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Which to buy - YS-90DX or DS-125?


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#1 digital newbie

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 11:57 AM

Although I enjoy both diving and photography (hobby level), I really had no interest in combining the two until I started looking at digital (my husband dives with a Nikonos).

I just purchased a Olympus C4040Z and am really enjoying learning and playing with all the features on land, but am looking at getting a setup for underwater for our trip to Curacao at the end of October. I plan to go with the Ikelight housing, but am really undecided on wether to go with the Sea and Sea YS-90DX or the Ikelight DS-125. I of course want good pictures (who doesn't), reliability, and would like a somewhat easy learning curve and ease of use. I would really appreciate any opinions or information to help me make this decision. I'm really agonizing over which to get.

#2 james

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 12:42 PM

If you want to shoot any wideangle photos, I recommend the Ikelite. You will also be able to get TTL with the Ikelite.

It's a little more $$$ but it's a much more powerful and versatile strobe.

HTH
James
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#3 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 02:57 PM

This subject was beat to death a few months ago, but it appears to have been deleted. I don't know if was a storage space consideration or if it was to bury the dead bodies.

As an opposing viewpoint, I think the YS-90DX is the better choice. Particularly for the Olympus camera. The variable output of the YS-90DX makes it very versatile. A pair of them would be just slightly more than one DS-125, and two gives you a tremendous creative advantage. I also like standard battery usage (AA's).

#4 MikeO

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 03:40 PM

The forum pages don't go back very far, but you can use the search utiliy to find older threads. Is this the one of which you speak?

http://www.wetpixel....ead.php?tid=219

As for which strobe to use, if you prefer to use a manual strobe, then I'd recommend the Sea&Sea -- it's more adjustable and a bit cheaper. Ike has told me they are working on a sensor that will allow the 125 to be used as a manual strobe, but I don't know when that might be available. You can use the DS-125 as a purely manual strobe up to 1/2 power as it will recycle fast enough to give you two 1/2 power flashes when the camera fires. If you want TTL functionality with the Oly digicam, you might go for the Ike DS-125. I have two 125s and use them with both my C-4040z and my Canon EOS A2. For me, the flexibility to use them with both of my cameras (they're just powerful enough for me to use them for wideangle with the A2) was the deciding factor. There were some problems initially with the TTL functionality, but those problems appear to have been corrected . . .

Mike Oelrich
Canon EOS 40D in Seatool housing, 100mm macro, Tokina 10-17, INON Z-240s.


#5 kdietz

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 03:49 PM

If you consider customer service and standing behind their merchandise after the purchase, there's no question.......Ikelite............great strobe too

Karl
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#6 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 05:08 PM

Mike, have you (whom I trust and respect) had your strobes back in the water since the slave sensor "recall/rebuild"?

Inquiring minds want to know.

#7 MikeO

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 05:41 PM

No, did you try out the TTL on your recent Pacific trip, or did you dump your 125 for another YS-90DX? Mine two were never really that bad to begin with, though I sent them in for the fix to be safe. They seem to work just fine out of the water right now. I appear to be getting very good exposures -- I just did a series from f1.8, 1/30 to f10, 1/800 and everything looked pretty good. I suppose one never knows about how it will react in the water. One day soon I need to get into the pool and play again (when it is fairly dark out so I can actually tell something about the strobe exposure) -- I wish I was back in HI where I could back the truck up to the beach and jump in whenever I wanted. What about others that had the fix done? Anybody else with proof? The DS-125 crowd has been pretty quiet lately . . .

Mike Oelrich
Canon EOS 40D in Seatool housing, 100mm macro, Tokina 10-17, INON Z-240s.


#8 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 05:59 PM

The DS-125 I had in Grand Cayman last spring was on loan from Ikelite for an article I was writing. My contact with Rodale's lost his job, so the article won't see ink, though I have decided to post it on my website (now that I am sure it won't be picked up by David Taylor's replacement). Though I thought I was very even-handed in the thread last Spring, Ike took offense at some comments I made, so I don't think they are inclined to provide test units to me anymore.

I have been using twin YS-90DX's for almost a year now, and it would take a great deal of persuasion to get me to look at anything else. If I had a camera with a Nikonos protocol TTL hard-wired connection, I would own a pair of DS-125's right now. If everyone that used the DS-125 with Olympus cameras were showing off stunning images, I would be tempted. As it is, I am happy with the YS-90DX's.

#9 james

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 08:25 PM

Ike let me borrow one of his DS-125's for my presentation to the Houston Underwater Photographic Society. I got to hook it up to my Coolpix 990 housing and shoot some test shots.

I promptly sent the strobe back to Ike after the presentation.

I also own a YS90DX which I have used on about 10 dives.

So, I have used both strobes - but only the 90DX underwater.

The YS90DX is a small narrow(er) beam strobe whereas the DS-125 is a powerful broad beam strobe. I know this for a fact because I can SEE the light falloff when using the YS90DX. That's why I couple the 90 to my big BIG-MOMA Nikon SB102. The 90 is a good second strobe for fill flash.

If you can only afford one strobe then I recommend the DS-125. My opinion only - but I feel that if you can afford one strobe that costs ~$450 that doesn't quite do the job, then you can probably afford one that costs ~$700 that does a great job.

Cheers
James
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#10 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 08:35 PM

how can you say the DS-125 "does a great job" when you have never had it in the water and you don't shoot the camera the original question addressed?

#11 digital newbie

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 06:30 AM

Thanks so much for your input. After hearing someone mention it, I did do a search and found a lot of information on both strobes, some of which was specific to my camera. What I got out of it all was that either strobe would be a good choice, that there are pros and cons to each, and there will really be no "wrong" choice. I don't believe I've ever seen any forum issue/question for which there is truly not a "majority" opinion to lead a decision one way or the other. To me this is both good and bad because I really can't make a huge mistake, but for someone like me who likes to go one direction and never look back and say "what if I had gone the other way", it makes this a really tough decision. I may end up sending some private emails (if possible) to some of you who expressed opinions on one or the other. I am hoping to get more detailed information from those who have used those strobes specifically with the Oly C4040Z. By doing that you won't be rehashing the same issue and adding to the "body count".

I do have an additional couple of questions for the group.

Does the arm setup that comes with the Ikelite housing work with either strobe? Aside from the housing and strobe, would there be any other items I would need to buy with either strobe to actually start using the setup?

What is the average price of the YS-90DX? I know the approximate price of the other from the Ikelite site and some online retailers, but haven't been able to find that info for the 90DX.

My husband has an IKE 200 strobe that he uses with his Nikonos. At times the battery door is a real pain to get open after a dive and is apparently one of the "cons" with that particular strobe. Is there any similar problem with the IKE DS-125?

Thanks for all present, past, and future help and patience with my questions.

By the way, my husband is already talking about using my setup on any days that he dives and I don't. (Sounds like there might end up being a Nokonos setup for sale in the future).

#12 laz217

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 07:05 AM

Never tried a DS125 so I won't comment. I will just say that I have a pair of YS90-DXs and I like them. I especially like the 12 adjustable light output. Since I always shoot in manual mode it lets me dial in just the right amount of light for my subject and it keeps me from blowing out the highlights.

As far as power is concerned, I think they do quite well. I find few conditions where the full power of the larger strobes would benefit ME, especially since I don't dive in the clearest of waters.

Now if you want to automate your photography and shoot TTL with the Olympus then its obvious that the Ike strobe is the only way to go.

Also, just wanted to let you guys know that you can bring up the old topics by clicking on 'User Control Panel' (upper right corner of page).. then select the 'Edit Profile' tab and change the listing under:
'Topics Per Page' and 'Posts Per Page' I set mine at 9999.

There's a bug in this forum that doesn't display the next set of posts.
Lazaro Ruda
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#13 MikeO

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 08:37 AM

Answers to your specific questions:

1. Arm system: To my knowledge, the Ike housing doesn't come packaged with an arm system. However, you can get the DS-125 in several packages. You can get just the strobe (but without the TTL sensor, it is useless in your application). You can get the strobe, sensor and arm. You can get the strobe, sensor arm and tray (for a housing w/o a tray). You have expressed interest in the Ikelite housing -- this already comes with the tray (6130.1 is the part number for the housing with one handle, I think you can get the two-handle version by ordering 6130.2; if not, you can get a two-handle tray separately if you want to). The arm that comes with the packaage is quite functional, though it isn't the most elegant thing in the world. Ike has updated the arm system so you don't have to reposition the sensor when you reposition the strobe. If you go with the YS-90DX and want Ike's basic arm system, I'll sell you mine for $20 -- you'd just have to make sure you fit the YS-90DX on the end (I assume it would work, but am not positive so we'd have to figure it out). I got the arm with the DS-125 package but already had a ULCS system.

2. With the Ike DS-125, I would highly recommend the fast charger. Other than that, no accessories needed. For the YS-90DX, I would recommend the fiber-optic cable and AA NiMH batteries and a charger (about $33 for four batteries and a reliable fast charger, more for a better (e.g., Ansmann) setup).

3. Prices: I surfed over to B&H Photo Video (one of the reputable online sources and a good place for realistic pricing) and determined the following:
YS-90DX:$479.95, fiber cable $58.50
DS-125: strobe, arm, sensor package $649.95 (but out of stock), rapid charger $109.95

4. Battery door on the DS-125 is completely different than the 200. The 200 actually has a "door", the DS-125 doesn't. The rechargable battery on the DS-125 is a separate piece and connects by a pull and turn, key-lock kind of system (e-mail me for pictures). It is very user-friendly. Incidentally, because it is designed this way, you could have an extra battery pack ($106) and have it on the fast charger while you were underwater with the strobe (and, obviously, the other battery).

Mike Oelrich

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#14 james

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 02:19 PM

Hi Jeff,

I'm a marine engineer by trade, so I am used to making technical decisions based on functional specifications, and limited functional testing. If I've used "system X" to its full capacity, and I get a chance to verify the functional capacity of "system Y" then I can usually make a decision that way. That's the short answer at least.

Obviously, you can't buy every strobe, camera, housing, cord, etc and try them all out. So, you make educated decisions, try what you can, and pick what's best for you.

I don't think it's fair to say that I haven't tried both strobes - I have. I also read that this thread is "Which Strobe to Buy - YS-90DX or DS-125" I think I answered that question in a useful and constructive way, based on my experience and knowledge - not based on hearsay, or marketing hype.

Cheers
James
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#15 davephdv

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 06:15 PM

I've owned about 8 different strobe models. I bought a pair the the S & S TTl90s (not the digital to supplement my 2 Ike 50s and 2 Ike 200s. To make a long story short I wish I had never wasted my my on the 90s. They were not as good as the 50s for macro and closeup (larger, unpleasing color temperature, less power than the 50 by my measurement). I found them to be of very limited value as wide angle strobes. I then got a pair of Ike DS125s. I would have to say they are the almost perfect strobe. Great for wide angle and macro. One second recycle time. Great color temperature. Compact size.

The back of the strobe is the battery pack. Easest to deal with that I have ever had. The strobe electronics are seperate and sealed against leaks.

I own 3 of them now and the digital slave. No problem with any on them. Always perfect exposures with film and very good with the CP5000

Only "but" to this post is that only the 125s I have used with a digital camera. All other opinions were formed shooting film.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

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#16 Ernie

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 07:20 PM

Has anyone tried the Ike ds-125 with an Olympus housing. My concern is that using the remote sensor I wonít be able to block the internal flash and therefore may have a backscatter problem. It looks like this is not a problem with the Sea & Sea fiber optic connector.

Thanks for any help.
Ernie

#17 SharpDiver

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 08:11 PM

The Ikelite deflector that comes packaged with the Ikelite housing fits the Olympus housing perfectly. I don't know if it is available separately, but it should be.

#18 Ernie

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 06:24 AM

Thanks Jeff I'll look for it. I don't want to trouble you too much but is it that white piece attached on the right side of this picture ? Ikelite Housing
It looks like that piece doesn't block the flash.
Anyway thanks again for your help. The article you wrote "Adding Strobes to Housed Digital Cameras" was extremely helpful.

Ernie

#19 SharpDiver

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 06:33 AM

That picture shows a flash diffuser.

For the Ike housing for Oly (and maybe for others, too) they make an opaque deflector that has a spring retainer that mounts to the lens barrel. You just spread it a little and slip it over the barrel. It stays in place remarkably well, blocks the internal flash from going forward, and reflects it back so that the Ike slave sensor can see it. I couldn't find a picture of it on their site, but in the housing I received for testing it was included. I used it on both the Ikelite housing and the PT-010. Its great.

#20 Ernie

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 07:12 AM

Ya I didn't think so.
I know the piece on my OLY housing is a diffuser. Iím surprised they didn't show it on the website. I guess it's not photogenic. Iíll see if it can be ordered or perhaps is included in the packaged setup.

Ernie