a captive market: We are way overcharged for strobes of questionable reliability, kept in the dark about problems, and not provided with reasonable solutions.
So, what can we do when a strobe fails?
We first need to take responsibility, i.e., take good care of our strobes, and accept our mistakes such as battery damage, physical damage, and flooding.
When the strobe failure is clearly internal, it seems reasonable to first communicate with the dealer, who is caught between the user and the unresponsive manufacturer, and who needs to keep his customers satisfied. It helps to document the issue with purchase receipts and details of strobe use and failure.
If the dealer is not able to solve the problem, then we need to write the manufacturer, and also to post our problem in public, such as Wetpixel, to alert others and to build user pressure.
Below are the names and addresses for Inon and for Sea&Sea. I do not know it if does any good to write them, but with increasing user pressure they may become more user friendly.
By user friendly I mean for the manufacturers to improve the reliability of their strobes, publish understandable user, repair and parts manuals, and to make replacement parts available to the user at a reasonable cost. Also to provide training for repair technicians and affordable repair locations.
I write the above in the hope that other strobe users and retailers will post their thoughts on how to strengthen our position in dealing with strobe manufacturers.
Mr. Takuya Torii
Global Operation Division
tel +81 467 48 2174
CEO: Stephen Ashmore,
Sea & Sea Head Office
1-4-6 Kitasenzoku, Ota-ku,
Tokyo 145-0062 Japan
If you have contact information for other strobe makers, please post it.
A few strobe problem posts:
Future of strobes, ie, LED strobes?
Inon Z240 failureScarcity of Z330 strobes (still)?
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=63801 Sea & Sea YS-D2 flash tube broken, common problem?http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=60161
My Story with YS-D2 Strobe
http://wetpixel.com/...1 - entry400625