Jump to content
DanielD

Sea&Sea YS-D2 TTL with Nikon D750

Recommended Posts

Hi guys & girls,

I have a lot of trouble with my combination of 2x Sea&Sea YS-D2J TTL with my Nikon D750. I am unable to get the S&S strobes to correctly sync. They always fire on the pre-flash of the camera :(. I also tested with another camera (Canon) and without cable (flash hold directly to internal flash). There is already a discussion going on here about the topic. @ChrissRoss suggested I might as here as well. It would be especially interesting to know if anyone is using this combination (Sea&Sea YS-D2J + Nikon D750) successfully in TTL mode. In manual mode both strobes work fine. Any help is greatly appreciated, as I'm running out of ideas and Sea&Sea is not responding to my pleas for help :unsure:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting problem: Your test with a Canon seems to eliminate the Nikon D750 and point to the Ys-D2J's as over responding to the preflash. The next step may be to test your camera with different strobe models, such as the YS-D2 (not J) or Inon Z240 or Z330.   Please tell us of your progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Kraken de Mabini said:

the next step may be to test your camera with different strobe models, such as the YS-D2 (not J) or Inon Z240 or Z330. 

As state in the linked Thread, I did have one YS-D2 (not J) before that worked without any problems. The fact that I sold it after just testing whether the new ones fired (not synced though) is probably one of the most stupid thing I ever did :blink:. Damn I whish I had that one back.

Unfortunately I do not have access to any other strobes. Currently looking into that. I'll keep you up to date on any new information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So a reseller on a german website gave me the tip (and the sequence) to reset the  strobes. Although resetting was successful, it did not change anything. He also said that he was almost certain it would be the cables, as the new Sea&Sea cables are a bit thicker and the YS-D2J Sensor was developed specifically to take advantage of that :unsure:. If this is true it might be that they work better this way with the Sea&Sea cable.. but it also apparently means they stop working with any other cables :angry:.

Out of a hunch I also did some rapid fire shooting to see what happens.. and you know what? Out of 20 pictures taken, 2 turned out to be white. That might indeed point to unstable TTL results caused by cabling.

I'm not sure yet whether to just sell my strobes and get some that aren't this fragile when it comes to TTL. Or to really throw even more money at S&S, buy original cables and sell my cables too. Very annoying situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If with the new S&S settings the pictures are white, then allow me to suggest  you stop working on TTL and use M - manual settings.  Set the camera to M, ISO 100, shutter 1/250 and f from 8 to 20+

Why do I say this? Because I had the same experience with the S&S YS-D2J strobes and now with new Inon Z330 strobes.  Both work fine with manual - M - settings.  

Forget TTL, it can be a waste of money and valuable time. Go Manual, and enjoy taking photos of underwater life.  Later you can adjust your pictures with a computer and photo program.  Keep the S&S YS-D2J strobes, they are fine strobes made to give you many years of service.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit, I thought about it. However the thought of having to adjust the level of 2 strobes all the time gives me headaches. Most of my current dives have a profile that takes me from good lighting conditions to bad lighting conditions and then back to good ones. I'm not that familiar with flash photography yet, but I guess I'd have to adjust my strobes all the time to get good results no? That would be rather annoying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, one  has to adjust both strobes for each photo, but it becomes a rapid habit very soon, as it usually it is only one or two clicks.  One's hand learns the routine fast, it really is not a problem.  As the saying goes: "Try it, you'll like it." Why?  Because the results will please you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seconding @Kraken de Mabini here - I have recently switched from TTL-only strobes (SeaFrogs ST-100) to Retra Pros, and within a couple dives, I found the manual mode to be quite easy to operate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Kraken de Mabini said:

Yes, one  has to adjust both strobes for each photo

Well considering that I'm not that good a photographer yet the thought of that is not very pleasant. In fact I would most likely ruin most of the pictures. Not to mention that this would also mean that I have to "set them right" from the start, as a lot of my pictures are "one time chances" and not really setup. I suppose that I would be frustrated pretty quickly if most of my pictures are ruined afterwards just because I was to stupid to adjust the strobes correctly :angry:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@DanielD - every experienced photographer in this community at one time or another has made the move to shooting their strobes in manual. Unfortunately for you it may seem like you are being "pushed" this way because of your equipment...

What you have to decide is if you really want to continue to develop this hobby to capture amazing images, or will you be happy just snapping shots of interesting things you see on a dive?

You are shooting with "prosumer" level gear, it might be time to switch to thinking about this as a fairly deeply invested avocation.

On the plus side - shooting your strobes in manual is actually really straight forward once you get used to it. Both my teenage kids shoot manual - I never even let them know that TTL was an option. In addition, the knowledge you will gain will become essential when you start shooting in more challenging situations.

I was a huge TTL fan when I first started (shooting film). When I switched to digital I realized that TTL hadn't quite caught up (for digital) and I never looked back. I'm at the point now where I would be fine if they just left the TTL option off of strobes completely... it's not something you will miss. 

Everyone shoots their own way - but I believe it's likely a fairly true statement to say that the vast majority (if not all of) the images you have seen published in magazines or on various sites were shot with manual lighting... 


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question is:  "How to adopt new habits, or equipment, or procedures under water without losing photo opportunities?"

One approach, before entering the water, is to practice, practice and then practice some more, for example, at home in a semi-dark room take photos of small and medium sized objects such as toys, labelled containers and bottles, to learn how to use the camera with one strobe until familiar with its settings.  Then practice with two strobes.  That way, after numerous photos on land, once in the water one's equipment and settings will be second nature, instinctive and practically automatic. 

Much practice and familiarity with the settings are an important key to good underwater photos, and more importantly, to building one's ability to handle the camera and lighting in a productive way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do realize that shooting completely manual is eventually the goal. That was my plan anyway. But one of the reasons why I bought TTL capable strobes was the fact that I didn't want to learn everything at once in the beginning and still get decent pictures. For that reason I was actually shooting without any strobe in the beginning, to get myself the chance of knowing how to handle the camera before having to bother with another level of complexity. So far the results of that has been very mixed.. but every now and than I get something decent out of a dive. The thing is, I find the workload already pretty high when doing underwaterphotography at the moment. And I find myself every now and then not taking the camera, because the pictures from the last dive simply did turn out to be not worth the hassle. I'm afraid if the workload increases even more, the frustration level will rise accordingly. Anyway it seems like there is little alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Daniel,  I feel your pan.  You said you only get something every now and then.  Have you considered taking some classes?

Bluewater has many tutorials from basic to advanced on their web site, and they are free.  As stated above you need to practice at home until you develop an efficient, correct flow that works.

If you read the metadata that is freely supplied with many great pictures you will notice that the camera settings are all very similar, this gives you a great starting place.  The only tricky variable is strobe setting.  I know that my next suggestion will get lots of negative posts, but it is a good starting place; under expose your shots buy approximately 1 f stop.  Better to have to adjust the exposure in post processing than it is to burn the highlights.

That leads to another area that needs to be learned, post processing.  Are you fluent in Photoshop?  Or any other flavor of post processing software?  That is a necessity, many photos are “made” or should I say “saved” in Photoshop.

None of this is particularly difficult to understand intellectually, but it all takes time and practice.

Proper practices makes perfect.  You have to know and understand the basic concepts, practice on land, then underwater.  At first I would only use one lens to become familiar with it, then on the next trip you could introduce another.  Macro for me was the easiest to learn, then I entered the world of wide angle.

It is a process that takes time and experience.

It is a journey not a destination, enjoy the ride.

Brant

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, PhotoJunkie said:

Proper practices makes perfect.  You have to know and understand the basic concepts, practice on land, then underwater.

This is bascially what I did. When I bought the camera I had already the idea of underwater photography. But I still waited a few years to get familliar with my camera and the lenses before buying the housing.

36 minutes ago, PhotoJunkie said:

Macro for me was the easiest to learn, then I entered the world of wide angle.

ATM I only have a macro lens. Altough wide agle would be awesome I do dread the heafty prices of dome ports at the moment. Its a thing for the future though.

36 minutes ago, PhotoJunkie said:

That leads to another area that needs to be learned, post processing.  Are you fluent in Photoshop?  Or any other flavor of post processing software?  That is a necessity, many photos are “made” or should I say “saved” in Photoshop.

I do a lot of post processing already. Only do my pictures in RAW format and do the white balance and contrast / color corrections at home. However I am strictly against using anything that would amount to editing my photos. In my humble opinion that would destroy the artistic part of photography. Since I only have Linux machines at home I do not use Photoshop, but RawTherapee.

36 minutes ago, PhotoJunkie said:

 Have you considered taking some classes?

I've read a lot of online readings and a few books regarding photography and especially uw photography so far. But reading is one thing. Applying something totally different.

One thing to keep in mind is that I life in germany, so (almost) all my dives are in very cold water using dry gloves. Fumbling around on the strobe is quite tiresome for me at the moment. There is no way to do it blind and just by touch, so I always have to turn the strobe towards me. With 2 strobes I have to turn it twice.. by the time I'm done the fish is gone or the nice looking scene with my buddy floating before me is not the same anymore :(. Most of my photography is rather intuitive at the moment. I dont arrange my pictures.. I just take what I seen.

Edited by DanielD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on how fast you learn, I've found that it takes about one or two weeks of diving to get a good feel of how strong strobes need to be set. Sometimes I still get it wrong, but it's really not all that difficult. Also, if you are mostly doing macro, just start with a single strobe. It's much easier and you learn a lot about positioning. In my opinion it's better to start with a single manual strobe then to go to two strobes straight away, but shoot TTL. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/15/2020 at 6:24 PM, Kraken de Mabini said:

Forget TTL, it can be a waste of money and valuable time. Go Manual, and enjoy taking photos of underwater life.  Later you can adjust your pictures with a computer and photo program.  Keep the S&S YS-D2J strobes, they are fine strobes made to give you many years of service.  

 

Or he could ditch crap strobes and get ones that work correctly. How do you call a strobe a "fine strobe" if it does not work correctly?

 

@DanielD I am not super-experienced as a photographer. I have been shooting underwater for 4, going on 5, years now. I have only ever shot underwater using fully Manual mode, including Manual mode on my strobes (Inon Z240).

 

Your shooting and dive profiles may be very different that mine. But, I found that it did not take me very long at all to get used to a process that involved adjusting my strobe powers. Fortunately, as long as they are reasonably close, I can almost always pull a decent-looking exposure out of Lightroom. As long as they aren't too overexposed, anyway.

 

But, I recently got a new camera rig and got a TTL-capable optical trigger for it. I think using TTL is going to be VERY handy - at least in some shooting situations. In others, it won't matter. I have not gotten to really try it out yet, so I really don't KNOW if it will be as valuable as I think, though

 

The dives and shooting that I do the most of is shooting sharks. For those, when shooting in Manual everything, a common problem is that I adjust my strobe power for proper exposure at a certain distance. Say, 5' away. A shark comes swimming towards me and I start shooting. When it is 5' away, the photo I take is correctly exposed. But, if I'm lucky and it swims past at a much closer distance, then when I fire again at 2' away, some part of the image is likely to be blown out. Because of the speed they swim past, I simply do not have time to shoot at 5' and then adjust the strobes in time to catch another photo at 2'. And if I tried, most likely the rapid hand and camera movements involved would scare the shark away.

 

My expectation for TTL is that I can shoot just like I have been. I can set my shutter speed and aperture so that I eliminate motion blur and get the background water color that I want (blue, not white or black) and the depth of field that I want. But then I can set the camera for AutoISO and use the strobes in TTL mode. Or even set an explicit ISO value and still use TTL.

 

If it works as expected, I will get that shot when the shark is 5' away, with a good exposure, AND I will get the shot at 2', also with a good exposure.

 

As with everything else in diving, there are people who learned to shoot in fully Manual mode (as I have done!), and, for whatever reason, are unwilling or unable to recognize, understand and adopt newer, better technology when it comes along. Not even willing to try it.

 

For me, I'm going to try it. Not just on one dive, either. I'm going to put some real effort into it. If it turns out that it just never is a benefit versus all Manual, then I will go back to all Manual, knowing that I explored every possibility before I gave up. And, honestly, I think it could go either way. We'll see.

 

For you, well, if it was me, I would want my strobes to work correctly, regardless of if I intended to eventually use them in that way or not. And, if you have a camera and strobes that are able to shoot TTL underwater, I think it only makes sense that you would try it out, if you're at all curious about it, and see if what it does lets you get more "hits" underwater or not.

 

As a somewhat related aside, Mark Galer is a professional photographer and Sony Ambassador, so I've been watching some of his videos to learn about some aspects of my new camera. One of the things he said in one video is that it used to be that all pros shot in Manual all the time. But, with the newest gear, it works so well that now, when he shoots action stuff, he generally uses Aperture priority and AutoISO, while also using the setting (on the camera I have, anyway) for "AutoISO Min SS". So, he can set Aperture for his desired depth of field, set the Min SS, to assure he doesn't get motion blur, and then let the AutoISO figure out what to do from there.

 

In other words, yes, Pros USED TO always use full Manual. I don't know that that is so true anymore. Modern digital cameras have gotten to be pretty dang smart! It's just like the "pro" car racers that all USED TO only use a manual gearbox.... until automatic improved to the point that people using them were turning faster lap times... Or like the old pros that would always use manual focus before, but now many seem to be just fine using Eye and Face AF. Don't let anyone sway you to shunning modern technology just because "they" have "always" done it a certain way. Try everything. Use what works for you. And don't settle for gear that doesn't work like it is supposed to. ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, stuartv said:

The dives and shooting that I do the most of is shooting sharks. For those, when shooting in Manual everything, a common problem is that I adjust my strobe power for proper exposure at a certain distance. Say, 5' away. A shark comes swimming towards me and I start shooting. When it is 5' away, the photo I take is correctly exposed. But, if I'm lucky and it swims past at a much closer distance, then when I fire again at 2' away, some part of the image is likely to be blown out. Because of the speed they swim past, I simply do not have time to shoot at 5' and then adjust the strobes in time to catch another photo at 2'. And if I tried, most likely the rapid hand and camera movements involved would scare the shark away.

That is more or less my reasoning. Since I love to photograph wildlife (outside and inside the water) a lot of my picture are made in time critical situations. I'd say that about 70% of my shoots would (at least in the beginning) be ruined if I had to fumble around on both strobes first.

21 hours ago, stuartv said:

But, with the newest gear, it works so well that now, when he shoots action stuff, he generally uses Aperture priority and AutoISO, while also using the setting (on the camera I have, anyway) for "AutoISO Min SS". So, he can set Aperture for his desired depth of field, set the Min SS, to assure he doesn't get motion blur, and then let the AutoISO figure out what to do from there.

Thats how I currently do it actually. Aperature priority and AutoISO (but limited to a point where I don't get to much noise in dark spots). The only case where I always go fully manually are night dives. The camera just can't handle it. Sometimes in very dark spots or when I'm pretty deep in bad visibility, I also switch everything to manual.

A shop owner on a german website was kind enough to offer to send me an original S&S cable for testing. If that works, I'll make a decision whether it's worth the money. And if it doesn't I'll either stay manual or sell the strobes. I'm quite a bit annoyed to have spend so much money on strobes that are supposed to work with TTL and now should use them in manual mode. Could've bought much cheaper ones for that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...