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Monkeying around with slave flashes???


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#1 james

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Posted 26 July 2002 - 07:16 AM

Why do people do it?

In film photography, you won't find one person that prefers an optical slave flash over a dual sync cord. Give someone the choice and they will take the sync cord any day of the week.

So why are digital shooters choosing a "slave" flash camera system over a system with a sync cord? I'm talking about making a purchase starting from scratch - without either a camera, housing, or strobe.

Any thinking on this subject will really help me out. I'm working on a column about this for my local UW photo society.

Cheers
James Wiseman
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#2 jack r

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Posted 26 July 2002 - 10:29 AM

Hi James,
I can give you one reason. I am a nikonos v user and have been for years. I am only now making the transition to digital. I have gone through a ton of malfunctioning sync cords in my day and that always seemed to be the weakest link in my rig. I have just bought a new system and have decided to use a sync cord anyway after reading up on the slave flash.

I have also had some very good experiance using my nik V with an sb 103 and using an sb105 as a slave. Sometimes I would have someone else hold the slave flash way out of arms reach. For example to backlight a subject. I dont have any digital experiance at all yet, but logically that should relate.

#3 Kasey

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Posted 27 July 2002 - 03:21 AM

The primary reason that slave strobe systems are disproportionately popular in digital photography is that consumers want TTL automation. Personally, I don't think that TTL cuts the mustard in UW digital photography, but it is a feature that sells systems.
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#4 jack r

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Posted 27 July 2002 - 03:27 AM

Kasey,
Are you saying that you cant have ttl with a sync cord?

#5 Kasey

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Posted 27 July 2002 - 03:56 PM

Very few underwater digital systems offer TTL with a sync cord. My understanding is that the CP5000 (and maybe 990) is one of the few cameras that facilitates TTL using the sync port. Keep in mind, however, that instant feedback of digital makes TTL less important than it is with film cameras.

Some newer cameras (rumor has it the S2 works this way) may also facilitate TTL. I believe that proper exposure is more critical with film than digital (see consumer digital doesn't cut it), and TTL is not better than shoot - review - shoot again techniques.
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#6 SharpDiver

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Posted 28 July 2002 - 03:17 PM

If you are truly trying to research an article or lecture, there is little to be gained by using demeaning phrases like "monkeying around" to describe the system that the vast majority on this list are using.

The number of digital camera and housing combinations on the market that will accept a hard-wired connection of any kind (TTL or not) is limited. The Nikon pro-sumers, the Tetra housing for Olympus, the Titan for Olympus E-20, and the couple of digital SLR's that have housings available are the only ones that come to mind.

Unlike a certain marine engineer I argue with from time to time, most of us don't want to trade rigs every 2 months. Either because we can't afford it or because we have just become accustomed to the rig we are using. This would limit the range of available hard-wired options even further, because many of them have only been on the market for a few weeks.

None of the hard-wired strobe systems would fall into the category of an "economical" system. There are cost considerations when choosing all three components, camera, housing and strobe. You will pay more for a camera that has a flash sync port. You will also pay more for a housing that has a sync port. Only in the strobe is there a break. Depending on your previous two choices, you might get away with an older generation strobe. But, this will not likely overcome the increased costs of the other two components.

Why do I "monkey around" with a fiber optic slave strobe? Four reasons:

1) It works.
2) It was the best option available for the camera and housing I had when I made the decision.
3) I have not seen anything out there to change my mind.
4) No cable to flood or o-ring to worry about.

#7 underwaterdigital

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Posted 29 July 2002 - 08:08 AM

image

On the serious side, why do I prefer slave over hard wire?

1. As Jeff said, no cable or port to flood and it works.
Allan

Sea and Sea DX100 with Inon X1 port, Inon Z22 quad ring flash, YS90DX and a bunch of lens, arms and ports.

#8 james

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Posted 29 July 2002 - 11:36 AM

Thanks guys. I knew the subject line would catch people's attention. :)

I didn't mean for it to be rude or demeaning. Please keep the good feedback coming.

Jeff is right - I was very fortunate to be able to use the top-of-the line consumer digicam system (the CP5000) on the way to my "digital nirvana" with the Fuji S2. I've used the Coolpix 990, the CP5000, and now the S2 - all of which provide a socket or hotshoe for a sync cord attachment.

So I would like some comments from the other side of the bridge RE slave strobes - not trying to "take sides."

I do have to disagree with one thing said though - the addition of "one more bulkhead" for a synch cord is no big deal, IMHO. Adding one more o-ring on a housing that already has 50 is really no big deal. Your strobe has a sync cord bulkhead on it - did that stop you from buying it? :P

Besides, I think just about everyone on here will agree - the Ikelite bulkheads are EXCELLENT and I have NEVER heard of one that leaked.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#9 wetpixel

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 02:47 PM

I HATE having other people's strobes go off when I fire mine. Although, it is funny sometimes. :)

That's why I stay away from it, unless you can isolate the trigger strobe by using fiber...

Of course, if I could flip the internal flash up on the D60 and use slave mode to get TTL, I'd probably do it, since it's the only way TTL is going to work, until E-TTL compatible strobes come out. :P
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#10 wetpixel

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 02:49 PM

Here's Todd, with his strobe firing back at me. In fact, this was the ONLY way he could get the strobe to fire.. hehehehe. :)

image
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#11 underwaterdigital

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Posted 01 August 2002 - 04:00 AM

Eric,

Is that an Aquatica Coolpix5000 housing in the picture?

just curious
Allan

Sea and Sea DX100 with Inon X1 port, Inon Z22 quad ring flash, YS90DX and a bunch of lens, arms and ports.

#12 wetpixel

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Posted 01 August 2002 - 04:36 AM

it's an Aquatica 5000 housing. Todd is lurking around here, so you can ask questions, if you have any. :)
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#13 RogerCarlson

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Posted 01 August 2002 - 07:01 PM

Why wouldn't Todd's strobes fire? Sounds like the kind of data James is looking for.