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Sea&Sea YS-D2J Strobe - Snoot Recommendations & Aiming

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Hi all, I'm thinking of getting a snoot for my Sea&Sea YS-D2J strobes, but I've heard a lot about the fact the focus lights on the S&S is off-centre, and much more noticeably so for macro, so the focus light and the flash coming out of the snoot won't line up -- which I think will frustrate me. Having had a look through forum I've seen differing reviews of the 10Bar snoot with laser pointer, handhelds, or even just opting for a completely different strobe when it comes to snoot photography.

So, I wanted to get your thoughts on the below: 

  • How difficult is it to aim on a Sea&Sea YS-D2J strobe with the 10Bar snoot, WITHOUT the laser pointer? Is this something you can get used to and compensate for?
  • Does ADDING the laser pointer change anything? Is it significantly more helpful?
  • Are there other snoots I should be looking at that are more suitable for my strobe? 10Bar just seems to be the most popular & accessible (to purchase in Australia)
  • Are there other strobes I should be looking at, that will allow for a center aiming light (e.g. the focus light is the same spot as the actual output)? E.g. I hear the Ikelite DS161 has a centre focus which would be helpful, but the price is quite steep.
  • Is there a DIY way I can configure the S&S so the focus light actually overlaps with the output?

Appreciate the help in advance!

Cheers,
Joanna

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Searching for laser pointer in the search bar up top brings up a few threads.  This one talks about building a device to use with a snoot using a 3D printer. 

several other threads come up and would be worth reading.

 

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2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

Searching for laser pointer in the search bar up top brings up a few threads.  This one talks about building a device to use with a snoot using a 3D printer. 

several other threads come up and would be worth reading.

 

Awesome. Thanks Chris. I'm making my way through what I can find but would still like any anecdotal feedback on the helpfulness of laser vs learning to compensate via sight. Saw the thread around DIY beamsplitters / configuring the laser to go through the middle of the snoot, and that sounds like the ideal option but I'm not very handy with DIY stuff, though will investigate further.

If the consensus really is that the S&S strobes aren't great with any snoot, require a lot of compensation, or a centered laser, and it's better to get a centered strobe that has the focus light coming out the middle the same as the snoot flash, I may even look at selling the strobes and going with another option. All up in the air here!

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Hi Joanna

I’ve gone through a not dissimilar process myself with Inon Z240 strobes 

initially I tried a homemade snoot from plumbing piping which was super versatile but Inon's built-in focus lights were insufficient for aiming. 

I switched to a Retra LSD shoot on the strobes and whilst this was better, the offset aiming light on the Inons still proved to be a challenge. It was still pretty hit and miss. If I got 10% success it was a good day.

I decided, and reads like you might be heading that way, to go for broke and I replaced the strobes with the new Retras.

Bingo! The centre pilot letter combined with LSD works really well and my success rate at lighting the subject the way I want is up to 75% and rising. The Retra (I have the Primes)/LSD combination is really good. Highly manoeuvrable, solid, easy to add/remove the snoot and just reliable. The LSD comes with a set of slides which allow further shaping of the light - I'm adding 3 pics to give you an idea. 

I guess initially at least, I didn't want to get to the hassle of selling the Inons (which I really liked) and the cost of the Retras. But, 3 months on, it was the right call. I am very happy indeed with the combination.

TG51115.jpg

TG51121.jpg

TG51126.jpg

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@joanna_dives

One quick addition on @TimG's great comments...

I too went on the same journey. Z240 with the Retra LSD snoot - the offset light makes it that much more difficult to get the image you actually want. I found myself settling for imperfect shots either because of time or frustration.

Switched to Retra (Pro) strobes - huge improvement.

However, I didn't stop there - the Backscatter Mini Flash & snoot combo looked really interesting - not because it would offer anything more than the Retra LSD snoot (which is excellent), but because it was smaller, and would allow me to potentially dive with my regular macro set up and bring this along as another option on the same dive (w/out having to fiddle with putting a snoot on/taking it off).

The pandemic has made it harder to get field time with this setup, but I was able to use it on several dives at the end of last year - from those handful of dives, I'm sold.

Very useful specifically on macro-oriented dives where you may want snoot capability and 2 flash macro (non-snooted). 

The mini flash & snoot combo is small enough to stay mostly out of the way when not needed, and then available when you want it.
 

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What did you end up doing? I tried the 3D printed sea and sea version, and it was okay, but I ended up finding a good deal on the Retra LSD. . 

I prefer wide angle, so maybe that’s why, but I find snoot work to nearly be a two-person job. 
 

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I am really happy with the Backscatter Mini + Snoot.  It's the best addition to my camera gear in years.  Previous snoot setups I tried were frustrating and difficult to aim and this is a relative breeze.  Highly recommended.

Here is an example shot of a Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker.  Maybe 2-3cm long, shot with D850 & 105mm, Backscater Mini Snoot, SubSea +5 closeup lens.  I don't love the "spotlight" effect of a bright circle on black so I add a little fill from an Inon 330 at about 1/8 power off to left the side. [ f/18, 1/250th, ISO 100]

304721630_RedondoPierDecember172020(90of103).thumb.jpg.2dbff3a8b0c4ef3af845d4a12c6c7819.jpg

Edited by davehicks
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Super pic, Dave!

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