Behind the scenes: Strobe testing in the Red Sea
Day 3 of the Wetpixel strobe testing trip dawned fine with hardly a breath of wind. After yesterday’s testing with the Symbiosis SS2 strobes, today I reverted to side by side testing and comparison of the Retra Flash and Inon Z330.
Emperor Diver’s boats are moored up practically in the hotel grounds, making it super convenient to jump on after breakfast.
I was set up with a Nikon D500, Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 and Seacam (9”) Superdome.
The first dive site today was Marsa Shouni Kabir, about 40 minutes steaming south of the hotel. Like many of the dive sites, it is a bay, with coral pinnacles and walls around the edges and within the bay itself. My buddy Hassan Shunakebir and I descended and dived along the northern edge for the first dive.
This gave some great small coral pinnacles which allowed for testing each strobe in turn, both with and without diffusers.
One of the problems that is developing in this testing process is that the output graduations on each strobe are different. Getting both strobes to output a similar amount of power in manual is fairly challenging and relies on a fair amount of trial and error, by monitoring histograms underwater.
After spending some time doing this, we set off towards the edge of the bay. There were some really beautiful stands of hard corals surrounded in anthias and other life.
Here are two more images showing some comparisons between the two strobes, this time with diffusers on.
In this instance, the subject to camera distance has varied slightly, so this has affected the exposure. Both strobes are being controlled manually.
Our second dive was on the south side of Marsa Shouni Kabir. We jumped on the Zodiak and dropped onto a really pretty pinnacle.
The light was challenging as it was pretty high in the sky and harsh. There are some really stunning big patches of lettuce coral (Turbinaria mesenterina).
It was nice to see some schools of fish too, including these batfish (Platax platax).
Our third dive was an isolated coral pinnacle. In Egypt, these are known as ergs. The site is called Halg Salmaan.
It is covered in really prolific healthy hard and soft corals.
There was another school of batfish. These often present challenges as they are quite reflective and tend to bounce strobe light off. It was great to see both the Retra and Inon strobes did a good job of controlling this
There were some really beautiful soft corals, with glassfish and sweepers, along with the ubiquitous anthias.
Thanks to Hassan and the Emperor Divers team for another great day’s diving.
Tomorrow, I will be taking Symbiosis, Retra, Inon and Seacam (Seaflash 150) strobes, along with a tripod, Seacam optical trigger and Anglerfish optical trigger to do some more power and beam angle testing….
- Day 1.
- Day 2.
- Day 3.
- Day 4.
- Day 5.