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Which strobe?

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#1 fairweath89



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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:46 AM

I am a newbie photographer who has quickly discovered the limits of my build-in flash in deep, temperate waters and have decided its time to get a strobe. But which? Well, I am a student, so money is an issue. I am also a beginner at UW photography, and photography in general. 


I have looked at getting the Intova ISS2000, a rather basic looking thing that sits nicely within my budget. However, many people I know (all very serious UW photo buffs) tell me not to waste my money but rather get something very expensive and "professional", e.g. INON S2000. 


I would like to hear from anyone who has used/or is using Intova ISS2000. Is it a useful piece of kit, and, with proper use, will it help me get nice pictures from my compact Fuji F100? 


Also, anyone who does use higher end stuff, please tell me what is the practical difference between these and the more basic strobes and what does this mean for my pictures? I realise that a degree of manual control over the brightness of the flash is important, and the Intova accommodates this to some extent. 


Please bare in mind that I am a beginner and probably won't understand all of the specs, so some explaining would be great. I am not trying to gauge how much "better" the more professional kit is than my prospective Intova, but rather whether I, as a novice, would benefit in the near future from the additional technology that comes with a higher price tag. 

Edited by fairweath89, 10 August 2014 - 11:48 AM.

#2 bvanant


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Posted 11 August 2014 - 03:55 PM

One important thing to remember is that unlike cameras and housings, but like ports and lenses strobes are more or less forever meaning they will grow with you. Get the best you can afford now. I would look at the S&S YS100 and the Inon S2000 or the Ike DS51 although the IKE will require electrical sync cords. 


The differences between the Inon and the Intova are beam angle, the Intova is 60 degrees and the Inon is 100 degrees (no hotspots), the recycle time (8 seconds is a long time) and the number of power levels (12 vs. 4). That being said the difference in price is $200 but put it this way, if you use the strobe for 1000 pictures the difference is like 20 cents per picture.


All that being said, the Intova will indeed make your pictures better than no strobe, but if you do grow as an UW photographer you will wish for a more robust device.




Edited by bvanant, 11 August 2014 - 04:02 PM.

Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.

#3 Nautilus Cairns

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:53 PM

As many have advised before, strobes usually outlast your housing and camera so it pays to get something a bit more up market, albeit more expensive,so you can transfer it to your next rig. Also as you have a compact setup a high performance, compact strobe like the S2000 makes sense, particularly if you're traveling.


I used to have a DS51 with my first Canon compact in an Ikelite housing, but sold it with that setup at the same time I upgraded to a  CanonS95 in a Recsea housing. I bought first one then a second S2000 and was very happy with the performance of the whole kit.


Now that I have an Olympus EM-5 in a Nauticam housing I will most likely upgrade the stobes to Inon Z240s.


See what I mean?

OMD E-M5. Nauticam NA-EM5. Inon S2000 strobes. Lumix 8mm fisheye,Oly 12-50mm and Oly 60mm macro

#4 smk82


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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:35 AM

 I'd echo the others in going for what you can afford, as the strobe will often transfer between cameras as you grow, meaning it pays to get something which is maybe a tad more advanced than you require at the moment, but will give you what you need down the line. I'd agree the S2000 is a good contender for a compact camera (it was only released after I'd bought my second hand setup otherwise its probably what I'd go for. Best place for Inon stuff is www.uwdigitalcamera.com. I've bought stuff from there previously, and even with import duties/taxes, it was still cheaper than buying in the UK! Currently the S2000 is £220 (accounting for exchange rate) on this site, vs £415 on camerasunderwater. {thats just the strobe though, you'd need the tray/arm/fibreoptic but you can get all these from there - ask nicely and Yuzo might give you a discount on a bulk order) I know that people will say what about warranty etc, but I understand that as a student price comes first! The other option is have a hunt on ebay, yorkshire divers personal adverts, UK diving classifieds, www.uwpmag.com small ads, anywhere selling dive kit and see what you find - you might be suprised! 

#5 grandblanc


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Posted 26 August 2014 - 08:05 AM

New to this site, so wanted to offer a thanks to all in advance as there's a lot of great info here!


I have a basic Canon compact with the Canon housing, and after using it on a few dives have decided to invest in a better setup. I'm looking for an investment path that is at least semi future-proof, and have been considering a few potential paths:


1) Buy a low cost all-in-one kit similar to Sealife SL961 on sale for under $300. I've borrowed this setup from a friend before, and while it's simple and easy I think it's the most likely to be canned down the road if I want to upgrade either camera or strobe setup.


2) My father has a Nikonos SB-105 which he offered up, unfortunately he lost the Nikonos V that went with it. The adapter is ~$150, but I'm wondering whether this cost is worthwhile compared to a new strobe given its age (at least 20 years, although not heavily used), I don't know whether this setup will actually work, and limited features compared to modern strobe. If I want to upgrade the arm with an ULCS set, I'm looking at $400 anyway.


3) Buy a new strobe, perhaps the S2000 recommended above, or YS-01. Along with a ULCS arm set, I expect this will be $650, and my only question is how much runway I get with an entry strobe and when people typically upgrade again (one year, three years?). 


Does anyone have experience bringing long-dormant strobes to life (option 2)? If a strobe like the S2000 or YS-01 is something people grow out of, then maybe a good path would be $150 on the frankenstein Nikonos and then jump to a higher end strobe later? I also appreciate any feedback on other strobes that I should consider, and if there are any lights that can dual purpose for macro photo and video.


Thanks again!

Edited by grandblanc, 26 August 2014 - 08:07 AM.

#6 bear35


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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:55 AM

I would also say buy the best you can afford, otherwise you will just end up replacing it further down the line when you realise something cheaper just doesn't do the job.

#7 joez2391


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Posted 06 September 2014 - 11:08 AM

In all honesty I would stay away from the Intova ISS2000.  When I first started getting into this hobby a few years ago I was in your same position, money was tight (on a college budget) and I decided to get the ISS2000.  I didn't expect it to matter much compared to other strobes on the market but I quickly realized how limiting it was.  I think I had the Intova for a maximum of 3 months before I sold it and upgraded to a set of Sea & Seas (YS-120's I shoot 110a's now).  My suggestion would be to make the initial investment initially, you'll be so much happier with your pictures.  Once I upgraded the difference between the Intova and S&S's were like night and day (no lighting pun inteneded).