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BSC_Matt

Professional on dry land - Strobe insights

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My first housing was also a Fantasea, for a Nikon D80 (Fantasea was doing DSLR housing at that time). It was great value

 

To come back to your TTL question, here are my thoughts based on my (limited) experience:

 

  • Do I use TTL? Yes, almost always. It just works! You can use manual flash, but the exposure will be less accurate. Even if you tend to shoot subjects around the same distance, many factors impact lighting, so TTL in my experience is always better. As you start underwater photography, there are many more things that you need to focus on, than setting the right flash power manually. If you need to fine tune balance between ambiant light and the strobe light, a modern strobe like the YS-D2 has exposure compensation settings in TTL. So all taken into account, TTL from my point of view is more practical, more efficient, and gives all the level of controls that you need ...

 

  • Which kind of TTL? given your set-up, I would start with optical TTL to link your A6500 to your YS-D2. You should first test the YS-D2 in DS-TTL mode, it should just work. You can test this above ground.

 

  • Do you need a TTL converter? Most probably no. A TLL converter is:
  1. required when your camera do not have an integrated flash. You put the TTL converter in the camera flash shoe as you would use a wireless controler on land (in Nikon range, it would be like using the SU-800 controler)
  2. sometimes useful if your integrated flash is depleting your camera battery too quickly. While shooting under water, even though the actual lighting is performed by your strobe, your integrated flash will shoot as if it was lighting the scene. Some have found that it was depleting the camera battery too quickly. The TTL converter replaces then the integrated flash and saves your camera battery. I never had such problem with camera battery (however always used Nikon cameras). Before buying a TTL converter, you should test first your mileage with the integrated flash ...

 

  • Vacuum valve? yes ... very useful, as everybody agrees. My current housing is equipped with a Leak Sentinel V3. Quite good, however changing the battery is a pain ... There is a Leak Sentinel V5, probably best option if you can get it. The battery seems much easier to change, and the LED light much more visible.

 

Since I began this post I have learned quite a bit about the equipment and one of your points has been well take. The built in flash which would be used to trigger via optical is known to drain the already weak batteries for Sony a6500 as well as having a 4 sec recycle time on full power. Fantasia made a LED flash trigger which emits low power flashes to fire your strobe. Pros: recycle time limited to the strobes time, does not effect camera battery at all. Cons: No ability to use TTL.

I understand how TTL makes everything underwater quite a bit easier but I am confident that with some trial and error, my experience shooting almost entirely with artificial light on land will allow me to work within the limitations of my camera setup. Or... I will suck at this and go back to enjoying diving without a camera... HAHA

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Since I began this post I have learned quite a bit about the equipment and one of your points has been well take. The built in flash which would be used to trigger via optical is known to drain the already weak batteries for Sony a6500 as well as having a 4 sec recycle time on full power. Fantasia made a LED flash trigger which emits low power flashes to fire your strobe. Pros: recycle time limited to the strobes time, does not effect camera battery at all. Cons: No ability to use TTL.

I understand how TTL makes everything underwater quite a bit easier but I am confident that with some trial and error, my experience shooting almost entirely with artificial light on land will allow me to work within the limitations of my camera setup. Or... I will suck at this and go back to enjoying diving without a camera... HAHA

 

I never experienced a Sony camera. Sorry to hear about this poor battery and flash cycle time.

Have you checked the Turtle TTL converter? they have a version for Sony, tested with the A6500. It even enables switching between TTL and Manual flash underwater ....

Edited by Algwyn
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New update. Once I finally got a sync cord I found out YS-D2s dont have a strong enough optical trigger to use an LED flash trigger. So now I have a brand new strobe that I cant return (bought it from someone unused) and I cant use with the flash trigger.

Im looking into options but they are slim or expensive.

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Your problem may be in the housing (trigger part) or fiber optic connection and not with the strobes. A strobe has to be able to see the triggering light coming through the fiber optic so if the FO is not just right or the amount of light generated by the trigger is not enough your flash will not go off. This assumes that the strobe is set up correctly to respond to the triggering light. I have another model S&S strobe - one has to have it in the correct mode to operate as desired - slave, cable synch, etc.

Edited by Tom_Kline

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I understand the thought but this information comes from Fantasea after I called about why it wasnt working. It works fine when fired by the pop up flash.

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I understand the thought but this information comes from Fantasea after I called about why it wasnt working. It works fine when fired by the pop up flash.

 

 

From this it sounds like the LED trigger is not working correctly for your strobe. It also suggests that the FO may be OK. Issues with aligning the LED trigger with the FO? Do you know the LED is even working - maybe it is dead or simply not responding to the camera?

Edited by Tom_Kline

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From this it sounds like the LED trigger is not working correctly for your strobe. It also suggests that the FO may be OK. Issues with aligning the LED trigger with the FO? Do you know the LED is even working - maybe it is dead or simply not responding to the camera?

The LED is working correctly and I am able to see the light flash clearly through the FO. I also spoke to someone at Mozaik and they also are aware that the YS-D2 optical trigger is not sensitive enough. Apparently the Nauticam LED flash trigger also does not work with the YS-D2.

 

I am willing to try anything. I found a very interesting video though. https://youtu.be/o_BC2fCH8rs

He has the same issue and built his own FO cables from much larger FO that seam to work.

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It sounds like you have solved your problem. BTW there have been issues with your strobe model that have been addressed by a new J version. But what was fixed with the J version may not be be related to your issues.

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I've built my own FO cables as well. Seemed like a no brainer - existing ones I had were so bloody thin and flimsy and cost a fortune. When they inevitably failed, I cut the plug ends off and mounted them to some decent size end glow (or could use multi strand). FO cable is cheap. You can get the plug ends for a couple bucks from some of the UW photo shops.

 

I understand how TTL makes everything underwater quite a bit easier but I am confident that with some trial and error, my experience shooting almost entirely with artificial light on land will allow me to work within the limitations of my camera setup.

 

I also work a lot with artificial light topside and I'm confident you'll be totally fine in manual UW. Its really not complicated, at least regarding strobe power, when you have experience working with these tools.

Edited by Undertow
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Hi,
dont know which fibre cables you use, but just go to your favorite dealer and take all different cables in your hand.
Place one series of ends to a light source, and have a look to the other ends....
Means that you should try to hold them paralell directed to the light and other side to your eye.
Then you get an idea which one is bringing the most light....
There are big differences!

If the best one is still not working, then you need a DIY version.
Or simply change to an Inon type4 D2000 / Z240 or the new Z330.
They are a lot more sensitive than the S&S ones...

Have spend a lot of time checking this out, because the design of the originally Hugyfot D500 optical plugs was poor...
Including some hundreds shots, or tried to shoot, with different cables, plugs, a lot of different strobes...
Now there is a new design for the D850 housing, and so i sent mine in for changing.
Should be back by end of the week.
Then i can do new testing, and hopefully it will work with my turtle Trigger ;-))

Regards,
Wolfgang

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