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#1 Pedda

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 03:33 PM

Hi,

I'm on my way to buy a new flash and the ones I've been looking on are Inon Z-220 and Subtronic Mini. I'll use it together with a Nikon D70 in Ikelite housing. The lenses I use for the moment are 18-70mm and 60mm macro.

1: Which one would you recommend and why?
2: How strong are their guide lights? Will I be able to use it as my only light source during a night dive?

I'm going to start with one but as soon as my bank account allows it I'll buy a second one.

Regards

Peter

Ps. Anyone knows anybody that needs a Instructor? I’ve just finished my contract and I’m looking for a new work.
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#2 Giles

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 04:16 PM

I have recently been tossing up the same decision, I would i think have to get either one shipped special to me from the USA or england depending on which one i get. Then when i have it i will sell my 120 S&S and then get a second. I am leaning towards the subtronics as I like Alex's Alphas and these minis are small but pack a punch and are still better than most other regular strobes.
But Inon are kinda an unknown greatness from what i understand. I think the battery type will sway me. Doesn't hte Inon need AA's ? I am trying to get away from that and get OEM type rechargeables or built in batteries for serious recycle and ease of charge.
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#3 critter

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 04:31 PM

Peter if you are going with an Ikelite housing why don't you go with the Ike strobe so you can use your ittl in it. At least I think its available and if it isn't it should be pretty soon. You can also check out this strobe finder page to check out what is out there:
http://www.digitaldi...net/strobes.php

Tony
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#4 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 01:09 AM

If you go for the Subtronic mini then make sure that you get the one with the more powerful battery pack. You can't change batteries in a Subtronic (they are sealed rechargables) and so if you shoot >400 images in a day then you might run out of batteries in the lower power unit. Most annoying if you are out on a day boat.

Alex

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#5 Jolly

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 02:44 AM

I was in the same situation. I think the guide numbers are not that different. But the Mini invests more flash energy (90 vs. 60 W/s) into a wider beam and warmer colour temperature. And I would go for the stronger battery as well. The normal Mini battery has 1000 mAh. That’s less than half the capacity you have with 4 AA cells (Inon Z220 with 2300 mAh cells for example). And due to the wider beam (dome glass) and coloured glass for warmer colour temp the Mini dumps more energy in order to deliver the same light intensity (GN). So you really could run out of power sooner compared to the Z220 with the standard Mini battery. The Mini’s weak standard battery is still a design from film age (36 shots per dive) in my opinion.

I personally went for the Inons because I’m kind of hysterical about this built-in battery issue. The IATA regulations prescribe that you have to remove the bulb or battery for travel. I know two cases where people had to travel without their Subtronics recently. This all wasn’t an issue in the past but since 911 security staff begins to look closer. Subtronic ships a piece of paper which shall indicate that the strobe is free of danger for travel due to the included protection (preventing the strobe from being switched on). But this is no guarantee as IATA regulations apply. I know this may sound very hysterical. As an airline pilot I just had my annually dangerous goods refresher and have been taught about diving lights / strobes without the option to remove battery or bulb being a dangerous good. In an unhappy and rare case it might depend on convincing the security staff that this anti-switch-on-protection allows transport. In real life it is very unlikely that you won’t get Subtronics on board. But it happened in some cases recently and I just feel more comfortable travelling with removable batteries. In spite of my very personal and hysterical point of view on this item, I am sure the Mini is the better performing strobe in terms of lightning, especially for wideagnle. I don't know how my two Inons would perform when I would have a 180° fisheye, I am sure two Minis would be better. But the 15mm fisheye is the widest lens I can use on my 10D (108°).

I would like to see Subtronic handling the battery issue like Hartenberger (and many others) in the future.

Regards,

Julian
| Canon 5D I+II / Sealux CC5-GD I+II custom converted | 2x Ikelite DS-125 | ULCS |

#6 Paul Kay

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 07:09 AM

Something that is easily overlooked is the 'quality of light' output. For me one of the most important aspects of flash output is the way it delivers the light, and this essentially means how the flash tube and reflector are designed. The Inons use 2 x flash tubes set in a 'T' each with its own small reflector wheras the Subtronic uses a single larger houseshoe shaped tube with a larger reflector. I haven't used the Inon myself although I hear very good reports, but I do like the smooth, soft and wide coverage from the Subtronic. This said, for macro I inevitably have to boost contrast in the Raw converter to make up for the very softness that I like! The wide beam gives subtantial background illumination, which again I personally prefer, and the soft light also seems to reduce harsh backscatter as illuminated particles are far less distinct. I know that other people prefer the harder lighting from smaller reflectors and do not want the softer wide-beam effect.

So try to have a look at shots from both types of flash unit before you decide and see which provides the type of light that you prefer.

On the airline note, I have been stopped and asked about Subtronic type units by security staff. So far so good, but given that this issue won't go away, I suppose that most manufacturers will have to finally address the issue - it would be handy to have interchangeable power packs I must admit!
Paul Kay, Canon EOS5D/5DII, SEACAM/S45, 15, 24L, 60/2.8 (+Ext12II) & 100/2.8 Macros - UK/Ireland Seacam Sales underseacameras & marinewildlife & paulkayphotography & welshmarinefish

#7 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 08:11 AM

I agree with Julian that the IATA regs are a pain. I travel with Subtronics a lot and I continue to put them in the hold luggage even though I am aware that sometimes I might be asked to take them out.

During the last year since I was aware that these regs came in, I have found that big airports like London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Singapore, Miami - don't seem to care. Also resort airports don't inforce it either (e.g. Sharm, Male, Manado, Dempasar etc).

The only place where i have a problem is flying home from Grand Cayman. It seems to be the only airport I go from where they are aware of the regulations! But I still put the strobes in my case there because they don't always hand search my bags. And I know that my strobes are secure and can't be turned on - so they are not a safety risk. My Subtronics have been "found" by the security at GCM three times - and only once have they made me hand carry them.

I don't see why we should adhere to the IATA instructions when the industry is incapable of inforcing them across the board (accept on an island in the Caribbean and small regional airports in beaurocratic Europe).

I wish that subtronic had their answer to the IATA regulations available on their website. And it would be even better if they offered free upgrades to make their strobes IATA compatible. But that is not going to happen and I am not about buy a new pair of strobes!

So I will continue to flaunt the regulations because I am happy that I am not a safety risk!

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#8 Giles

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 11:03 AM

Hey Alex .. how about you sell me your subtronics and buy yourself some new ones. I have 500 US with your name on it :o I don't travel cause I only have $500 and it has your name on it .. and that way you could buy yourself some new IATA strobes and then write off for tax reasons and all the rest .. wow .. look how much money i just saved you ... it's a deal it's a steal .. it's the sale of the ******* century .. infact you know what I think i'll keep them

.. doh .. that last bit doesn't help me does it !
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#9 Pedda

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 11:46 AM

If you go for the Subtronic mini then make sure that you get the one with the more powerful battery pack. You can't change batteries in a Subtronic (they are sealed rechargables) and so if you shoot >400 images in a day then you might run out of batteries in the lower power unit. Most annoying if you are out on a day boat.

Alex

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


On Subtronics webpage I found that the batteriback is a 1,6Ah NIMh. Is this the new more powerful one or?

I'm leaning towards the Subtronic. Would you go for the Analog or the iTTL version? I've never used TTL before so I'm not really sure if I miss something there. If I buy the iTTL version, do you know if I've to do something with the cables in my Ikelite housing to get it working?

How is it with the cables? Can I use my existing one that I use between my Ike housing and S&S flash?

Peter

ps. Lesson learned from hunting flashes is to learn the German language or get babelfish to work better :o
Peter Bergquist www.pedda.com
D200 / Ike housing / Subtronic Gamma

#10 Steve Jones

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 01:27 PM

How is it with the cables? Can I use my existing one that I use between my Ike housing and S&S flash?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Peter - the Subtronic uses it's own cables (they come with the unit). The Flash end will not be compatible with a Sea and Sea cable so these can't be used. The Subtronic cable has a Nikonos 5 style plug on the housing end, so providing your Ike has a standard Nik 5 bulkhead connector, you will be fine. IMHO the Subtronic cables are far superior to the Sea and Sea's - heavier duty, triple o-ring sealed and anti kink.

Price wise you will pay around 270 Euro more for iTTL

Hope this helps

Steve
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#11 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:38 PM

ps. Lesson learned from hunting flashes is to learn the German language or get babelfish to work better :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Or wait to see what Julian says here on Wetpixel!

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#12 Jolly

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 04:04 AM

I do offer underwater photo related translation service from German into my poor English anytime :D

the 1.6 Ah battery is the optional stronger one. Standard Mini battery has 1.0 Ah.

I see Giles’ point about custom batteries (non AA cells) being more powerful, offering faster recycling and providing adequate power supply for decent amphibic strobes. But this does not apply too much to the Mini batteries as even the optional stronger one has still less capacity than four common AA cells.

Until now I haven't heard any feedbacks on the Subtronic i-TTL feature. I hope i-TTL conversion promises more than the E-TTL results I have seen. Hard to judge if you should invest the money. On the other hand if it doesn't work for you underwater - you still have the manual power settings on the strobe :-)

regards,

Julian
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#13 t-bohn

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 09:30 AM

I used to have two Subtronics.
They were great for two beach dives a day, so I could charge them...

I sold them because:
- much toooooo heavy
- battery broke twice (cell defect)
- no power on multiple dive days / not enough time to charge on liveaboards
- strobe arm broke twice
- a very bad experience with ground staff on a flight without strobes...

I liked:
- power
- target light

For me, I buy strobes that take AA or other standard cells so I can feed Energizer if necessary.

The only alternative similar brand I found were Hartenberger:
http://www.hartenber...rtenberger.html
They have powerful models with exchangeable battery packs. So you can bring 2 battery packs, remove them if necessary or charge one while you dive...

I talked to Subtronic on the BOOT show in January. They said that they will come up with a model with removable battery pack...
The Minis are very nice and tempting, but I'm happy with a bucket of AA and Ansmann charger...

Cheers from Manila
Torben
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#14 iainwilliams

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 03:59 AM

hello:

I have the inon Z220S and have had it for 18 months and 400 dives.

Perfect. AA batteries, very fast recharge time, easy to use, excellent field of view, light weight, strong - absolutely no complaints. Am buying another soon to use as my NO 2 strobe.

I shoot manual & have no hassles using the strobe.....Iain
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#15 shchae

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:08 AM

Hi,
I posted my opinion on your other post. Please, post if you or anybody find a way to connect Ike housing to Subtronics strobe. Ike uses its own connector & Subtronics or Subal housing for SB-800 strobe uses usual 'housing-side' of 5N connector. Changing bulkhead connector of Ike housing is not the solution as
1. No one makes cable.
2.D-70 camera will freeze or/and get damaged if you connect all 5 pins and try to use regular strobes.

Therefore, your choice is either use Ike's strobe or regular nikonos comptible strobe like S&S, Nikonos & Inon.

For same reason, Ryan's reef photo offers modified dual bulkhead Subal D-70 housing to use 5 pin ( for TTL) or 2 pin ( standard nikonos compatible strobe) as needed ( both bulkhead still shows 5 pins). Dual bulkhead is standard on Nexus housing according to it's web site.

Sam
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and Nauticam D-7000 with Insect-eye lens.

#16 mikedive

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 02:59 AM

Hi , :)

no problems with souch cable : Ikelite housing to Subtronic strobe or the other way round
I have( or will get ) most of the plugs to build nearly every cable needet .
I know the Ikelite cable setting and the subtronic´s too
just let me know I will do .........

Michael
Nikon D300 - UK-D300 - different Lenses and Ports - MD04 Ball-Arms , YS 60speed / INON Z240 / Hartenberger hs250 ,and several other parts

#17 Pedda

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 04:10 PM

Hi,
  I posted my opinion on your other post. Please, post if you or anybody find a way to connect Ike housing to Subtronics strobe.  Ike uses its own connector & Subtronics or Subal housing for SB-800 strobe uses usual 'housing-side' of 5N connector.  Changing bulkhead connector of Ike housing is not the solution as
1. No one makes cable.
2.D-70 camera will freeze or/and get damaged if you connect all 5 pins and try to use regular strobes. 


Sam

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've just bough a used Subtronic Gamma and according to the information I've got the Ike 4104.6 cable will work if I disable some of the pins.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Regards
Peter Bergquist www.pedda.com
D200 / Ike housing / Subtronic Gamma

#18 Michael

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 04:38 PM

Hi there,

I bought four Inon Z220s last year and am very happy with them - compact, light, reliable. I was asked to be Inon's artist of the month (June 05) and happily agreed. I use them with Sea & Sea dual ttl cords and TLC arms on my aquatica housings and find the set ups sweet and dependable.

The cool thing for me is that being light I can position the strobes prior to jumping in the water and the TLC arms can support their weight with no problem. When stuff happens really quickly and you have to be ready and jump in the water and start shooting asap, it makes a HUGE difference. No time wasted uw positioning the strobes.

rgds,

mpo
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#19 tdpriest

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:45 AM

I never managed to make TTL work for the wide-angle images that I like with transparency film, so I've never minded that my twin Inon Z-220s have to be used in manual mode: with the Anthis V2 hotshoe connector the focussing lights even work!

Two Inon Z-220s with diffusor plates, facing forward on TLC arms about 70cm away from the optical axis produces nice illumination across the field of view of a Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye. What else can I say?

Tim

#20 Pedda

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 06:41 AM

I want to thank everyone for the answers and advices.

I got a good deal on a used Subtronic (not the Mini) so I’ve ended up with a big +2kg piece of Gamma Plus instead. New battery and electronics at a price lower then a new Z-220.

Now I’m just waiting for the cable to arrive from mike-dive.de and then it’s take of to Hurghada and some diving. :D :D

Peter
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D200 / Ike housing / Subtronic Gamma