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RETRA Strobe Thread


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#81 Gemma Dry

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:54 AM

While it is true that Retra are sending an additional 480 Euros, we are actually not gaining anything in this transaction as it is made to sound.

The devil's in the detail you see.

That 480 Euros is split between 3 people, has to be accepted back into Rand and has been sent via Paypal.

In South Africa you can only withdraw from Paypal into one specific bank who take their cut, Paypal take their cut and to add insult to injury the exchange rate offered by First National Bank is always bad.

At the end of the day we are still out of pocket after waiting months, and having multiple failed delivery promises.... so in no way are any of us benefitting from this.  Frankly it is the least they should do.

 

I would also like to make very clear that in no way has Allen mislead me at all with regard to delivery dates.

It is actually the direct conversations I have had with Oskar that have been in my opinion deliberately misleading.

For example this..

"All preorders will be shipping at the end of August and most of them should also be delivered until the end of August as they are shipped with DHL Express"   Allen didn't tell me that, it came from your own mouth.

 

At the end of September when I had received nothing and heard nothing I contacted you again, and got told I should have subscribed to your newsletter.

 

I then contacted Allen as he had been away as we have been told by Retra it was going to be June, then July, then August and now it was the end of September and really nothing seemed to be happening apart from the same repeated statements that shipping would be happening in the next 2 weeks etc.

 

I think quite understandably all 3 of us are quite upset at the way Retra have handled this situation.

The accusation of bullying is simply outrageous.  A customer expressing their dissatisfaction does not amount to bullying!

Maybe some people have the luxury of being able to spend out a lot of money, and just receive back empty promises for months on end, but in South Africa these are expensive items.  A luxury product if you like, and so I do think we are perfectly within our rights to be upset.

Allen wrote you a perfectly reasonable e mail which he has posted on the thread above, to which you sent back a link to Wetpixel and a comment about the agony of strobe making.

 

Allen still wants his strobes, and personally I think you should honour your promise to him.

Personally I have no interest anymore in dealing with a company that sends me an e mail like this in response to a genuine customer complaint.

"We will not be sending your our products, you’ve gotten your money back and more. Go somewhere else where you’ll get the professional treatment you talk about.

 
It’s over.

Oskar Zupancic"
 
 


#82 balexandrescu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:40 AM

I was wondering what the approximate shipping date would be if one were to place an order today. Thanks so much.
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#83 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:53 AM

I was wondering what the approximate shipping date would be if one were to place an order today. Thanks so much.
Bogdan


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Hi Bogdan, thank you for your message. 

 

We are shipping now and the majority of pre-orders should be leaving in the next 3 weeks.

An estimated delivery date if you ordered now would be 4-5 weeks.

 

Thanks


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#84 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:12 PM

Oskar, how do I get the newsletter?  Couldn'd find a link on the Retra site.



#85 Oskar@RetraUWT

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:38 PM

Hi Guy, you can subscribe on the bottom of our homepage: https://www.retra-uwt.com

Thanks

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#86 Stefan Ekman

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:46 PM

 

While it is true that Retra are sending an additional 480 Euros, we are actually not gaining anything in this transaction as it is made to sound.

The devil's in the detail you see.

That 480 Euros is split between 3 people, has to be accepted back into Rand and has been sent via Paypal.

In South Africa you can only withdraw from Paypal into one specific bank who take their cut, Paypal take their cut and to add insult to injury the exchange rate offered by First National Bank is always bad.

At the end of the day we are still out of pocket after waiting months, and having multiple failed delivery promises.... so in no way are any of us benefitting from this.  Frankly it is the least they should do.

 

I would also like to make very clear that in no way has Allen mislead me at all with regard to delivery dates.

It is actually the direct conversations I have had with Oskar that have been in my opinion deliberately misleading.

For example this..

"All preorders will be shipping at the end of August and most of them should also be delivered until the end of August as they are shipped with DHL Express"   Allen didn't tell me that, it came from your own mouth.

 

At the end of September when I had received nothing and heard nothing I contacted you again, and got told I should have subscribed to your newsletter.

 

I then contacted Allen as he had been away as we have been told by Retra it was going to be June, then July, then August and now it was the end of September and really nothing seemed to be happening apart from the same repeated statements that shipping would be happening in the next 2 weeks etc.

 

I think quite understandably all 3 of us are quite upset at the way Retra have handled this situation.

The accusation of bullying is simply outrageous.  A customer expressing their dissatisfaction does not amount to bullying!

Maybe some people have the luxury of being able to spend out a lot of money, and just receive back empty promises for months on end, but in South Africa these are expensive items.  A luxury product if you like, and so I do think we are perfectly within our rights to be upset.

Allen wrote you a perfectly reasonable e mail which he has posted on the thread above, to which you sent back a link to Wetpixel and a comment about the agony of strobe making.

 

Allen still wants his strobes, and personally I think you should honour your promise to him.

Personally I have no interest anymore in dealing with a company that sends me an e mail like this in response to a genuine customer complaint.

"We will not be sending your our products, you’ve gotten your money back and more. Go somewhere else where you’ll get the professional treatment you talk about.

 
It’s over.

Oskar Zupancic"
 
 

 

 

As I understand it:

1. You ordered the strobes early and got the big discount. This was when the strobes were being developed and long before production would start

2. You booked a trip before shipment had started based on the dates provided. Dates that had been moved a couple of times. Courageous, but perhaps not so smart.

3. The dates slips again and you continue sending mail with complaints. This is in a situation were the guys at Retra is probably working 12-15 hour days dealing with all the minutiae of getting the stuff manufactured, tested and delivered. Hardly productive.

4. Retra don't see any way of deliver to your expectations, so the best from their point of view is to terminate the deal.

 

I can understand that you are frustrated, but so are the Retra guys. They are trying to deliver, but there are thousand of small and big things to fix and get the product delivered. They are not trying to screw with you. So while the information could be better (communication is the hardest of all tasks), I see no indication that they are not doing their best to deliver. You complaining about it does not change the delivery date.

 

What are you trying to achieve with all this? What is the goal? If you still want the strobes, you are not making a very good case for yourselves. 

 

Have look at notalwaysright.com


Edited by Stefan Ekman, 12 October 2017 - 12:50 PM.

Stefan


#87 Gemma Dry

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:39 PM

Stefan, it was not continuous e mails as you state. We sent one each.... which after months of being fobbed off I think is allowed.

Retra have definitely alienated me for sure... who am I, nobody in the greater scheme of things. Just a newcomer finding her feet.  Allen and Barry, well personally if I were them I would have looked after those two a bit better from a potential business point of view.

We didn't harass.  All we did was ask When will it actually be delivered..... and month after month we were essentially lied to.

I would rather have been told in Feb that delivery would be Oct/Nov   that would have been fine.

Also the customer relations side has been shocking!

 

We are not trying to achieve anything!

I have told Oskar I accept the refund... I honestly don't want to deal with a company that treats its customers like this (we were pretty much the first investors btw)

Allen wants the strobes still...so I am fully supporting him that they should supply them.

I don't want them!

Imagine if something went wrong and you had a customer complaint or they need a repair!  If they treat that how they have dealt with the orders Hell no!

I am sure they are great, and everyone will love them when they get them. I just am not prepared to be treated in this manner.

 

Gemma Dry


Edited by Gemma Dry, 12 October 2017 - 01:41 PM.


#88 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:20 AM

It looks like Oskar's tone might have been blunt, but his actions showed integrity.  A full refund, and Retra paying for the risk of currency fluctuations seems, to me, the best resolution anyone could hope for.  

 

I think it is unfortunate that you as customers were alienated.  I know that, several times since February, I either posted here or on Retra's facebook page about updates to delivery dates, and the responses were always fast and honest and not at all hostile despite my occasional prodding..

 

While I wanted them earlier, I knew I was financing a start-up venture in a niche industry with a niche product.  I fully expected that time frames might slip (and it seems some of the slippage was due to making some significant improvements to the flashes).

 

I would never have dreamed of planning an important trip or photo shoot on the arrival of these flashes.  When one of my existing flashes died, I just soldiered on with one  and if needed I would have bought a used replacement.

 

Certainly, if I were a dive professional, I would not have made services to my customers contingent on a product whose production I had no control over.

 

I don't see any reason from how Retra acted to doubt their customer service.  Of course, I know that if a flash breaks service will be a long process (shipping to Europe and back, etc).  I, like all of us early adopters, are taking the chance that the strobes will be reliable and bulletproof and not need service.



#89 Footloose_za

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:24 AM

Hi - I have been in the dive industry a long time and in production and know the problems. I pre-ordered the Retra Flash along with Allen Walker and Gemma. We understood the position of a new company starting up.

 

 

My concerns were raised when we did not get any delivery after receiving written confirmation from Oska that they were to be delivered within 10 days, this started in June if I am not mistaken. Following this we received other e-mails from Oska stating the same - delivery in 10 or 15 days. After, I think  the fourth such mail we now started to wonder what was going on? If we had received a mail saying hey guys we are much later than planned and that delivery has been pushed back, we would have understood.

 

 

The simple fact that we were told to expect them and then did not after so many times was not good business.

 

 

The refund from Oska was given but not with any apology, it was quite the opposite.

 

 

If I am asked about Retra at DEMA and around, I will certainly say “wait and see”. Having had this service to-date what may be the service when products are returned? And there will be returns, because in manufacturing it is inevitable.   

 

 

I hope others have a better experience than me with Retra now and in the future…

 

Barry 


Edited by Footloose_za, 17 October 2017 - 12:34 AM.


#90 bvanant

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:57 AM

This is an interesting discussion that most people in product development can relate to. If I tell you I will have your product on Tuesday and give it to you on Wednesday you are very unhappy; if I tell you you will have your product on Thursday and you get it on Wednesday you are happy.  Unfortunately it appears that what should have happened was that Retra should have said "we will get you your strobes by the end of the year" when in fact it appears that they kept saying "10 days" when they surely knew that 10 days was a complete joke.  We all know that things take time and that new products take a lot of time but managing perceptions of your customers is the job the marketing guys and these guys didn't do that very well.  

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#91 Gemma Dry

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:37 AM

Thank you Bill. That is our point entirely.

If we were told it would come at the end of 2017 there would have been no issue at all if we knew that in advance.

It was the constant, we are shipping, etc...... that just after 4 times just started to not fly with me.

 

rather be upfront.



#92 stewsmith

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:47 AM

Wow this thread made for interesting reading. I totally feel for anyone that were hoping to get theirs by a certain date only to not get them. Then be promised another date and to not get them again. My dealings with Oskar via social media messages has been absolutely faultless. He has always been polite, replied to many messages of mine almost immediately and warned me of when I would realistically expect to get my delivery if I was to place an order today. I will be making my purchase this evening and hopefully Retra will deliver when they say.

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#93 ianmarsh

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 01:28 PM

My 2 cents worth on Retra:

 

I emailed Oskar last Sunday, he answered within 10 minutes.

 

Strobes shipped Tuesday from Slovenia, in my hands in British Columbia by Friday afternoon. All safe and sound

 

Strobes are a beautiful pieces of elegant design. They look very robust.

 

Tested out S-TTL protocol with UW Technics board (Thank you Pavel!) for Seacam. Testing done in air.

 

Strobes respond MOST like Z240 YS-D1 setting (position 0) on UWTechnics board. YS-D2 position (position 2) on board overexposes in the middle apertures. Position 1 and 3 grossly over exposes.

 

Can't say enough about Oskar  and his company!!!

 

Will wait and see about durability, but feeling very confident

 

ian


Edited by ianmarsh, 28 October 2017 - 01:29 PM.


#94 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:23 AM

Got my shipping notice today.  Thanks Oskar!



#95 E_viking

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:11 PM

I recived mine last friday. Unfortunately no time to test them in Water.

 

However, they look very solid and sturdy.

 

 

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#96 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 01:03 PM

My kit just arrived.  Two days from Slovenia to Florida, amazing!

 

The quality of the strobes, battery packs, accessories and LSD are superb and seem rock solid.  The solid aluminum housing is a thing of beauty.  No comparison to the plastic housings of my YS-D1.   I have not seen quality like this since I looked at Seacam stuff.  Even nicer, neoprene covers included to make the strobes and battery packs neutrally buoyant.  When I attached the extended battery pack, it was also rock solid, no flex, seemed like a single unit.  Controls still accessible.

 

this is just a very well designed set of gear

 

i might post some photos tomorrow.

 

Trying to book a hammerhead shark dive to test these babies out!



#97 Oceanus

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 11:23 PM

I received my pair of Retra Flash and my LSD this week. Dived with it yesterday, my first impression is that this is really solid, well designed equipment. 

 
From many years in business process outsourcing, i.e. handling customer service on behalf of global brands, I must say I’m  impressed with the service from Retra. 
 
I took the best offer and ordered in the end of February. I have placed two add-on orders since then, to be delivered with the Flashes. I expected delays, after all I had placed an order for a product still being developed. 
 
All though encountering delays, Retra did everything right. They kept me informed. They set the expectations right. And they delivered on promise, on the exact date they said they would, and everything received as ordered. That would give high customer satisfaction scores on pretty much any scale I have seen. 
 
Its easy to be a good supplier when everything runs smoothly. Its when something goes wrong you can separate a good supplier from a bad one. In my case Retra handled things very well also when facing delays, and in my opinion they have demonstrated everything I look for in a good supplier. In comparison, I own gear from suppliers very far from Retras standard when it comes to customer experience. 
 
Just wanted to share my views on the customer service part after reading this thread. Have a nice sunday everyone, I’m off playing with my new Flashes. 

Edited by Oceanus, 02 December 2017 - 11:28 PM.

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#98 JoshW

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:34 PM

Having just returned from a trip I wanted to take a moment and comment on the Retras. They arrived just days before I departed for a two week trip to Truk Lagoon. Other than a couple workbench tests, I had no time to get them in the water before leaving which had me feeling a little nervous. I essentially showed up in Truk and jumped in the water with them for the first time. They preformed flawlessly, where very easy to use/learn, and provided some really beautiful light that was easy to control. Max depth I had them to was about 200ft and all dives were longish rebreather dives, often with penetration; the Retras never missed a beat or a shot! They are really well made and engineered. Even without the extended battery pack continuous shooting was not an issue. They would easily fire for 3-4 continuous shots using Eneloop Pros before one dark frame and than 3-4 continuous again. I may pick up the extended battery pack at some point but they more than meet my exceptions for my shooting style. The pilot light is also a nice feature and doubled as a video light in dark engine rooms with the lowlight capabilities of the 5D. I will post a photo or 2 when I get some edited. Long term reliability in our cold North Atlantic water is TBD, but so far I'm very happy with my purchase! Thanks for a great product!


Edited by JoshW, 13 December 2017 - 08:36 PM.


#99 mscott556

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:25 AM

I pre-ordered a pair from Reef a couple weeks ago!



#100 Stefan Ekman

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 04:55 AM

Just came back from one week in Hurghada / Red Sea, so here is quick summary.

 

TL;DR: They are even better than I had hoped!

 

Build Quality

They are built like the proverbial tank and feel solid and professional. The battery compartment has the polarity of the batteries clearly marked and as with most gadgets you have to insert them in alternate positions (it would have been nice if the two middle batteries had the same polarity and the end batteries opposite, as it would make it easier to remember and same regardless if the strobe is up or down). I like that the screw to the battery hatch engage before the o-ring make contact.

 

Handling

Buttons have clear and distinct positions and feel. After a couple of hours, you no longer look at the strobe, but do everything by touch. I also like that the focus light start at the weak level. In most cases a quick click on one strobe is enough to get the camera to focus. I appreciate that there are no quirks that you need to learn – it always behaves as you would expect it to. Everything seem well thought out.

 

Power

I could easily go three or four dives (each 60+ minutes) without having to recharge the batteries. I might be able to do this with my old strobes (Inon and Sea&Sea) but would never dare – I hate to have to stop taking pictures in a middle of a dive. With the Retra you can quickly see the current battery status. I did not think that would be as useful as it turned out. Now I know if the batteries will last for a full dive.

 

Flash

The strobes have plenty of power. I tend to do mostly macro so I usually had the strobes on lowest setting. Never once did I have to go to full power, even when taking wide-angle landscape directly against the sun. These are the first strobes that delivery all the light I need and then some. Power is easy to control using manual setting and it became easy to get the setting right on the first try after a couple of dives.

 

The bad (for now)

I did not manage to get TTL working with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. Probably a pre-flash timing issue with the specific Olympus camera model as the Strobes fire but the picture is dark. I understand Retra is currently working on fixing this (they have been very responsive when I sent emails on this and were already aware of this issue). Btw, this is not a problem unique to Retra, my Sea&sea have always been finicky to get the TTL to work - I can't use the highest power setting and TTL at the same time.

 

Conclusion

This is by far the best strobe I have used, and I have no doubt I will be using it for a long time. Plenty of power, easy to understand and use. It gets out of the way and allow me to focus on taking pictures.

 

Anyone wants to buy a couple of Inon D2000 and Seas&Sea YS-D2?


Edited by Stefan Ekman, 16 December 2017 - 05:09 AM.

Stefan