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Nauticam TTL Converter

TTL Strobes focus lights

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#1 JohnVila

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:23 PM

Hi and greetings from Vanuatu.

 

I am new to the forum and have some queries re the Nauticam TTL Converter for Nikon. I have Nikon 500 with Nauticam housing, nauticam ttl converter, one Z240 inon and one D2000 inon strobes. I also use a big blue 2800 torch as a focus light.  I have just made the move to DSLR from an RX100II set up and have never had major problems with strobe output until now (I used TTL only for the Sony)

 

I only recently installed the TTL converter which was ordered with the camera but arrived sometime later. Consequently I have been using manual modes and tried the TTL mode in the last 2 weeks. To my surprise I am finding my shots are very much underexposed. I have been shooting macro with 105mm Nikon lens. In TTL mode I found that increasing strobe power by turning EV switch left made no difference. The settings I had were:

 

  • Strobe switches on TTL
  • nauticam fibre optic connection
  • flash in camera stetting - front curtain sync
  • Both switches on the TTL converter itself are down (for Inon and TTL)
  • On camera - Menu E – bracketing flash:
    • E.1 Flash Sync Speed 1/250 (NOT auto FP)
    • E.2 Flash Shutter speed 1/60
  • Camera was showing I-TTL symbol
  • Camera set on Manual – iso 100, films speeds were varied 80-160, F-stops from 11 to 20
  • Strobes in close to housing, focus light on (white)

I subsequently tried the strobes at home and found that when firing quickly, the Z240 would periodically not fire. I changed the physical TTL switch to manual and found I had full control over the strobes using the strobe dials themselves IF the magnets were engaged.

 

Again in TTL mode on the converter - no real difference  in output by either camera controls or strobe switches. I am a bit perplexed ed as to the TTL issue and was wondering:

 

- what impact does the focus light have -   I had it on high (white light)?

- using two different strobes - Z240 more powerful than D2000 - what impact? Certainly it seems the z240 was taking longer to recycle.

 

Also - re the TTL converter module - my understanding is that to change to manual underwater I need to change camera setting E1 to a sync speed of 1/250 (auto FP). I gather the strobe output settings can also be changed in camera by using flash compensation (-3 ev to +1ev?). Presumably this can be done to change the output in TTL mode as well?

 

I have learned through various forums that with the Inon's and Nikon D500 the strobe magnets need to be "on" tpo have manual control. No issue there - but effectively makes the choice of manual or TTl with the D 2000 difficult as the magnet needs to be screwed in before hand whereas the Z240 is easy to change underwater.

 

My query - when the camera is set at 1/250 (auto FP) with magnets engaged - does this mean the strobes are in full manual mode and able to be controlled in camera and by switch regardless of whether the Converter switch inside the housing is set to M or TTL?

 

I am learning as I go. If anyone has experienced similar issues and can offer some advice I would be most appreciative. There are not many people I can ask here in Vanuatu!

 

Best Regards

 

John

 

 



#2 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 03:06 AM

Helo John,

 

I can help you to solve any problems with TTL lighting.

Also, i can tell you that previous month I tested 2 housings NA-D500 in my place, with Z-240 strobes. TTL system works perfect there.  

If your Z240 fires only from time to time, gives wrong lighting and etc., i understand that something is wrong in your setup or usage. Maybe the reason is defected core FO cable, or defected strobe, or wrong LED installation, wrong modes, and etc.

 

First of all, please show a photo of installed TTL Converter, to look how are LEDs installed in optical bulkheads. And the photo of your FO cable. What is Nauticam product number for that cable type?, how old is the cable?

 

To make your system clear test, do step by step:

1) Install LEDs maximum deep inside optical bulkheads. Push the LED by any tool, maximum deep. LED must be max close to optical cable end.

2) Use only new and undamaged Nauticam FO cable. For NA-D500 housing and Z-240 you must use only #26211 cable. TTL Converter #26308 is calibrated for it. Change the cable to new, maybe the fibre core inside it is defected.

3) Install new batteries CR2032 to TTL Converter.

4) Install fresh charged ENELOOP batteries to Z240.

5) Set both switches (1, 2) of TTL-Converter board to OFF position (for Z240 profile usage).

4) Make initial test now using only 1 strobe Z240, on the land, in medium conditions. Better take another Z240 than yours, from any friend, just for test. And you have to exclude all other components from the lighting system, to clear the test.

Set Z240 initial mode: left switch - "S-TTL", right switch - "12 o'clock" (zero correction).

Camera initial settings: Exposure compensation - 0 ev, Flash Exposure compensation - 0 ev. Max sync speed (by menu): 1/200 without Auto FP.  Shutter speed - 1/200. If you test macro, better set aperture F16-F22, for wide angle set aperture F11.  

TTL-Converter confirms "TTL Mode" by green light of status LED after each flash. Check it also.

 

After the test, please inform us about results.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 07 June 2017 - 04:05 AM.


#3 TimG

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 03:46 AM

Pavel, you really are The Man. You're a superb source of TTL advice. Thanks so much.

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


#4 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:01 AM

.......

:)

Tim, thank you for the kind words!

I am happy to help if i can.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 07 June 2017 - 05:00 AM.


#5 JohnVila

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:42 PM

Hi Pavel

Thank you so much for making such an effort to reply. I have done as you suggested - with the exception of trying another z240 - the problem here is that there are very few u/w photographers and we have to order everything from US or Australia. Taking your points in turn (in caps – I tried a different colour text but would not show up)

 

1) Install LEDs maximum deep inside optical bulkheads. Push the LED by any tool, maximum deep. LED must be max close to optical cable end – DONE PUSHED TO VERY TOP WITH BROKEN TOOTHPICK

 

2) Use only new and undamaged Nauticam FO cable. For NA-D500 housing and Z-240 you must use only #26211 cable. TTL Converter #26308 is calibrated for it. Change the cable to new, maybe the fibre core inside it is defected. – CABLES ARE 26211, 10 DIVES MAX AS I ONLY RECENTLY BOUGHT THE SYSTEM. NO SIGNS OPF ANY DAMAGE. PIC ATTACHED (APOLOGY FOR FOCUS!)

 

3) Install new batteries CR2032 to TTL Converter -  YES NEW BATTERIES

 

4) Install fresh charged ENELOOP batteries to Z240. - DONE

 

5) Set both switches (1, 2) of TTL-Converter board to OFF position (for Z240 profile usage)  -  BOTH DOWN (OFF) - POSITION D1 AND TTL (PHOTO ATTACHED)

 

6) Make initial test now using only 1 strobe Z240, on the land, in medium conditions. Better take another Z240 than yours, from any friend, just for test. And you have to exclude all other components from the lighting system, to clear the test. - DONE - MIXED RESULTS BUT ACCEPTABLE - DONE AT NIGHT IN LIT ROOM - FOUND THAT STROBE FIRED PERFECTLY - NO MISFIRES AND COULD SHOOT CONTINUOUSLY

 

7) Set Z240 initial mode: left switch - "S-TTL", right switch - "12 o'clock" (zero correction). - ok - done. I also tried +/- adjustments but to be honest could see no discernible difference, either with the dials or on camera. I ALSO TRIED ON "FULL" WHICH PRODUCED A FULL DUMP. USED BOTH STROBES AS WELL - FIRED TOGETHER NO PROBLEM.

 

8) Camera initial settings: Exposure compensation - 0 ev, Flash Exposure compensation - 0 ev. Max sync speed (by menu): 1/200 without Auto FP.  Shutter speed - 1/200. If you test macro, better set aperture F16-F22, for wide angle set aperture F11.  -  TRIED FROM F16 TO F22 AND 1/200 AS SUGGESTED - AT F22 IT WAS UNDEREXPOSED - TWEAK OF ISO FIXED THAT.

 

9) TTL-Converter confirms "TTL Mode" by green light of status LED after each flash. Check it also  .CONFIRMED - BOTH THE CONVERTER AND THE STROBES LIT GREEN.

 

FROM HERE - I WILL TEST UNDERWATER ON SUNDAY! PAVEL I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSE. HAVE YOU ANY COMMENTS ON THE FOLLOWING:

 

1. change from ttl to manual on camera underwater: set to 1/25 (auto FP) / magnets in / strobe to manual / adjust with strobe EV switch or on camera?

2. in ttl mode - best way to increase or decrease output - on camera or ev switch on strobe? Is it ok to use the strobes on full when the converter itself is set to TTL?

3. best flash sync speed? Is it best to set high?

4. What is the flash shutter speed setting - max of 1/60 on D500

5. I use a big blue 2800 as a focus light - was using the white LED but now think I will change to red. Can a focus light interfere with TTL strobe output?

6. Lastly!! I have the z240 and a D2000 - different outputs i understand. I was thinking of getting another z240 to match but then only read yesterday that INON are discontinuing it - if I wait for the new model then once again I won't have matching strobes! Dilemma!!

Thanks again Pavel. As we have so few photographers here it is great to get some solid advice!

 

All the best

 

John

Attached Images

  • TTL converter.jpg
  • sync cords.jpg

Edited by JohnVila, 07 June 2017 - 04:51 PM.


#6 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:11 AM

....  ACCEPTABLE - DONE AT NIGHT IN LIT ROOM - FOUND THAT STROBE FIRED PERFECTLY - NO MISFIRES AND COULD SHOOT CONTINUOUSLY

As i see, the test is successful. TTL-Converter works.

This is #26307 product on the picture. LEDs are installed correctly.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 08 June 2017 - 04:14 AM.


#7 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:54 AM

8) Camera initial settings: Exposure compensation - 0 ev, Flash Exposure compensation - 0 ev. Max sync speed (by menu): 1/200 without Auto FP.  Shutter speed - 1/200. If you test macro, better set aperture F16-F22, for wide angle set aperture F11.  -  TRIED FROM F16 TO F22 AND 1/200 AS SUGGESTED - AT F22 IT WAS UNDEREXPOSED 

If you shoot macro without diffuser, the F22 is normal setting. TLL exposure should be perfect. If you have very significant underexposure at F22, i suspect that your Z-240 strobe maybe has a problem. You have to test another strobe (Z240, or YS-D1), to clear this fact.

 

I can explain such potential problem with the strobe:

All xenon strobes have a main capacitor, which accumulates high energy for each flash. Those large electrolytic capacitors are rather unstable in parameters, especially after years of usage. Capacitance go down, often appears current leakages, and etc. This is because of technology. Some capacitors have factory tolerance +/- 10...20%. So, in many cases user have to tune a little bit the TTL system (use +/- ev small constant correction) even for new strobe.  But after few years of strobe usage the difference from nominal capacity sometimes becomes significantly worse. User have to look his strobe behavior from time to time, to be sure that it is Ok. For example, Z240 has 500mf*330v  2pcs capacitors in parallel. I repaired enough strobes, where one of those capacitors totally had lost nominal parameters. This case Z240 performs less light power, it may be not enough for shooting at F22-F36, and also the TTL-curve shape is different from nominal Z240 TTL-curve.

This is a subject for your check. Of course, TTL-Converter also can be defected, why no, but I would try another Z240 first to be sure in concrete strobe perfect condition.

 

If your strobe may be a bit different from nominal parameters, you can use +/- ev correction on the strobe body, or by the camera +/- ev "flash exposure compensation". TTL-Converter #26307 supports such correction. This is normal way, user has to use available features widely as necessary.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 08 June 2017 - 04:32 AM.


#8 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 05:24 AM

change from ttl to manual on camera underwater: set to 1/25 (auto FP) / magnets in / strobe to manual / adjust with strobe EV switch or on camera?

 

I use both ways for switching to Manual Mode underwater, dependently of mood:

- Switch TTL/M by the dial switch on the strobe body to M position. If TTL-Converter is in TTL mode, push Z240 magnet to down position to ignore pre-flashes. This is classic way.

- Switch TTL/M by the camera "Auto FP" function. This way gives possibility to keep hands on the camera. In this Manual mode you also can adjust flash power manually by the camera wheel, it is comfortable.

 

 Is it ok to use the strobes on full when the converter itself is set to TTL?

 

Yes, you can use strobe in FULL power mode when the Converter is in TTL mode.

Push magnet to "down" position, set left dial switch to FULL position.

 

in ttl mode - best way to increase or decrease output - on camera or ev switch on strobe?

 

Both ways for Z240 are normal:

- Dial switch on the Z240 body for +/-ev correction. Pay attention that "zero" correction is "12 o'clock" position.  Interesting, that Z240 dial switch usage is more effective in +/-TTL control under LED TTL-Converters, than under camera's pop-up flash control. This is because of LED's signal shape.

- Camera +/- ev Flash Exposure Compensation function. TTL-Converter reads this info from camera and correct lighting. Such correction is more effective and available range is more wide .

 

best flash sync speed? Is it best to set high?

 

I use max sync speed 1/200 (set by camera menu). 1/200 is classic value for modern Nikon cameras with mechanical shutter. This is the min time when mechanical shutter window is fully open.  Some cameras have 1/250, but it is almost the same. Old Nikon cameras, like D50 and similar, had electronic-mechanical shutter with max sync speed up to 1/500. I tested that TTL Converter with Nikon D50 at 1/500, - it works perfect.

On modern cameras users set 1/200 or 1/250 sync speed. Camera recognizes TTL device on its HotShoe and automatically limits available speeds not faster than 1/200 (1/250), you see it on the camera service screen.

Pay attention, that this value is just a max sync speed. Real shutter speed can be set slower, as you need to control it for desired exposure under sunlight (1/125, 1/60, ... and etc.).

 

I use a big blue 2800 as a focus light - was using the white LED but now think I will change to red. Can a focus light interfere with TTL strobe output?

 

TTL camera system receives reflected light of pre-flash, calculate the main flash basing on it.  If you torch gives very strong constant light to any area of the subject, yes, certainly it will reduce main flash as a result, pictures can be a bit underexposured. Better set small power of focusing light. For macro shooting the 150 lm focusing light is enough.

 

Lastly!! I have the z240 and a D2000 - different outputs i understand. I was thinking of getting another z240 to match but then only read yesterday that INON are discontinuing it - if I wait for the new model then once again I won't have matching strobes! Dilemma!!

 

Yes, there will be new Inon strobe on the market soon. What is better - buy Z240 strobes just now, or wait for a new model?  It's up to you.  Z240 is very nice strobe, it is still the best in this class of compact wideangle strobes. 

Maybe new strobe will have some improvements, who knows. By the way, we don't know what TTL-curve it will have, perhaps it will be similar Z240, but maybe no.  In case of different TTL curve, Nauticam will prepare one more new TTL profile, it may be new version of Converter. If TTL curve will be the same as Z240, no problem to use all previous Converters. This will be a subject for test, when new strobe appears. 


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 08 June 2017 - 06:47 AM.


#9 JohnVila

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:16 PM

As i see, the test is successful. TTL-Converter works.

This is #26307 product on the picture. LEDs are installed correctly.

Interesting - I had no idea what I had received -- most of the pics online showed a blue converter, my one is black. The manual is 26307. The converter came months after I purchased the housing as the dealer wanted to wait for the current model! I even emailed Nauticam to check what I had and was told:

 

"The currently shipping model is actually 26308.  It is black, and replaced 26307 (blue).

Your dealer likely just rolled the order over.  There was no functionality taken away in this update, but two new electronic strobe profiles (supporting YS-250 and Ikelite DS 160) were added"

 

I guess it makes no difference!!



#10 JohnVila

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:24 PM

Pavel - what can I say!! Thank you so much for such an informative reply!! The manual that came with the converter is up to the usual INON standard, but not quite as bad as the Z240 manual!! You have very clearly explained all my queries.

 

I think Nauticam will have some upset customers, myself included, if the existing converters cannot handle their new strobe profile, particularly as I only received mine a month ago! Perhaps I will buy one more z240 to replace the D2000 whilst they are still available.

 

Once again - Thank you

 

John



#11 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:26 PM

Interesting - I had no idea what I had received -- most of the pics online showed a blue converter, my one is black. The manual is 26307. The converter came months after I purchased the housing as the dealer wanted to wait for the current model! I even emailed Nauticam to check what I had and was told:

 

"The currently shipping model is actually 26308.  It is black, and replaced 26307 (blue).

Your dealer likely just rolled the order over.  There was no functionality taken away in this update, but two new electronic strobe profiles (supporting YS-250 and Ikelite DS 160) were added"

 

I guess it makes no difference!!

NA-D500 housings are supplied with green color Manual Trigger board. Blue color has only Manual Trigger for NA-D5 housing, it is little bit different in shape and does not fit to NA-D500 mount.

Manual Trigger is included to standard housing set (D5, D500), preinstalled on the factory.

 

All Nauticam TTL-Converters are made in black color. There are TTL boards #26307 and #26308 on the market now. Both boards look almost the same. The difference in functionality is additional YS-250/ DS-161 support. But for usage with your Z-240 setup both boards have absolutely the same functionality, no any difference.

Your TTL-Converter is absolutely normal. You have to sort out with concrete strobes and everything will be fine.


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 09 June 2017 - 04:21 AM.


#12 JohnVila

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 04:06 PM

Hi again Pavel

 

Thanks for all your help. I am convinced I have a strobe issue! Frankly shooting in TTl is proving frustrating - probably user error! Go out yesterday morning and was determined to simply play around with strobe settings. I found that TTL was completely underexposed. I tried a few examples using TTL and then changing left dial to full on both strobes. The difference is very noticeable. I have attached an example - please ignore the subject, lion ttl.jpg lion full.jpg framing, focus etc -  it is just to show the difference - shot 1 is taken with strobes set to TTL, shot 2 the same photo with strobes both set to "full". Strobe placement the same in both shots - strobes pulled in behind port. Both shots taken: 1/200, F18, ISO 252 (why 252 -- ---- gloves!). Lens is 105mm.

 

Beginning to think I should change back to Manual! Unfortunately there is nobody I know where with another inon strobe I can try. I might try a mid week dive with my old sony set up to see if it has the same problem.

 

Regards

 

John



#13 Pavel Kolpakov

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 03:21 AM

 1/200, F18, ISO 252 (why 252 -- ---- gloves!). 

Hi John,

 

Looking to your last picture, which made at manual mode FULL energy, i see that F18 is a max aperture with normal exposure at macro distance about 0.3m and ISO 250. What will be at F22-F36? It looks like the strobe issue.

I shoot macro usually at ISO 200 with Z240, often at F22-F32, and have a normal exposure.

If you plan to buy one more Z240, you can compare it. Anyway, you need a second Z240 to build a pair.

 

By the way, what do you mean ISO-252 ? Maybe 250 ?


Edited by Pavel Kolpakov, 12 June 2017 - 03:47 AM.


#14 JohnVila

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 01:22 PM

Ha -- 252 -- funnily enough in windows ophoto viewer it showed 252, it should of course be 250. Thanks for your help. I will try again this weekend. Cheers







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