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Which strobe is the best for me ?


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#21 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 09:38 AM

{Edited comments from 4/22 in brackets - see my post from 4/22}

{The following argument is completely invalid. I am leaving it here to explain some of the invective that followed over the next few posts. I should not have worked from the guide number. Half of anything light related is one stop - one step in aperture, one step in shutter speed or half-ing the strobe output.}

Ikelite says the DS-125 has an UW guide number of 32 for ISO 100. Given a fixed distance of 3 feet, that would make the stop f11. At half power the guide number of 16 would yield f5.6 -- two stops wider than f11.

Dave, why futz with moving the strobe in and out when you can just click a dial? The difference between 7/12 and 8/12 is a third of a stop {or, 1/2 stop if Sea and Sea know their strobe}. How are you going to judge a third of a stop {or a half} by moving the strobe in or out?



[Edited on 4-17-2002 by SharpDiver]

[Edited on 4-22-2002 by SharpDiver]

#22 bobjarman

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 10:08 AM

Which Brings up another issue for us techno-challenged types. When shooting manual, do you adjust the power/distance calculations for the fact the a G2 or similar type digital has f-stop ranges significantly differnt than a traditional 35mm?

If so, how?

:)

#23 davephdv

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 06:49 PM

I find it quicker and easier to adjust the strobe distance of the strobe versus looking at the strobe, reaching out to it turning the dial and checking the dial to see what I turned it to.

I bought 2 90 strobes to use for macro and to use for wide angle when I wanted to travel light. I found I prefered the 50s for macro and the 90s angle of coverage was inadequate without the diffuser and too weak and slow recycling with it. I wish I had never bought them. They are good for macro and close up. I find the 125 much better. It does the macro as well, isn't much bigger, and does wide angle very well. They recycle fast enough for sea lions. A subject which soaks up light and you will never light with a 90.
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#24 davephdv

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 06:57 PM

The only advantage I can imagine for the 90dx is that optical fiber cable if you don't have a hot shoe for camera. That would be usefull.

I find the Ikelite TTL slave strobe much more usefull than the slave sensor mounted on the 90.

Don't flood a 90. They will take 2 months to fix, charge you an arm and a leg, and will always blame you. Almost as bad as Nikon's repair service. Ikelite's service speaks for itself.

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Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

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#25 rmenashes

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 02:25 PM

Hi,
Now I'm Confused ... Aqautica suggested me to go on the Sb-105 , as my impression from all of your replies most of you don't use this strobe ??!! Why? And why Aquatica cust. service insist this is the best one for my set ? I would like a strobe which will do both wide angle and macro the best! If the solution is to use two strobes maybe like DS-125 and DS-50 I'll do it. What do you think do I need 2 strobes or there is one strobe which will do the work good enough so I won't have to spend so much money ??

Thank
Rami M
:)

#26 MikeO

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 03:00 PM

Maybe they sugget the -105 because it is the Nikon product that goes with the camera. However, Ikelite strobes are compatible with Nikon flash protocols as are Sea and Sea strobes. If you are really thinking about getting two strobes, either get two matched ones or get a really big one for wide angle (think Ike Substrobe 200) and a small one for macro (like a plain old Substrobe 50). Since you don't have to worry about the slave sensor operation, you might be wasting some money with the "digital" Ikelite DS series. That being said, the DS-125 is a fairly compact strobe for the power it gives you. For your application, make sure you know what kind of flash cord connector the housing accepts and go from there. For purely manual operation, the adjustability of the YS-90DX is tempting and you could probably get two of them for the cost of one DS-125 and one DS-50. Even if people here think one YS-90DX won't do for wide angle, two YS-90DXs might work!

BTW, ask Aquatica why they recommend the -105. And ask them about TTL. You're spending a lot of money to be an early adopter of their product -- make them earn it!

Mike

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#27 wetpixel

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 07:16 PM

Hey guys -

I love the DS-125, and it is my strobe of choice (runs forever, has a good modeling light), but I do wish it had a "1/16" setting. I have to stop down to f14 or so when shooting macro to not blow things out.

When shooting wide-angle, I'm usually shooting at f8 or so, and dual 1/8th power DS-125s can blow out things that are really close to you -- which they have to be, to fill the frame at 14mm (20mm equivalent). :)
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#28 derway

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 01:15 AM

Generally, when shooting macro with an SLR, you want to shoot at f16 or more, to get as much DOF as possible. Assuming you are going for somewhere in the 1:1 area.

Macro is the area where TTL flash really shines, cause you can get those little tiny blurps, or stop down to f64, and get full dumps...
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#29 professional

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 02:54 AM

Sea and sea Do Not produce any strobe with real TTL metering output control. They can only syn with the digital camera flash and pre-flash. But does not provide any TTL output control. The name DX (sounds very digital and advance) only means it syn with Digital camera's flashes. They are trying their best to hide this technological deficiency.

Ikelite has true TTL output control. Plus it has manual control as well. And I don't think too many levels of manual control on strobe helps a lot when you are underwater. You only need rough estimation of strobe output and use aperture to fine tune your exposure. The Sea and Sea cannot make a strobe true TTL compatible with the camera, so they provide 12 levels manual control for users to do "trial and error" exposure. Of course, it can still do good pix as long as you treat it like a manual flash.

I think DS 125 is superior because you can choose to use manual or TTL. Recycle extremely fast (1 second at full power).

In addition, 1/2 power is 1 stop difference. And the relation between object to light distance and aperture is calculated in different way. Read the basic photography books please.

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#30 MikeO

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 04:26 AM

Hmmm, if this is true then Sea and Sea should be sued for false advertising:

From the Sea and Sea website YS-90DX page:

"A traditional five-pin sync cord synchronizes it with Nikonos and housed Nikon systems."
and
"When used with a traditional sync cord, the YS-90DX operates in TTL automatic, slave and manual modes."

But in this case, as I'm sure you read in the posts in the thread, that point is moot for this specific housing/camera application.

To summarize:

1. With the Aquatica housing, you will not get *any* type of automatic flash exposure (call it TTL, if you like) with the Coolpix-995 because the camera's flash sensor is on the pop-up flash, which can't be used with the housing.
2. Therefore, you must use a manual strobe.
3. Aquatica provides a place to plug in a strobe cable, of undetermined configuration (I assume it would be a standard five-pin connector, but I'm not sure).
4. Therefore, I assume one could plug a synch cord into the housing and after that plug the other end into a strobe.
5. The strobe must understand a Nikon flash protocol to know when it should fire.
6. According to factory literature and the fact that I see people using Nikonos, Sea&Sea and Ikelite strobes with their Nikons all the time, I assume that these strobes will fire in manual mode when a Nikon camera tells them to.
7. Therefore, you could pick any one of the strobes mentioned earlier to work as a manual strobe with the Aquatica/-995 setup.
8. Furthermore, this means you don't need any kind of "digital" strobe for this setup, be it Sea&Sea or Ikelite, or whatever.
9. So, there are lots of choices, including some not mentioned in earlier posts, and each will have advantages and disadvantages.
10. Just to make sure we don't do something stupid, call the housing manufacturer and let them help us with the decision!

If I have any of this wrong, please chime in in a friendly manner -- I'm here to learn, just like everyone else.

Just so everyone knows, I have *two* DS-125's because I want TTL with my Olympus digital camera. However, I don't like the fact that they cannot be used as manual strobes with the camera (my opinion, yours may vary). I bought them because they were the best compromise for me as I like using them with my film camera, too (with synch cords). I also have two Ikelite Substrobe MVs. I own no Sea&Sea strobes. I hope this shows you I have nothing against Ike -- in fact they've been very, very good to me in the past!

Mike Oelrich, an amateur who posts his name and is happy to accept advice from non-patronizing professionals who do likewise . . .



[Edited on 4-19-2002 by MikeO]

[Edited on 4-19-2002 by MikeO]

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#31 bobjarman

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 04:58 AM

Mike,

I agree with the "ttl" claims being a bit misleading. :)

In regards to your ds125 strobes not working on manual, I assume this is because your Oly preflashes even when the camera is on manual?

I tried my DS125 on manual with my g2 on manual mode and it worked perfectly. My and Sharpdivers issue was with the ttl sensor not working.....(you have prob read the post ds125 and g2) But the G2 does not fire a preflash on manual mode so it seemed to work fine.

Have you tried shooting manual on power settings of 1/2 and lower? From what I saw before I had to send it in, the DS125 recycles fast enough to operate in manual mode even with the preflash.

Good luck!

#32 SharpDiver

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 05:40 AM

{Edited comments from 4/22 in brackets - see my post from 4/22}

In addition, 1/2 power is 1 stop difference. And the relation between object to light distance and aperture is calculated in different way. Read the basic photography books please.  


Professional...I did read the book, and used the formula found in Jim Church's Guide to Nikonos to prove that the DS-125 1/2 power is two stops.

You want to back up your statement that 1/2 power is one stop? What Ikelite says is that it is half of a full dump. Given the guide number of a full dump, how are you going to do the math to get one stop from a half dump?

{Professional - whoever he is - was right on this point, and I was wrong. I stand by the rest of my comments in this message}

Sea and sea Do Not produce any strobe with real TTL metering output control. They can only syn with the digital camera flash and pre-flash. But does not provide any TTL output control. The name DX (sounds very digital and advance) only means it syn with Digital camera's flashes. They are trying their best to hide this technological deficiency.  


As for Sea & Sea's TTL capability, no the YS-90DX does not have any TTL capability with a digital camera when triggered by the fiber optic cable and using a camera with pre-flash. I don't think Sea and Sea is trying to hide anything. The strobe does have TTL control in a hardwired situation with a Nikonos or Nikon housed camera.

You only need rough estimation of strobe output and use aperture to fine tune your exposure.


You should use the aperture to set the background exposure (blue water, etc.) and use the strobe to light the foregound correctly. At least that is the way every book I have ever seen on the subject says to do it. But then, you're a professional and Jim Church and Marty Snyderman are just writers (but, at least they use their name).

Ikelite has true TTL output control. Plus it has manual control as well. And I don't think too many levels of manual control on strobe helps a lot when you are underwater.  


Well, now I am going to have to ask you just what is "true" TTL? One of the problems housing and strobe manufacturers are having in the digital world is that every camera manufacturer does it differently, and none of the manufacturers will share the information with the strobe manufacturers (Ike will back me up on this). Ike has tried to solve the problem by inventing a clever sensor that can mimic what the camera's strobe is doing with enough precision to give a correct exposure. This system demands that the camera's internal strobe be "readable". The DS-125 offers no TTL function when hardwired to most digital cameras, only when slave fired. This means any housing that blocks the internal strobe or the sensor that reads the exposure won't work in TTL mode.

As for offering both TTL and Manual control, I am afraid that's not quite accurate, either. If you are using the TTL slave sensor, you have to rely on the TTL exposure. If you're hardwired to a camera such as an Olympus C-4040 in a Tetra housing, the manual controls will work, but the TTL won't. Your statement would be more accurate if you had said that the DS-125 offers TTL "or" Manual. A Nikon digital camera with a hardwired connection "might" offer both, but that is dependent on several factors, such as which camera and how the TTL exposure is read.

Guys, really, I am not trying to say that the YS-90DX is a better strobe than the DS-125. But, the goal of this forum is to share information. Let's make sure the information we share is accurate.

The function of the Ike {digital} TTL Slave sensor has had a history problems. Yes, Ike will take care of the problems, but right now (04/19/02) they are present. I spent a week shooting both of these strobes. I have no shots from the DS-125, I have a gallery full from the YS-90DX. Is that fair to Ikelite? Maybe not, they are going to get a second chance. Is the problem correctable? I don't know. I haven't heard from Ikelite since they got the strobe and sensor back and found a problem in the sensor. No such history can be found on the YS-90DX. If you are using a clear housing, an opaque housing, or a Ziploc bag, the YS-90DX will work with digital cameras.

[Edited on 4-19-2002 by SharpDiver]

[Edited on 4-22-2002 by SharpDiver]

#33 MikeO

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 06:17 AM

Hi Bob,

Yes, you've hit the nail on the head. The Olys preflash even on manual, and yes, the DS-125 recycles fast enough to work as a manual strobe up to about 1/2 power. For the time being, though, I'm using the camera's internal flash exposure compensation function to control output as much as it will let me (+/-2EV). I tried out both my DS-125s and both slave sensors in the pool and all appears to be functioning properly . . .

And now that I'm out of rant mode, I will admit to a bit of cunfusion on the 1/2 power = 1 f/stop thing. I know that an increase of one f/stop (e.g. from f1.4 to f2.0) on a camera lens means that half the light gets through to the camera. I also know that fstop=GN/d, meaning that if half power on the strobe means that the strobe's power is reduced so that its effective GN is cut in half, then the corresponding f/stop on my strobe chart should be also cut in half (if the distance to the subject remains constant). Cutting the f/stop numner in half (e.g. from f2.8 to 1.4) corresponds to a two-stop change. I'm far removed from my college physics courses so I'm probably missing something here. Maybe we need to confirm what "1/2 power" means as far as actual flash output?

Mike Oelrich

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#34 bobjarman

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 07:49 AM

Now I am really confused too. I was always taught reciprocity, Double the light, half the aperture, and vice versa.

And yet I agree that using the Church formula, as mentioned above, that 1/2 power would result in a two stop difference. These two principals seem to be quite conflicting?

sheeeze.....I hope Ike get my 125 working correctly so I can just shoot TTL with in camera flash compensation adjustments. :)

#35 rstark

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 11:28 AM

Where did anyone get the idea that the Sea & Sea YS90DX is not a TTL compatable strobe? It is. When used with the correct sync cord it can be used with any Nikon camera that has TTL strobe capabilities (all Nikon digitals use a flash exposure sensor that is not built in the lens but still does the exact same function). If you set the 90dx on the TTL setting it will use the on camera TTL (or in case of digital TTS, T hrough T he S ensor) system to sqelch the strobe when enough light has hit the TTL or TTS sensor, which is the same way Ike does it. I like both strobes and have owned both and both have advantages and disadvantages but BOTH will do TTL and BOTH will do manual.

________
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#36 bobjarman

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 11:58 AM

Agreed, The literature is pretty clear now that I read it :)

(Cut from the Sea&Sea Home Page)

When used with a traditional sync cord, the YS-90DX operates in TTL automatic, slave and manual modes. When used with digital cameras via an accessory fiber optic cable, the YS- 90DX is slave-fired.

I think the comments were made in regards to anyone who uses any camera other than a nikon digital digital. IE, the D30/60 housing allows for direct hotshoe connections, but the strobes (regardless of what strobe you use) will not work in ttl mode as the camera only supports E-TTL.

Sea&Sea makes a great strobe, and if I had nikon, I might use it. But I can get TTL emulation with Ikelite (at least I hope :) ). So it makes sense in my case to go with Ikelites DS series for the benefit of manual settings and TTL. (Assuming you have a g2 or other camera that doesnt preflash on manual mode)

#37 rstark

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 12:11 PM

By the way FYI.
The way the manual settings on the Sea & Sea YS90DX are setup is as follows (the f stop numbers are for reference as they can be changed by adjusting the strobe to subject distance):
This strobe has seven full stops of adjustment over 12 settings.
Full Power.
7 FULL stops of adjustment (f1.4 - f16)
The first four stops have a half stop adjustment in between the full stop.

Here is the twelve step scale of adjustment for the 90DX if the above wasn't clear.
f16 - full power
f13.5 - half stop less than full power
f11 - one stop less than full power
f9.5 - one and a half stops less than full power
f8 - two stops less than full power
f6.7 - two and a half stops less than full power
f5.6 - three stops less than full power
f4.8 - three and a half stops less than full power
f4 - four stops less than full power
f2.8 - five stops less than full power
f2 - six stops less than full power
f1.4 - seven stops less than full power

As a comparison. My Ikelite Substrobe Ai (yes it's old but still works great) has the following manual settings:
Full power - f16
half power - f11 (one stop less)

[Edited on 4-19-2002 by rstark]

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#38 ikelite

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 01:41 PM

Farris statement of "Find me one post on any bulletin board anywhere of a YS-90DX strobe that didn't work as advertised the moment it was attached" gets my response:

NONE of the YS thingy strobes for which he has such a fetish have ever worked as advertised. Their strobes look beautiful and may work fine, but their outrageous intensity and angle of coverage claims are an absolute disgrace for such a reputable company. Angle of coverage for a SubStrobe 50, YS90 and SB105 are the same except for their absurd advertising claims.

Ikelite also has a product that is not working as advertised. Our wireless TTL Sensor that has worked so well had wrong components installed in some of the last circuit boards. This produced results ranging from erratic to under exposure, and is very embarrassing.

Developing new test procedures to detect such mistakes indicated the exposure uniformity provided by our Sensor can be improved. We will have a new version during May that will provide more consistent performance.

Farris has a problem with his guide number math and understanding photographic principals. Half power on our strobes is ONE stop not the two he reports; 1/4 power is two stops, 1/8 power is three stops. This guru is not always correct in his prolific postings. Half power in photography is ONE f/stop BY DEFINITION.

Farris comment of "The function of the Ike TTL Slave sensor has had a history problems" is absolute bullshit.


awful ike

#39 rstark

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 02:03 PM

I really wish the DS-125 was a little cheaper and had a built in slave sensor. OR, the DS-50 had a few more manual power settings and a built in slave sensor. Why you ask? Because what other company responds to questions on internet forums. Ikelites support/customer service is the best! Have you ever tried getting a direct answer from S&S, I have....I'm still waiting.

________
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#40 wetpixel

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 03:38 PM

You should use the aperture to set the background exposure (blue water, etc.) and use the strobe to light the foregound correctly.  At least that is the way every book I have ever seen on the subject says to do it. But then, you're a professional and Jim Church and Marty Snyderman are just writers (but, at least they use their name).  


Hmmm. I tend to synch my aperture and strobe settings with the distance from my subject, and then use the shutter speed to control the blue.
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