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one strobe or two?

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I started with two strobes for WAL, and 1 for medium range but now I am using 3 for WAL... I saw people with even 4 Z240 :) ... I think there is no general rule but If You will take a look on picture taken during some workshops the You will see that 99% are using 2 strobes.

 

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Edited by TomekP

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I use 3 YS-D1 strobes for my wide angle photos (usually).

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I likely have less photography experience than the other responders but 2 strobes likely result in better lighting in most cases. I started out with one strobe due to costs. I tried two strobes for one trip to Cozumel but decided that I did not like the more cumbersome handling of the bigger system and so went back to one strobe. So, as with camera choices, etc., it probably depends somewhat on personal preference and what you want to do during the dive. I.e., is the dive primarily dedicated to obtaining the best photographs or is photography an added feature to the enjoyment of the dive?

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Easier two dive with two strobes, as the weight is balanced on your rig...

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I'm using one video light and one YS-D1. I haven't try this set up in the water yet, but will have the chance to do it in April. I'm going this route because some times I do video. Having a video light as part of my set up would already take care of night dive situation.

 

Having a video light, it's also balance off the strobe on the other end. Last, the video light only cost me $260, it's 2400 lumen. That should be enough to illuminate up to 5 ft in front of me, and if I pair it with the strobe, it might just get rid of unwanted shadow. Like I said, I will have the chance to confirm this set up in April.

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Definitely go with two.

 

In shooting WA, spread them as far apart as possible, to help minimize backscatter.

 

Remember, even with strobes, the idea is to get as close to the subject as possible.

 

If you're using TTL strobes, still try shooting in full manual mode. You can adjust strobe output, as well as aperature/ISO to vary your results.

 

Try playing around with them on land, first (little less frustrating), with everything rigged in the housing.

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I once took a camera in the pool to do a bit of macro with one strobe. It was perfect until I needed to light the inside of the subjects mouth, where a single strobe will cast a shadow inside the mouth. HOWEVER for most subjects a single strobe is fine, especially to start. Having just one strobe really allows you to play around with different angles to see how they change the lighting and shadows.

If money is an issue, then one better strobe is better than two average strobes.

I mostly do wide angle however, and with my lens with a 100 degree FoV, one S&S YS-110a is more than enough 95% of the time, and I am more than happy with the photos that I am getting. At the moment though I am currently in the process of upgrading to a D7100 with tokina fisheye, and perhaps with this I will add a second strobe to ensure that the strobe covers the photo, although it is quite rare for the subject to cover the whole 180 degrees. if I do add a second strobe, it will not be for another year, as it keeps slipping down the list of things to buy for me.

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Hi all, I have a related question. Being fairly new to the underwater photography scene (I've only done 4 dives with my camera so far, no strobe), I'm now in the process of buying my first strobe. My question is; if I were to want a second strobe in the future, should/would that second strobe be the same as the first strobe? I ask because I'm buying an Ikelite ds125, which is out of production and so I'd have limited options for getting a 2nd in the future. I can't think of a specific reason of why it'd have to be the same strobe but thought I'd check on here.

(I hope I'm not hijacking the OP's thread).

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It is much better to have two identical strobes. Let's face it even two units of the same model are not exactly the same you don't want to fidget with two scales on the power knobs and potentially two settings.

Strobes usually outlast the rest of your camera gear in terms of longevity so get the best current unit now would be my advice wallet permitting

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I answered before with two, but want to also encourage you to shoot with just one.

 

The reason? Most people "over light" their subject. This results in subjects with no "depth". With one strobe, you can postion above, and to the side, to generate interesting texture - as well as color. I often see people with two strobes "blast" the subject with too much light, washing out the details. Most marine creatures have incredible color AND texture. Starting off with one strobe (and moving it around, with the same camera location, will give some really good results, as well as allow you to "see" how the light angles impact the image.

 

Even though I have several strobes in my tool-kit, I will often go back to just one, to remind myself of basic techniques.

 

The main thing is to experiment with location and strobe intensity, too. Oh, and have lots of fun doing it! :D

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