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TheisK

Strobes or no strobes as a newbie?

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Hi guys,

I've been doing photography above water for 10+ years, and would like to be able to take photos underwater as well, as I've been diving for 5.

I''ve bought the TG-6 and housing combo from Olympus, a WeeFine WFL-02 wide angle wet lens and a tray, to keep it compact and, not spend to much cash.

I don't see myself doing alot of macro, topsides I like shooting landscapes and the odd animal, but never super closeup.

After reading alot of guides, and watching videos I've come to the conclusion, that I probably won't be satisfied without having some strobes, but I'm having a hard time deciding if I really should spend the cash on strobes or not at this time.

Seeing as I'm just starting doing UW photography, I'm worried that the addition of strobes would make everything too complex, but at the same time, I'm worried that the result without having strobes would leave me unsatisfied, or require heavy editing for decent results.

So my question is, should I buy strobes or not?

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Hi TheisK

Sadly I think the guides and videos you have seen speak the truth: unless you're diving in really shallow water, on sunlight days with excellent viz.... you need a strobe(s). 

And yes, they do complicate things a bit, but hey, welcome to the world of u/w photography. :P

You'll see lots on sale listed on the WP Classifieds and you may well be able to get a good deal

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Tim is absolute right.
And even strobes can get you only light in situations closer than 3m.
Your camera is great for macros, but the smaller the sensor, the more light you will need.
So have a look for good used ones, like Inon D2000, Inon Z240, Sea & Sea will be fine as well, as your camera is using a built in strobe for ignition. If you are used to shoot topside, maybe older but strong  strobes without ttl could be a possibility. They are cheap....
Good luck,
Wolfgang
 

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Thanks a lot for your answers guys, I will definitely be looking to buying some strobes then.

I've looked at the YS-01, to keep it on the cheaper side, but still have the possibility for manual, but I see that there's a revised model being shown at DEMA, so I kinda feel stupid paying full price for a new couple of strobes, knowing that a new model will be available in a couple of months(?), but maybe that's just me :)

I will be looking for used strobes as you recommend, but I'm kinda in a hurry as I will be leaving for Belize, Costa Rica and Mexico later this month. Hopefully I can find and buy some of the used models you've recommended.

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Keep an eye out for the Inons, TheisK, second hand. They are great. Z240 Mk4  by preference as they will grow with you slightly better than the smaller D2000.

And just to emphasise trimix125's point about the range of strobes underwater (expectation management!): you can't light up the whole reef with a strobe unlike topside. The range of the illumination is max 3m. I usually reckon 1m-2m for good coverage.

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The best thing you can do is learn to manage light. All of the previous posts are 100% correct. That means strobes.

If you begin to think in terms of how managing light affects what you are trying to photograph...you will be a better photographer.

I hope you find some strobes. Don't worry about the new models coming out, maybe they are better, maybe not for you and what you shoot. Wear your gear out taking photos. You will then know what is most important to your shooting.

Have fun, enjoy learning. We all started from where you are.

Very best of luck on your trip.

K

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I would make one correction - the amount of light you need at any given subject distance is set by the aperture.  The TG series at the wide end have two apertures - f2 and f2.8 - f8 is only an ND filter you only use that to try to get black backgrounds or maybe for video in shallow water to reduce the shutter speed.  f2.8 is very fast meaning the less powerful strobes are adequate, strobes like the YS-01 and INON S-2000.  They are fine for compacts shooting at f2.8 - 4 and 1" sensors like a Canon G7X series where you might shoot at f5.6.  They are marginally OK for m43 where you would be shooting at f8. Larger sensors need a smaller aperture (bigger f number) to get adequate depth of field and this is the main driver in wide angle work all assuming shooting at the same distance.

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Like everyone else, I favor strobes over no strobes.  

However, for starting out just use the built-in strobe (through a diffuser, which should come with the housing).   You'll be extremely limited on range, but at least you can light small objects close to you.

If you are not doing macro, strobes can become problematical quickly.  You can't light everything when shooting wide angle, and if you have lit the main subject, you'll have color balance issues with the rest.   Wide angle often means two things are needed: clear water and a lot of sunlight.

Edited by phxazcraig

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( I'm worried that the addition of strobes would make everything too complex, )

Welcome to underwater photography which  is a very complex task -if it was easy everyone would be doing it

Two strobes is far surperior to one

I agree with Tim Gs post above

 

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Get a strobe.  Start with one and begin to learn.  You will not be happy with your photos otherwise.  With a bit of practice you'll start to take some pictures that will be really great. Add a second strobe later on when you are ready for more dramatic shots.

 

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