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Posts posted by Draq

  1. I like what Tim showed and have seen that idea used before.  I attach a computer to the camera also and that provides a nice place to do so.  However, I also have found that if I need massive lift, the big Nauticam carbon arms help.  They are about 650 gr each.

    I am not sure, but I suspect because of the mounting ball for a focus light, the location of the fiber optic bukhead and the need for access to the vacuum button, I don't think the extra arm over the housing would work. 

    On the other hand, I do have a rope handle  that I use to hand up the rig to the boat and I have wondered about finding a way to attach a couple floats to each end of that.  I normally stow it while in the water, but there is no real reason for that.  A couple of zip-tied Stix floats of whatever size is needed  should add up to 360g flotation and is easily removed.



  2. On 3/23/2021 at 5:38 PM, Lewis88 said:

    Most of the hate on S&S seems to be WP group think based on the D2's bad reputation. They just did a firmware update to fix the D3 triggering issues. 

    Never had a S&S strobe flood, but have had 2 different inons flood. their battery compartment o-ring design is garbage IMO. 

    Not to criticize your preferences; I think everyone should choose what works for them, but I have used Inon strobes for over 10 years.  D2000, Z240, Z330, S2000, and my son who also does underwater photography has been using Inons for about 7 years.  Neither of us has ever had a strobe flood.  Proper lube and using some reasonable caution when screwing down the cap seems to be the key.  A brief examination through the clear cap to confirm the O ring is not twisted is a good idea.  The O rings seem to last forever.  I change mine every few years out of caution, but then keep the old ones as spares.

    For those who are concerned, an additional O ring can be installed inside the cap, creating a double O ring situation.  Sorry you had problems, but I cannot agree with the garbage thing.  I have never has a S&S strobe, so have no knowledge other than what I read, and it appears that once S&S closed their China plant and moved production to Japan, things improved and I assume the D3 is made there as well.  It might take a while for their reputation to improve following the Chinese D2 issues.  Or maybe the D3 is crap.  I have no idea.


  3. Okay, having caved-in and spent the $ for a couple of Retras, I would be interested in hearing opinions on the value of various Retra accessories, to include:

    Reduction ring



    Neoprene for Bumpers

    Wide angle diffuser

    Supercharger X

    If it matters, I mostly do CFWA, but also shoot macro, fish portraits and reefscapse.  AKA, the usual stuff.  If you have an opinion on the relative value of these bits but don't want to incur any wetpixel wrath, for stating it,  you can PM me and I will keep it to myself or repost your thoughts without identifying you.


  4. 6 hours ago, Architeuthis said:

    Hi Draq,

    Just my thoughts: Instead of investing 3k for experimenting with HSS, you could experiment with ND filter on the lens for few $ and report here. As far as I understand the HSS issue, the outcome should be the same (darker background as the fastest non-HSS sync. speed, lowest ISO and smallest tolerable aperture allow). And unless you have in mind what to do with TTL, you do not need it, most UW photographers never use it...

    In case you suffer from GAS (I also have severe attacks from time to time), there is no other choice than to go for the new equipment. As you already say you can sell the old gear to limit the losses...



    Mostly GAS, I am ashamed to say.

  5. " Orders for the Retra Flash will be open very soon. We have been planning something special for the 10 year anniversary... "

    Oh, fine...more temptation.

    Actually, I think I have a plan.  I have a bunch of micro four thirds lenses, ports, housing, etc. that I am not using and have never bothered to sell.  I hung on to it when I went to a D500, but I think it is time to say goodbye to it.  I am going to put it on ebay and that will probably cover the cost, or much of it.  Hopefully.

    Still an extravagance, but at least it won't be "new" money going into the sinkhole.  :)

  6. Please note, this is a lament rather than a complaint, or rant.

    Although I don't "need" new strobes, I have been intrigued by the Retras and thought it would be great to experiment with the HSS.  I don't need TTL but it is nice to have the option, and that is why I paid to have a TTL compatible trigger in my D500 housing.  I actually came very close to buying the first iteration of them, but missed some early discount dates and decided to wait, and then they were no more, etc.

    I was recently thinking (and I guess, still am, sort of) of getting a pair of the Retra prime before my next trip.  But then I did the math.  OK, the strobes are expensive, but I understand that and am OK with it.  So roughly $2k for the pair.  Then there are the bits and pieces; bumpers, beam narrowing rings, reflectors, maybe superchargers, so now we are more like $2800.  And then I remember that I also need to upgrade my trigger in order to use HSS or TTL, so now we are up over $3000. (US$)

    I find my enthusiasm waning.  Again, this is not a criticism of the prices, just a lament.  Since I have strobes that work fine,  I think this is an extravagance I can't really justify.   I may give in and get the strobes and just wait a while before upgrading the trigger, but even then, the price is a bit beyond my "thought it would be fun" budget.

    If anyone has a discount coupon for Retra lying around,  let  me know.   Or even just words of encouragement, condolences, etc.


    • Like 1

  7. For those who live in the USA and have purchased Retra strobes from the manufacturer, are tyou being charged import duty on these?  My quick research on this suggests there should be no duty  or tariff, but wondering what actual buyers may have experienced.


    Thank you

  8. After a year of forced shore leave due to covid, I should be able to get in the water again this summer.  Going through the gear in anticipation of getting to use it again I find that I have lost my notes and my memory about floatation, because I cannot recall what I was using.  I would rather not do the bathtub testing thing, if I don’t have to.  Since it is a pretty common setup, I am hoping someone can share how much buoyancy is needed  for a D500 in a Nauticam housing with 10-17 in a 100mm dome, two 8” and two 5” arms and a couple Z330s?

    My last two dive trips before the Covid were both macro trips, so it has been almost two years since I used the mini dome.  I usually use Stix floats and add or subtract depending on lens/port.

    Sorry; I feel stupid asking, but I am drawing a blank.  My guess is I was using a total four jumbo Stix floats and a couple small floats, but I am unsure.

    Thank you.

  9. On 3/6/2021 at 5:04 AM, TimG said:

     I couldn't get the DGX version of the Kenko 1.4TC to work with my Tokina. It does though with the Nikkor 8-15.

    With the Tokina 10-17 I found you need the Kenko N-AF Pro 300 "DG" version - not DGX.

    The "DG" version will not work with the Nikkor 8-15. 


    Tim:  The Kenko thing always seems to baffle me.  Multiple products with similar names.  However, I have found that the Pro 300 DGX works with both the 8-15 and 10-17.  I had some problems (can't recall what they were) with the HDpro version of the DGX.  You might want to look into that.

  10. I see that now.  Sorry if I confused or alarmed anyone.  I had paid little attention to it but I was left with some fragment of memory about about fungus or scratches on a Retra product and then mentioned it when trying to provide some information in this thread.  When when Oskar asked, I linked to the thread without reading it, so really mucked it up. I would edit my original post if I could, to remove the confusing misinformation.



  11. 9 hours ago, Oskar@RetraUWT said:

    Hi, where have you read this?


    In 2021 it will be 10 years since the Retra UWT company was founded and throughout this time we have always serviced and repaired all of our products regardless of age. If you have our product and write us an email to have it repaired or serviced we always do it, promptly, without exception.

    There were some indications about potential reliability issues in this thread and from knowing exactly how our flashguns perform in the field and the defects, I can say that any doubts regarding the reliability of the new Retra Flash Prime/PRO are largely unfounded. The new flashguns are a continuation of the Original model and naturally we have taken all the experience into improving the new models and advancing the technology. I think that we are currently producing some of the most reliable flashguns on the market.


    It was this thread:

    But apparently this is some sort of post-sale damage or problem and not a manufacturing defect.  Please note that I did not speak poorly of your company or product and mentioned that I would consider purchasing your strobes if I was buying.    I do enjoy TTL on macro and close focus shots though and I understand TTL is not quite "there" yet.  Hopefully that will get sorted soon.

  12. 18 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

    The most common issue with the 10-17mm is that the lens is actually made up of  2 halves that are led together by a strip of (very robust) tape under the zoom rubber.

    Some zoom gears require the removal of this rubber ring, which exposed the tape and it then tends to fail...when it happens, they can normally be gently put back together and re-taped. If your zoom gear requires you to remove the rubber from this lens, a few wraps of electric tape when you remove the rubber ring will generally solve the issue and prevent the lens from coming apart.


    I see.  Yes, I had to remove the rubber ring but have not had any problem with the tape failing (yet).  The rubber ring stays off since the lens is only used underwater.  Based on your comments, I put a strip of gaffer tape over the existing tape.  It fit quite well and should keep things together.  Thank you for explaining.

    • Like 2

  13. On 8/27/2020 at 7:30 PM, TimG said:

    And it is a bit fragile. I think lots of WP users have found bits of the lens body falls off. It doesn't effect the lens in use in a housing but this is not a robust, roughly-toughty lens.


    I have not had anything fall off my 10-17 so far, but I know I have read this about them somewhere before.  So, out of curiosity, which bits are likely to fall off?


  14. On 8/9/2020 at 12:41 PM, deliamaria said:

    Does anyone have insights into the reliability of the inon z330 or the retra pro strobes?

    I'm interested in all good, bad, and dispelling information about these two strobes or any other strobes I should consider.


    I was considering buying the retra strobes when they first came out, and then they stopped producing and I and many others had a lot of uncertainty.   During that time I went ahead and got a couple of Z330s.  Retra began producing the new strobes and by all accounts, people are liking them and they seem reliable, although I just read something on another thread about some possible defect in a strobe.

    If I were buying today I would still have some concerns about future repairs/upgrades/parts with any new or semi-new company, but not sure that would stop me. 

    If you have not done so, you might want to read this:


    I like the Z330. Iit is more powerful than the 240 was and the rounded lens/diffuser does a nice job of giving a wide beam without the need to use an additional diffuser and thus reduce light.  I believe that the power of the Z330 and the retra is similar.

    I have used Inons of one model or another for several years and never had a problem with them and with just modest o-ring caution they seem pretty safe from flooding.  The current 330 is the same case design as they have used successfully for years, so there is no reason to think there would be a problem.  I am not sure, but I may have read somewhere that Inon has done something to further isolate the electronics from the battery box in the event of a flood.

    Battery life is good.

    I think either is a solid choice and the light color can be easily modified on the Inon with no loss of power, so I would not worry much about color temp. 

    Either brand should work for you; with the Retra is offering some new tech and features and build while Inon has improved on a flash that has proven itself over many years. 

    Hope this helps.

  15. Jordango:

    As I mentioned, I have only used nauticam housings so I don't really have useful knowledge about others, but I would suggest you spend some time looking into not just the housing, but also what ports that are available and their cost, what extension rings, vacuum valves, etc, you might want and so on.  Those things become a part of the "experience" and remain useful even if you upgrade cameras and thus housings, and can "tie" you to a housing brand.  I am happy with nauticam but even if I wanted to switch,  I would also have to consider the cost of new ports and extension rings, and so on, perhaps doubling the cost of a new housing. 

    Also perhaps check into non-OEM ports for the housing yoou are interested in, such as from Zen and Athena, in case you want something that isn't available from the manufacturer.  Sometimes they offer sizes or features the housing manufacturer does not

    Also, some brands have better support in one country or continent than others.  If you have a problem or need service, it is extra time and cost if you need to send the housing to another continent.

    Hopefully this may help in your decision-making.

  16. Of course I am aware that for the most part, lower ISO is always better, but since underwater we typically use really small apertures, and need to keep shutter speeds at least slightly fast due to subject and camera motion, I frequently use a higher iso than I would on land.  I am curious, for other D500 users, what iso do you usually shoot at and what do you consider the maximum acceptable iso on routine basis? I try to stay at 800 and below and I realize that water conditions, macro vs wide angle and other conditions change this, but am interested in what others do in this regard.


  17. I guess I don't really have anything to say that hasn't been said, but nevertheless....

    A couple years ago I moved from MFT to a D500.  Using the right extension rings I can use 8-15 Nikkor or 10-17 Tokina,  and 60 macro, all with or without a teleconverter, as well as the 105 macro, using a 100 or 140 dome and a macro port.  On occasion I will take a 180 dome, although only rarely.

    I enjoy using the D500 much more than the MFT and get a much higher number of "keeper" shots with it.  I would be unwilling to travel with anything larger or with any domes larger than the 180 (well, maybe a 200?) and when lugging the stuff around I miss the MFT, but once at my destination I could not be happier.  I use a Nauticam housing and am happy with it,  but have never tried any other brand so cannot compare.  I have also found a "luggage" solution that seems to work pretty well for me so far.

    We will all go to (or back to) mirrorless at some point, but for underwater use, we are not there yet and I think it will be at least a few years and by then the lens selection and body selection will be completely different than it is now. 

    • Like 2

  18. Like most here (I think), I use  Nauticam and ULCS arms and clamps and for the most part use those brands interchangeably.  I think the Nauticam arms may be a little lighter than the ULCS, but am not sure.  At times in the past I  used some other brand of arm or clamp out of some need, but felt they were all inferior.

    I have never used the S&S clamps, they might be great and appear to of the same quality as ULCS or Nauticam.  Perhaps just buy one of the clamps that interests you and see if it meets your needs?  Then you can get more if you want.

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