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JDelage

Why are there so few housing / strobe combo with hotshoe connection?

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I know, the answer to "why" is always "money".

 

Let's rephrase that: what makes it so expensive for housing and strobe makers to develop combos that would allow true TTL via a camera's hotshoe?

 

Thanks,

 

Joss

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It's partly that, but in my limited experience TTL just doesn't work very well in the water. I don't know why, but shooting in manual, really isn't very hard and offers much more opportunity to be creative...

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Sorry but are you both forgetting that one of the least expensive brands Ikelite gives TTL ( via hotshoe) on all dslr housings and their strobes. TTL works fine for macro.

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Sea and Sea is releasing in housing TTL for the newer cameras.

It is camera specific Canon/Nikon - various models, and the unit

is slightly different depending on the housing model.

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Digital TTL is quite different than film TTL. The technology of film TTL (at least Nikon's version) was simple to implement via a simple connection. Modern eTTL and iTTl are very different with much of the electronic bits in the flash, not in the camera. If you are willing to house a name brand strobe then getting true eTTL or iTTl is quite simple but Nikon and Canon (correctly, I think) consider their TTL protocols as proprietary. That is why there are converters (Matthias) and sTTL emulations of TTL.

 

Bill

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It's not necessarily that it's expensive - as someone else already posted, Ikelite provides it as a rule on all DSLR housings, providing conversion circuitry to interpret / provide communication from the camera for TTL out to their strobes. The question is one of getting the same TTL functionality without the hotshoe connection.

 

Inon strobes provide optically-slaved TTL mimickry - they'll perfectly match a camera's onboard lamp in terms of preflash, mainflash, and quench. So...why have the electronic cabled connection (which must penetrate the housing, thus provides an extra potential leak path) to the flash? If the camera "thinks" the lighting is being provided by its own onboard flash and is still able to 'control' the external unit by saying "got enough light- quench now!" the user hasn't lost anything aside from perhaps some battery life in the camera since you are firing the onboard flash (and the need to provide good internal light protection in the housing so the onboard light doesn't illuminate the interior of the port, etc.)

 

Factor in whether or not TTL really "helps" in many cases and manual can be quite good enough, and you have your answer. Different vendors have picked different paths to the end requirement - adequate control of external lighting - and only a few have decided to pursue a wired TTL route.

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Relying on the internal flash means that we're using the camera's battery for nothing, as well as slowing down the maximal rate at which one can take pictures. Might not be that big a deal - I don't know, I'm new to UW photo.

 


 

So...why have the electronic cabled connection (which must penetrate the housing, thus provides an extra potential leak path) to the flash?
Edited by JDelage

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You've got it right - that is a trade-off. You're still going to be limited by the external strobe unit recycle time if not using onboard flash, although admittedly those have much bigger caps and batteries and can fire off pretty darn fast when not doing full dumps.

 

To me the 'ideal' approach would be a mini, TTL-capable, hotshoe-connected unit internal to the housing that just flashes an LED in fast enough sequence to provide preflash, flash, and quench information optically to an external strobe, which provides optical mimicry of that sequence/duration. Since that unit would only be firing off very small LEDs with enough light to illuminate a well positioned fiberoptic sensor, it shouldn't have a slow recycle at all and prevent firing off the camera as fast as your main strobe recycle allows, at least. But no one has marketed something like that yet. (A few of us have built very simple little LED-strobes that just use the 'sync' signal to trigger, but that means no TTL or preflash, just manual triggering.) Wouldn't even have to mount "on" the hotshoe - Ikelite's TTL electronics baseplate probably has room for a couple coin batteries, a few more caps and a FET to fire off a couple small LEDs, and their clear housing would let you mount an external fiberoptic fitting almost anywhere without a penetration.

 

But right now there seems to be a few TTL circuit options (Ikelite housings cabled to their own strobes, TTL adaptors by 3rd parties), a few optical-TTL options (Inon and others mimicking onboard flash), and a lot of manual options (both electronically and optically triggered). It may not seem like many choices, but we're a pretty small market overall...

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Ikelite housings for Canon cameras have TTL.

 

The 5D Mk III housing has the newer TTL, also.

 

Works like a charm, WA, macro, supermacro.

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