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I just had my sea & sea ys-d2 strobe die on me and am looking for advice on replacement strobes. I've been looking at the inon z330 and the retra pro. I've talked to a couple of places and haven't gotten much help. One said the reliability of the retra pros is unknown because they are too new and they recommended the inons. Another place said my current ys-d2 strobes were more powerful than the new retra pros, which doesn't seem right.  I've also read there's an issue with ttl with the retra pros. 

Does anyone have insights into the reliability of the inon z330 or the retra pro strobes?

I'm interested in all good, bad, and dispelling information about these two strobes or any other strobes I should consider.

Delia

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I've heard nothing but good things about both Retra and the Inon 330s.  My only concern about Retra is that the company sort of when into hibernation for a year or two until their latest product release.  I hope that they don't do something like that again.

I've been shooting the 330's for a few years and am very happy.  Very reliable and consistent, good battery life, very robust.  Controls are easy to access and adjust.  Plenty of power in the 330's.

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Does the z330 have any mechanism to prevent flooding, or if it floods how easy is it to recover? I know for the sea & sea you just need to replace the battery compartment cap.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Delia

The Z330s are relatively new of course so there's isn't yet a long track record. But, as you have heard and maybe read, the Z240s were really reliable - I had several of them over many years and never once had a problem.

Retra did go into a delivery delay at one point which made me wonder what was going on. That said, they made quite an effort to keep folks informed of what was happening and you'll see a lot of updates on WP from Oskar of Retra.

I made the plunge on a pair of them - actually the Primes - back in February. They finally had their first outings yesterday after a long period of sitting, sadly, on the shelf waiting for some travel.

They are beautifully designed and made, highly functional and have a tank-like quality. Here's hoping they prove as reliable as the Inons. Certainly first experience is very positive indeed.

You'll see from Oskar's comments here that Retra are very responsive and quick to pick-up on any issues I never had to test out Inon's service support. But based on what I have seen of Retra so far, (and my experience of asking them questions about their snoot, the LSD)  I have no worries that they would not be highly supportive if problems did arise.

 

Edited by TimG
I've updated my comments having thought about my experiences with Retra (the LSD especially) so far.

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3 minutes ago, deliamaria said:

Does the z330 have any mechanism to prevent flooding, or if it floods how easy is it to recover? I know for the sea & sea you just need to replace the battery compartment cap.

The battery compartment is sealed from the rest of the electronics. The single o-ring fitted screw cap to the battery compartment is similar to the Z240 style. I found it very reliable as long as you applied a little of the Inon lubricant periodically to stop the o-ring twisting on opening and closing.

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34 minutes ago, TimG said:

Hi Delia

The Z330s are relatively new of course so there's isn't yet a long track record. But, as you have heard and maybe read, the Z240s were really reliable - I had several of them over many years and never once had a problem.

As davehicks sets out, Retra did go into a slightly curious hibernation at one point and it did cause me some concerns. But I made the plunge on a pair of them - actually the Primes - back in February. They finally had their first outings yesterday after a long period of sitting, sadly, on the shelf waiting for some travel.

They are beautifully designed and made, highly functional and have a tank-like quality. Here's hoping they prove as reliable as the Inons. Certainly first experiences are very positive indeed.

 

Were you shooting macro or wide with the retras? Did you have more light than the z240s?

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Hi deliamaria

I was shooting macro. As I say, first time out with them. One of the reasons I decided to switch was my understanding that the circular flash tube would give a better positioning of the  pilot light - which should make it more accurate - when using the Retra LSD snoot.

So no wide-angle as yet. But, on that, I've always used the technique of lighting a small element detail of a reef when shooting wide-angle - never the "whole thing". So I anticipate the Primes being just fine.

You might see that I've done a bit of an edit on my original post about the Retras. I thought afterwards that I'm not sure that Retra went into "hibernation" - more that I recall there were some production delays with the latest (the Prime and Pro) models. Oskar from Retra did make quite an effort I remember to update WP on what was happening. 

 

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Posted (edited)

hi Delia,

We (my wife Lena and myself both shooting) have recently purchased two Retra Pro strobes (last month) to complement our trusty Inon Z240.

Overall, the Retras feel reliable (we've done 6 dives with them), the quality of light is really good, and abundance of power is certainly there... but it goes with fast-eating batteries. Which can be understood, just have to realize.

Two big plusses from my perspective vs the Inons:

1/ I am not concerned anymore about over-heating/melting the Inons if repetitively shooting (being aware of this risk, i was never shooting the Inons at more than 1/3rd power). 

2/ Maintenance of the orings much easier, since they are attached to the cover, very easy to inspect.

The strobe reduction accessories are nice too.

That being said, we have shot the Inons for 9 years, know them by heart, know exactly how much shots we can get or how quickly they will recycle... We need to build that "intimacy" with the Retras now and it takes time. Surely the transition would have been easier with the Z330s, but hey, we wanted to try something different.

You can check our instagram for some photos taken with these (the last shark and eagle rays ones), and i have done a mini-write up (post with multiple shark photos): 

www.instagram.com/nicolaslenaremy

or on Facebook, same username

Edited by Nicool
added hyperlink

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I don't shoot either of the strobes you mention and have INON Z-240s, which I've been very happy with - the INONs seem to have a solid reputation.  Comparing strobes can be a little like comparing apples and oranges, the guide number which you think might allow you to compare actually isn't all that helpful the INON Z-330 is GN 33 and that is with a 110 deg beam.  The YS-D2 is GN 32 but that is in a 80 deg beam and it drops to GN 24 with a 100 deg beam with the 100deg diffuser attached.  Retra doesn't quote guide numbers and instead quotes a strobe energy output with the prime rated at 100Ws and the Pro at 150Ws with a 130 deg beam.    As you can see sorting out the specs is a bit of a mess.  You need to know strobe output and the size of the beam it is spreading that light into. 

This means you are going on recommendations and experience reports.  It appears from posts on here that the Retra prime has similar power output to the INON and S&S strobes and the Retra Pro has more.  They all run 4 x AA batteries so if you use that power it is only to be expected that you get less flashes on the Retra Pro.   You can get a 8 AA battery pack as an option on the Retras though.

What is different between the strobes is the quality of light - the Retra Pro is reported to have a very even beam and there have been tests on here that show that the Z-330 is much brighter in the centre of the beam.  You can still get great shots with the Z-330/Z-240 but the light is more even on the Retra.  The even light can be used to advantage for wide angle work,  macro less so and in fact you probably need the use beam restricters on the Retras for macro to help control the light and control backscatter.

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Hi,

I’m not familiar with the new Z-330, but I was happy with my old Z-240 until a bulb in one of the strobes turned dark. (That gave an excuse to get the Retras without feeling bad about spending money in this expensive hobby).

I have been shooting a pair of “Retra Pro” since February and light output difference compared to the Inons Z-240 is very noticeable. I would say 2 stops, maybe more? This is evident special on wrecks, pictures look quite different.

The battery consumption is high, specially shooting wrecks at full power. But I haven’t run out of batteries (eneelop pro) in my 2 dives trips. Normally 100 – 150 shoots.

It’s true that Retra is a new company, but I’m very happy with the support they offer. They have replied my emails very quickly (hours).

I’m happy with my Retras, and I think you will be very happy with any of them: Retra and / or Inon. Just stay away from S&S.

 

Regards,

Joss

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Hi.  If you like TTL photo shooting with led triggers  the Inon Z330 is better than the Retra Pro.  The Inon series has really sensible photosensors in the strobe and  in TTL mode the Inon more accurate then the Retra. 


But....  If you like the manual shooting i think the Retra Pro is the best choice in the market nowadays.  
I have both strobe for testing! But i usually use the Retra PRO because i love the Retra snoot technology.
The second point for Retra pro the circle tube  and the special glass of front which makes perfect illumination!

I forget the Sea and Sea line because that's had so many problems with tube and warranty policy.

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3 hours ago, Balage_diver said:

Hi.  If you like TTL photo shooting with led triggers  the Inon Z330 is better than the Retra Pro.  The Inon series has really sensible photosensors in the strobe and  in TTL mode the Inon more accurate then the Retra. 


But....  If you like the manual shooting i think the Retra Pro is the best choice in the market nowadays.  
I have both strobe for testing! But i usually use the Retra PRO because i love the Retra snoot technology.
The second point for Retra pro the circle tube  and the special glass of front which makes perfect illumination!

I forget the Sea and Sea line because that's had so many problems with tube and warranty policy.

On the photosensors issue, I didn't notice any difference between shooting with the Inons or Retras on TTL or Manual using the same LED trigger in my Subal housing.

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25 minutes ago, TimG said:

On the photosensors issue, I didn't notice any difference between shooting with the Inons or Retras on TTL or Manual using the same LED trigger in my Subal housing.

Which test what you did? 

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I forget one more plus point to Retra Pro.   The HSS!!!   
This is the only one strobe in the market which works in HSS mode with LED triggers manual mode. :)    

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3 hours ago, Balage_diver said:

Which test what you did? 

Nothing scientific. I used the Subal TTL LED trigger with Inon Z240s for a couple of years and that worked perfectly in manual and TTL. I've now used the Retra Primes in exactly the same way , same fibre optic cables, same LED trigger.... same results as far as I can see.

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Unfortunately I don' t have Retra Prime,  so i can't speak about it.  But i have Retra PRO what i mentioned. :)

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19 minutes ago, Balage_diver said:

Unfortunately I don' t have Retra Prime,  so i can't speak about it.  But i have Retra PRO what i mentioned. :)

As far as I understand, the triggering features are the same: just the Pro has more power.

 

 

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I have not shot the Retra yet, but we were diving yesterday and a friend had two Retra Pros. He loves them but he thinks that with the Retra LSD he got less light through the snoot than with his Inons probably because of the circular tube.

Bill

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@bvanant There were a few comments on one of the threads about this previously. It seems that this may be the case (requiring the need to dial in more light output when utilizing the snoot).

I've switched to the Backscatter mini-flash & snoot combination specifically for snooting, with the added advantage of being able to bring it along as a 3rd strobe when I'm shooting macro with my two Retra Pros.

 

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With regards to the YS-D2 being more powerful than Retra Pro that could be possible. Retra does not publish guide numbers which is a rather odd choice. If this number was amazingly high like their first generation strobe I am sure they would publish it so it is likely that it is not particularly strong

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I recall reading Retra stopped publishing guide numbers are they were effectively meaningless underwater.  The tests Backscatter posted a while back showed both INON and S&S  dropped power rapidly  away from the centre and needed diffusers to even out the beam, so they are only much brighter in the centre of the un-diffused beam.  Diffused they are still brighter but much closer to the pack and more even.

On the topic of guide numbers Retra quoted a guide number of 30 on their original flash with a 110° beam.  Both the original and the new prime quote a flash output of 100Ws.  The Pro is 50% more powerful at 150 Ws.  The Prime and Pro both have 130° beams so the Prime is maybe not quite as bright at full power as the the original Retra which had a 110° beam.  As the prime is putting the same light into a wider beam.  The new flashes are supposed to be more even though.

This link from Backscatter shows the power of the original Retra is more than competitive with the YS-D2: https://www.backscatter.com/reviews/post/Retra-Flash-Underwater-Strobe-Test-and-Review

The Retra Prime should be below the line for the original and the Pro above the line.  It would be good to see some test points added for the new strobes.

 

 

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I recall reading Retra stopped publishing guide numbers are they were effectively meaningless underwater.  The tests Backscatter posted a while back showed both INON and S&S  dropped power rapidly  away from the centre and needed diffusers to even out the beam, so they are only much brighter in the centre of the un-diffused beam.  Diffused they are still brighter but much closer to the pack and more even.
On the topic of guide numbers Retra quoted a guide number of 30 on their original flash with a 110° beam.  Both the original and the new prime quote a flash output of 100Ws.  The Pro is 50% more powerful at 150 Ws.  The Prime and Pro both have 130° beams so the Prime is maybe not quite as bright at full power as the the original Retra which had a 110° beam.  As the prime is putting the same light into a wider beam.  They are however more even. 
If I were to hazard a guess I'd say the power output of the Retra original and the Z330/YS-D2 are very similar but the beam of the retra is more even.  which means more light in the outer edges of the Retra which when it comes down to it is what you are trying use in UW shots as you try to avoid backscatter.    It would be nice to have data from the new Retras added to Backscatter's results.

This is theoretical as their tests are land based
In water lights scatters hitting the liquid particles so you always need a diffuser that works in a more compatible way to how light transmission works
If you look at the construction the front is opaque effectively working already as diffuser
As you increase the distance from the strobe the shape of the tube matters less
When I tested on a pool wall various strobes there was effectively no difference to the light fall off with a diffuser on. Each strobe gets dominated by inverse square law and the theoretical 120 degrees on land disappear immediately when you shoot a flat surface
I asked for a pair of retra for a pool test but none have been given so far
I also believe that the dome shape of the Inon is actually irrelevant for the same reason. When you go towards the lens behind a glass you don’t have the same effect than transmitting light in a fluid medium
If someone gives me some strobes to test of performs some rigorous test in a pool we can see what really happens
Tests in open water are not controlled as conditions can never be repeated and are therefore subjective and usually dominated by placebo effect


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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10 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

If you look at the construction the front is opaque effectively working already as diffuser

If you're referring to Retras, their front element is most definitely not opaque.

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If you're referring to Retras, their front element is most definitely not opaque.

Opacity has a % is it clear on your opinion?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Opacity has a % is it clear on your opinion?


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If you look at the build the area where the lamp is located is clear. Around it there is an opaque ring acting as diffuser. I wonder what is the idea behind this


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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