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Reefkeep

Digital SLR DTTL ETTL

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With the exception of the S2 pro none of the others Digital SLR have TTL. The work around seems to be house a land flash or shoot manual. I hear the disadvantage of housing the top end Canon and Nikon flashes is that the color temperature is off. However would it not be possible to combine that setup with an amphibious strobe in slave mode? Would that not give you a working version of DTTL & or ETTL? Would that not also help with the color?

 

If I am not completely off base with the above, and clearly I might be, what strobes would be viable in that configuration? I don’t believe either the Ike Ds50 or 125 can operate in a slave mode. Can any other Ike strobes fulfill this requirement or should I be looking at Sea & Sea?

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Even though I have an S2pro, I have done a lot of research to try to understand D-TTL.

 

Nikon D-TTL uses multiple PREFLASHES. If you use a housed DX flash unit, in combination with a "normal" slave flash, that slave will probably fire on the preflash (if it's bright enough). An alternative would be to combine a housed land flash with the YS90DX in "preflash ignore" mode.

 

HTH

James

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Huh???? That strobe (YS90DX) is both a true slave or can be operated with a 5 or 4 pin sync cord.

 

Cheers

James

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Rumor from a reliable source says Ikelite will have a retrofit for any Ikelite substrobe that will make it work with D-TTL.

 

I'll be waiting with strobes packed.

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Scorpio,

 

Sadly, I think that perhaps the reliable source is more interested in selling housings for the D100. Strobe retrofit may be a long time in coming...:-(

 

Cheers

James

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The same source said they were having a much harder time with Canon's E-TTL.

I asked Ike, and he said that he had been "reading the same forums", and that the rumor was being spread (someone posted it on the UW Photo mailing list some time ago), and that he (Ike) had no knowledge of D-TTL being close to completion.

 

Larry (the Ike tech guy) didn't say anything to me about DTTL either, but I didn't ask him explicitly. ;)

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and that he (Ike) had no knowledge of D-TTL being close to completion

 

Close to completion, as in they are still working on it? Which means they ARE working on it?

 

Larry (the Ike tech guy) didn't say anything to me about DTTL either, but I didn't ask him explicitly

 

The source of my rumor says he talked to Larry at DEMA, who told him that it should be ready by end of December.

 

Rumors make the world go 'round.

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Hmm.

 

OK, so much for the "rumor mill" gang. This isn't getting us very far. Until a strobe manufacturer announces a strobe that will do D-TTL, this is all a moot point. It is sure nice to dream though, isn't it?

 

Warning, the rest of this post is a rant, so if you want facts only, I'd stop reading here

 

Here's my read on the whole thing - and this is my OPINION only.

 

I think the housing manufacturers effed up by jumping on the Nikon bandwagon so quickly and making their housings for the D100 instead of the S2pro. I realize this is a pretty strong statement but I'm prepared to back it up.

 

Heck, put yourself in the customer's shoes! You're a traditional film shooter and you decide it's finally time to make a move to digital. You just dropped $2,000 on a D100 and another $350 on a 60mm lens. Then you drop another >$2,000 on a housing. You put it all together only to find out that you can't shoot TTL with your macro setup! Let's face it, Everyone shoots TTL for macro with their film camera - there's no arguing with that. If I was that customer, I'd be majorly disappointed in digital - at the very least.

 

I commend the underwater housing manufacturers for putting in the money and the engineering $$$$ to develop housings for the D100 but I'm not sure it's fair for them to sit back and hope that proactive strobe manufacturers develop a D-TTL strobe for them.

 

Phew...that was a rant - but I'm glad I got it off my chest.

 

Cheers

James Wiseman

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I think there are plenty of people who don't shoot TTL flash for macro. In fact, the more experienced (old salt) the shooter, the more likely that is. So to say there no arguing with that, well, you're just wrong.

 

I'm glad you feel so strongly about TTL flash and that you are happy that your rig does it, but your opinion is not universal and I suspect the housing manufacturers are aware of the limitation. As a buyer, I would like to see more support for the S2 than just Ikelite. Flash TTL is only one concern. Choice of ports is much more important to me. The fact that the D100 will command a far greater market share is more important to the housing makers than TTL flash.

 

If Nexus made an S2 housing I would be buying one. I suspect Nexus feels they can sell more D100 housings than S2 housings so that's what they have done.

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My "favorite" pros Burt Jones and Maureen Shimlock shoot TTL for macro (Well mostly Burt does the macro). Heck, most of the pros I know shoot TTL for macro. Let me put it this way - the people that CAN shoot TTL for macro usually prefer it to manual.

 

But you are correct, not EVERYONE does it - just most of them. Heck, anyone else here who PREFERS manual flash for macro should speak up now, you can prove me wrong too...;-)

 

(Yes, that was a joke)

 

What really rankles me Craig is the fact that housing manufacturers care more about market share than what is the better camera. It's like "well more people will be buying the inferior product, so we should support the inferior product." Sure, that's just business, but I sure don't have to like it.

 

Cheers

James

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I agree, and like I said, I would have preferred the S2 given the choice.

 

All my friends shoot TTL for macro but do so because they're using Ike 50's. When asked, they say that TTL for macro would be less important to them if they had different strobes. Digital lessens the manual strobe burden further.

 

Funny thing is, the crustier the photographer, the more likely he is to prefer full manual whether the technology suggests it or not. You have to know a photographer personally to fully understand his opinions. Since I don't know your favorite pros, I can simply admire their willingness to automate, since my experience with pros is that most feel automation is for the weak.

 

I say all this because I am setting up my first still rig and this issue has weighed heavily on my mind. In the end, I feel I haven't been given a good enough choice to use the S2, although I would prefer to, and TTL flash is only one consideration. I've chosen to use the Nexus housing, for better or worse, since it leverages my friends' considerable experience with their products. I also get to use the 70-180 macro which appears to be delightful for film but may be too long for best effect with the D100. I'm also being pushed away from the 14mm due to claims of serious flare. I've decided to use the 14mm and at least one alternative setup, solving the problem by wasting money. My trip will see limited action and exclusively wide angle. I'm still shooting video and its Cocos, after all.

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I don't begrudge housing manufacturers for targeting the D100 first. They are not driving the selection. The market is. The Nikon D100 is outselling the S2 by at least a 5:1 margin. It's simple economics. The fact that the S2 may be a better underwater solution doesn't mean much if the market isn't there. Underwater housing manufacturers have to deal with a lot of tooling costs. The volume isn't huge no matter what camera we are talking about.

 

I talked to Nikon about creating a retrofit or design update to the SB-105 for D-TTL use. Since they understand their own D-TTL design, who better to make a D-TTL compatible strobe? The response can best be summarized as follows: "Who are you? Go away! We don't care about U/W. It ain't gonna happen. We aren't listening. We never listen to our customers anyway. The person you really need to talk to .....doens't exist."

 

If I can get my hands on a D100 housing, I will find out just how tough it is to shoot macro without TTL.

 

If it makes you feel better, Aquatica will begin design for an S2 housing as soon as they put the D100 project to bed. Design will probably begin in January.

 

Back to Ikelite and D-TTL. If they truly due develop a way to use TTL strobes with Nikon D-TTL, the biggest market may be above water. The issue of slaved strobe control with D-TTL has been a major sore spot since the advent of the D1. Just thinking outside the box.

 

We're getting way off topic, but what is the experience of the D30/60 shooters doing macro without TTL?

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The only underwater photographer i've talked to about ttl vs manual is Steve Simonsen. He's not an old crusty, relatively young in fact, and he doesn't shoot TTL. He knows how, and he can teach it, but chooses to retain control of his system. I know that he isn't out of the ordinary, and that many pros refuse to depend on TTL automation.

 

I think that multi-power strobes like the YS90 and strobe power controllers (like the ROC from light and motion and the system to be released from Ikelite) are great alternatives to TTL. They retain total control, yet offer more flexibility. I have had no difficulty shooting manual with my E-20 in Titan housing. I doubt my macro photography would be enhanced at all by TTL - simplified, perhaps, but not enhanced.

 

On the flip side, if I had TTL functionality, I would give it a whirl. I don't know that it really would play into a decision to purchase, however. Speed (on/off, read/write, AF) is a much bigger player to me, and I think any serious photographer would agree. This is the reason I'm waiting to see the next pro dSLR from nikon (D2 perhaps?).

 

The fact is that there just aren't any great S2 housings yet. Perhaps the Ike system will be more useable when he introduces the aluminum back. Seacam will also house the S2, but it will be many month before we see that product.

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Kasey's comments seem entirely consistent with the those I've gotten from the macro photographers I know.

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This whole TTL vs Manual flash control issue just isn't going to go away - it's like the Mac vs PC debate. So I guess I'll just have to get used to it.

 

TTL is a camera feature. When I buy a product, or compare two products, I look at the features and make a decision. If the two are equal, I seldom pick the product with less or inferior features.

 

Let me ask you guys this, do you use the light meter in your camera? I bet you use it sometimes - when it's appropriate of course.

 

Well guess what - all TTL flash control is is another set of light meters. So use it when it's appropriate. But to me, saying "you just don't need TTL, in fact, it's bad!" is like saying you don't need your light meter either.

 

That's all I'm going to say about that...;) Sorry if I've offended anyone - I certainly have strong opinions and it doesn't always come across too well online. I'm really a nice guy in person, I promise! :)

 

Cheers

James

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Re the original post:

 

I hear the disadvantage of housing the top end Canon and Nikon flashes is that the color temperature is off. However would it not be possible to combine that setup with an amphibious strobe in slave mode? Would that not give you a working version of DTTL & or ETTL? Would that not also help with the color?

 

I don't know about the rumor mills, but my experience with a housed Canon D60 and housed Canon 550EX is that the color temperature is just dandy thank you. The very serious problem I had was coverage -- with a 16mm lens and dome port the strobe was appearing as a tight, overexposed circle in the scene. Yipes!

 

Another diver on my last trip saved the day by giving me something I could use as a diffuser. This spreads the light out enough to give pleasing results, with good fall off and no obvious edges. I think for better overall coverage a second strobe would probably be in order. That or I could switch to a somewhat less wide lens, but I rather like the 16mm.

 

As for adding a slave strobe; I have a Sea & Sea YS-30 and tried using it as a slave to add more light for fill-in. The problem was whenever the YS30 goes off, the Canon strobe shuts off prematurely, and the shot turns out underexposed. I don't know if this is unique to this particular strobe combo, a problem with the YS30, or a peculiarity of Canon's electronics or what, but it was really annoying. I plan to experiment more with this and see if I can't get it to work properly.

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Given all other features being the same, certainly I would pick the system with TTL - whether or not I choose to use it. The fact is that the other features are never the same, so I'm forced to place a value on TTL in comparison with other features - like AF, lenses, etc. Basically, from the arguments that you've made, you have placed a very high value on TTL, while many of us have not. In fact, you state that (paraphrased) "there is no arguing...EVERYONE shoots TTL when shooting macro in the film world." Well, obviously, that statement can be argued, as many of the best known pro photographers would testify otherwise.

 

It would be great if it were a given on every digital system, but it isn't and won't be in the near future. For now, I've experience far more divers stuggling with ineffective or defective TTL lookalikes, and it would take far less time to learn a few equations to control their lighting.

 

As I mentioned before, my next camera will be the D1 successor. The solid body, and amazingly fast and accurate focus sold me on the f5 and the D1. I expect the successor will have a full-frame sensor and at least 10MP. If the dTTL is deciphered by then, fantastic. If not, it won't change my choice.

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sean

 

The 550ex can be setup as a slave, do you feel two of them would provide the coverage for your 16mm lens? Do you have some examples you could post?

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Some examples of the a D30 with single housed 550EX can be found at wetpixel's kona aggressor ii webcast. Unfortunately, I found that using E-TTL wide-angle w/small subjects tended to overexpose them extremely.

 

Our prototype UK Germany housing didn't provide access to the exposure lock button (which functions as flash exposure lock in certain modes), so we couldn't properly lock flash exposure for subjects not sitting on one of the three focus points.

 

We used a diffuser in front of the 550 to widen the flash area.

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I noticed on your next trip you used 2 DS 125's. Did you prefer that configuration? The shots on your Kona Trip I thought were rather good.

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Reefkeep,

 

The 550ex can indeed be used as a slave, to either another 550ex or an ST-E2 transmitter, both wireless devices -- hmmm. I assume you can do this via a cable as well; so far I've only used the one strobe. I am very curious to learn if the wireless capabilities would work while the strobes are housed, but I really doubt it.

 

As for coverage, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do. After 40-ish dives in Aus and about 2,000 shots (a large chunk of those were taken during the first three days and were all throwaways), I started to get the hang of exposing the scene for ambient light and using the strobe to fill in the foreground, thanks to being digital. I think I could do with about another 30 dives on the Yongala (that's a friggin' great place to shoot wide angle).

 

Here's one shot that I screwed up by placing the strobe wrong, taken on the wreck of the Yongala (about 10 days ago, sigh):

 

stingray_black_blotched_10.jpg

 

I had the strobe high and to the left, which is where the sun was. I should have moved the strobe around and illuminated the wee fishies in the dark part of the frame; either way enough light would have hit the belly of the ray.

 

If I had a second strobe that would have enabled me to light up all the wee fishies, but I do reposition my strobe a fair amount and having to twiddle with two of them sounds like I'd be missing shots due to longer twiddle time.

 

On the other hand, here's a very very close (and pregnant) grey reef shark:

 

grey_reef_03.jpg

 

One strobe seems to have done just fine, and she was only about 3 feet from me.

 

There is one important difference in the shooting conditions between the two shots though; vis at the shark feed was over 100', on the Yongala it was more like 40' with loads of particulate stuff, and backscatter was definitely an issue, so I had the strobe a lot further away while diving the Yongala.

 

Hope that helps!

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