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DevilEyeDog

Would you upgrade your strobe or your snoot?

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I've inquired a bit about strobe/snoot thoughts and I've narrowed it down, but have a conundrum as I have learned I can't have it all. 
 
I have a YS-03 and Sea Dragon. Both have GN 20 and 100° with diffuser. Me and the snoot I have on the YS-03 have been fighting because there's no focus light. I briefly had a YS-01 with a snoot and the focus light could not be seen with the snoot on. This leaves me shooting blindly, repositioning, shooting again...
 
Being in NE there's a heavy macro marine population, but the few times I travel in the year I could be shooting larger critters, though even then I'd say I look for the macro.
 
I am only going to upgrade one due to cost. The Retra Pro/Prime strobe is a no. I'd have to sell a dog, or both, to afford it along with the snoot. My conundrum is, do I upgrade to a better overall strobe with a snoot or do I focus on upgrading to a better snoot. Here's what I'm debating:
  1. Inon Z330. Not sure if the focus light is strong enough to be seen through snoot. The Retra snoot looks cool, but people report the focus light is off-center making it frustrating (this would be my current situation). There are a few cheaper snoots that say they've adjusted for the off-center light. I'd probably start with a cheaper snoot option since the Retra snoot alone looks like I may need to sell the cat too.
  2. Backscatter mini-strobe & snoot. By all accounts looks amazing for snooting, but I'm not impressed with it's strobe stats. However, does it really matter? The few sharks/ rays I shoot does a GN of 18 (BS) vs 33 (IN) really make that much of a difference? Is the 90° (BS) vs 110° (IN) really going to be noticeable to this entry level photographer?
 
If you had to pick one would you upgrade to a better quality strobe with a cheaper snoot to start OR would you upgrade to a better snoot with a less quality strobe?
 
Thanks for the brain pick. 

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I'd say it comes down to how happy are you with your current setup for shooting wide-angle during trips. If you are happy with it, then get the MF-1 + snoot package; for shooting macro it's basically unrivaled. On the other hand, if better wide-angle capability is important, then get a Z-330 and accept reduced macro performance. 

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Hi DevilEyeDog.

As you can read in several different topics, buying cheap, usually means 2 purchases. First purchasing the equipment that seams the great deal, and later on buying the equipment you were dreaming with and labeled too expensive at first.

Are you going to become happy with the second buy, the dreamed equipment? Probably, but only till next launch of the new top notch.

That’s the power of marketing. It makes you willing to buy it, needing it or not. Your brain will be able to find a way to rationalize the purchase.

That said, it is much more easy to work with 2 strobes that are equal (or at least from same brand). The main reason for that is to grant that both strobes have the same color temperature. (photos with 2 different light temperatures look quite strange)

This is what I think you should have in mind.

If you are happy with your YS, and considering you have already a snoot for it, you might have a 3rd option: to buy a laser pointer to allow you increase the efficiency in aiming the snoot.

https://www.backscatter.com/10Bar-Laser-Pointer 

For sure you can find a way to adapt it to your actual snoot.

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38 minutes ago, pbalves said:

Hi DevilEyeDog.

As you can read in several different topics, buying cheap, usually means 2 purchases. First purchasing the equipment that seams the great deal, and later on buying the equipment you were dreaming with and labeled too expensive at first.

 

100%.  That's where I'm at now. Looking to upgrade, but it's so tough to choose. I will never be able to afford the best of the best (Retra Pro/Prime), but something better than the YS would be nice (but so would the ability to snoot without guessing).

 

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3 hours ago, pbalves said:

Hi DevilEyeDog.

As you can read in several different topics, buying cheap, usually means 2 purchases. First purchasing the equipment that seams the great deal, and later on buying the equipment you were dreaming with and labeled too expensive at first.

Are you going to become happy with the second buy, the dreamed equipment? Probably, but only till next launch of the new top notch.

That’s the power of marketing. It makes you willing to buy it, needing it or not. Your brain will be able to find a way to rationalize the purchase.

Totally agree! We've all got different personalities, wallets and needs. But be wary of putting off buying the one you REALLY want.... I bet so many of us have regretted that at some stage or another. Buy cheap, buy twice.

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1 minute ago, TimG said:

Totally agree! We've all got different personalities, wallets and needs. But be wary of putting off buying the one you REALLY want.... I bet so many of us have regretted that at some stage or another. Buy cheap, buy twice.

LOL.  Yup.  All my current camera equipment is used to see what I liked in the way of photography.  Years later I'm ready to upgrade, but now I have to make a decision.  Hum...Read a little more and am leading towards the BS MF1. I just don't think me purchasing one Inon Z330 and one Ys-03 is going to have me lighting up the Antilla like I envision in my head (dreams).  But I COULD get some decent macro shots. Decisions, decisions...

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts.

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I’m also looking for strobes for my new Nauticam A7C rig. I’ll shoot mostly macro and wide angle with CMC1 and WWL-1B wet lenses.

Should I get 2 Inon Z330 or 1 inon and 1 BS MF1 for macro and snoot? How is macro with 2 Inon? I really like the black background that the BS MF1 snoot can do. This is my first rig so I’d appreciate some advice.


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The BS strobe is really too low powered and doesn't have the beam spread to do WA work.  While you can get away with a single strobe for WA shots, you will struggle to cover the 130° field of the WWL with a 110° strobe beam that you are trying to just use the edge of.  While in theory you could try and balance output and coverage differences between a Z330 and the BS MF-1 strobe, underwater photography is hard enough already with handicapping yourself like that.

You can certainly do macro with two Z330, it's my standard approach as I've never been big on black BG, but there's more ways than using a snoot to achieve that black BG including picking subjects that have clear water in the background and inward lighting, plus you can always add a snoot to one of the Z330s when needed , which is reported to work reasonably well. 

You could do all the macro stuff mentioned with two MF-1as well  but would compromise on the wide angle but two Z330 would do all I mentioned (adding a snoot when required) and also do well with wide angle shots.

Of course it could be argued you are better to pick each dive as either a macro or WA dive and get better results as you are setup for whichever type of photography from the start and be in the right mindset as well to find and shoot the targets you have setup for.

 

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4 hours ago, imacro said:

Should I get 2 Inon Z330 or 1 inon and 1 BS MF1 for macro and snoot? How is macro with 2 Inon? I really like the black background that the BS MF1 snoot can do. This is my first rig so I’d appreciate some advice.

Some good advice, as always, from Chris.

As Chris alludes, you don't need a snoot to create a black background. A faster shutter speed can do that for you. What a snoot provides is a very narrow beam of light the width of which, to a degree, can be controlled. Think of it is an adjustable spotlight. 

There are a number of strobe manufacturers who make snoots which can fit on various different strobes, eg, the Retra LSD and the Inon ones. So if you went with something like the Inon Z330, getting a snoot for it is fairly straightforward and you have choices in price and function.

As for the actual strobe choice, I'd suggest you are much better getting a pair the same rather than mix and match. A pair gives you the same operating controls - and therefore familiarity - a better way of controlling the light more evenly (if that's what you need), the same battery/charging requirements and fewer spares issues. The Inon strobes have proved to be very reliable over many years. The Z330s predecessor, the Z240, almost became a standard - certainly for many WP users. The Z330 seems to be heading the same way. If you do a search you'll find a couple of posts 3-4 weeks ago about using the Retra LSD snoot on the Z330 (which Chris mentions) and that it worked well. 

If you are looking for advice: don't buy mix and match strobes. Go with 2 Inon Z330s , get used to them and then buy a snoot when you are ready.

 

 

 

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Thanks guys, I’ll go with 2 Inon 330s.


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25 minutes ago, imacro said:

Thanks guys, I’ll go with 2 Inon 330s.


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Our pleasure. I don't think you'll regret it. The Inons have been excellent and they have a very good resale value if it came to it.

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