Just my opinion, but I have owned both Ikelite and Aquatica housings and have owned Sea and Sea YS-90's (the predecessor to the ys-110) and Ikelite DS-125 (the predecessor to the DS-160).
a. The weight. An aluminum housing will only weigh about 1 pound less than the Ikelite. I know this for a fact, I owned both at the same time and weighed them on my postal scale. Everyone kept telling me how much less aluminum housings weigh and it's just not much difference.
b. Lighting. The DS-125's put out much more usable light than YS-90's and I believe the same is true of the DS-160 vs. YS-110. The guide number of the DS-160 and YS-110 is the same but I think most people will say the DS-160 is more powerful. In any case, I don't think selling your DS-160 and buying a YS-110 to replace it is going to benefit you. In addition, the recycle rate on the DS-160 is faster than the YS-110; important if you need to shoot several action shots in a row with a full dump.
c. Ergonomics. The Ikelite is a great deal for the money. The aluminum housings are superior in terms of ergonomics. This is a bigger deal than I thought it would be. My Aquatica housing is just easier to use in all circumstances.
IF you go with the Ikelite housing, you definitely want to stick with the DS-160 because TTL is built in to the system.
IF weight is an issue for you, you might consider selling your DS-160 and getting Inon Z-240's instead since they are much smaller and lighter. Again, most people feel the DS-160 has better coverage and the color temperature is better for wide angle shots than the Z-240, but you can't deny the Inons are a very impressive strobe.. The YS-110 and DS-160 are pretty close to the same size and weight, I think the YS-110 is just a bit lighter. The Z-240 is about 1 1/2 lbs. lighter than the DS-160, so 3 pounds savings on a pair. Just realize whatever you do, a housing with camera inside and an an 8" dome, two strobes and two 8" arms on each side plus clamps and cables is going to be pushing 16-20 pounds out of the water.
Whatever you do, the resulting photos from your D7000 vs. the G11 should make you very happy.
thank you for your precise point of view... i really appreciate it a lot
I think that metal housings are all about ergonomics and positive controls. My Ikelite worked just fine but the boxy feel bugged me so I purchased a metal housing (Sea Tool) and I love it. Is it worth it? My experience is that the cost will negate upgrading to a newer rig.
I also moved to fibreoptic strobe connections and this was a big deal. Essentially nothing can go wrong with the connections. The Inon Z-240 strobes are simply bulletproof.
So, my advive is that IF you move to a metal case get a pair of Z-240 strobes and sell the DS-160.
In deciding which path to choose consider how long you are willing to wait to upgrade. It is AT LEAST $1500-$2000 more for a metal housing every time you upgrade. I would not leave Ikelite because of the strobes. My DS-125's had better bouyancy and warmer color than the Z-240s
If you do upgrade is should be because you love the precision surfaces and controls of a metal housing. It is a joy to assemble and use......but it will not take better pictures.
thanks tom... i now have a clearer point of view in my situation