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Posts posted by Barmaglot

  1. 1 hour ago, stuartv said:

    @Pavel Kolpakov Just curious about that picture you posted. What is the gold-colored strip that is mounted in the bottom of the housing? Is that a moisture detector? If so, what does it do? Does it make the strobe trigger LEDs flash or something to alert the user to moisture? Which also makes it where they cannot really use their strobes for taking pictures anymore?

    Yes, it's a moisture detector. The photo is a of a SeaFrogs A6xxx Salted Line housing, and the converter replaces the moisture detector that ships with that housing. If that gold strip gets wet, the converter starts beeping loudly, same as the Meikon/SeaFrogs leak detector. If you're not too deep when a leak starts, you might be able to surface in time to save your camera and/or lens. See here for an example.

  2. 32 minutes ago, TimG said:

    Bermaglot, how do you find the Retra aiming light (the pilot light) when using the LSD? Did you find the strobe light the area illuminated by the pilot light reasonably accurately? 

    Aiming light seemed to match the strobe output. I didn't get any shots worth posting, but this was my first (and so far only) dive using a snoot, so that's to be expected.

    23 minutes ago, stuartv said:

    The price just keeps going up. $1050 for the strobe. $200 for a battery pack? $50 for bumpers? More for the front protector thingie? Fortunately, I think I saw that the neoprene sleeve comes with it.

    Unless something changed, the neoprene jackets are a separate item, costing €35 each, while bumpers cost €49 on top of that.

    17 minutes ago, deepadrenalin said:

    What about double-sided adhesive tape to fix it? 

    Interesting idea; haven't thought about that. It might be counterproductive though - the purpose of jackets is to protect the cosmetic condition of the strobe, retaining more of its value in case it ever needs to be resold, while sticky tape strong enough to stand up to salt water will likely leave its own residue on the strobe.

  3. The extended battery compartment is not yet available. The same part for the original Retra flash (no longer available) sold for $177, so that's probably in the ballpark for the new version when it comes out. I haven't seen anything specific about release date yet.

    I did 5 dives with a pair of Retra Pros so far, haven't measured recycling speed, but I have 2-second automatic review enabled on my camera after taking a shot, and I've never had the strobes lag behind that. They do eat batteries voraciously, although part of that was due to me exploring their performance envelope and doing quite a lot of full dumps. With a single strobe, an LSD, and a 90mm lens on f/22, I found that I needed full power to get decent exposures, although this was my first time using an LSD - perhaps I simply wasn't placing it close enough to the subject.

    The neoprene jackets slide back over the controls and forward over the front glass in a very annoying fashion; I'm almost 100% set on getting a set of bumpers before my next trip to limit that.

  4. On 3/8/2020 at 10:53 AM, ianmarsh said:

    Got it! Thanks



    Correction - I finally got them in the water today, triggering off the pop-up flash on my Sony A6300, and turns out I was wrong about how the Smart SL mode works. There is no need to turn back to manual mode - I set the strobes to U2 (Smart SL), they start flashing yellow, I take a random shot to make the camera flash fire and they turn solid yellow. From that point on, every time I take a shot, they ignore the pre-flash (which cannot be turned off on my camera) and the power is adjusted using the left knob. If I turn the right knob to a different mode (TTL, turn off, whatever) then a new engagement of U2 (Smart SL) requires a new calibration shot. The knobs themselves are a joy to operate by the way - today was the first time I shot manual strobes and I was able to get it going almost right away.

  5. 4 hours ago, deepadrenalin said:

    Sitting at the kitchen table with my dive and photo buddy Christoph, and i,m  presenting the Retra Pro very proud, he ask me: cool, HSS not bad, but where is the slave sensor, how do work the slave mode? 
    Hmmm, This flashgun has really no slave mode? Every mini flash has a slave Mode. This feature is so usual , that i don,t read it in the spec before i ordered them.

    How can i use the Retra Pro in Slave Mode?

    Regards from Berlin/Germany


    What do you mean by slave mode? I'm currently at Apo Island, running a pair of Retra Pros off the pop up flash on my Sony A6300; it works both in TTL mode (follows pre-flash and main flash) and smart SL mode (ignores pre-flash, fires using set power on main flash). The optical sensor is located on the back of the flash, opposite the battery compartment door. The flash ships with it covered by a Sea & Sea adapter; if you unscrew that adapter, you can screw an Inon type FO cable in its place. 

  6. 2 minutes ago, ianmarsh said:

    1) The Retra is "Brand Agnostic" in the sense it can be used on all camera platforms as long as there is a controller available for that brand. Otherwise it is a simple manual strobe.

    It can shoot manual or TTL when you have a TTL-capable triggering flash, like a pop-up flash on many compacts and mid-size cameras.

    4 minutes ago, ianmarsh said:

    4) The Smart SL feature on Retra is a way to bypass the TTL underwater if you choose to shoot manual, once the board is set up for TTL and the housing closed. It ignores the pre-flash TTL pulses and just fires the strobe. Output will be dependent on the power setting on the back of the strobe. Not sure if this thinking is correct?

    5) Not sure what would happen if the Retra strobe was set at the "Manual" on position #1 and the TTL board was set in TTL mode? Would it accomplish the same thing as 4) above? 

    The Smart SL mode allows the strobe to 'learn' the TTL pre-flash sequence of the controlling camera; you don't use it to actually shoot. Engage Smart SL - the strobe indicator light will start flashing. Fire a shot, wait for 2 seconds, it should stop flashing - this indicates that the strobe is calibrated. Turn to manual mode and start shooting - it will ignore the TTL pre-flash pulses. This is for cameras where you can't turn off the pre-flash, like all Sony RX100 and A6xxx series cameras.

    • Like 1

  7. 1 hour ago, nokie said:

    I was not aware of seafrogs salted line (I thought they only had the standard version which is limited to 40m). I can’t really judge ergonomics on this one and if you have access to all controls. I am also not sure if you can add a wide angle lens on the macro port like I want to do.

    I use the A6xxx Salted Line housing with an A6300 and I'm happy with the ergonomics. All the controls are accessible. The RX100 Salted Line, judging by the photos, also exposes all the controls, including the rear dial (unlike their earlier RX100 housings).

    For wide-angle, you have a choice of bundled flat port (allows full range of 24 to 200mm, but does not allow wet lens attachment and does the normal flat port shrinking, so not really that wide), short macro port (allows wet lenses but limits lens extension), and a choice of domes (same mount as the A6xxx housing, so you get 4", 6" and 8" options).

  8. 2 hours ago, nokie said:

    If you go for the Nauticam housing (600€ more than the Fantasea), you will get the full 200mm on the RX100, but I would argue you can get a macro lense for less. Of course Nauticam is very good quality, so if that is the preference, the RX100 becomes a bit more attractive.

    You need a macro lens (or rather a diopter) with either camera, as neither of them can focus closely at longer zoom extension. However, RX100 VII will give you more magnification with the appropriate diopter. Also, Nauticam is not the only option for RX100 VII - SeaFrogs Salted Line ($247) with macro port ($99) will let you use it at full zoom.

  9. 1 hour ago, Akoni said:

    Interesting! Have you used this combo? It seems to make the Sony outfit among the most flexible with it ability so many lens types. Don't the Sony's have issues with WB underwater though? 

    I don't - I shoot a Sony A6300 in a SeaFrogs housing - but Nauticam lists this on their port charts, so they must've tested it. Keep in mind that older Alpha series cameras (A6000, A7, A7 II) had significant issues with autofocus on adapted lenses, but newer bodies (A6300 and up on APS-C, A7 III and up on full frame) have near-native to native performance with them. Backscatter review of A7R IV was done with Canon 8-15mm fisheye and 100mm macro, and they found the Canon 100mm lens mounted via Sigma MC-11 to focus much faster than Sony's own 90mm, and as fast or even faster as the same lens on a Canon body.

    Regarding white balance, I know that the older bodies were limited to 9900K in manual white balance, but newer bodies have removed that limitation, but I only shoot stills in RAW, never video, so it's not really a factor for me.

  10. 1 hour ago, Akoni said:

    Possibly. I believe that combo is not listed, at least by Nauticam. So if you chose a Nauticam housing you’d have to work out the proper extension for the port and source a custom zoom gear.

    Look at the end of Nauticam N100 port chart for Sony - if you put on a #37305 N100 to N120 port adapter, you use the Canon N120 port chart with all of its lenses. 

  11. 6 hours ago, Captain Fathom said:

    There is not a focus gear for either the 16-50 kit lens, the Sigma 19f2.8 or the Rokinon 24f2.8 which are my primary lens choices at the moment.

    You're using Nauticam, right? According to port chart, #36172 is the focus gear for SELP1650. You can also get #36201 Nikonos to NEX adapter and Ebay is full of Nikonos lenses.

  12. 1 hour ago, Interceptor121 said:

    So the solution from UWT and Retra may work but of course I need to test it as frankly I do not really trust most of what is out there in terms of validation

    If everything goes right, you'll have an opportunity to test it yourself in August - I'm coming to your liveaboard with a pair of Retra Pros and a UWT converter.

    As far as operation goes, from what I understand (based on Pavel's post in Russian on another forum), the Retra strobe generates the HSS pulses, but it depends on the converter to supply a triggering signal in a very specific format. HSS power can be adjusted using the power knob on the strobe. Now, this is my own unsubstantiated guess, but I suppose that at different shutter speeds, the shutter blades move at a different rate, necessitating a different pulse duration and repetition frequency in order to avoid the shutter blades showing up in the photo - the converter gets the shutter speed setting from the camera and generates the appropriately timed pulse sequence, which is repeated by the strobe. Therefore, you can't just take any random light, flash it at the strobe's sensor and have the HSS mode expose properly.

  13. I just tested dial positions 2 and 3 and... it's weird. I'm using A6300 with 90mm macro lens, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/160, rear curtain sync, 0 flash compensation in camera or strobe, shooting a piece of black plastic (the sync connector cover from the strobe) on a white backdrop, and it's exposing reasonably well as long as I keep the aperture in f/14...f/22 range. As soon as I drop to f/13 or larger aperture, the resulting picture turns totally black. The only reasonable explanation that I can come up with is that I'm having light transmission or LED alignment problems, and the weaker pulse generated for larger apertures does not come through to the flash. I can see it actually flash, but that it probably just the pre-flash, not the main exposure, which gets missed. I'll try to investigate deeper over weekend.

  14. 1 hour ago, ianmarsh said:

    (I am assuming you are on Nikon?)

    No, I'm on Sony A6300.

    4 minutes ago, Pavel Kolpakov said:

    By the way, i also have some additional information for today, - few days ago Retra team tested new strobe with TTL-Converter UWTechnics #11031-II (Nikon TTL), it worked good enough using existing profile YS-D2 or YS-D1, only required some correction at the end of working range.

    Very interesting - I'll try the YS-D1/YS-D2 settings today after work. Positions 2 and 3 on the selector dial, right?

  15. 3 hours ago, ianmarsh said:

    Has anyone had a chance to use the new Retra Pro in TTL with existing UW Technic or Nauticam TTL triggers?

    Only on dry land so far; I will have it in the water in two weeks. With the UW-Technics converter, manual mode works fine, but TTL categorically does not work - it always fires with the same fairly low power, both in mode 1 (Inon Z-240) and in mode 6 (Ikelite DS-160); I'm not sure why, maybe I'm doing something wrong? Oddly, with the pop-up flash on my Sony A6300, the TTL mode appears to work fairly well - I was getting the same exposure at f/11 and f/22 (ISO set to 100, shutter speed to 1/160), although wider apertures were getting overexposed. Can't test HSS because my camera won't let me select a shorter exposure than 1/160 - need a new firmware revision for the converter to enable it. Pavel wrote a week ago on tetis.ru forus that he's expecting a sample in two weeks, and then he will try making a TTL profile for it.

    • Like 1

  16. Since that post above, I have moved from 6" dome to 8" dome, which is significantly more buoyant. Last time I dove it, I had it set up with about 450g of weight on the dome and no floats - just regular arms. Conversely, when I'm using 90mm with macro port and a focus light, I replace all four arms with 200mm length/60mm diameter carbon fiber floats. In both cases, the rig is slightly negative overall. However, I just got new strobes (Retra Flash Pros replacing SeaFrogs ST-100s) so I will likely have to readjust buoyancy once again.

    What I do to dial-in the buoyancy is fairly simple - I have a box of stick-on tire weights, so after I've made a significant change to my rig, I put it in the water and see if it floats (the SeaFrogs housing and its ports are naturally buoyant; it's the accessories that drag it down). If it sinks quickly, this means that I need to add floats. If it sinks slowly, this means that it's good to go. If it floats, I take it out, stick on a few weight blocks (mine come in 7g increments) and try again until it starts sinking slowly. Don't rely on other divers' setups as an exact reference, because everyone's rig is slightly different - trays, arms, clamps, lights, strobes, wet lenses, action cameras, etc, all come with their own buoyancy characteristics, and even location matters - a rig that is neutral in fresh water will float in the ocean, and a rig that is neutral in the Pacific will float in the Red Sea.

  17. I've been using a Sony A6300 for the past 2.5 years or so. I'm quite happy with it, but keep in mind that while the bodies are relatively inexpensive, Sony lenses are pricey - a 10-18mm f/4 for wide-angle will cost you $798 new or ~$400-500 used, while a 90mm f/2.8 G macro is $998 new and ~$800 used (US prices). There are also no native Sony fisheye lenses, aside from the 16mm f/2.8 pancake with fisheye converter, which has notoriously poor IQ, so if you want to shoot fisheye, you'll need either a manual lens (something like Samyang 8mm) or a Tokina 10-17mm in Canon mount and a Metabones or Sigma adapter.

    As far as budgets go, even with a used body and lenses and a SeaFrogs Salted Line housing, I have over $9k sunk into my rig. Looking at my spreadsheet where I track this, I see:

    • A6300 body with kit lens - $837
    • Extra battery, charger, mamory card, bag - $147
    • Sony 10-18mm - $557
    • Sony 90mm - $790
    • 7Artisans 7.5mm fisheye - $132
    • Weefine WFL05S diopter - $305
    • SeaFrogs Salted Line housing with 6" dome bundle - $498
    • SeaFrogs 4" fisheye dome - $147
    • SeaFrogs 8" dome + neoprene cover - $268
    • SeaFrogs macro port - $120
    • SeaFrogs vacuum system - $155
    • Tray, 4x20cm normal arms, 4x20cm float arms, focus light mount, clamps, trigger, etc - about $450
    • 2x SeaFrogs ST-100 Pro strobes - $461
    • 2x Retra Pro strobes with covers, diffusers and one Retra LSD snoot - $2832
    • 2x multicore fiber optic cables - $100
    • 2x Archon D36V lights - $469
    • Archon D15VP focus light - $72
    • UW-Technics TTL converter - $485
    • Nightsea fluorescence excitation kit - $206

    About $1k of that ended up superfluous - I started doing stills with the Archon LED lights because proper strobes were too expensive, got disappointed and bought the SeaFrogs strobes because, again, proper strobes were too expensive, got disappointed again and finally broke down and ordered the Retras when they were running a 15% preorder discount back in late 2018 - they arrived yesterday. There was also the older fixed-port SeaFrogs housing which I have since sold for about 60% of its new price, and the 6" dome port that I'm not using anymore and probably should try to sell.

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