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You're welcome.

Please note that the Original Retra Flash has a narrower flash beam and therefore less power is used for snooting. With the Prime/PRO the flash beam is considerably wider and more evenely spread (ideal for wide angle) but this also means that for snooting a higher power level is used to achieve the same result as with with Original.

In any case the new Mounting module will provide much better light output and I guess you already noticed that the pilot light is much brighter with the new models.

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8 hours ago, Oskar@RetraUWT said:

You're welcome.

Please note that the Original Retra Flash has a narrower flash beam and therefore less power is used for snooting. With the Prime/PRO the flash beam is considerably wider and more evenely spread (ideal for wide angle) but this also means that for snooting a higher power level is used to achieve the same result as with with Original.

In any case the new Mounting module will provide much better light output and I guess you already noticed that the pilot light is much brighter with the new models.

I will test it as soon as i can and hope to get rid of my doubts.   

The reason i bought the pro was the more powerfull strobe and the more lumens pilotlight for snooting.  I never thought about physics of the flashbeam that would result in a need for higher flash output by snooting, more battery drain and longer recycle times for my snooting.   

I really loved the original retra for snooting, only there was the known thermal problem when snooting with the pilotlight at his highest setting.  

As last, i think Retra really did a great job and they build very good hardware.  So this is really not a way to bring Retra down or make other people doubt about retra. 

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12 hours ago, kevinds said:

I really loved the original retra for snooting, only there was the known thermal problem when snooting with the pilotlight at his highest setting.  

Unfortunately the Original Retra Flash does not have any option to update firmware outside of our workshop but this can be solved if you send the product to us for a firmware update.

The pilot light output of the Prime/PRO is substantially improved for snooting and makes the whole process of positioning and aiming much easier. If a short recycle time is needed the Supercharger is available. For reference please take a look at the macro focused review of the Retra Flash PRO by Mike Bartick: http://www.divephotoguide.com/underwater-photography-special-features/article/macro-critters-anilao-philippines-retra-flash-pro

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If you are snooting, I can really recommend the Supercharger.

I've now used mine for 4-5 dives and it makes a big difference to how much shooting you can do in snoot mode - bearing in mind that, in general, with the Retra Prime, I have to go +2 or even +3 on the Retra power dial with a snoot in place. Less maybe with the Pro. But still heavy on batteries. The Supercharger solves that. It too is beautifully designed and built

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26 minutes ago, Oskar@RetraUWT said:

Unfortunately the Original Retra Flash does not have any option to update firmware outside of our workshop but this can be solved if you send the product to us for a firmware update.

 

Thanks Oskar. I recently sended my original retra in for a repair. So with a bit of luck, they also updated the firmware? 

 

Thanks a lot for the link and feedback! 

28 minutes ago, TimG said:

If you are snooting, I can really recommend the Supercharger.

I've now used mine for 4-5 dives and it makes a big difference to how much shooting you can do in snoot mode - bearing in mind that, in general, with the Retra Prime, I have to go +2 or even +3 on the Retra power dial with a snoot in place. Less maybe with the Pro. But still heavy on batteries. The Supercharger solves that. It too is beautifully designed and built

Thanks a lot TimG.  I will certainly do some further testing and will think about the supercharger addon.    

Thanks guys!! 

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4 minutes ago, kevinds said:

Thanks Oskar. I recently sended my original retra in for a repair. So with a bit of luck, they also updated the firmware? 

If they were serviced by us in 2020 or 2019 they have for sure been updated and the problem is solved.

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On 2/7/2020 at 7:56 AM, ianmarsh said:

I received a shocking bill from DHL for $419 Canadian. That included Federal and Provincial sales tax, and "Brokerage Fees"

I understand the taxes, no way of dodging those. I wonder if the remaining fees would have occurred if I had bought them through Reef or Backscatter in the US.

 

ian

@ianmarsh  Hi Ian. I'm about to pull the trigger on a pair of Retra Pro X strobes from Backscatter (I live in BC). You mentioned $420 in fees from DHL – would I be correct with my math in saying ~$100 of this was duty and brokerage fees (i.e.: not taxes)? Thanks!

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1 hour ago, darth mollusk said:

@ianmarsh  Hi Ian. I'm about to pull the trigger on a pair of Retra Pro X strobes from Backscatter (I live in BC). You mentioned $420 in fees from DHL – would I be correct with my math in saying ~$100 of this was duty and brokerage fees (i.e.: not taxes)? Thanks!

You could use the government calculator here to estimate your import charges:  https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/dte-acl/est-cal-eng.html

DHL are well known for exorbitant charges for customs clearance.

 

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Thanks Chris. For those who might find this later – based on the numbers from Ian and the gov calculator I expect to be charged tax,  5% duty, and a brokerage fee (hopefully not exorbitant). I've ordered straight from Retra as the duty charges are based on where the item is manufactured not purchased (so I would be charged the same from Backscatter -- only difference is exchange rate (EU vs US) and a different courier). 

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21 hours ago, darth mollusk said:

Thanks Chris. For those who might find this later – based on the numbers from Ian and the gov calculator I expect to be charged tax,  5% duty, and a brokerage fee (hopefully not exorbitant). I've ordered straight from Retra as the duty charges are based on where the item is manufactured not purchased (so I would be charged the same from Backscatter -- only difference is exchange rate (EU vs US) and a different courier). 

Hey Darth, (if that is your real name)

Sorry, I just saw this. That was quite awhile ago, but if I remember, DHL charged something like $125 in "Brokerage Fees".

Typically this is a $10 fee if you use Canada Post/ USPS, so I'm not sure what service DHL is providing. The other thing is that this gouging seems to be more related to DHL in the EU. I ran into a similar scenario ordering parts from Seacam in Austria and shipped via DHL. I wonder if it has to do with crossing borders, although that was supposed to be the point of the EU.

On the other hand I recently bought some bike parts (worldwide shortage!) from a shop in Singapore, shipped to my door in 3 days by DHL, and there were no fees apart from taxes. Country of Origin for duty purposes was USA, so not sure if that is something to do with NAFTA, or whatever it is called now.

Anyway, I think the best bet is to use only postal services, rather than couriers. Couriers all have a similar modus operandi of gouging with unspecified charges, Fedex being the worst domestically. FWIW, I do a lot on line, and while postal is slow, the mail always seems to end up on your doorstep.

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5 hours ago, ianmarsh said:

Hey Darth, (if that is your real name)

Sorry, I just saw this. That was quite awhile ago, but if I remember, DHL charged something like $125 in "Brokerage Fees".

Typically this is a $10 fee if you use Canada Post/ USPS, so I'm not sure what service DHL is providing. The other thing is that this gouging seems to be more related to DHL in the EU. I ran into a similar scenario ordering parts from Seacam in Austria and shipped via DHL. I wonder if it has to do with crossing borders, although that was supposed to be the point of the EU.

On the other hand I recently bought some bike parts (worldwide shortage!) from a shop in Singapore, shipped to my door in 3 days by DHL, and there were no fees apart from taxes. Country of Origin for duty purposes was USA, so not sure if that is something to do with NAFTA, or whatever it is called now.

Anyway, I think the best bet is to use only postal services, rather than couriers. Couriers all have a similar modus operandi of gouging with unspecified charges, Fedex being the worst domestically. FWIW, I do a lot on line, and while postal is slow, the mail always seems to end up on your doorstep.

Thanks Ian, all good information to know! I had two options ordering the Retra strobes – Backscatter or Retra. Neither offered a postal option so I went with Retra (slightly better exchange rate and I prefer directly supporting small business when possible). We'll see if I get nailed with ridiculous brokerage fees – should know by the end of next week. I'lll post here for others who might also be wondering...

Markus

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Update on cost to order Retra Pro's from Retra in the EU: DHL International must be reading this thread – I only got charged tax (12% here in BC) and an $18 border service fee. No duty. Exchange rates are effectively the same for EU and US conversions at the moment – if that's still true when you read this, order from Retra... 

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Just got back from a very good week's diving off the island of Saba in the Dutch Caribbean - from the Caribbean Explorer II liveaboard which I can recommend.

Mid-week I jumped in for one of the dives and, to my horror, when switching one of my Retra Primes on underwater (at about 75' and a good way from the boat!). I got the red/blue flashing battery compartment leak detector signal. SCREAM.

Conditions were quite rough, the boat was a good distance away, there was no bubbles coming from the strobe battery door - and I did not want to screw things up for my partner. So I switched the strobe off.... and pressed on. And I noticed a long brown hair wafting and caught in the battery door (mine are grey)

At the end of a 45 minute dive I got back on the boat and, with trepidation in my heart, unscrewed the battery compartment door: a small drop of water slid out. One of the batteries (Eneloops) has just started to corrode and there was a slight corrosion mark on one of the battery terminals at the bottom of the Retra battery compartment. A wash with fresh water, a spray with contact cleaner and a good air dry... and the system looked as good as new; and worked flawlessly thereafter.

Phew.

Lessons Learned? Don't put your photo gear near anyone with long hair; if you have time, quick strobe rinse tank test; the Retra battery compartment system saved the day;  do not, whatever else you might do, suggest to your girlfriend/partner/buddy that "the hair looked like one of yours".

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On 5/17/2021 at 9:04 AM, TimG said:

 do not, whatever else you might do, suggest to your girlfriend/partner/buddy that "the hair looked like one of yours".

Seems like you learned a lesson, jejeje
Glad to hear the retras are ok and the only loss were the batteries.

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On 5/17/2021 at 7:34 PM, TimG said:

Just got back from a very good week's diving off the island of Saba in the Dutch Caribbean - from the Caribbean Explorer II liveaboard which I can recommend.

Mid-week I jumped in for one of the dives and, to my horror, when switching one of my Retra Primes on underwater (at about 75' and a good way from the boat!). I got the red/blue flashing battery compartment leak detector signal. SCREAM.

Conditions were quite rough, the boat was a good distance away, there was no bubbles coming from the strobe battery door - and I did not want to screw things up for my partner. So I switched the strobe off.... and pressed on. And I noticed a long brown hair wafting and caught in the battery door (mine are grey)

At the end of a 45 minute dive I got back on the boat and, with trepidation in my heart, unscrewed the battery compartment door: a small drop of water slid out. One of the batteries (Eneloops) has just started to corrode and there was a slight corrosion mark on one of the battery terminals at the bottom of the Retra battery compartment. A wash with fresh water, a spray with contact cleaner and a good air dry... and the system looked as good as new; and worked flawlessly thereafter.

Phew.

Lessons Learned? Don't put your photo gear near anyone with long hair; if you have time, quick strobe rinse tank test; the Retra battery compartment system saved the day;  do not, whatever else you might do, suggest to your girlfriend/partner/buddy that "the hair looked like one of yours".

Definitely something I will watch out for TIM :-) Thank god the strobe was salvaged and fully functional.

 

Diggy

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On 12/4/2020 at 6:53 AM, Oskar@RetraUWT said:

If they were serviced by us in 2020 or 2019 they have for sure been updated and the problem is solved.

Hi Oscar

What firmware updates are there for the original retras that I have?   I have not needed service since I bought them from your very first batch as they perform flawlessly, but am going to sell them as my Pro-Xs will arrive today, and am wondering if it is worth it to get the latest firmware.  Especially with regard to the additional battery packs.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, guyharrisonphoto said:

Hi Oscar

What firmware updates are there for the original retras that I have?   I have not needed service since I bought them from your very first batch as they perform flawlessly, but am going to sell them as my Pro-Xs will arrive today, and am wondering if it is worth it to get the latest firmware.  Especially with regard to the additional battery packs.

There is no point, depending on your location it'll be quite expensive to get them updated... And they have some issues like the pilot light on max causes them to shut down. This was with the original firmware, I inquired what was the procedure while they were in warranty and it was somewhere around 40€ per flash without the shipping. So with shipping included it was pointless to bother, rather not use the pilot light at max than pay 100 and more €.

Edited by sbonev

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On 12/3/2020 at 8:15 AM, Oskar@RetraUWT said:

You're welcome.

Please note that the Original Retra Flash has a narrower flash beam and therefore less power is used for snooting. With the Prime/PRO the flash beam is considerably wider and more evenely spread (ideal for wide angle) but this also means that for snooting a higher power level is used to achieve the same result as with with Original.

In any case the new Mounting module will provide much better light output and I guess you already noticed that the pilot light is much brighter with the new models.

I have the LSD with the mount for the original Retra--do I need a new mounting module for the Pro X?

Also, a different question.  Since the original Retras are so good for snooting, is there a way to replace the pilot light with the newer brighter one?

 

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Hi Guy, there is no firmware update for the Original Retra Flash regarding the Additional battery compartment, you would still need to use them with the hardware modification.

A different Mounting module is needed for the new flashguns. The old one fits but leaves a dark spot in the center of the snoot beam. Here you can get them: https://www.retra-uwt.com/collections/shop/products/mounting-module-for-retra-flash

It's not possible to update the pilot light on the Original Retra Flash.

Thank you @TimG for sharing your story about the leakage. One practical advice I have for everyone using the new flashguns (PRO, Prime, Pro X, Prime X) with the built-in leakage detector is that you should always have your flashgun turned on when you submerge it in water, especially when you first submerge it. The leakage detector works well but it works only if the flashgun is turned on. Early detection usually prevents extensive damage.

 

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Hi,

I am also thinking of upgrading from original Retras. And I am torn between the Pro X and Prime X. I love to shoot sharks and the place I go to most often is happily  quite sharky. Taking the superchargers out of the equation for the moment, for sharks, am I better off with the faster recycle times of the Prime X or the increased power of Pro X? To be clear the question is which flash is better for sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks in particular (they're quick).

Also, I read a review of the Pro X where the reviewer suggested that at 40% he could fire multiple shots a second. Is that possible? The specs sheet suggests it may not be.

I am truly impressed by Retra as a product and as a company. You've  definitely won my loyalty.

Thanks so much!

 

 

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Hi mjrovner

I’m using Primes for shooting sharks in Sint Maarten. Reef sharks are common on a number of dive sites here. They are curious and will come in very close. I’m shooting normally in around 15m with about 15m to 20m visibility. 
 

I’ve found the Primes give plenty of light and the relatively quick charge allows for multiple shots. 


I use the wide-angle diffusers with a Tokina 10-17 lens and have been really happy with the results. The Retras seem to handle the reflectiveness of the lower part of the sharks body really well. 
 

Like you, I’m really impressed with the whole Retra package. I’ve wondered whether I should have bought Pros rather than Primes but can’t honestly say I’ve ever found the Primes lacking in power. 

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2 hours ago, mjrovner said:

Hi,

I am also thinking of upgrading from original Retras. And I am torn between the Pro X and Prime X. I love to shoot sharks and the place I go to most often is happily  quite sharky. Taking the superchargers out of the equation for the moment, for sharks, am I better off with the faster recycle times of the Prime X or the increased power of Pro X? To be clear the question is which flash is better for sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks in particular (they're quick).

Also, I read a review of the Pro X where the reviewer suggested that at 40% he could fire multiple shots a second. Is that possible? The specs sheet suggests it may not be.

I am truly impressed by Retra as a product and as a company. You've  definitely won my loyalty.

Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Question: Are the recycle times you're talking about for when the unit is firing at full power?

If so, then are you making a fair comparison between the Prime X and Pro X? I think it would be more useful to compare the recycle times when the Pro is set to the same power level as the Prime. My guess is that, if that's all the power you need, then the Pro probably recycles just as quickly as the Prime. But, if you DO need more power, the Prime cannot deliver and the Pro can.

In other words, my guess is that there is no downside to the Pro X, as you have suggested.

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34 minutes ago, stuartv said:

 

Question: Are the recycle times you're talking about for when the unit is firing at full power?

If so, then are you making a fair comparison between the Prime X and Pro X? I think it would be more useful to compare the recycle times when the Pro is set to the same power level as the Prime. My guess is that, if that's all the power you need, then the Pro probably recycles just as quickly as the Prime. But, if you DO need more power, the Prime cannot deliver and the Pro can.

In other words, my guess is that there is no downside to the Pro X, as you have suggested.

Yes my understanding is that the slower recycle time of the Pro is due to the extra power required to to fill the bigger capacitors needed to power the more powerful flash output. 

It would seem they have the same or at least similar capacitor charging circuits.   The pro takes 1.3s to reach 40% of 150 Ws = 60 Ws of energy, while the prime takes 1.5s to reach 80% of 100 Ws = 80 Ws.  This on face value indicates the prime crams in more Ws per second , but I expect there is measurement error and rounding involved and the power won't flow in at a constant rate, it reduces in speed as the capacitor fills. I would regard the charging rate to be in pretty much the same ball park.

If the above analysis is about right it confirms Stuart's notion that the time to get to the same power is about the same on both models and the Pro only takes longer as the bucket it needs to fill with electrical power is bigger.

The charging circuits in the new "X" models are more efficient as they get more flashes out of the same batteries.

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Many thanks all! Still undecided but this is all super helpful. I was thinking 40% on the Primes vs. 40% on the Pros was apples to apples, but as you point out that's wrong. Maybe they should publish recycle times to comparable W/Secs?

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Just now, mjrovner said:

Many thanks all! Still undecided but this is all super helpful. I was thinking 40% on the Primes vs. 40% on the Pros was apples to apples, but as you point out that's wrong. Maybe they should publish recycle times to comparable W/Secs?

 

Yeah.... That would be nice, wouldn't it....?

I very rarely fire at full dump. What I would like to see is cycle time when set to f/4 (on my Z240, or the equivalent exposure output from other strobes).

I don't even think W-Secs is suitable. I know from working with other lighting that the "watts" of output is not necessarily comparable between different lights. Different lights have different output emitters and electronics that result in different efficiency and efficiency curves. One light putting out 50 W-sec could be brighter or less bright than another that uses a different light emitter or different circuit board.

What I can say (to your earlier question) is that even my Z240 strobes will fire at around 2 frames per second, when set to something like f/4. So, multiple frames per second with the Retra Pro should not be a problem at all - IF you don't have them set to too high of an output setting. 

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