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Which housing options for TTL?

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I'd like to get a housing which is TTL-compatible. I know Ikelite's housings do so with a sync cable, but I have a few questions:

 

1/ Any reason to consider a brand other than Ikelite? I dont mind spending a few hundred dollars more, but the more than that aint going to happen. So that would rule most metal housings out. Any downsides to choosing a TTL sync cable setup?

 

2/ Is it possible to get TTL with any other housings/strobes, or should I be looking at an all-Ike system?

 

3/ With the TTL sync cables and say a pair of DS-125s, is it possible to convert to manual power output without too many hassles?

 

4/ Any other suggestions/tips? Ideally, I'm hoping to find a guide for putting together a housed DSLR system - anyone know of a link to some such beast?

 

I wont be traveling too much with this kit, and dont really care about size/weight. Canon or Nikon also doesnt matter - will be buying a separate DSLR and lens to use with this setup.

 

Cheers,

Vandit

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Subtronic and Seacam both make TTL compatible strobes that can be used with any housing. But they are at the other end of the price spectrum to Ikelite. Plus I am not sure how well their TTL products support Canon?

 

If TTL is an important consideration for you it makes sense to go Ikelite - as they have a complete system for both Nikon and Canon.

 

Alex

 

Many of the sponsors of this site can help you put a system together. Have a look -->

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1/ Any reason to consider a brand other than Ikelite? I dont mind spending a few hundred dollars more, but the more than that aint going to happen. So that would rule most metal housings out. Any downsides to choosing a TTL sync cable setup?

You will not find another TTL enclosure within a couple hundred more than Ikelite... the next step up is ~$500-$1000 more for an enclosure/port combo.

 

Sync cables are by FAR the best way to go. I have had more troubles with TTL optical slaves than you can shake a stick at. Just make sure you get a spare cable.

 

2/ Is it possible to get TTL with any other housings/strobes

Yes, although Ike probably supports the widest array of camera systems.

 

3/ With the TTL sync cables and say a pair of DS-125s, is it possible to convert to manual power output without too many hassles?

If you get one of the new Ikelite TTL enclosures you can toggle the housing's strobe interface between TTL and manual. Once in manual, you have 8 half stop steps of adjustment (which applies to both strobes). You can then use the switches and diffusers on each of the strobes to control the strobe output individually.

 

will be buying a separate DSLR and lens to use with this setup.

You will quickly find that there is not a single lens that will do all things well underwater. In the end you will probably end up with at least two lenses and ports. A wide angle in a dome port, and some type of a macro lens in a flat port.

 

Don't forget to budget for insurance and a spare camera body.

 

As for a guide or tips... I think you found your best source, I got a lot of help from this forum. Ask away!

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This has been covered in other threads before but most of the currently available housings can have an ITTL or ETTL Conversion circuit board installed. We at Underwater Photo-Tech and the folks at Reef Photo & Video are offering this service. Some of the other Wetpixel sponsors may offer this as well. Camera and Strobe compatibility information can be found here:

 

Camera & Strobe TTL Compatibility List

 

Click on the camera model in the list to find out which strobes work best.

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I would also read Alex's article about the need for TTL in the first place.

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Vandit,

 

I have been using Ikelite's eTTL and now eTTL2 on various Canon dSLR cameras in their housings since it became available. It's a useful tool and can even be used in wide angle shooting if you practice. By simply dialing in -.5 - 2.0 EV flash compensation this frees you to concentrate on composition.

 

See www.ikelite.com and the latest "What's New" link. I took all these test Canon 5D wide angle photos using eTTL2 with a full frame 15mm Fishsye lens. Some of the closest subjects are literally less than 1' away from the dome port!

 

It amazes me that people will buy a dedicated surface flash unit with fantastic automatic fill flash capability, but won't try eTTL2 (in Ikelite housings and with Ikelite strobes) once they're shooting underwater. Especially in wide angle fast moving situations where there is no chance to adjust flash manually and get several shots off.

 

Just my humble opinion base on real world use of this great tool....

 

dhaas

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Hi guys - thank you all for the informative stuff. I have tried to read the archives but it was hard to get all this info in a centralized post.

 

One follow up question - I've been reading that TTL link, and I am not sure of one thing: for TTL to work, doesnt there need to be some sort of an interface linking the camera's hotshoe to the external strobe (to control the output of the external flash)?

 

Even if the strobe is TTL compatible, I would assume you either need the Ikelite circuitry, or the OEM board mentioned on the TTL link provided by Dave.

 

If that is true, then the afore-listed flashes would only work on an Ikelite housing (or any other housing which has this circuitry built in).

 

Am I correct so far?

 

Everything I've seen so far, about the Fantasea/Aquatica housings indicates that they dont have this circuitry (or if they do, they dont mention it).

 

Alex - yep, I've looked through all those sites. However, they all assume a level of familiarity with the relevant technology which, to be honest, I still lack.

 

Allen, already read Alex's article. I am reasonably familiar with the limitations of Canon's ETTL system, and know how to compensate for it on land, so I'm happy to have the ability underwater as well (and I realize that there will be quite a few times when I'll be switching it off).

 

Dave - I'll be getting in touch with you soon. Let me figure out what I need to know first :D

 

TheQ - yeah, I plan to get 1 WA (10-20, 12-24 or something), 1 macro and maybe a standard lens. At present, I am playing around with a Canon S70+housing+G-flash to get to know my own shooting style, and it is already woefully inadequate (I shoot a 1D Mk2 topsides, and the shutter lag of digi-P&Ses drives me nuts).

 

Regards,

Vandit

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