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sinetwo

Strong focus light with snoot (retra lsd?)

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Hi all, 

I'm currently struggling with my setup for snooting:

* ys-d1

* 10bar metal snoot

 

The problem i have is that the guide/focus light on the ys-d1 is atrocious. It does nothing, and I've even used aluminium foil inside my snoot to funnel as much light as possible. In dark situations is barely works, and apart form that I can't even see where it's aiming with the light, which makes snooting ultimately hit and miss (way more miss). 

 

My question is:

1. Which has the best guide light for snooting? Retra flash (old or new?), inon z330, ys-d2 and ys-d3.

2. If I end up getting any of the above, is the retra lsd a worthy purchase above and beyond the 10 bar snoot? Ill only ever use the circular light shape so I guess the quick change is nice on the retra but not imperative for me. I get that it effectively works as a diopter of sorts, but I'm really not concerned about losing light as strobes are powerful enough to compensate.

 

Thanks for any help. 

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Hi sinetwo

If you've not done a search on snotting already in WP, it's definitely worth doing so. There's been a lot of discussion (including from me!) on snooting and aiming. Just when you thought u/w photography was tough ... you add shooting....

I use the Retra LSD with an Inon Z240. The Z240 has a button you can press to turn on (and lock-on if you wish) its focussing/aiming light. With the LSD in the correct position the aiming light will indeed point fairly accurately on the subject.

Having said that, what took me an age (well, lots of dives and emails to Retra) to learn was the amount of light output absorbed by a snoot. So I was finding that I was aiming the LSD perfectly but the resulting image was black. I believed that the problem was the LSD aim. But it wasn't. It was that the image was dramatically underexposed because of the amount of light absorption by the LSD. I'm not sure of the exact amount but, say 3-4 stops. 

You may know this already - but it surprised me. I just thought the aim of the LSD was rubbish! 

 

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Thanks Tim, your posts are always very informative!

 

Aye, I've been doing plenty of searched for the snooting! My problem really is not having a strong enough guide light. And that's a huge issue for me as I'm firing blindly. At least if I could see the guidelight through the viewfinder I'd know if I'm aiming right.

 

I'm going to tulamben shortly to dive with an amazing guide called Ajiex Dharma, so will try the inon and retra combo there.

 

So the lsd also eats up a lot of light? I thought it's main selling point was the fact that it didn't do that? 

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Maybe also take the new backscatter ministrobe+snoot into consideration. It looks  like it‘s mostly designed for snooting, although real life reports are not really out there yet.

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2 hours ago, hyp said:

Maybe also take the new backscatter ministrobe+snoot into consideration. It looks  like it‘s mostly designed for snooting, although real life reports are not really out there yet.

Wow this looks very interesting indeed! I'll wait for reviews to come out as it seems like it could be reasonably priced. If you attach a handle to that and a clever arm which unclips somehow, you could then use it freehand or clamped 

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Yeah. Price is apparently 500€ for the whole bundle. I really hope someone will pick it up and review it soon.

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I tried the LSD with my Z-330 and the Z-240 and the flash light output is reduced not more than 1 stop. A central pilot light is the preferred choice for any kind of snooting so neither flash is ideal.

The YS-D1 has a really low power pilot light so don't expect any miracles from that. They improved it on the YS-D2 but still not near to perfect. 

Btw, I've seen a video on facebook of a prototype Retra PRO combined with the LSD and the guy was using only the pilot light to get a dark background because it was so strong. They reduced the angle of the pilot light beam with the new strobes and increased the power which probably makes it one of the best combinations for snooting. Eager to get mine soon...

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7 hours ago, sinetwo said:

So the lsd also eats up a lot of light? I thought it's main selling point was the fact that it didn't do that? 

Well it does compared to what I'm used to! I normally shoot TTL for macro. You can't do this with the LSD and I guess I didn't push enough power through the Z240 on the manual strobe settings. I found that I needed to use 1/2 power - even sometimes full power. I did get some great results eventually. But, man, dives and dives of pure frustration!

I agree though, a good aiming light is crucial.

 

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1 hour ago, Jerry Diver said:

 

Btw, I've seen a video on facebook of a prototype Retra PRO combined with the LSD and the guy was using only the pilot light to get a dark background because it was so strong. They reduced the angle of the pilot light beam with the new strobes and increased the power which probably makes it one of the best combinations for snooting. Eager to get mine soon...

Do you have a link to this video per chance? 

The blue water light mentioned above I think has all the right things going for it, and at half the price and weight/size, it may be the new benchmark... 

 

I'm eagerly looking forward to comparisons of that vs the retra pro

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The strobe by Backscatter is a good macro and snoot tool but it's not a powerful strobe. It's quite cheap at $500 ($550 after pre-orders) but you need another set of strobes if you want to do something besides macro/snooting so it's probably another $700-800 to cover all the lenses. The Retra PRO has wide angle power and a circular lamp while it seems to do a very good job at snooting too. It's more expensive but you only need a pair in your luggage which I personally appreciate.

I found the facebook post (see screenshots below). It seems the pilot light on the Retra PRO is strong enough to get a slightly over exposed image at f10 ISO100. This means you will probably not have any issues with aiming!

Screenshot 2019-12-08.png

78418998_2891342587542611_1026718666617520128_n.jpg

76695145_2891322800877923_8966320280003674112_n.jpg

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I‘m pretty sure, that the retra combination will still be the most powerful setup. But if you already own a strobe the Backscatter solution is much cheaper. You can‘t upgrade your strobes + buy the retra LSD for 500$.The LSD on it‘s own is already a fair bit of money. Buying 2 new Retra Pros and the LSD would get me very close if not over 2000$. I wonder if the retras are really four times better... 

This is once again a question of best possible setup vs. Best setup that‘s still relatively affordable. I know some people on here seem to have unlimited funds, but there are a few of us that get by buying mostly used, 3d printing zoom gears to save cost and using gear that‘s maybe not the latest and greatest.

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2 hours ago, hyp said:

 I know some people on here seem to have unlimited funds, but there are a few of us that get by buying mostly used, 3d printing zoom gears to save cost and using gear that‘s maybe not the latest and greatest.

You're not wrong. I'm really liking the early comparisons here, but money obviously comes in to consideration. Unfortunately we're not all hedge fund managers, so this is quite a big thing for me. Personally I've got 2x ys-d1 which I'd like to keep until they die.

So for me to perhaps get 1 retra pro plus snoot means 2 ys-d1, 1 retra Pro and 1 retra only snoot. So I either then have 3 strobes (bad for traveling) or I get rid of one and use an inconsistent setup. 

The backscatter snoot seems to tick all the boxes I require at a relatively low price, and it's likely it'll be much easier to handle. This way I can easily have 2 strobes and the snoot, or 1 strobe and 1 snoot.

If you attach some kind of quick release to it as well it could be quite easy for a helper underwater as well to help aim if it's a particularly difficult subject to get to as it's likely to be more manoeuvrable. 

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From my personal experience over the years of doing different hobbies I learned that buying something which is usually expensive but covers more features and settings gives me higher satisfaction and is better value in the long term. But this doesn't mean I don't buy used or fun, cheap toys as well!

I learned this with model airplanes/helicopters and remote controls. Over a period of about 3 years I ended up having 4 different remote controls costing $300-400 while there was always the option of buying a slightly bigger and more expensive, about $1000 at the time, remote control which covered the functions of all four and had even more features, mixers, nicer joysticks etc. To my own loss I ended up selling all four and buying the expensive one. Once the technology shifted to 2.4GHz I could buy a module for this remote control and keep using it while the others didn't have this option. And it always gave better performance and was nicer, more rewarding to use. 5 years on when I decided to sell, I got more money from the single remote than from all four I sold years before.

It seems Retra is moving in this direction, making their products modular and the strobe upgradeable with smartphone connectivity. Unfortunately this also means they are getting expensive...

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On 12/8/2019 at 10:07 AM, hyp said:

 I wonder if the retras are really four times better... 

I've had a chance to use the set of pre production Retra Pros.

Difficult to say if they are "four times better" but they put out an amazing amount of high quality light.

Once the Pro series proves stable, I will certainly put them on a wish list to replace a set of Inon Z240.

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8 hours ago, DocTock said:

I've had a chance to use the set of pre production Retra Pros.

Difficult to say if they are "four times better" but they put out an amazing amount of high quality light.

Once the Pro series proves stable, I will certainly put them on a wish list to replace a set of Inon Z240.

Hey Russell

I'm mulling the same thing myself.

One thing I couldn't see on the Retra website about the Retra Pros, there must be an aiming light, right? But there's noting about it in the specifications. The image on the website appears to show a "pilot" switch in the centre of the indicator light which changes colour depending on the state of the strobe. Is this the switch for the aiming light?

 

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25 minutes ago, TimG said:

One thing I couldn't see on the Retra website about the Retra Pros, there must be an aiming light, right? But there's noting about it in the specifications.

In the specs table, fourth row specifies it at 20 degrees angle, 300lm power for Retra Prime and 500lm power for Retra Pro.

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51 minutes ago, Barmaglot said:

In the specs table, fourth row specifies it at 20 degrees angle, 300lm power for Retra Prime and 500lm power for Retra Pro.

Oh right, thanks. That's what that meant! I didn't realise "LED power" was the aiming light. Doh. 

 

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