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I've been using Inon Z240s. I am debating buying new strobes and having the 240s as backups.

 

I had thought to just buy a pair of Z330s. But then I saw some info on the forthcoming YS-D3. I have some questions:

 

- Both (330 and D3) claim to be Guide Number 33. From what I can find, the 330 is GN 33 with a 110 degree beam angle (w/o a diffuser). The D3 was published to be GN 33 with a native beam angle of 80 degrees. Doesn't that mean that, if you're using a diffuser to give the D3 a 120 degree beam angle, it's not going to be as bright as the 330? In other words, doesn't that mean that the D3 is the same brightness with a narrower beam angle, so overall it is putting out less light? ( just comparing specs - there is no reason to venture off into the "different OEMs measure things differently, so you can't compare GN specs between brands" rabbit hole - I understand that part)

 

- S&S are claiming that the D3 can recycle in 0.6 seconds at half power and fire continuously at quarter power. Does anybody have any idea how that compares to how quickly you can shoot a set of 330s? My 240s will cycle and fire pretty darn quickly (particularly since I started using Eneloop Pro batteries). At least, it seems pretty darn quick to me. And I'm talking about shooting in Continuous drive mode, so the camera is firing multiple frames per second. But, I have no numbers to put behind that, to really quantify the 240's performance. Regardless, it's not about the 240s. I'm curious how the cycle time on the D3 compares to the z330.

 

Any other thoughts on choosing between the Z300s and the YS-D3s?

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Personally, Sea & sea lost me as a customer with the poor quality of the YS-D2. I won't buy another strobe from them. I had 3 of them fail on me. The D2J was supposed to be better, but I didn't want to keep it long enough to find out. Just because of that I'd be looking between Inon z300 and the new Retras. 

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Reading about that sort of thing was why I didn’t buy S&S at the time I bought my last strobes. But, with production being back in Japan and me now having a really good relationship with a local S&S dealer, I’m willing to give them a chance - if they offer an advantage...

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3 hours ago, stuartv said:

 

- S&S are claiming that the D3 can recycle in 0.6 seconds at half power and fire continuously at quarter power. Does anybody have any idea how that compares to how quickly you can shoot a set of 330s? My 240s will cycle and fire pretty darn quickly (particularly since I started using Eneloop Pro batteries). At least, it seems pretty darn quick to me. And I'm talking about shooting in Continuous drive mode, so the camera is firing multiple frames per second. But, I have no numbers to put behind that, to really quantify the 240's performance. Regardless, it's not about the 240s. I'm curious how the cycle time on the D3 compares to the z330.

 

I mostly shoot my 330's at 1/2 power and they have no problems firing 3 frames in 1 second.  I did a lot of Full Power shooting in Galapagos last month and was able to get good light at 1 frame per second on a few occasions when the sharks came in close.

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10 minutes ago, davehicks said:

I mostly shoot my 330's at 1/2 power and they have no problems firing 3 frames in 1 second.  I did a lot of Full Power shooting in Galapagos last month and was able to get good light at 1 frame per second on a few occasions when the sharks came in close.

If you have your camera set to run at 3fps, will the 330s keep up indefinitely, at half power?

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Posted (edited)

I only ever use single shot, but will fire rapidly when there is fast action.  I doubt the strobes would keep that pace for more than a few shots, but they can do it on that rare case when you need to capture a unique moment.  But I have not tested extended continuous firing at 1/2 myself.

Edited by davehicks

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Posted (edited)

 

7 hours ago, stuartv said:

I've been using Inon Z240s. I am debating buying new strobes and having the 240s as backups.

 

I had thought to just buy a pair of Z330s. But then I saw some info on the forthcoming YS-D3. I have some questions:

 

- Both (330 and D3) claim to be Guide Number 33. From what I can find, the 330 is GN 33 with a 110 degree beam angle (w/o a diffuser). The D3 was published to be GN 33 with a native beam angle of 80 degrees. Doesn't that mean that, if you're using a diffuser to give the D3 a 120 degree beam angle, it's not going to be as bright as the 330? In other words, doesn't that mean that the D3 is the same brightness with a narrower beam angle, so overall it is putting out less light? ( just comparing specs - there is no reason to venture off into the "different OEMs measure things differently, so you can't compare GN specs between brands" rabbit hole - I understand that part)

 

- S&S are claiming that the D3 can recycle in 0.6 seconds at half power and fire continuously at quarter power. Does anybody have any idea how that compares to how quickly you can shoot a set of 330s? My 240s will cycle and fire pretty darn quickly (particularly since I started using Eneloop Pro batteries). At least, it seems pretty darn quick to me. And I'm talking about shooting in Continuous drive mode, so the camera is firing multiple frames per second. But, I have no numbers to put behind that, to really quantify the 240's performance. Regardless, it's not about the 240s. I'm curious how the cycle time on the D3 compares to the z330.

 

Any other thoughts on choosing between the Z300s and the YS-D3s?

What camera have you got?

In terms of shooting fast it is pretty simple if you have a full charged capacitor and you take say two shots at half power in rapid succession they will both work well the issue happens on the next shot. If you fire at 1/4 power you can take four shots.

After the capacitor is completely depleted you need to give it time for a full charge this will be the charging time from zero to full. If you allow sufficient time between the shots it is possible that the capacitor does not full discharge and you can have more shots to go in a sequence

Edited by Interceptor121

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7 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

 

What camera have you got?

In terms of shooting fast it is pretty simple if you have a full charged capacitor and you take say two shots at half power in rapid succession they will both work well the issue happens on the next shot. If you fire at 1/4 power you can take four shots.

After the capacitor is completely depleted you need to give it time for a full charge this will be the charging time from zero to full. If you allow sufficient time between the shots it is possible that the capacitor does not full discharge and you can have more shots to go in a sequence

 

I have a Sony a7rIV.

 

How does your statement reconcile with S&S claims that the YS-D3 can fire continuously at 1/4 power?

 

I think your statement ignores the fact that each successive shot does take some amount of time and the strobe is recharging during that period. Your statement would only be true if the strobe did not charge at all between shots. If it can charge quickly enough, it could shoot indefinitely at 1/4 power - instead of being limited to 4 shots.

 

So, I gather nobody here knows of any testing that has been done to test exactly how fast you can continuously fire a Z330. I wish I had one I could test myself. When I am shooting sharks, sometimes I will shoot on continuous drive. You never know exactly when the sharks will give you the best photo. With my old camera (E-M10) and Z240s, I could run it on low speed continuous and the strobes would generally fire every other frame. I am okay with deleting every other frame in order to get the ones in between that are well-lit. But, it would be nice if I get new strobes and they can cycle more quickly - and I could possibly setup my new camera to run at a speed that allows the strobes to cycle and fire on every frame, instead of every other.

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17 minutes ago, stuartv said:

 

I have a Sony a7rIV.

 

How does your statement reconcile with S&S claims that the YS-D3 can fire continuously at 1/4 power?

 

I think your statement ignores the fact that each successive shot does take some amount of time and the strobe is recharging during that period. Your statement would only be true if the strobe did not charge at all between shots. If it can charge quickly enough, it could shoot indefinitely at 1/4 power - instead of being limited to 4 shots.

 

So, I gather nobody here knows of any testing that has been done to test exactly how fast you can continuously fire a Z330. I wish I had one I could test myself. When I am shooting sharks, sometimes I will shoot on continuous drive. You never know exactly when the sharks will give you the best photo. With my old camera (E-M10) and Z240s, I could run it on low speed continuous and the strobes would generally fire every other frame. I am okay with deleting every other frame in order to get the ones in between that are well-lit. But, it would be nice if I get new strobes and they can cycle more quickly - and I could possibly setup my new camera to run at a speed that allows the strobes to cycle and fire on every frame, instead of every other.

The statement it can always fire at 1/4 of power continuosly is definitely incorrect without stating the frequency

However if the strobe can fire at 1/4 and it takes for example 1 second to fully recharge than it could go ahead continuously

My statement is the minimum that it could do and is adequate for real life situation

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49 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

The statement it can always fire at 1/4 of power continuosly is definitely incorrect without stating the frequency

However if the strobe can fire at 1/4 and it takes for example 1 second to fully recharge than it could go ahead continuously

My statement is the minimum that it could do and is adequate for real life situation

 

I agree that the Sea & Sea statement is meaningless without stating the frequency. I'm sure the YS-D3 cannot, for example, fire at 1/4 power on every frame if you were using an a9 at 20 fps, just for example.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/4/2020 at 1:49 AM, JMartel said:

Personally, Sea & sea lost me as a customer with the poor quality of the YS-D2. I won't buy another strobe from them. I had 3 of them fail on me. The D2J was supposed to be better, but I didn't want to keep it long enough to find out. Just because of that I'd be looking between Inon z300 and the new Retras. 

I only can confirm the statement of DaveHicks: My wife and me purchased three Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobes in 2017. All of them have been for repair at least onece, two of them twice (burnout, but also problems with the magnetic on/off switch). One has been completely retained in the chain from dealer to customers service central: just an inofficial statemant that the strobe is irrparable from the dealer; no statement form Sea&Sea Europe or sending the damaged unit back (so that we would have been able to send in to a competent workshop). In Europe the representative in Netherlands is not good for anything, see e.g. here: 

What I read here and in other forums, in other regions of the world the situation is similar.

Of course there are people without any problems with Sea&Sea strobes, but our own experience and the many reports from others are just too bad. I cannot see how the J version can solve the problem of overheating/burnout as the construction is the same and the problem is just too little heat dissipation. MAYBE the D3 version solves this problem, but I am not willing to be the tester for this company...

We are using now our two remaining Sea&Sea, as long as they last, but have already three Inon Z330 and not any problem with them, so far. I did not make systematical tesing with Z330, but of course the rechargin gtime becomes shorter, when flash intensity is reduced. I see little chance that the Sea&Sea, that is inferior to Z330 in every respect, will do better...

Last Friday (13.3.) we returned from a trip to Raja Ampat. Two friends had Sea&Sea strobes (YS-01 and YS-02). Both stopped working during the 11 day Safari - luckily we could lend our spare Z330 to one of them, the other one had to focus on video, using his focus light...

The nice dealer near you cannot help you, unless he is able to repair the strobes by himself. And even if he is able to do so, why take the risk?

I also would consider the new Retra strobes (these were our first choice for the new strobes, since the have good reputation and the factory in Slovenia is within driving distance from us, but they were impossible to get last year). In case they are available now, I would go for them...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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I have had Sea and Sea and Inon.

Sea and Sea have performed always great I have had an old model I don't remember what it was called, YS-01 and recently YS-D2J

I also have had 4 Inon Z240 of which I have two left that I use as remote strobes

In terms of customer service I hit the YS-01 on a door on a boat in Raja Ampat in November 2012 repaired it with superglue and attempted to get it fixed but I was asked the whole price of a strobe and sea and sea would not sell me the part I identified as needing replacement probably £5 of cost. At that point I switched to Inon. My 3rd Z240 had an issue to the magnet was sent to Japan and replaced with a new one. This was before getting it in a proper trip.

Then I have stuck to Inon but when Inon have moved to dome shaped strobes I have gone back to Sea and Sea as I like flat fronted strobes. Since I have had them in the last year I have had zero issues. I am sure if I will have some issues I will need to trash them or sell them for spares however the actual performance of the strobes is exceptional and the ergonomics superior to my Inon.

I have also met people on boat that had the first version of retra and have had plenty of issues with them maybe the new strobe is better.

I have never bought Ikelite, Seacam or other brands but I would be certain that they have superior customer service to sea and sea.

As a former and current Z240 user I can tell you the YS-D2 are much better from a performance and ease of use on the field but there are some risks associated with them.

For what concerns Wolfgang burn out issue that puzzles me how do you even manage to do that? Ok the strobe can overheat but in which circumstances you fire non stop at full power? I have never noticed the YS-D2J to get even remotely warm outside or in the battery compartment when am done with the dive.

One recommendation that I can give you is avoid overthinking strobes what you need are three things

1. Good ergonomics

2. Sufficient power

3. decent diffusers

And of course something that does not break!

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Posted (edited)

@Massimo: I do not perform a special management programm to overheat the strobes:D...

Just 1-3 test strobes over the surface when assembling the rig (of course at minimum intensity). Under the water and mostly for WA, I use full power only few times and then shoot at reduced settings. I admit I do not proceed according to the manual: it recommends to wait for 10 minutes (the manual says something like this, I cannot remember now the exact time span) after firing once at full power before firing the strobe again at any power. But I do the same with Z330 and never had burm out so far. Next time, when you are under the water, fire your strobe at full power few times and then put your hand on the strobe: You will feel that the strobe gets very hot, even under the water...

I really have a very bad gut feeling about Sea&Sea and the Netherlands representative, they have messed up with me. No more Sea&Sea flash and I do not recommend them to anyone...:diablo:

 

@Stuart: I did the test for you, with the Z330 immersed in the bathtube (also good to know for me for the future):

Oly EM1II with FLM3 flash for trigger (1/64 power). 3 fps for 4 seconds (12 frames), the FLM3 flashed every time, so FLM3 is not rate limiting.

Z330 at power "-2" (i.e. 1/4 power): flash every time - 100% sucess. Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

Z330 at power "-1" (i.e. 1/2 power): 5 failures out of 12 - 58% sucess . Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

Z330 at power "-0.5" (i.e. 1/1.5 power): 5 failures out of 12 - 58% sucess . Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

Conclusion: "-2" works perfect, but even "-0.5" can be used when one can live with 50% dropout. Now is the question how many Joules is Z330 at "-2", compared to Sea&Sea at "1/4" power. I guess Inon has more Joules, but maybe someone can answer this question precisely...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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The sea and sea manual says if you shoot at full power for 10 consecutive times you need to wait for 10 minutes

Now considering that with the diffuser this is GN24 and I shoot big scenes wide angle at f/5.6 (benefit of MFT) I set the strobe at f/8 I still have f/11 f/16 f/22 f/32 four stops away from full power and half power is f/22

The only situation I would need to shoot at full power is sunburst when I am at f/22 other than that I would never use the strobes at full power except when I use ambient light filters but am practically the only person on the planet shooting like that and yet I have to fry a strobe

It is important to have margin to avoid burning tubes if you shoot a DSLR full frame and need f/11 you have diffusers you need f/16 with subject further away you are getting close to full power. This is why on Inon strobes FULL is a different setting so it makes sure you know what you are doing

In practical use I shoot every 2-3 seconds so even with Inon never had an issue with ambient light filters

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@Architeuthis Thank you for doing that test!

 

Now I have to ask what batteries did you have in the strobes? I think the battery used can have a significant impact on recycle time. I did not test it in a formal way, but when I went from off-brand AAs in my Z240 strobes to Eneloop Pro batteries, I could definitely notice an improvement in how quickly they would cycle and fire at partial power.

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2 minutes ago, stuartv said:

@Architeuthis Thank you for doing that test!

 

Now I have to ask what batteries did you have in the strobes? I think the battery used can have a significant impact on recycle time. I did not test it in a formal way, but when I went from off-brand AAs in my Z240 strobes to Eneloop Pro batteries, I could definitely notice an improvement in how quickly they would cycle and fire at partial power.

You need to use Eneloop Pro as they are designed for high current, this has been discussed at length on scubaboard

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I used the regular white Eneloops...

 

Wolfgang

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2 minutes ago, Architeuthis said:

I used the regular white Eneloops...

 

Wolfgang

Use the Pro results will improve and may be able to try the level up

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42 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

You need to use Eneloop Pro as they are designed for high current, this has been discussed at length on scubaboard

Umm.... I DO use Eneloop Pros...

 

I just wanted to know what Wolfgang used in his test to know if he got the best possible results.

 

Since he has now said he used regular Eneloop, I guess I could get even faster cycle time with Eneloop Pros.

 

Anyway, thank you, @Architeuthis, for the recommendation to look at the Retras. I had not paid them any attention in a while. It looks like the latest RF Pro is probably a better choice (for me, anyway) than the Z330 or the YS-D3.

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2 minutes ago, stuartv said:

 

 

Since he has now said he used regular Eneloop, I guess I could get even faster cycle time with Eneloop Pros.

 

Yes that is what I was suggesting but white eneloop last longer in terms of total life i.e. number of charges

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4 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

Yes that is what I was suggesting but white eneloop last longer in terms of total life i.e. number of charges

 

Yes, I am aware of that. Something like 2000 charges versus 500 for the Pros.

 

I usually do at least 2 dives per charge. By the time I've done 1000 dives, if my Eneloop Pros are worn out and need to be replaced, I will be fine with that. :D 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Massimo and Stuart,

I was not aware that the black Eneloops bring higher flash frequencies, so I am gradually replacing them with the white ones (cheaper and i have the impression the white ones are more durable)...

 

I have black ones left and repeated the test with four black Eneloops - the results are essentially the same (@3 fps):

 

330 at power "-2" (i.e. 1/4 power): flash every time - 100% sucess. Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

Z330 at power "-1" (i.e. 1/2 power): 5 failures out of 12 - 58% sucess . Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

Z330 at power "-0.5" (i.e. 1/1.5 power): 5 failures out of 12 - 58% sucess . Intensity always 100% as judged by eye...

The pattern with "-1" and "-0.5" is the same: first two flashes are full, then no flash is alternating with full flash (full flash judged by brightness of flash on the back monitor of the camera, did not notice differences..).

 

It sems my Z330 and/or the black Eneloops do not know that they should deliver higher flash frequencies compared to the white ones...:D

 

Wolfgang

 

Edited by Architeuthis

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Just now, Architeuthis said:

It sems my Z330 and/or the black Eneloops do not know that they should deliver higher flash frequencies compared to the white ones...:D

 

Wolfgang

 

 

How old are your black Eneloops? I wonder if they have been used a lot and their capacity for a high discharge rate has been reduced. 

 

Especially if you are comparing them to new white Eneloops.

 

Regardless, I will stick to the black ones. As I said, they will last many more dives than I am concerned with. :D And thank you again for doing these tests.

 

I am looking forward to doing my own similar tests with my Z240s and then, eventually, with some Retra Pros, with and without their battery extender pack. Perhaps 10 frames per second will be possible with the battery extender and running at 1/4 power or a little less?!? That would be amazing! I mostly shoot sharks and 10fps (with 1/250 sync speed) would afford some very interesting opportunities!

 

At the moment, I just have to keep waiting for the updated UWT trigger for my a7rIV. The first one I got was defective. I've been waiting on a replacement for almost 2 weeks now.

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Black eneloop last 500 cycles white last around 2100 in terms of years black also die younger

So if your black are well used they are already suffering more it is normal

There is a guy that made measures and for high power applications black are preferred also in terms of not burning

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Posted (edited)

Heck, if I had to replace my Eneloops Pros after every 100 charges (200 dives) to maintain peak performance, I would be perfectly fine with that. For me, that is very likely to be at least 2 years. And they are not THAT expensive.

Edited by stuartv

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