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Inon Z220 vs Ike DS125


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#1 martys

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 11:07 AM

I currently have two DS125s I shoot with my LMI Tetra 5000 and am about to buy a Subal housing for my 10D. I've noticed some folks have switched over from the DS125 to the Inon Z220. What are the advantages of the Z220 that would justify switching over? I know it uses regular AA batteries, the unit seems phycially smaller than the DS125 and the controls are all on the back instead of the side like the Ike.

Reading most of the feedback from those who are shooting the Subal C10, I noticed all are shooting in manual mode and simply set the strobe power to 1/2 or 1/4 and just adjust the aperature for exposure control.

I know on my Tetra system I use the ROC controllers a lot. But when I move to the Subal I'll have to adjust the strobes directly which seems less optimal then simply adjusting the aperature while marine life is moving along. So is there a real advantage to having 11 steps of exposure control on the Z220, would you actually use that many? I suspect not, unless you have a stationary object and have the time and water clarity to actually shoot 5-10 exposures at various flash settings.

I'm rambling ... just let me know if any of you have found a real advantage to the Inons.

thanks,
Marty
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#2 wetpixel

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 11:43 AM

I shot the INON unit while I was in Wakatobi, and it was fantastic! It had enough power to shoot macro at f32, most of the time, but I was unable to use the special features because I was using it with a Canon camera. I like to shoot macro with a diffuser sometimes, but even with the -0.5 EV diffuser, I lost way too much light to be able to use it effectively.

I still prefer the Ike DS-125 for wide angle shooting. I get better coverage and more power -- better results, in general. And it has enough power to use with diffusers.

The INONs don't cycle as fast, and use AA batteries, which I am not a fan of. The Ike battery pack on the DS-125 is really beefy, and will literally last an entire day of diving.

Also, be sure never to adjust your strobe position on the DS-125 by gripping the back of the unit (the battery). You increase the chance of a flood if you do that, because the back of the unit is the battery pack and seals to the front with an o-ring. I always have to tell my friends this if I lend them my strobes.
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#3 yahsemtough

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 02:10 PM

I'm rambling ... just let me know if any of you have found a real advantage to the Inons.

thanks,
Marty

Eric, I saw a strobe comparison test on DD done by Jeff that indicated that the 220 was more powerful than the ds125 with actual test shot comparisons. (it is in the library section)

That said, I think the smaller size, more power and, the ability to grab the strobe from the back to position without the risk of a flood makes it a pretty attractive option. :D (Eric said it i didn't)

I recently switched from my dx90's to the 220s after seeing them in action but have not been able to put mine to the test. I do know the test that Jeff did also indicates they are more powerful than the 90's. (90's having multiple power adjustments available)

Even if you want to argue the point as to power output, the smaller size and weight was something that certainly made them attractive to me.

IMHO
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#4 wetpixel

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 02:19 PM

Interesting (re: test output). Subjectively, I find that I couldn't get as much coverage. But I have to do some more tests.
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#5 craig

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 03:36 PM

The DS-125 has a round beam pattern vs. a roughly square one for the Z220. I think it's safe to say that the DS-125 is wider but Jeff's tests and the rated guide numbers both suggest that it is not more powerful (in fact 1/2 stop less). I get about 2.5 second recycles with 2200mA batteries. Since I frequently shoot at around 1/8 power, recycles for me are instantaneous and batteries last a long time. Since my camera is ISO 200, the Z220's are adequate for wide angle. If I had an ISO 50-100 camera, I'd ideally want something more powerful that either of these two strobes. I wish Inon would make a higher power version of the Z220 with 6 or 8 AA batteries. They could use the same face with a stretched body and identical rear control setup.
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#6 herbko

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 03:43 PM

It'd be great if they can double the power by just doubling the capacitors. I think doubling the discharge time and recycle time and half the battery life is acceptable for SLR users. Right now the Z220 discharges in about 1/500 sec according to my tests with the Oly 5050.
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#7 martys

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 02:39 AM

I saw a strobe comparison test on DD done by Jeff that indicated that the 220 was more powerful than the ds125 with actual test shot comparisons. (it is in the library section)

It's interesting that the reviewer in the article liked the DS125 the least and it's not even mentioned in his conclusions on the last page.
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#8 kdietz

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 03:54 AM

That test was done topsides..........wonder what would happen if it was conducted underwater?

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#9 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 04:12 AM

...wonder what would happen if it was conducted underwater?

Would be more constructive and conclusive UW.

Craig & James were going to conduct an UW test in Craig's pool, not sure if it happened yet.

#10 craig

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 05:00 AM

Has not happened. I have some of my test equipment and several of the strobes now. Hopefully this will happen soon.

Both the DS-125 and Z220 have curved lenses, so each will test differently underwater.
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#11 SharpDiver

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:12 AM

That test was done topsides..........wonder what would happen if it was conducted underwater?

Karl

Excuse the hell out of me, but I spent two weeks testing those strobes underwater!

The metering was done topside, I will grant you that, but each strobe was evaluated on its performance over two weeks of intensive diving in Bonaire. Every dive for my entire vacation was directed at providing the most even handed evaluation of the available strobes I could.

I very much wanted the DS-125 to come out on top of the metering test so that I could say something positive about it.

I keep my feelings to myself on this subject most of the time, but I just do not like the DS-125. For the first thing, any review of this board, DigitalDiver, Rodale's or ScubaBoard would net more complaints on the DS-125 than any other strobe. It floods more than anything else. It has gremlins in its controller designs that make it capricious at best. I have taken it on two completely different trips separated by years and it took the third unit (express shipped to Bonaire by Ike) to get one that actually fired in sync with the camera.

It is heavy, bulky, requires a separate charger, requires an additional hardware component with viewfinder digital cameras (and with D-SLR's if you want finer control of the output), and appears to have a higher failure rate than anything else out there.

Ike excels at taking care of his customers. It is a good thing.

#12 james

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:55 AM

Hi Jeff,

This is a friendly question, and not meant as an attack: Have you considered that when you use a flash meter to test "strobe power" that you need to do it at a number of points in the flash pattern? By definition, the angle of coverage for a strobe should be measured by taking a reading in the center of the pattern, then taking a reading off to the side by 1/2 the angle of coverage (you will need to use trig. to get the distance). If the reading is less than more than a stop, that angle of coverage claim is bogus. Add to this the fact that underwater, the dome on the strobe will further widen the beam, changing the results even more than for an above-water test.

What this means to you and I as underwater shooters is that a true wideangle strobe may not appear as powerful in the center of the spread as a more focused-beam macro strobe. That's why I believe your flash meter results are not useful to make conclusions like "X strobe is more powerful that Y strobe." My opinion is that I think it would be fine if you said something to the effect of "After 2 weeks of testing in the field, I feel that the X strobe is more powerful than the Y strobe for the types of shooting I was doing." But instead, you drew your conclusions (or lead your readers to conclude) based on the data you measured with the flash meter - leading you to incorrect conclusions.

Let's look at the extreme example to further illustrate my point, an Ikelite SS400 versus an Ike 50. The Ike 50 puts out 8 times less photon energy, however it puts it out over a MUCH smaller spread. If you just take a reading in the center of the light pattern, you may find that the Ike 50 is more powerful than the Ike 400...

Sincerely,
James
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#13 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 07:11 AM

Jeff, can you write here or give a link to the test's results you done?
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#14 yahsemtough

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 07:28 AM

http://www.digitaldi...e65e326609cc1c2

It is the article on choosing underwater strobes.
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#15 SharpDiver

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 07:28 AM

A direct quote from the article:

These readings are a
bit misleading, however, because they
do not address the angle of coverage of
the strobes. While the DS-50 delivers
as much light as the DS-125, it is to a
smaller area. Unfortunately, I did not
have the equipment to measure the light
at several points.


To which I further added:

One note on comparing the
photos. The DS-125 has a significantly warmer color
temperature. The cooler lights will appear brighter in
a comparison like this, when the DS-125 is actually
delivering as much or more light.


I thoroughly explained my methodology, and used a method that was designed by a recognized authority in the field. When I saw a potential flaw in the process (no allowance for the angle of coverage), I added what I feel is the most extensive treatment currently available to visually express the coverage. I have read lots of criticism of that process, but have yet to see anyone publish anything to refute it.

James wrote:

- leading you to incorrect conclusions.


The only time in the entire article that I said anything about X being more powerful than Y was in the section on the Z-220 where I said that it was more powerful than the DS-125. It was by a fractional amount, which had been explained earlier, and it is a statement that, as I said before, has not been proven to be "incorrect" by anyone that I know of. If you want to meter them at several different points in the spread, underwater, be my guest. I will read your results with interest.

#16 james

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:29 AM

Hi Jeff,

Actually, what I said was:

But instead, you drew your conclusions (or lead your readers to conclude) based on the data you measured with the flash meter - leading you to incorrect conclusions.



It's important to read the whole sentence, not just part of it. I admit that grammatically, that's a crappy sentence...:-)

From what I have read here and on other forums, it seems that even though you steered them in the right direction, readers are misinterpreting your article. Unfortunately, internet bulletin boards are a WONDERFUL place for incorrect information to spread around and become the "group consensus."

That is why I feel that a followup is necessary. Craig and I hope to publish some test results soon, but don't have a schedule yet. I intend to help in any way that I can to clear up what I believe are incorrect conclusions (not necessarily YOUR conclusions) with further data.

Sincerely,
James
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#17 wetpixel

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 11:10 AM

Metering at different points in the spread is very important. We did informal tests on the last trip I went on with a flashmeter and would have concluded that the DS-50 was the most powerful flash of the bunch, simply because its beam is so concentrated. I'm not trying to invalidate Jeff's conclusion; I have not done any formal tests myself. What I'm saying is that my subjective conclusion as of now is that I prefer the DS-125 over the INON 220 for wide angle shooting. But I thoroughly plan to shoot the INON exhaustively on my next wide angle trip so I can better evaluate it after being intimate with the thing. :D
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#18 yahsemtough

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 11:48 AM

But I thoroughly plan to shoot the INON exhaustively on my next wide angle trip so I can better evaluate it after being intimate with the thing. :)

You can leave out the details about how the intimacy went but, i will be interested in your comments on the power and coverage. :lol:
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#19 frogfish

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 05:06 PM

What this means to you and I as underwater shooters is that a true wideangle strobe may not appear as powerful in the center of the spread as a more focused-beam macro strobe.  That's why I believe your flash meter results are not useful to make conclusions like "X strobe is more powerful that Y strobe."

This is an important point, and well explained.

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#20 anthp

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 04:16 PM

I have some of my test equipment and several of the strobes now.  Hopefully this will happen soon.


What I'm saying is that my subjective conclusion as of now is that I prefer the DS-125 over the INON 220 for wide angle shooting. But I thoroughly plan to shoot the INON exhaustively on my next wide angle trip so I can better evaluate it after being intimate with the thing.


I wonder whether either of you (Eric and Craig) have had a chance to conduct these tests? I may have missed them, but it sounds like it could be a really useful comparison. It would be particularly interesting to hear opinions of the Z220 and the Ike125 for WA coverage and power.

Just thought I'd post a reminder... :blink:
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