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one strobe or two?


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#21 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:31 PM

I am another case of a former two-strobe owner finding out that over time I more and more often only used one, and now am back to a one-strobe system. But I would not necessarily recommend that to others. As Doug indicated, WA in particular can use both the extra power and the ability to throw a wider light cone needed to cover your field of view. It is also true that with two strobes you can use one to fill in the shadow thrown by the other. I have never found that to bother me, but you should know for yourself how critical you are about image perfection. I do however notice that above water I rarely see photographers use two strobes outside a studio.

 

From a learning perspective I think it can be useful to have two strobes, assuming you have them or can borrow, so you can experiment and learn from the results. This assumes that you are at least a competent diver and find conditions where you can focus on playing with your camera. A pool or shore diving with a patient buddy will work, trying to do this while keeping up with a dive master or fighting a current will be futile and it is better to keep things simple.

 

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#22 diverdoug1

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 10:06 PM

Most studio photogs use multiple strobes, and the majority of pro shooters often employ reflectors when using a single on camera flash unit.  I rarely use a single flash for my studio work, and use multiples and assistant holding reflector for my beach portrait work.  For U/W I rarely turn one of my strobes off.  Even when I want strong shadowing, I have my secondary strobe turned low but still on to make the shadowing less harsh.



#23 tdpriest

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:10 AM

You know what? I completely disagree with Doug! One strobe often works very well in a balanced-light wide-angle image, the colour focussing attention on the subject. One strobe can also work very well in macrophotography, but is likely to produce very harsh modelling, which is softened by the second strobe. Sometimes dramatic modelling is great, but often it isn't...

#24 diverdoug1

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 06:04 AM

Tim, I said I rarely used one strobe,  I did not say that shooting with one strobe was never a viable option.  I have seen a lot of your great work, so I know that we both USUALY use 2 strobes.  :)


Edited by diverdoug1, 15 January 2014 - 06:05 AM.


#25 tdpriest

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:18 AM

Doug:

 

It was the post "Wide angle benefit most, but macro can benefit from 2 strobes as well" that should have been above my (exaggerated-for-effect) response: I'm typing on a horrible PC with an ancient legacy OS and a ghastly firewall, so it wasn't attached to my post*. Sorry.

 

I think that macro benefits most from 2 strobes, in wide-angle they just spread the light when focussed and balanced light is often a more exciting way to construct the image.

 

 

*I'm also unable to format anything.
 



#26 TomekP

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 08:47 AM

I started with two strobes for WAL, and 1 for medium range but  now I am using 3 for WAL... I saw people with even 4 Z240 :) ... I think there is no general rule but If You will take a look on picture taken during some workshops the You will see that 99% are using 2 strobes.

 

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Edited by TomekP, 15 January 2014 - 12:26 PM.


#27 diverdoug1

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:02 AM

I use 3 YS-D1 strobes for my wide angle photos (usually).



#28 rwe

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 10:10 AM

I likely have less photography experience than the other responders but 2 strobes likely result in better lighting in most cases. I started out with one strobe due to costs. I tried two strobes for one trip to Cozumel but decided that I did not like the more cumbersome handling of the bigger system and so went back to one strobe. So, as with camera choices, etc., it probably depends somewhat on personal preference and what you want to do during the dive. I.e., is the dive primarily dedicated to obtaining the best photographs or is photography an added feature to the enjoyment of the dive?
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#29 johnjvv

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:40 AM

Easier two dive with two strobes, as the weight is balanced on your rig...

#30 tdpriest

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:23 AM

defnatly no, try one first so the second you will know exactly what you need  
 
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#31 kc_moses

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:02 PM

I'm using one video light and one YS-D1. I haven't try this set up in the water yet, but will have the chance to do it in April. I'm going this route because some times I do video. Having a video light as part of my set up would already take care of night dive situation.

 

Having a video light, it's also balance off the strobe on the other end. Last, the video light only cost me $260, it's 2400 lumen. That should be enough to illuminate up to 5 ft in front of me, and if I pair it with the strobe, it might just get rid of unwanted shadow. Like I said, I will have the chance to confirm this set up in April.



#32 dpaustex

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:42 PM

Definitely go with two.

 

In shooting WA, spread them as far apart as possible, to help minimize backscatter.

 

Remember, even with strobes, the idea is to get as close to the subject as possible.

 

If you're using TTL strobes, still try shooting in full manual mode. You can adjust strobe output, as well as aperature/ISO to vary your results.

 

Try playing around with them on land, first (little less frustrating), with everything rigged in the housing.



#33 Overexposed Seahorse

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 10:25 AM

I once took a camera in the pool to do a bit of macro with one strobe. It was perfect until I needed to light the inside of the subjects mouth, where a single strobe will cast a shadow inside the mouth. HOWEVER for most subjects a single strobe is fine, especially to start. Having just one strobe really allows you to play around with different angles to see how they change the lighting and shadows. 

If money is an issue, then one better strobe is better than two average strobes.

I mostly do wide angle however, and with my lens with a 100 degree FoV, one S&S YS-110a is more than enough 95% of the time, and I am more than happy with the photos that I am getting. At the moment though I am currently in the process of upgrading to a D7100 with tokina fisheye, and perhaps with this I will add a second strobe to ensure that the strobe covers the photo, although it is quite rare for the subject to cover the whole 180 degrees. if I do add a second strobe, it will not be for another year, as it keeps slipping down the list of things to buy for me.



#34 snow25

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:37 PM

Hi all, I have a related question.  Being fairly new to the underwater photography scene (I've only done 4 dives with my camera so far, no strobe), I'm now in the process of buying my first strobe.  My question is; if I were to want a second strobe in the future, should/would that second strobe be the same as the first strobe? I ask because I'm buying an Ikelite ds125, which is out of production and so I'd have limited options for getting a 2nd in the future.  I can't think of a specific reason of why it'd have to be the same strobe but thought I'd check on here. 

(I hope I'm not hijacking the OP's thread).



#35 Interceptor121

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:24 AM

It is much better to have two identical strobes. Let's face it even two units of the same model are not exactly the same you don't want to fidget with two scales on the power knobs and potentially two settings.

Strobes usually outlast the rest of your camera gear in terms of longevity so get the best current unit now would be my advice wallet permitting


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#36 dpaustex

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 12:04 PM

I answered before with two, but want to also encourage you to shoot with just one.

 

The reason?  Most people "over light" their subject. This results in subjects with no "depth". With one strobe, you can postion above, and to the side, to generate interesting texture - as well as color.  I often see people with two strobes "blast" the subject with too much light, washing out the details. Most marine creatures have incredible color AND texture. Starting off with one strobe (and moving it around, with the same camera location, will give some really good results, as well as allow you to "see" how the light angles impact the image.

 

Even though I have several strobes in my tool-kit, I will often go back to just one, to remind myself of basic techniques. 

 

The main thing is to experiment with location and strobe intensity, too. Oh, and have lots of fun doing it! :D