Jump to content


Photo

Sea & Sea vs Ikelite


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 TMondell

TMondell

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 05 May 2008 - 11:40 PM

Hi All,

I am completely new to u/w photography, and diving for that matter. I have just recently become scuba certified, and love it, but you all know the feeling. I have been doing research for months now, and am torn on which way to go, as far as gear is concerned. From what I've read, most people that have either Sea & Sea, or Ikelite housing, are quite happy with them. I mean, obviously most of it depends on personal preference, however, I haven't seen many people that post here, listing Ikelite as part of their gear (not the housing anyways). I have read great reviews on Ikelite's DS-125 strobes, for all around macro and w/a. I was also told by a scuba instructor that Sea & Sea strobes are what I should go with, YS-250Pros. I think that I am leaning towards the Ikelite strobes, but a S&S housing (MDX-40D, I am going to buy a Canon 40D, I currently have 400D). Is this a mistake? I also am clueless to using strobes made by a different company than the housing. Is it better to go with all the same company? Or is it easier? I understand that Ikelite is the cheaper or the two, but I'm more concerned with long-term performance.

Thank you all for your time. I'm sure that somewhere these questions have all already been answered, I have been browsing through the website, it's just such a huge resource, it's hard to cover it all. If anyone has any suggestions. I would prefer to have most of my functions/buttons accessible on the camera. And is it a plus to have Ikelite, since it is clear, for seeing if there are any leaks? (I have seen moisture control alarms around, don't know much about it, or if visibility inside the housing even matters when you have an alarm?) Once again, thank you all for your time.


Tim

#2 Steve Williams

Steve Williams

    Humpback Whale

  • Moderator
  • 3040 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona
  • Interests:Protecting our Ocean, Environmental Education,
    Having fun and Living Well

Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:19 AM

Hi Tim,

Welcome to Wetpixel. I really don't think you can go too far wrong either way you decide to go. I have the Sea & Sea rig and I'm very pleased with my decision. I'm sure the folks who went with Ikelite would say the same thing. I would recommend you figure out a way to go see and put your hands on both of them. See how the controls fit you. There is a lot to be said for both. Both have improved their designs and build quailty recently so you have to be careful when you talk to folks who have an opinion. They may be using "old data". Ike has a great reputation for customer service. I prefer Sea & Sea's port system and the new MDX aluminum housings are impressive. Ikelite will be less expensive. I haven't used the 40D in the Ike housing so get some info from folks who have. Try to get to Backscatter or Reef Photo or UPT and take a look. Have them add up the whole package, ports, strobes, etc. so you have a basis for comparison. Good luck! Enjoy the journey. ;)

Steve

The Fin Foundation
My Images on Flikr

Canon7D & 40D, 60mm, 100mm, 17-40L, Tokina 10-17, Nauticam 7D, Sea & Sea MDX-40D YS-250's ULCS arms, Lightroom


#3 Alexx

Alexx

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 157 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Croatia/Split
  • Interests:Tec diving, Cave diving, UW photography and videography.

Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:54 AM

I think you are aware that this is very expensive sport:) Recently I bought whole setup for my 400D, I will add picture so you can see. Whole equipment cost very much so pick carefully:)My vote goes for Sea&Sea:)

Posted Image

Posted Image

Also I am bit concerned about all that O-rings, there are plenty of them and I`m bit scared of leaking...will see on friday when I go in the sea for first time with these setup!

Cheers

Canon 7D, Aquatica housing, 2 x Inon Z240, Canon 16-35 f2.8, Tokina 10-17, Canon 100mm macro, 2x Inon LE550W, 2xMangrove 4L6 lights


- Vimeo Channel -


#4 davehicks

davehicks

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 293 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle, WA USA

Posted 06 May 2008 - 05:19 PM

I think you are aware that this is very expensive sport:) Recently I bought whole setup for my 400D, I will add picture so you can see. Whole equipment cost very much so pick carefully:)My vote goes for Sea&Sea:)

Posted Image

Posted Image

Also I am bit concerned about all that O-rings, there are plenty of them and I`m bit scared of leaking...will see on friday when I go in the sea for first time with these setup!

Cheers

I have the Ikelite D300 housing, and have have been pretty happy with it. I also had the Ike D70 housing for the past 4+ years with nothing but good experiences.

I've handled a few of the S&S D200 / D300 housings and and they look very nice. So here is my take:

* S&S is cleaner and better laid out. The Ike D300 is getting a little crowded.
* Ike is clear and you can actually SEE all the controls which sometimes is very helpful.
* Ike is a lot more enconomical
* Ike can provide Rapid service turn around when needed.
* Ike has TTL built in which works great.
* S&S is a bit more compact, but I suspect it is heavier underwater.

#5 Mike L

Mike L

    Tiger Shark

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 601 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Newport Beach, California

Posted 06 May 2008 - 06:11 PM

I was recently notified of someone shooting a Sea & Sea housing with Ike strobes and Ike TTL converter and that working great for them. However, I have also seen a few others try it with unsuccessful results. Im always a fan of going for the better know and reliable combos. (i.e. Ike housing w/Ike strobes, S&S Housing w/S&S strobes).

Edited by h2ophotopro, 06 May 2008 - 06:14 PM.

Mike Luzansky
H2O Photo Pros Underwater Photo & Video THE Underwater Imaging Headquarters
Gates Underwater Video Housings The Ultimate Gates Underwater Housing Resource
Nauticam Underwater Housings The Nauticam Underwater Housing Headquarters!
Marine Visions The Choice for Underwater Professionals

#6 Pfiffikus25

Pfiffikus25

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Location:Stavanger, Norway

Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:05 PM

Hi All,

I am completely new to u/w photography, and diving for that matter. I have just recently become scuba certified, and love it, but you all know the feeling.


Hi!

I do not want to be negative here, but as I read your post you just startet to do scuba diving? If this is the case I would suggest you first aquire some diving skills. Taking pictures under water requires quite a bit of diving skills, which you will not get over night. You must have excellent control of your buoyancy, not only floating horizontally but also on your back and maybe upside down. In other words, you should reach a skill level, where you do not think about all that anymore. Otherwise you will not be able to handel additional equipment (such as a D-SLR rig) and focus on the picture itself.

Cheers, Wolfgang
P&S Camera: Canon A620 in Canon housing, ULCS tray and grip, Inon UCL-165AD close up lense with modified WP-DC-20 adapter
SLR Camera: Nikon D200, Aquatica housing, Nikon AF-S 60mm Micro, Tokina 10-17mm FE
Arms and Flash: ULCS arms, focus ligh holder, Inon Z-240

IPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB Image

#7 TMondell

TMondell

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 07 May 2008 - 03:54 AM

Thanks for all the input and help. From what I've read, it feels like Ike would be the better housing for me to go with, being a beginner, I really like the comfort of knowing that they have good customer service.

Steve, I've been trying to get my hands on any type of housing, but it's somewhat difficult. I tour for a living, so I'm constantly traveling. Although, I'm in Vegas for half the year, on and off. Does anyone know anywhere out there that would have housings?

Wolfgang, you were not negative at all, and I appreciate your advice. Couldn't agree more. I'm just trying to get through all of the research and learning process now, while I'm saving and acquiring all of my dive skills.

One more thing, sorry. In regards to having TTL built in by Ike being a plus. On S&S, is it just outside of the housing, and do you have to pay for it in addition to the cost of the housing?

Many thanks to all, this forum is amazing.

Tim

#8 ScubaSpen

ScubaSpen

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 119 posts
  • Location:Phuket, Thailand
  • Interests:spending more than 500 hrs a year underwater gawking at marine life and taking the odd picture.

Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:50 AM

As you work so much in the US I would go with Ike as they are based in the US and easy for service issues. I didtched Sea&Sea because of their bad service dept.

#9 Alexx

Alexx

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 157 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Croatia/Split
  • Interests:Tec diving, Cave diving, UW photography and videography.

Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:24 AM

One more thing, sorry. In regards to having TTL built in by Ike being a plus. On S&S, is it just outside of the housing, and do you have to pay for it in addition to the cost of the housing?


In Sea&Sea housing TTL is inside the housing and it comes with the housing, so there is no extra pay for TTL!

Cheers

Canon 7D, Aquatica housing, 2 x Inon Z240, Canon 16-35 f2.8, Tokina 10-17, Canon 100mm macro, 2x Inon LE550W, 2xMangrove 4L6 lights


- Vimeo Channel -


#10 Steve Williams

Steve Williams

    Humpback Whale

  • Moderator
  • 3040 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona
  • Interests:Protecting our Ocean, Environmental Education,
    Having fun and Living Well

Posted 07 May 2008 - 07:16 AM

In Sea&Sea housing TTL is inside the housing and it comes with the housing, so there is no extra pay for TTL!

Cheers

Alexx is partly right. On the 400D the TTL circuitry is inside the housing. On all the new Sea & Sea MDX housings the TTL converter is external and is an extra cost. So, as is almost always the case, the answer to almost any UW digital photo question is "It Depends". Which camera and strobe set up you're going with will define your options. It's like a treasure hunt Tim. :guiness: Thank the gods for Wetpixel, without it there would be a bunch of us just stumbling around the beach. Wetpixel is like the map to the treasure, of course you're still going to have to dig a little. :guiness: If you go though LA on the way to Vegas there is a relatively new shop H20 Photo Pros in Newport Beach that has gotten some good reviews here. They carry both of the housings systems your thinking about. I haven't been there myself. Just to confuse you a little more, Seatool makes a nice housing for your 400D, might be a little smaller and easier to handle. Good luck with the treasure!

Steve

The Fin Foundation
My Images on Flikr

Canon7D & 40D, 60mm, 100mm, 17-40L, Tokina 10-17, Nauticam 7D, Sea & Sea MDX-40D YS-250's ULCS arms, Lightroom


#11 jcscuba

jcscuba

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:55 PM

Alexx is partly right. On the 400D the TTL circuitry is inside the housing. On all the new Sea & Sea MDX housings the TTL converter is external and is an extra cost. So, as is almost always the case, the answer to almost any UW digital photo question is "It Depends". Which camera and strobe set up you're going with will define your options. It's like a treasure hunt Tim. :guiness: Thank the gods for Wetpixel, without it there would be a bunch of us just stumbling around the beach. Wetpixel is like the map to the treasure, of course you're still going to have to dig a little. :guiness: If you go though LA on the way to Vegas there is a relatively new shop H20 Photo Pros in Newport Beach that has gotten some good reviews here. They carry both of the housings systems your thinking about. I haven't been there myself. Just to confuse you a little more, Seatool makes a nice housing for your 400D, might be a little smaller and easier to handle. Good luck with the treasure!

Steve


HI Tim: As a past partner in a Scuba Diving shop. We sold both Sea&Sea at a ratio of about 10:1 housing over Ike. Ike makes a good strobe, but the housing in my opinion is no way a nice looking, and the plastic just isn't aerodynamically pleasing. The tended to be more mechanical without the electronics built in with S&S. Also this probably represents shop bias, we dive a great deal around the world as a group and I have never seen an Ike housing on any of our trips. Upside is they will be significantly less expensive. I don't know the difference between the D40 and the D400 but it seemed like you were receiving reasonable advice.
You might consider talking with Joe Liburdi. He is retired now but is always willing to help photographers. He is 78 years old and has been diving and shooting under water since Moses Parted the Red Sea.

You can contact him at his travel site, www.joeliburdi.com I'm on my 5th digital camera, only real advice I can give on housing is buy it right the first time. Also Joe and his wife Cara wrote the Book on Sea and Sea Cameras.

#12 davephdv

davephdv

    Doc Eyeballs

  • Senior Moderator
  • 2285 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Goleta CA

Posted 09 May 2008 - 05:28 PM

All of the major housing manufacturers are fine. If there products didn't work, or if they flooded without "user" error they wouldn't make it in the market.

Ike's service is legendary. My last experience with Sea & Sea service was like 10 years ago and all I will say is that it is not Ike's.

You might compare Aquatica and Ike. Aquatica has come out with some nice products in recent years.

On dive trips I see more Ike housings than Sea & Sea.

I know an expert photographer who was not a diver. After about 50 dives he was an expert underwater photographer. You need to learn diving skill before you take down a camera; but it's not that hard to learn how to shoot underwater if you are already a good photographer.

As disclaimer I have shot Ikelite and Subal. Both have worked well. My ikelite strobes have always worked well.

I like as many mechanical and as few electronic controls as possible. Salt water and electronics are not natural allies.

If I was starting from scratch I would consider Aquatica housings with Ikelite strobes. I would definitely go with a dSLR. Contrary to the assumption of some. I think it is much easier to learn with a dSLR than with a consumer digicam.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

Life is a beach and then you dive.

My Website


#13 Chris R

Chris R

    Damselfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 16 posts

Posted 10 May 2008 - 10:40 AM

Hi All,

I am completely new to u/w photography, and diving for that matter. I have just recently become scuba certified, and love it, but you all know the feeling. I have been doing research for months now, and am torn on which way to go, as far as gear is concerned. From what I've read, most people that have either Sea & Sea, or Ikelite housing, are quite happy with them. I mean, obviously most of it depends on personal preference, however, I haven't seen many people that post here, listing Ikelite as part of their gear (not the housing anyways). I have read great reviews on Ikelite's DS-125 strobes, for all around macro and w/a. I was also told by a scuba instructor that Sea & Sea strobes are what I should go with, YS-250Pros. I think that I am leaning towards the Ikelite strobes, but a S&S housing (MDX-40D, I am going to buy a Canon 40D, I currently have 400D). Is this a mistake? I also am clueless to using strobes made by a different company than the housing. Is it better to go with all the same company? Or is it easier? I understand that Ikelite is the cheaper or the two, but I'm more concerned with long-term performance.

Thank you all for your time. I'm sure that somewhere these questions have all already been answered, I have been browsing through the website, it's just such a huge resource, it's hard to cover it all. If anyone has any suggestions. I would prefer to have most of my functions/buttons accessible on the camera. And is it a plus to have Ikelite, since it is clear, for seeing if there are any leaks? (I have seen moisture control alarms around, don't know much about it, or if visibility inside the housing even matters when you have an alarm?) Once again, thank you all for your time.
Tim



#14 rtrski

rtrski

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1001 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas, USA
  • Interests:Slowly learning digital photography and underwater digital photography. Like drinking from a salt-water firehose... ;-)

Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:47 AM

I don't know if this matters, but what twigged me on your question was the "...in the long run?" part. If you're new to both diving and u/w photography (as I pretty much still am - 80 dives but that's "new" compared to most folks here) its a pretty sure bet that you dont' KNOW what you want for "the long run". In that sense, my advice is to save some money and experiment, which probably means Ikelite has a lower entry barrier. A lot of people say "why chase upgrades, buy 'good stuff' the first time", but how do you learn if you haven't tried? My guess would be why not just house the camera you've got now?

Then again, if money is no object, erase the above. And earn my instant hatred. :huh: Kidding! But seriously, you can get an Ike housing with TTL included, and an 8" dome and port extension, for the price of just the S&S housing. The housing is a sunk cost, since by the time you upgrade it is unlikely to find someone else to take it off your hands (unless you like upgrading in very short intervals), but the ports are re-sellable even if you switch systems, ditto the strobes and sync cords. I speak as one who is shooting with a used housing, used ports, used strobes, used cords, and even second hand strobe arms! Only my camera primary body was bought 'new' (yep, got a used backup body too).

I don't know enough to have a strong opinion about strobes one way or the other...I am using used DS50s right now as my cheapo entry point. (Refer back to the hatred bit above...heh...) I would recommend they're a bit small if you want to do W/A...so at the least go with the DS125 or equivalent-sized S&S strobe.

Ike housings are a bit unstreamlined and fugly perhaps, but they work just fine, and behind an 8" dome and dome shade all housings are more or less the same for swimming with I bet. Underwater they're nearly neutral - don't know if the same is true of smaller housings that trap less air (again, dome port is probably the bigger modifier for actual in-use weight) and are made of aluminum which can be thinner than the acrylic for the same effective strength. The bulk and weight difference of the housing are kind of negated by strobes and strobe arms anyway - no matter how 'small' the housing itself is, once you put handles on it and create a mechanical spider you've got about the same sized obstruction underwater to swim with. If you neutralize the buoyancy either way, it's probably a tossup as to the added swimming effort except in the most raging currents.

I don't have a strong personal opinion about "clear lets you see seals and look for leaks" vs. a leak detector/alarm. I have an Ike and frankly you can only clearly 'see' the main body o-ring, on the rear face. The other face is too hard to see (if you're talking about inspecting for hair, sand, lint, etc) thru the curvature of the housing. The port o-ring is too hard to see around the dome and housing unless you can inspect it somehow before sealing the back, and the focus ring gear assembly sequence kind of negates that ability. Underwater it's very easy to see if you have water rolling around the bottom (thank Neptune I haven't yet!) but I don't see how that is 'better' or 'worse' than a leak alarm. Either way I'm willing to bet you're only going to escape with minor injuries in cases of extreme luck.

In terms of which housings I've 'seen' on other trips...mostly small OEM housings. In the Flower Gardens most of the 'pros' seem to have the huge banged up old gray Aquatica housings, with a smattering of Olympus branded OEM housings. On my recent trip to Dominica my Ike was the big daddy of the bunch - among 18 other divers total, no one else had anything bigger than a digicam, although one guy's non-diving wife had his 40D for shooting from the boat on the way out. He kept hanging around my rig like a hungry puppy, even though his camera is much higher end than mine, mine was HOUSED. :P I guess it would be different if I worked for a dive photo shop and sponsored trips specifically for photographers. Wouldn't you then tend to just see the housings you sold since the divers would be mostly your customers? :lol:

Edited by rtrski, 21 May 2008 - 06:03 AM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#15 Numbat

Numbat

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 10 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth
  • Interests:Photography, wildlife, environment, biodiversity

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:40 PM

Ike's service is legendary. My last experience with Sea & Sea service was like 10 years ago and all I will say is that it is not Ike's.


Was doing some research and came across this thread.

I want to confirm that Sea and Sea's customer service is still shocking. I'd never be buying any of their stuff again.

I bought a YS-02 strobe a couple of months ago from a US authorised dealer, which was faulty. I tried to contact their customer service several times but they never even replied back. Then I made a fuss on their Facebook page and got a half baked response to send it back to a supplied address which I did.

That was a month ago. Never heard anything back. Emails remain unanswered and don't know whether they received it, or when I should expect it back.

I'm considering it $500 lost. Lesson learnt, never buy Sea & Sea products again.

Edited by Numbat, 05 February 2013 - 06:41 PM.


#16 KirkD

KirkD

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 248 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

I see more Aquatica and Nauticam housings out there than anything else. I live in the US and dive locally and in the Caribbean. When I do my tech diving trips, I see Aquatica exclusively. Im not saying that I dont see Ikelite or Sea & Sea out there though. I knw Ikelite has a history of great customer service. I personally have Aquatica and their customer service is outstanding as well.

Since you travel a lot, you can get your hands on some housings if you visit Backscatter in Monterey, CA or Reef Photo in Fort Lauderdale.

#17 AVGoncalves

AVGoncalves

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:56 PM

I'm thinking on buying one Sea&Sea YS-D1 strobe, what you think about this choice?

 

thank you



#18 Ronyx

Ronyx

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 94 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada
  • Interests:Photography, Diving, Adventure Motorcycling

Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:38 PM

From my limited experience with the two I own these are good strobes

#19 haring

haring

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Miami

Posted 15 May 2013 - 04:21 PM

Is there a clear advantage of the SEA & SEA housings? Why are they so expensive compared to the Ikelite ones?



#20 tdpriest

tdpriest

    Sperm Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2127 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Solihull, UK
  • Interests:Diving medicine, warm water, scenery...

Posted 09 June 2013 - 04:05 AM

On dive trips I see more Ike housings than Sea & Sea.

... it's not that hard to learn how to shoot underwater if you are already a good photographer.

 

 

On dive trips I now see more Nauticam housings than any other...

 

... and, in my experience, you have to unlearn almost everything that you know as a terrestrial photographer. After more than ten years doing it seriously, I still find underwater photography difficult...

 

... but I'm getting there!

 

2013 Bahamas 432 Tiger Beach Tiger shark.jpg