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Two strobes vs one big one


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#1 bobjarman

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Posted 20 February 2002 - 05:11 PM

I am just now switching from my housed Nikon SLR to digital.

I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the merits of a single ds125 vs a dual ds50 strobe set up?

Thanks,

Bob

#2 David

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Posted 20 February 2002 - 10:25 PM

Technical Specifications First:

DS-50 |vs| DS-125

Size 8cm x 12cm ~ 3.2" x 4.7" ||3.75" x 7"
Weight 0.6 kg ~ 1.3 pounds||2.75 pounds
Energy Rating 50 watt-seconds||110 watt-seconds
Coverage Angle 70 degrees||90 degrees
Color Temp 5700 degrees Kelvin||4800 degrees Kelvin
Power Source 4 "AA" alkaline||NiCad batt
Flashes 200 Full Power||150 Full Power
Recycle Time 3.5 seconds||1 second

For 1.5 lb and 3" more you get a much better strobe.

If you do mainly macro, then twin DS-50 would be more useful. You will hardly ever need the power of the DS-125.

If you do a lot of wide angle stuff in nice clear water, then DS-50 will not have the penetration power for the sweeping shots. Two of them will cover the angle, but not the depth. This will also result in a lost of depth of field. Then a single DS-125 will become more useful.

You still can do macro with a single DS-125, but if not controlled properly you can get very strong undesirable shadows. Not saying shadows are no good, but sometimes you do not want them in the picture.

To do it all, then twin DS-125. You can lower the power setting for macro, and still do nice wide sweeping shots.

What kind of shots do you normally take, and what kind of affect do you like, will dictate the equipment you buy. No point buying a macro setup if you always go for sharks, manta's, big coral heads...

What happens if you like both macro and wide angle, but no money? Then get a single DS-125 for now. Later on, get another DS-125.;)

#3 RogerCarlson

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Posted 21 February 2002 - 12:10 PM

Just to muddy the waters, you might want to save money by considering a non-digital strobe. If you've been doing film, you know what ttl is worth to you. If you didn't use ttl with film, you might not use it with digital, and a normal strobe is just fine. Might be cheaper, might be a better strobe. Disclaimer: I've never tried a digital strobe, so I don't know how well any given camera's ttl works, but I've never heard anyone particularly rave about it. If I am wrong on this, and digital ttl is an amazing secret that I don't know about, please tell me.

I agree with David, though, I'd go with the bigger strobe and buy a second later. One big strobe does a lot for me, but then, you might do macro or have a reason to really want two strobes.

The battery packs are a consideration that you shouldn't overlook. The smaller strobes can rely on the same charger and AA nimh's as your camera, which can mean more redundancy assuming you have a couple chargers and plenty of batteries. If you don't, you are setting yourself up for a single-point failure. The bigger strobe has it's own charger. I have an ikelite 200 (same charger, different battery pack) and though I hate carrying it (I am already carrying two AA chargers and lots of AA's), I love the reliability and power.

[Edited on 2-21-2002 by RogerCarlson]

#4 David

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Posted 21 February 2002 - 09:08 PM

You should read Substrobe 200 vs. YS-90DX for housed D30 thread. It may not be the same as your camera but covers some of the topics you may be interested in.

As for me, I am still waiting for my Canon S40 housing to come in. Then need to wait for the DS-125 to become available in South East Asia; currently it is only sold in USA.

#5 james

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Posted 22 February 2002 - 07:35 AM

I use TTL w/ my Nikon strobe and Coolpix camera. Since the camera is made for using external Nikon speedlites, the strobe can be connected right to the camera with a TTL cable.

I think the TTL works well. I find that people who criticise TTL exposure metering usually own a Canon or an Olympus...;)

Cheers
James
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#6 SharpDiver

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 06:16 AM

Someone should point out that the advice given by RogerCarlson regarding using "non-digital" strobes would only work with a very limited number of digital cameras. Nikon cameras can be hard-wired to Nikonos protocol strobes. With Canon, Sony or Olympus (and others I am probably forgetting to mention) hardwired strobes won't work and typical slave strobes won't work either.

#7 bobjarman

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 12:49 PM

Thanks to all for all the help and pointers, both in this thread and in others.

Descisions made. I have ordered the Canon Powershot G2, and Ikelite housing with dual handles, and two DS125 Strobes and sensors.

Whew, hopefully Ill ahve enough saved back up by my July Cocos trip to add the Inon W/A lens set.

Thanks again!
bob:D

#8 David

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Posted 24 February 2002 - 10:05 PM

All that stuff, one BIG shock on the wallet + Coco's!

Best of luck, hope it all works out for you.

For me dive trips come first, equipment second. So collect the equipment I want bit by bit over the years. If a trip gets cancelled (normally due to work), then I splurge on the gear.

#9 RogerCarlson

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 04:26 PM

Yeah, you're right. Strobes come in 3 classes, offhand: digital, ttl, and manual. To fire a strobe manually, all the camera needs to do is close a circuit between two pins, which many cameras can do (including my oly) but you need a housing and cable that allows it.