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Hi guys,

 

Do you have any information on strobes reliability (especially when comparing Inon Z240 vs Sea&Sea YSD2)?

 

I have been using Inon Z240 for 6 years and never had any problems with it. I use optical cables and slave trigerring (with TTL), so cannot comment on electric trigerring, but I have even never heard of any malfunction related to optical trigerring on Inon Z240. From what I know, these strobes are very reliable.

 

As there is improved control over exposure in case of new YSD2 (plus some other features), I sold my Inon Z240 to uprade to YSD2. But after browsing through the internet I found out, there is many complaints about poor reliability of Sea&Sea YSD2. It usually relates to overheating when firing more than 10 times at high setting "in a row". I usually don´t fire strobes at high setting 10 times in a row (as it is not even possible when using optical cables), but there were also other issues reported.

 

New features are nice, but reliability comes first when going to an expensive diving trip, being engaged as UW photographer (taking photos of freediving champions for example).... I cannot afford any mulfanction in that case. So now I feel like selling my old but reliable Inon was maybe a mistake. Not sure whether to buy Sea&Sea YSD2 (as it features many improvements) or get back to old, but reliable Inon Z240.

 

Many thanks for information / sharing experience with Sea&Sea YSD2.

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As a potential buyer considering between the Inon Z240 and Sea&Sea YSD2 (for a TTL optical triggering) I'd also like to bump up this discussion.

any input appreciated.

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I have a pair of D1s and have 400 plus dives on them so thousands of flashes and the only complaint I have is grabing the wrong knob when adjusting power, I think they addressed that with the D2s. I think you will be fine.

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I have 4 YS-D1 strobes and anInon z240 that have been flawless. I bought 2 YS-D2 strobes in September, The flash tube burned out on one if them on my last dive trip. I am waiting to hear back from sea & sea. I sent in for service last week

Edited by diverdoug1

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I don't think anyone has done exhaustive testing of the two strobes in the same conditions and the S&S strobes have not been out for long enough to make any kind of statistical argument. From anecdotal evidence (and I know that the plural of anecdote is NOT data) it appears that the Inons are more reliable but for every one with a 10 year old Z240 Mark 2 there is a YSD1 with multiple thousands of flashes.

 

Bill

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Yes, I have thousands of flashes on my D1 strobes, one of my D@ flash tubes blew at about 1000 flashes.

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I have 5 YSD2 strobes and I have experienced poor reliability.

Strobe 1:  Flooded while soaking in bucket after a 3-dive day.  No issue all day (no flood), soaked for 20 minutes at home, one flooded strobe.  Did not flood during the dives as it fired until the moment I ended the dive, rinse bucket for sure.

Strobe 2: Randomly blinks power light indicating strobe is about to die regardless of charge.  If i realize while it is blinking, I can turn it off and then back on and it is usually fine.  If I do not see it blinking and find it off, but the power knob is still in "on" position,  it has to come out of the water and have the batteries removed to restore.  Strobe is gone for the dive.

Strobe 3: photo-sensitive diodes in strobe fiber receiver  no longer working; cannot fire the strobe via fiber anymore.   

Strobe 4: Works fine.

Strobe 5: Out of the box it would not fire at all via fiber.  Troubleshot with the LDS and another photo pro where I live.  Returned to Sea&Sea.  They argued that there was nothing wrong with the strobe and then eventually admitted it was programmed into a "custom" mode that would not work with synchronized cameras.  I do not think this is accurate as it was not a bad sync issue, it would not fire at all.  I had to eat the shipping twice and it took 4 months to resolve.  Very poor service.

 

These are all YSD2 Strobes, yellow body indicating made in Japan, but not with the "J" printed on the body.  These are about 2-3 years old.

Sea&Sea denied any level of coverage for the flooded strobe without inspecting the strobe despite covering floods from defects.

I am trying to resolve the photo-diode strobe with Backscatter now, but I suspect no positive outcome there but I cannot say with certainty. 

 

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In a normal year I do around 350 dives (stuck in 86 in 2020)! And almost all those dives for the last decade, at least have been running workshops - where I am joined by between 12-20 photographers depending on the trip. In other words, each year I see, first hand, (350x16=) well over 5500 photographer dives - where if anyone has a problem they come first to me. That is close to 30,000 photographer dives in the last 5 years - I doubt many people see many more. And it is clear from that, while you do see problems with all gear, some brands have way more problems than others. 

The problem of sharing these thoughts are two fold. First, daring to say publicly anything negative against any brand tends to bring you grief - yet, on on trips filled with photographers there is always loads of honest conversations about these things (those who tend not to join trips never hear these widespread opinions and new photographers aren't exposed to them until after they have bought their gear)! Second individuals will always say - "mine have been perfect" - and many are. But most individuals are experiencing less than few hundred photographer dives in the last five years, so have a much smaller sample size.

Anyway, here are my experiences:

Sea & Sea strobes which take AA batteries (ie not YS250s) are the least reliable in my experience, by a noticeable margin. Sea & Sea has a strong dealer/supporter network - so please note that I am talking about in my experience. I will leave it up to readers to decide if my experience is with listening to.

I've nothing against Sea & Sea or their strobes, but I happily shot a pair of D2s for several dives on my last trip to Cuba (while lending my strobes to the D2 owner). The J ones don't break as much, but they still break more than most.

The Inon Z240 has proved to be extraordinarily reliable over the last decade and more. I'd say the most reliable underwater strobe i've seen. However, I've seen a lot of them have problems in the last few years, though. Which I am sure is an age thing - and I think that they have lasted so long is very, very commendable. 

The Z330 is definitely more prone to failures than the Z240. But is more reliable than D1/D2 etc. There is a new D3 out - but it is not really in circulation yet - so maybe that will turn things around for Sea & Sea.

I'll leave my commentary there - within the terms of the original question!

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Thanks Alex. That's a really useful readout.

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I second most sentiments on this board. I have used the YSD2J strobes for almost 2 years and I have to say I don’t love them in the same way I love my other equipment. I have had a very difficult time getting the TTL to work with the Nikon Z7, to the extent that I have given up and I have had them fail on me (backscatter replaced without question)

I have used them to take award winning photos, granted...but I have already moved to 4 x keldan lights for most macro shots and I will not be buying the YSD3s when I replace them at the end of the year. 

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