Jump to content
StephenFrink

Is it time for a paradigm shift?

Recommended Posts

<<Ryan said: The picture Stephen posted is of a Subtronic S6 connection, which has a good reputation in Europe. The o-rings live on the housing bulkhead, not the cord. Subtronic uses double o-rings to seal the connection, and a third o-ring to keep saltwater out of the threads. This isn't as complicated as it sounds, and eliminates the need to turn the housing upside down when taking off the cord (required by Sea & Sea, Ikelite for Nikon, and Nikonos Cords) I'm don't know if Seacam is building their own or OEMing them. Subal and Sealux both buy bulkheads from Subtronic, in either Nikonos or S6 form factors.>>

 

<<Steve S. said: In my years of underwater photography I have come to know that I must carry and keep in my stock several Nikonos sync cords because eventually I'll need to replace the one or two that I'm using at the moment. I use Ikelite cords also and don't need to replace them as often. I'm all for asking that the industry to standardize the camera/housing flash connection. I'm also very content not using TTL at all.>>

 

<<James said: In my recent experience, I've flooded two Nikonos bulkheads. Both were pinched/extruded o-rings, even though they were carefully greased and pressed into place. With one of the flooded bulkheads, I was able to clean it out and dry it w/ alcohol, but one of the spring pins would not spring back out. Luckily, I shoot manual, so didn't need that pin. The second flood, I broke off one of the pins while trying to dry out the bulkhead :-( That's all too easy to do. This was either the fire or ground pin as that bulkhead is now useless.>>

 

<<Paul said: I try to persuade as many people as possible to go for S6 connectors but the world being what it is, most still opt for Nikonos! This may prove to be the biggest stumbling block to preventing any new standard being adopted. However....

I have added a Nikonos Socket - wired into the camera's PC flash socket to several housings which otherwise utilise S6 connectors. This is a useful 'halfway house' and perhaps initially persuading housing manufacturers to provide more socket holes would be a useful start as additional sockets could be added as desired to provide duality of connectors.

My own housing has three - two use S6 connectors, the third a Nikonos, but the third socket hole was originally intended for a remote release (S6). I can see further uses for S6 connectors - to connect into the Firewire/usb ports for remote capture or to allow external powerpacks to be used - the S6 looks robust enough for both applications...>>

 

<<Pedda said: A standard would be great. I would gladly skip the problems I hade to find a sync cord that would work with my Ike housing and Subtronic strobe.>>

 

Stephen F. says: In light of all of that, my opinion is that if Ikelite, Inon, and Sea and Sea strobes would adopt an alternate international standard, the housing manufacturers would follow suit and make them options on their housings.

 

I'm not saying it has to be immediate, for their is a legacy of N5 cords and bulkheads out there. But, what if:

 

1. The S6 was chosen as a universal standard? It is robust, and allows possibility of iTTL and eTTL expansion. Plus, it is already in play in Europe.

 

2. Housing manufacurers offer the possiblity of an S6 bulkhead as an option.

 

3. Strobe manufacturers offer the possibility of an S6 cord as an option.

 

4. Strobe manufacturers offer the possibility of an S6 cord as a replacement part, so that strobes already in the field can be updated to S6 bulkheads with the simple addition of a dedicated synch cord.

 

I see this as attainable far more quickly than a fiber optic solution, although that holds tremendous promise as well. However, I doubt we would get a speedy consensus on that.

 

I think the S6 standard is something we can achieve, but it really depends on the strobe manufacturers to make the synch cords. I know Ike is aware of this thread, and have no doubt Inon is monitoring as well. No doubt Aquatica and Subal representatives are aware too.

 

I guess it is really up to the strobe manufacturers to give us something better than the N5, which we know is a legacy that should go away, and in their heart-of-hearts, they know it too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the same reasons that Ryan has already listed I'd love to see the S6 connection adopted as an industry standard. Rather than hoping that the manufacturers are monitoring this thread those of us in the industry need to leverage our contacts to ensure that the appropriate parties are aware of this. I'll do my part...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few thoughts on things which might help:

 

Standardised wiring systems within housings - ie standard colour coded wires for Canon and Nikon!

 

Cables for [Manufacturer's Strobe fitting] to S6 - many already exist and again standardised wiring colour codes or at least standardised connections. If cables exist - ie Inon to S6, Ikelite - S6 (this one does) then adoption of S6 sockets is far easier.

 

Adoption of a standard flash socket hole diameter and thread - I said before that this is 10mm diameter with a 1mm pitch thread (I think) in at least two European housings (Subal/Seacam) and probably more (Sealux?, Hugy?).

 

None of this is rocket science! Its got to be possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial thoughts from one who does very little:

 

We had to drag one housing manufacturer by the ears to Nikon booth one year to convince them Nikon cameras don't like ready light information from two strobes.

 

European supplier makes the inexcuseable decision to produce Nikonos bulkheads that do NOT have required spring loaded contacts, ruining any proper Nikonos cord that might be installed into this abortion. Not too bright of a decision.

 

Ikelite has always tried to offer maximum compatibility between various strobes and housings IF the strobes utilize a compatible sync circuit. There are some strobes that have varied from normal camera standards and/or didn't get digital camera requirements correct. Some strobes don't have angle of coverage claims correct but use this as an unethicaal marketing ploy.

 

We stopped offering some items like a "T" connector because we got the complaint of two non-Ikelite strobes that did not work and our "T" was not the problem.

 

These are exciting times in underwater photography. Requirements for strobes and housings have changed drastically the last four years. The latest iTTL and dTTL systems work superbly. Don't confuse their results with film TTL results.

 

Ikelite will cogitate on this connector issue. The above is to acquaint you with some of the ramifications of jumping too fast. Several housing manufacturers claimed to have eTTL but in reality it did not work. May I mention we did good on both eTTL and iTTL? But, it took complete redesign of the strobe circuitry to provide the digital requirements. You can read about it here if you are interested: http://www.ikelite.com/web_two/ud200ittl.html

 

crazy ike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ike

 

Can I ask that you cogitate on providing at least one additional threaded hole - to the European specification - this has got to be the easiest and cheapest move to make - which could be fitted with a blanking plug and would allow for upgrades/modification (such as fitting an S6 socket)?

 

I can't see that can compromise any existing system/fittings but it has immense potential!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the idea of an additional threaded hole is good one.

 

Would it be too difficult for there to be a standard offering for non TTL wet con synch cords. ( Jean did suggest a standard synch cord last year )

 

http://www.impulse-ent.com/pdfs/IE2.pdf

 

This way brand x housing could connect to brand y strobes using the wet con as the common element.

 

I understand that this would be of no use for people that are yet to join TTL anonymous........... divided again !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ike said: Ikelite will cogitate on this connector issue. The above is to acquaint you with some of the ramifications of jumping too fast.

 

Ike - I don't think anyone is proposing leaving the Ikelite standard connector, which is quite popular among those using your housings and your strobes. And even the N5 connector will be around for a long time because of the legacy of housings with that bulkhead already in service, not to mention the Nikonos cameras that are still used by some.

 

However, the way I see it, if I could buy an S6 cord from Ikelite for my DS125 and 200 strobes, then I could retrofit my old housings to S6 bulkhead, and for sure be free to order my next housings with S6 bulkheads as the preferred fitting.

 

I don't expect it to be an immediate sea change, and I'm sure Ikelite and N5 connectors will be around a long time. But, if the strobe manufacturers (and I'm sure you own the largest market share) offered S6 (or a different, better "standard" if one exists) we can move forward towards greater reliability in what is now an arguably weak point.

 

Personally, I'd be happy enough to buy some new cords from you with S6 connectors at the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote "I understand that this would be of no use for people that are yet to join TTL anonymous........... divided again !"

 

I don't use ttl but I do use S6 for most of the time (with a Nikonos socket as back up in case I need to beg/borrow/steal a strobe if all others fail - neurosis I know!). The S6 has been 100% reliable since I started using it. I have had numerous problems with Nik 5 sockets.

 

For anyone who does not know, most problems (but certainly not all) are down to the sprung pins in the socket. The spring to pin contacts are where connection can become unreliable and as these are not servicable the only solution is a replacement socket. But as all the pins are very small, easily bent and prone to damage if incorrectly aligned (there are some very heavy handed divers around), any can give trouble. In fact problems are so frequent that I have built a small test unit which I can plug into a Nikonos 5 socket and Nikon hotshoe connection to allow me to check connections in a few seconds - its invaluable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of sounding biased after 2.5 Stella Artois brews :lol:

 

The Nikonos V connector is the biggest piece of junk ever modified as UW camera / housing / strobe technology moved forward.....A thirty year old connector bastardized to accommodate developing flash protocols.....

 

I've had more people over the years on trips and diving with me miss photo opportunities due to this connector, especially after Nikon added the spring loaded TTL pins. Very few UW photogs I have known could keep these suckers working reliably.

 

Reason # 395 why the Ike connector is / has been superior....

 

YMMV

 

dhaas

 

Heading to bed after those 2.5 Stella Artois brewskis :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ,

 

First problem is strobe circuit design ..... all UW strobes are groundet above the old fashioned and easy , clear Nikonos analog TTL protokoll. The new DSLR cams are using several TTL protokolls some need 5 wires other 6 wires.

 

A under water strobe is an expensive part and should fitt also to future cams so:

 

as long as there are different solutions for Strobe protocolls this probs will not clead up.

 

Ikelite has his own system through his TTL cirquit which only works perfekt with his DS strobes so why should he change anything ????

 

The other TTL converter solutions are : Metz - SCA Adapters only working with Metz strobes.

 

MH adapters working with different strobes but this also takes some problems every strobe is different and has different cirquits and flash tubes so the firmware is always a compromise to support many strobes as posible.

 

Some big strobes like a Subtronic maxi or nowa will not work as good as a Sea&Sea ys 60 strobe this depends on the TTL konverter firmware but there are solutions through special updates.

 

In my opinnion the S6 plug solution is the best existing one worldwide ...... the S6 socket is mountable in all housings produced in Germany/Europ there are only a few different ways to do : a plane 25mm surface round the hole , and a 14 mm hole or a treaded hole M14x1 if there is no thread you need a nut to fix so it is easyly posible to mount a S6 into a Ikelite housing by drilling a hole or drill the existing sockethole to 14 mm. ( Ike I know you don´t want to hear this )

 

The S6 plugs and sockets are available in single parts in Germany so everyone who want´s , will be able to do a cable for .

 

The problem about the existing semi Nikonos 5 sockets with 5 pinns is about the spring pin problem . The spring pin solution was a soloution to the support the old Nikonos 3 plug strobes( non TTL ) to the newer Nikonos ( V and RS ) cams) and these are always problematic and weak .

 

But this is the same as with the camera manufacturers no one wants to support the others adding parts ..........

 

but this is my turn ..... to live from. I am sitting between the chairs an I feel well about .

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my Subal D2X housing made with Ike bulkheads. One of the better decisions I've made in recent times. Like others have said I've never had an Ike synch socket flood or fail. It is/was always a gamble with the Nik socket if you had the cord inserted properly. It seemed easy to get a little water in there that could play havoc with those spring loaded pins.

 

If I don't care about Cannon should I want a six pin standard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also warn against jumping too soon, especially as the need for 6 pin seems to specifically for one brand, Canon. I think that Canon makes up a much smaller market share of UW DSLRs than the Wetpixel community may make you believe. There are lots of Canon users here - but this is not what I see when I go diving (except when I go diving on WP trips!).

 

For example the recent WP Int photo competition the winners were entirely dominated by Nikon shooters. I do not believe this is because Nikons produce better pictures. It is more because there are far more Nikon DSLRs UW, mainly for historical reasons - but this is the Status Quo.

 

Last night I was speaking to the Bristol UW Photography Group, and before hand was having a chat with Alan James. Alan is probably the biggest Sea & Sea housing seller outside Asia - and he was telling me that over the last year or so he does somewhere between 10 and 20 Nikon DSLR housings for each Canon. His hefty pre-orders for the D200 and 5D housings show also show a 20:1 N:C ratio.

 

We also see the same thing in our M Filter sales. About 5N to each Sigma + Canon. Of course quite a few sigma lens users may be Nikon users - so there may be even more of a Nikon bias.

 

All that said, I actually think it would be a good idea to have a new standard. Personally I'd like to go back to a simple two wire connector - as it would make everything much more compact and synch cords much cheaper etc! But I realise this is very limiting. And I am not proposing it seriously.

 

Adopting the S6 does make sense. And I am interested to see the outcome of this discussion.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex

 

The point about the S6 is taht it will support BOTH Nikon and Canon. No 5 pin connector will do so. There are also other uses for a standardised connector - if it has sufficient contacts. Personally I'd like to see a standardised socket hole which then gives the potential to swop to whatever system the user prefers - incuding potentially, two wire or even wet type connectors.

 

Paradoxically I sell more Canon housings than Nikon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree a bit with Paul, in that if a new "standard" cord type was adopted having enough conductors to satisfy all brands flash protocols would make sense.

 

Also, even though Canon uses 6 wires and many high end users on WP don't seem to want to learn how to use eTTL2 (or Nikon's iTTL either) to the effectiveness it is used all the time above water, this would certainly make it easier for newer dSLR shooters to get results they're happy with....Ikelite TTL houing users (with Ikelite's DS series strobes, of course) can be shown how to use the eTTL2 / iTTL in a matter of minutes and be getting good exposures. Even with moving critters!

 

Finally, I went back and looked, and I see about 50 /50 Nikon to Canon dSLR shooters on my trips and housing sales last year. So this may be just particular to countries or regions. I thought in sheer world wide volume Nikon still hasn't caught Canon in shipping dSLR units of all models, but I could be wrong (????)

 

But for usability it still comes down to the chef, not the pot :lol:

 

YMMV

 

dhaas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst this may not be quite on topic, it might be of interest.

 

At the last Olympics I have read that Canon outnumbered Nikons 2:1.

 

I have talked to many pro photographers who have switched from Canon to Nikon, but no-one who has switched the other way around.

 

Now this is not a comment about anything other than Canon SLRs becoming 'more' popular, and I suspect that this is starting to filter through to underwater! Ten years ago there were very, very few SLR users of Canon's underwater in the UK. There are a lot more today. I don't think we can ignore a shifting market by retaining an old and fundamentally flawed flash connection. I use S6 connectors (and a Nik V in case I'm stuck with having to try out/use a Nik V fitting flash unit) on my own housing(s) although I only use manual flash control. I have had sufficient problems with Nik V to prefer to use a rarer but more reliable connector.

 

S6 to Nik 5, S6 to Ikelite and S6 to S6 cables are already available. If S6 sockets were readily available on housings then perhaps more manufacturers would offer the option of cables to fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next Dema should have a reunion on the agenda with the technical representatives of the different housings and strobes manufacturers. Most of the folk attend this show so this occasion is the best,

 

Damm, if I can buy a CD burner and set it in most PC, I fail to see how we would not be able to attain a standard in our field,

 

1) A 6 pins cable should be made available by the different strobe manufacturer to accomodate their units.

2) The mounting hole dimension for ANY bulkhead on the housing should be standarized,

3) And specification for the wiring of the housing bulkhead / hotshoe connection also should be a standard to avoid consumer confusion and /or problems.

 

All it take is a meeting between the players in this field to make the consumer's life easier.

 

Standarize the connector or at least make it available in all housing manufacturer, and why not a version for smaller size hole so retrofiting older housing would be a sinch.

 

Regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would also warn against jumping too soon, especially as the need for 6 pin seems to specifically for one brand, Canon.

 

Keep in mind that standardization, as compared to specialization, should lead to lower consumer cost as more volume of the same item is produced. The price is higher when there have to be multiple variations on a product...

 

Additionally, as there would just be a single standard cord and fitting, shops, boats, repairs kits, etc, would always have the cord that works, and cords could be traded between users if necessary with no ill effect.

 

~Matt Segal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...