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bruehlt

Has anyone ever gotten their damn DS-125 to work?

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First off my setup. I have the ikelite housing, an Olympus 3030, and the Ikelite DS-125 substrobe. I just got back from a trip in West Palm beach - none of my shots turned out. None of them - I'm pissed off at this piece of shit. Its already been sent back to Ikelite once for a defective TTL sensor (and they forgot to send the damn bulkhead plugs back with the strobe - need to make ANOTHER phone call). I'm beginning to think this so-called TTL which they use is BS. I have never gotten one perfect exposure with my DS-125. I tried auto mode, and the flash does not compensate, and my pictures are either under-exposed, or their is no color to them (blue). I've tried manual mode, settings of F2.6, 125 shutter speed, ISO 100 - still underexposed. What crap....

 

I am about ready to sell this damn thing, and get a YSDX90, with the fiber-optic cable. It costs LESS and has manual settings - granted I don't care if it has less output and a higher recycle time - at least I'll get the damn thing to work.....The thing that gets my goat is that Ikelite should have included the stupid manual adjustment feature WITH the strobe originally, not as an extra feature. Dialing in the exposure on the strobe is key, which can't be done - with a $700+ strobe.......

 

Unless some miracle happens with this thing, its going to be sold....sorry Ikelite, your customer service may be great, but your strobe does not impress me.

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wow ...

who would have thought ikelight making something thats shit ? lol only joking ..

 

well the original question i cant answer but interested to see if anyone can ... i mean .. someone must have gotten it to work . otherwise .. would they still be being sold .. or are you just complaining about another ficticious rumour of dtttl ?

 

G

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:P I have had nothing but great results with my DS-125. It does indeed have manual settings, not as many as with the controller, but enough for me.

I have a D-100 and do not use TTL, so I can't speak for the TTL capability.

Unless you can fill with viewfinder with the subject, TTL doesn't give great results. Most UW photographers I know shoot manual, even if they have TTL capabilities (S2), and get superior results.

On manual, the DS-125 has indeed several settings and is, in my opinion, an outstanding strobe.

Humble suggestions: Back to basics!

Check all your connections, if you have dual bulkheads, is it on the correct one ?

Does the strobe fire? Do you actually see it fire?

Is your camera menu config correct, ie TTL vs manual?

Have you tried it in the pool, with different configurations?

Do you know of and talk to a dive shop that does UW photography?

As I said, I am very happy with Ikelite and with my DS-125!

I am putting my money where my mouth/keyboard is as I have just placed an order for a second DS-125. :P

 

 

:D

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There's a switch inside the TTL sensor. For a camera that sends out preflashes, such as an Oly 3030, the correct setting for the switch should be to the right.

 

If you'd like to shoot TTL and the composition that you choose ( most likely a macro type image) will benefit from this metering style, follow these steps:

 

Set DS 125 to TTL.

Aim the TTL sensor at the blocked onboard Oly strobe.

Preset Oly 3030 to f/5.6 at 1/125 sec

Onboard strobe should be set to force flash, slow 1

When desired scuba depth is reached, aim lens out to open water

Readjust shutter speed until EV readout in upper corner of LCD is between 0.0 and -0.7

 

At this point, you have metered the influence of ambient light for your background water and it should capture a pleasing blue shade if you're diving WPB. If you desire a lighter background, choose a slower shutter speed. A faster shutter speed with give you a darker background.

 

The foreground of your image will be lit by the substrobe. The substrobe will receive it's command to fire and quench at the appropriate time from the Oly onboard strobe, which is being monitored by the Ike TTL sensor.

 

To shoot the DS 125 strobe using a TTL sensor but with manual power levels, do everything the same, except choose 1/2, 1/4, or 1/8th power to suit your needs. For fine tuning, adjust the f/stop or change the distance between strobe and subject.

 

hth,

b

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There's a switch inside the TTL sensor. For a camera that sends out preflashes, such as an Oly 3030, the correct setting for the switch should be to the right.

 

If you'd like to shoot TTL and the composition that you choose ( most likely a macro type image) will benefit from this metering style, follow these steps:

 

Set DS 125 to TTL.

Aim the TTL sensor at the blocked onboard Oly strobe.

Preset Oly 3030 to f/5.6 at 1/125 sec

Onboard strobe should be set to force flash, slow 1

When desired scuba depth is reached, aim lens out to open water

Readjust shutter speed until EV readout in upper corner of LCD is between 0.0 and -0.7

 

At this point, you have metered the influence of ambient light for your background water and it should capture a pleasing blue shade if you're diving WPB. If you desire a lighter background, choose a slower shutter speed. A faster shutter speed with give you a darker background.

 

The foreground of your image will be lit by the substrobe. The substrobe will receive it's command to fire and quench at the appropriate time from the Oly onboard strobe, which is being monitored by the Ike TTL sensor.

 

To shoot the DS 125 strobe using a TTL sensor but with manual power levels, do everything the same, except choose 1/2, 1/4, or 1/8th power to suit your needs. For fine tuning, adjust the f/stop or change the distance between strobe and subject.

 

hth,

b

Ok, here's the deal. I'm sorry, I have a C3040, not 3030, a mistake when typing.

 

Anyhoo, this is what I've been trying every time I go diving. I set the camera to manual, shutter to 125, F2.0, strobe on fully TTL. I have never changed the flash to "slow 1" before, what's the reason behind that?

 

As far as the camera settings go, I have usually never had any luck with any F stops higher than F2.0, the shutter speeds are way too slow to produce decent picutres (when trying to get the lightmeter to zero). I mean, we're talking 80-90 foot depth here, so there isn't a whole lot of light to begin with.

 

I am in the process of contacing ikelite regarding this.....hopefully the issue will be resolved, as I love photography, but this is getting frustrating....

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The key here may be with the flash command from the camera. The Olympus internal flash must be forced to fire regardless of situation. The following set of commands is how I accomplish this with an Oly 4040. I'm assuming Olympus uses the same set of commands on the 3040:

 

Turn your camera on to A/S/M.

press "OK" button on back... this will bring up four options onto the LCD screen

press right arrow pad ( 3 o'clock) to choose Mode Menu

press right arrow pad ( 3 o'clock), drive will highlight, but scroll down (6 o'clock key) to choose Flash

press right arrow pad ( 3 o'clock) and scroll to highlight IN + (icon for flash)

press "OK"

press bottom arrow pad ( 6 o'clock) to scroll to next option, (lightning bolt) SLOW

press right arrow pad ( 3 o'clock)

from the three options, choose (lightning bolt) SLOW 1

press "OK"

press "OK" again

 

It is quite possible that with an aperture as wide open as f/2.0, the Oly sensor feels there is sufficient ambient light present, and therefore no need to send an internal flash command. With no flash command, there is no signal for the Ike TTL sensor to mimic. By setting your camera to force a flash every time the shutter is depressed, you guarantee the DS 125 will see a signal to operate.

 

Ther are other beneficial presets, including one to tell the Oly to remember to turn on with previously saved settings. I echo Ike's suggestion to reviewPeter Schulz's valuable resource page.

 

I hope this helps.

b

 

btw, slow 1 tells the Oly to fire the strobe at the beginning of the shutter opening process, as opposed to slow 2, which would fire just before the shutter closed. It originally was called slow curtain 1 or 2 with film. Some interesting techniques can be acheived with the setting, influencing motion blur and freezing of subjects.

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Obviously the Strobe is the problem because you seem to have a wonderful knowledge of the camera and the way it works! :P when you decide to get rid of that piece of S*#t strobe let me know, It'll give me a back up to my current DS125s :D and at least now I know why every shot I take isn't to my satisfaction ... damned Ike! :P

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Products are reasonably good, the people are excellent, it is that damn ike that is the problem with everything including the weather.............

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Ok, just some quick tests and results.....

 

Camera to full manual (A/S/M) - full manual mode. I set the aperature to F4, shutter speed to 125th, slow1 on. I have had the setting of the flash to fire every shot enabled previously, so there was no change there.

 

The light meter was reading -3 red. A few of the photos I took (with the internal flash) turned out pretty well.....

 

However, this was indoors, under controlled conditions. I'm going to have to try and see how this works in the water.

 

If I am shooting underwater, do I want the light meter to read in the red? Will the camera compensate (or attempt to) with the internal flash? This is much more confusing that using the manual method of calculating things out....At least with that method you can be in the ballpark with the strobe setting, instead of guessing what's going to happen when you snap the shutter.

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I have a 3040 with an Ike DS 125 and I take good pictures with it in Palm Beach waters all the time.

 

To repeat what others have said, here is how I do it.

 

1. Manual camera f:4.0 s 1/100 forced flash with camera flash blocked on the housing so that it does not light the water in front of the camera.

 

2. TTL Slave with the switch to the left i.e. for cameras that do not utilize a pre-flash system.

 

http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/dsenswitch.html

 

3. Strobe set to 1/2 power. You can also use 1/8 or 1/4 but not full, as the strobe does not have time to recycle from the preflash when set to full.

 

4. Test your rig by taking some shots in a dimly lighted room. If the camera and strobe are set up properly you will get well-lighted pictures. If you don't then there is something wrong that needs fixing.

 

For more ideas see the following URL.

 

http://www.splashdowndivers.com/photo_gall...up_settings.htm

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Peter has outlined an excellent example of using the DS 125 in manual mode. As he mentioned, 1/2,1/4, and 1/8th power levels are available when using the Ike TTL sensor to signal the substrobe to fire.

 

If you'd like to practice a TTL exercise on land, try this:

 

Set up your complete rig, including housing and strobe arms. I know it's heavy, I've done this myself. Pick a day with blue skies. Go outside and turn your rig on, choosing manual mode (A/S/M). Set the f/stop to f/4 or f/5.6. Doesn't matter for this exercise. Now aim the Oly lens at the blue sky, away from the Sun. Adjust the shutter speed until the EV ( what you referred to as the light meter) reads between 0.0 and -0.7.

 

What you have successfully accomplished to this point is metering the sky (if you were in scuba gear, it could have been open water).

 

Now try to find something in your yard that is no more than 3 feet away from the camera's lens. Possibly a tree branch, a flower, or anything else that intrigues you. Remember, for good TTL exposures, your subject should fill most all of your LCD screen. Now try to compose the image so just the smallest amount of that blue sky you've already metered for is visible in the background. Again, for a good TTL exposure, you can't have too much sky in the picture. Aim the strobe properly at the target, not directly at it, and try to shoot upwards.

 

Press the shutter.

 

What happens next would make Rube Goldberg proud.....

 

The Oly will send out a relatively small preflash to aid in determining what it feels an appropriate exposure would entail. The internal flash is blocked by you to minimize backscatter. The substrobe though is aimed at the target and is at a better angle. It is also connected to the Ike TTL sensor, which you aimed at the blocked on board flash. The TTL sensor is designed to mimic the actions of the on board flash, that is, when it illuminates and when it quenches. Oly's brain isn't aware of these tactics. It only cares about the amount of light being reflected back off the intended target, through the lens, and captured by the CCD. When Oly feels it has a good grasp of the situation ( in milliseconds!) it sends out the main flash, which is longer in duration. Again, Oly is fooled. It is not aware of where the effective light is being emitted from. Oly's only concern now is to monitor how much reflected light off the intended target has journeyed back through the lens and onto the CCD. When it feels enough light has been captured for an acceptable exposure, it sends a quench signal to it's internal flash. The TTL sensor notices that the on board flash has stopped firing and it commands the DS 125 to do the same.

 

That takes care of illuminating the foreground. But the underwater image is said to be broken up in two areas, the foreground, illuminated by the strobe, and background, illuminated by the light present ( ambient light).

 

When you metered the sky, you took into consideration that the substrobe's power would not benefit you much beyond five feet. Therefore you've allowed the aperture ( f/stop) and shutter to stay open both long enough and wide enough to capture the background color for you instead. This background will not be as vibrant as the foreground because of the filtering characteristics of water. But when it comes to the foreground in your image, the substrobe has the capabilities of revealing all those colors visible in our spectrum of sight.

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I'd like to personally thank everyone who's participated in this thread. I'm glad to see such an outpouring of time and effort to help this new member out and get his (or her) gear working properly.

 

Thanks guys!

 

Sincerely,

James Wiseman

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I think the title of this thread should be changed as it would seem the problem can be more attributed to operator error rather than the "Damn DS-125", I, like many others that have posted here, am very happy with my strobes and also the Ikelite service!

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he may have "lost face" (a term in Japan for severe embarrassment ) when he realized that the root of the problem was NOT the strobe!

 

Hopefully access to a sword was unavailable! :wink:

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