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DS-50 vs DS-125 vs YS90


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#1 JohnJohnsonIII

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 02:15 AM

I have been looking at getting a strobe for some time now and am looking at the Ikelite DS-50 or DS-125 pr the Sea And Sea YS-90. I am really not sure what to go with. I have an Olympus 5050 and an Oly Housing, so I am looking at shooting in slave mode. I was thinking about getting the DS-125, but when I went on a dive the other day with the Hawaii Underwater Photographic Society I noticed that almost EVERYONE was using Ikelites of some sort(mostly DS-50s). Nobody had the DS-125. What are the advantages of the DS-125 over the DS-50? Also, I ran into somebody today who had a YS-90 on his 5050 setup. He was thrilled with it. He said he had used another strobe before, but it had a hotspot. He said the light from his YS90 was very evenly distributed. He seemed quite happy with it. So I am in a quandry as to what to get. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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#2 Swordfish

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 03:42 AM

Check this for a comparison of the strobes you mentioned plus the Inon models:
http://www.digitaldi...rticlescrn2.pdf

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#3 Peter Schulz

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 05:55 AM

A seldom mentioned feature of the DS - 125 is its fast recycle time.

With Ikelite DS 125 strobes, I can set the Drive mode to Sequential* and take pictures at about 1 per second in bursts of two or three pictures while keeping the shutter button depressed. And the strobes keep firing! There are a lot of action shots where this capability has gotten me pictures I would not otherwise have.

*Sequential mode - Focus, exposure and white balance are locked at the first frame. Approx. 11 frames at 1.7 frames/sec. (in HQ mode).
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#4 tshepherd

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 06:04 AM

John,

Just to qualify my answers, let me start by saying I've currently got the DS-50, and will most likely be upgrading to or adding a DS-125 in the near future.

There are pros and cons to both the -50 and -125.

The DS-50 is a great little strobe, especially when you've got one of the P&S cameras like the Oly 5050. Add the manual controller and you've got a very nice, compact adjustable strobe. Another nice feature is the fact that you can use AA batteries instead of a proprietary battery pack and charger. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to keep a spare set of AA batteries in your bag than an extra battery pack for "emergencies". I never used rechargeables in my -50, simply because it didn't go through that many batteries. In the course of 15-20 dives in Cozumel last year shooting on Full power, I went through two sets of batteries if I remember correctly.

The downside to the -50 is that if you plan to upgrade to any housing / camera combo where you can't use the optical TTL sensor or the camera doesn't shoot in TTL like the Fuji S2, the strobe becomes somewhat limiting. Case in point, the strobe worked great with my Sony DSC-S85 / Ikelite housing, but it's more limited with my Canon D60 / S&S.

The reason I'm going to add a -125 is for wide angle. The decision I have to make is whether I want to replace my -50 or add a -125 to my setup and keep the -50. The -125 has significantly wider coverage than the -50. It also has some level of adjustability built in, so there's less of a need to add a manual controller if you want to shoot manual. The rechargeable battery pack is both a plus and minus in my mind. I like the concept of rechargeable batteries, but not having used them, I'm not sure how they'll work out when diving 3-5 dives / day.

Brings up some interesting questions for the -125 users. Do you carry an extra battery pack if you only have one strobe? And do you have the normal or fast charger?

Hope this helps...
Tom

#5 kthan

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 09:55 PM

The downside to the -50 is that if you plan to upgrade to any housing / camera combo where you can't use the optical TTL sensor or the camera doesn't shoot in TTL like the Fuji S2, the strobe becomes somewhat limiting.

Hi tshepard

As James and others have pointed out many times, the S2 does shoot in TTL. That is the reason I choose the S2 over the D100 :D

Another feature I like about the DS-125 is the built-in Modelling light. It functions as a torch for night dives. I was wondering how I could carry a torch while diving with my camera at night and not get in the way for taking pictures. The DS-125 solve this problem for nite dives.

Eric

#6 tshepherd

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 05:05 AM

Sorry, I worded that poorly. What I meant to say is that if you either have:
1. A camera that can't use the wireless sensor, i.e. not a transparent housing
2. A camera that doesn't work with normal TTL strobes like the S2 does.

Anyhow...

#7 james

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 06:26 AM

I've used all three strobes and the difference is mainly in the coverage. The DS125 is a MUCH wider coverage strobe than the others, due to the fact that it has a round flash tube, and a curved white reflector behind the element. The other two strobes have straight flash tubes and different reflectors.

The comparison photos from the article at digitaldiver are good for comparison purposes, but do not reflect the strobes' actual coverage. This is because the strobes have domes on the front which will yield a MUCH greater light spread when used in a water medium, as opposed to air.

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#8 herbko

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 10:19 AM

The comparison photos from the article at digitaldiver are good for comparison purposes, but do not reflect the strobes' actual coverage. This is because the strobes have domes on the front which will yield a MUCH greater light spread when used in a water medium, as opposed to air.

You're right this needs to be tested underwater. The Inon Z220 also has a dome on the front so I don't know what the out come will be. You and Craig should go find a swimming pool and do a couple of side-by-side shots.

What is easy to tell is the Z220 is about 1/3 the size and weight of the DS125. The Z220 runs on 4 AA cells which I also consider an advantage.
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#9 james

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 10:54 AM

Hi Herb,

Craig has a pool. We are gearing up to do the strobe tests, as well as some housing/lens/dome tests ala Lee Peterson.

Cheers
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#10 scubag

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 05:41 PM

James and Gang,

I would love to see your tests u/w. Since I own and use both DS-50 and DS 125 strobes which is right for you can vary from dive to dive. I use the DS-50's for macro and fish portraits with double segment 6" arms. The small size allows me to get into tight spaces and easily control light placement with a homemade scrim (a shade if you will) The biggest problem with the 50's is slow (3-4+ sec) recycle time. The DS-125's have a much wider, even beam angle, perfect for my Cp-5000 with Nikkor 19mm lens, plus the modeling lights and faster (1 sec) recycle time, but are bulkier and heavier (negatively buoyant) I fixed some buoyancy issues by wrapping the strobe heads and double segment 12" Ikelite arms with wraps of 7mm neoprene which I was given by Body Glove.

Like I said before, which is best is all personal preference. If I could only choose 1 strobe though, it would be the DS-125.

Doug

#11 mondo

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 09:36 PM

Brings up some interesting questions for the -125 users. Do you carry an extra battery pack if you only have one strobe? And do you have the normal or fast charger?

Hi

I use DS125s as my primary strobes. Have 2 of them, plus an extra battery pack

I also have 2 chargers so that I have some redundancy

Cant recommend these strobes highly enough. Just excellent.

#12 Claude

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:05 AM

Mondo... have you tried the DS125 with your f80S ? If yes, do you think it's a good strobe for film cameras ???
Thanks
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#13 mondo

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 12:39 PM

Oh yes - the DS125 is a remarkable strobe - quick recycle, built in modelling light, quick recharge.

Really like them very much

#14 herbko

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 03:24 PM

Wait for the tests from Craig and James. The Inon Z220 will put out around the same power at 1/3 the size and weight. Swapping out 4 AA cells is much faster than recharging.
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#15 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 04:23 PM

Great test you did Herb in a prior DD thread... Very graphic and more than proves the case for Inon. I'm getting 4 x 220's.

"INON ROCK!"

#16 kthan

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 06:54 PM

Anyone tried the Inon 220 with S2 in Ikelite Housing? According to Inon USA, they have not tested the TTL functionality.

Eric

#17 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 07:07 PM

The TTL works Perfectly well with 90x's but not too sure on the DTTL front. This will have to wait a few weeks for personal experimentation.

Maybe James can borrow 2 of Craigs and test it in his pool?

#18 JohnJohnsonIII

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:24 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! I look forward to the pool tests to see how the Ikelite DS125s compare against the Inon 220...thanks!

--John
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#19 Gazzer

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 07:15 AM

At the end of the day you need to think about what you will use the strobe for. Comparing the DS125 and the DS50/YS90 is like comparing a Nissan to a Mercedes. Both do the same job but the more expensive one will do it quicker, smoother and offer some opportunities that the cheaper one will not!

For serious wide angle only the DS125 will do (or multiple smaller strobes) and if the strobe fits your budget it will make a great macro strobe as well. The 100deg angle is a great advantage. If macro and portraits feature highly then the DS50/YS90 will work just fine. My preference would be for the DS50. This strobe will work happily in TTL mode with compatible camera or in manual mode via Ikelites EV controller.

Nobody so far has mentioned quality of construction as a deciding factor for strobes. For me Ikelite make strobes which frankly don't look like much, but they are well over engineered. Pay particulr attention to the battery compartments and covers. Ikelites are simple, robust and very difficult to mess up. The DS50 is almost impossible to flood! (I know somebody out there will prove me wrong!)Same can't be said for some of the Japanese strobes. I do not like the Sea & Sea's quarter turn locking ring, seems like a system which will eventually go wrong. I use them myself without trouble so far but one day....... Other strobes I have seen from Inon & Epoque could best be described as very flimsly when compared to Ikelite. In the days before digital Nikon made some great quality strobes as well. Units which were truly designed to take quite a few knocks & scrapes underwater and in the dive boat.........just a thought!

#20 craig

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 07:32 AM

At the end of the day you need to think about what you will use the strobe for. Comparing the DS125 and the DS50/YS90 is like comparing a Nissan to a Mercedes. Both do the same job but the more expensive one will do it quicker, smoother and offer some opportunities that the cheaper one will not!

For serious wide angle only the DS125 will do (or multiple smaller strobes) and if the strobe fits your budget it will make a great macro strobe as well. The 100deg angle is a great advantage. If macro and portraits feature highly then the DS50/YS90 will work just fine. My preference would be for the DS50. This strobe will work happily in TTL mode with compatible camera or in manual mode via Ikelites EV controller.

Nobody so far has mentioned quality of construction as a deciding factor for strobes. For me Ikelite make strobes which frankly don't look like much, but they are well over engineered. Pay particulr attention to the battery compartments and covers. Ikelites are simple, robust and very difficult to mess up. The DS50 is almost impossible to flood! (I know somebody out there will prove me wrong!)Same can't be said for some of the Japanese strobes. I do not like the Sea & Sea's quarter turn locking ring, seems like a system which will eventually go wrong. I use them myself without trouble so far but one day....... Other strobes I have seen from Inon & Epoque could best be described as very flimsly when compared to Ikelite. In the days before digital Nikon made some great quality strobes as well. Units which were truly designed to take quite a few knocks & scrapes underwater and in the dive boat.........just a thought!

The most commonly flooded item among my group are Ike 50 battery compartments. Would not own one if it was offered for free. The DS125 is another matter. I expect strobes to be virtually failproof. Use that as your standard.

Describing an Inon strobe as flimsy compared to an Ikelite should be a clear indicator to everyone of the credibility of this entire post. I urge everyone to take a careful look at an Inon strobe then judge.

Inon strobes are of superior design and construction. That will be clear to anyone who looks at one.
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