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Found 2 results

  1. Is there a Smart Underwater LED Strobe in our future? While underwater strobes have traditionally used xenon flash tubes as the source of light, white light LED COB chips are now available (1). In a recent discussion Pavel Kolpakov suggests that today it is better to build good xenon strobes than to pursue other alternatives (2) . But xenon tubes continue to give us underwater photographers a problem or two, well documented in these pages (3), so let us examine the issue a bit more. (LED: light emitting diode, COB: circuit on board​, strobe: underwater flash/strobe and/or TTL strobe, TTL: through the lens metering). It is true that xenon flash tubes have provided great service since they were developed almost 90 years ago by Harold "Doc" Edgerton of MIT, nicknamed Papa Flash by the crew of the Calypso. But these flash tubes are made of fragile glass, require high voltage and get quite hot in order to activate the xenon's electrons into plasma; plus flash tubes tend to fail or break suddenly as experienced recently by several Wetpixel contributors (3). Current underwater xenon strobes are difficult to use in TTL mode because the different camera makers use different proprietary TTL codes, which require special expensive TTL adapters; Backscatter has prepared a thorough Guide for these adapters (4)​, which documents how fragmented and expensive the TTL market is​. To further emphasize the need for change, several models of the popular underwater xenon-tube Sea & Sea strobes, plus the esteemed Inon Z240, have recently been removed from the market for no stated reason​ and the ​Sea & Sea ​YS-D2 has just now been overhauled and re-marketed.​ ​This movement for change is reinforced by the advent of inexpensive and powerful white light LED COB flashes (1) and corresponding circuits (5). ​ As a ​proof of principle and ​matter of record, the first working LED underwater strobe was reported here in Wetpixel in 2011 (6). The speed of development in the past few years has led to many LED units integrated into one powerful COB chip with a big lumen output, ​now available at a low price (1) . Super bright underwater lights based on LED COB's, such as those from iFlash, Light & Motion whose top Sola lamp ​ emits 10,000 lumens, and others, foretell the advent of underwater strobes based on these LED's. Our underwater-LED forecast may include the speed at which solid state LED illumination is being developed, plus the imagination and ingenuity of its aficionados (4c, 5, 6), including Wetpixel contributors since 2011 (6) who continue develop simple circuits (4c, 5) to control an underwater LED flash. Not to mention commercial inventors who patent circuits to ensure that the LED flash ​emits sufficient light with the correct white balance, does not overheat, and may even provide continuous light to record video (6b). ​A​ smart underwater​ LED strobe will have an on-board microprocessor programmed to perform and give the photographer control of multiple functions​, as follows:​ Smart LED Strobe Functions. Function Details 1. Strobe Maintenance Leak detection, battery gauge, flash readiness, function being used, overheating 2. Spot & Focus Lamp Turns lamp off while strobe is fired 3. TTL mode Decodes camera's TTL signal, codes appropriate TTL flashes ​​ 4. M mode Manual control of LED flash duration 5. Video Controls the LED light needed for video recording and other video illumination functions.​ Given ​the power of ​today's miniaturized and integrated solid state​ electronics​, the components for these functions should fit comfortably in the LED strobe's water proof case, which might be considerably smaller than current strobe cases. As further proof of principle, two examples of LED COB camera flashes are a) the simple circuits ​available for the LED COB chips used as flashes for cell phone cameras (6a. 6e) and b) the recently​ marketed Lume Cube, an LED strobe waterproof to a depth of 24 meters​. The LED Lume Cube ​is for use ​on ​land​ and​ gives 1500 lumens of 6000 K light, continuous or strobe​. T​hough waterproof to a depth of 24 m​, it​ is neither recommended nor usable for UW photography. Yet it ​is a harbinger of forthcoming UW LED​ COB photo​ flashes. ​In light of the above, the question ​is not if, but when, the makers of UW ​lights will market LED COB based ​strobes. REFERENCES: 1a. Cree LED for camera flash: http://www.cree.com/led-chips/media/documents/CPR3ES.pdf 1b. CREE LED COB http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Cree-Inc/CXB3590-0000-000N0HCB50E/?qs=Oettwh6T2OGWS%2FWUFWYqkw%3D%3D&gclid=CjwKCAjw3_HOBRBaEiwAvLBbonYLG1keY8wDwy2leCiBVDYt-LvQnCSh_MypQ4Vt0l0Ovj5JtdlgJRoCjdoQAvD_BwE 2. Pavel Kolpakov's comments http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60039&view=findpost&p=388068 3a. Strobe problem, YSD2 http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=57102 3b. and http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60161 3c. Inon Z240 problem http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60074 and http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60188 4a. Table of Flash Triggers http://www.backscatter.com/department/Lighting/product-category/Flash-Triggers 4b. http://www.backscatter.com/reviews/post/Underwater-Camera-and-Housing-TTL-Reference-Guide 4c. TTL multiplexer: https://www.google.com/search?q=strobe+ttl+circuit&safe=active&tbm=isch&source=iu&pf=m&ictx=1&fir=7_o3bKllmnzqjM%253A%252CgBmzB7O8Y3ji2M%252C_&usg=__OezmiYbZe1po5h3WwEEcOaDXFNQ%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKkv6n8ObWAhXCyFQKHbHeD5YQ9QEIPTAD#imgrc=9Py5d83I_65-7M: 5. DIY first LED underwater flash 2011 http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=40398 6a. LED flash circuits for cell phone camera http://www.electroschematics.com/12394/camera-white-led-flash-illumination/ 6b. LED circuits Hi intensity LED converter https://store.skyworksinc.com/ProductDetail/AAT1282IWOT1-Skyworks/466131/ 6c. COB LED lighting, general discussion: http://forum.openag.media.mit.edu/t/cob-led-lighting/966 6d. Power source for LED photo flash, AAT1282 high-efficiency, high-current step-up 2A converter https://store.skyworksinc.com/ProductDetail/AAT1282IWOT1-Skyworks/466131/ 6e. Flash for camera phones: http://www.cnledw.com/inter/upload/20081201176530700.pdf 7. Lume Cube https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&gclid=Cj0KEQjwyZjKBRDu--WG9ayT_ZEBEiQApZBFuA5ehX_xjAG3tf48UXZm_KyfYxRfknrg6tMNJD1dsp0aAuCt8P8HAQ&is=REG&m=Y&sku=1192929
  2. The strobe news is that after a short life span, Retra has discontinued its well loved underwater strobe. Let us have some fun and speculate for the reasons why and what the future may hold. Retra may have discontinued its strobe for one of three (or more) reasons: a) Retra ran out of money b) problems with the distributor of a vital part c) a spectacular new Retra design My guess is c): Retra will abandon the xenon tube. Retra will give us a new and affordable strobe based on LED light. I say this because already on the market are two commercial LED-based underwater photo strobes based on LED's: the Lume Cube 1500 (a toy really), and the Subtronic Sirius strobe (1,2). The underlying reason is that underwater photo xenon-tube strobes have been failing prematurely as documented in these pages by members of Wetpixel, as the tubes fail or break (Sea&Sea), or they lose luminosity as in the case of Inon Z240 strobes. Compared to the xenon tube, the LED is much tougher, less expensive, and has a longer life. Its practicality is proven by the two commercially available strobes mentioned above. The digital electronics required are inexpensive and well known, with a proven track record (3, 4). Right now we can only wonder and speculate, but I do believe the hand writing is on the wall: in the near future underwater LED strobes will become the norm (4). References: 1. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1192932-REG/lume_cube_lc_11b_1500_lumen_on_camera_bluetooth.html?ap=y&c3api=1876%2C92051678762%2C%2C&gclid=Cj0KCQjwibDXBRCyARIsAFHp4fonOSVTTkGt-3hNwxWXd9Oz-JzijKaTLgHp2aygQKKCerUbogM8OcAaAl5dEALw_wcB 2. http://subtronic.de/productView.php?product=Sirius 3. http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=40398 4. http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60816
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