Jump to content
ashic

Strobe beginner tips

Recommended Posts

I've got my first strobe for my A7iii in a lowly seafrogs housing with the Sony 16-35 gm. The strobe is the YSd3 mk 2 (I was looking at the z330, but stock issues meant this the ysd3-2 was the only option prior to my flight). 

There's no ttl, due to the housing only supporting a sync cord. The strobe is firing, so that part works. 

I'm looking for some pointers as to what settings I should use. From my understanding, 8 on the strobe roughly means f/8 aperture. Or do I have it completely wrong? I'm looking to (at least in the beginning) have things in sharp focus before experimenting with blur, etc. 

 

The A7iii supports fill flash, slow sync, rear sync. I'm mostly shooting at f/8 with a min ss of 1/500s at 16mm, and getting iso values of 100-350, mostly below 250...so happy with that (bright Caribbean waters!). I've been using rear sync. Is this correct? The reefs are quite bright anyway. Would fill be a better option? I wonder if I'm getting away with poor settings because there quite a lot of ambient light. 

 

Appreciate any tips or tutorial recommendations. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, ashic said:

I've got my first strobe for my A7iii in a lowly seafrogs housing with the Sony 16-35 gm. The strobe is the YSd3 mk 2 (I was looking at the z330, but stock issues meant this the ysd3-2 was the only option prior to my flight). 

There's no ttl, due to the housing only supporting a sync cord. The strobe is firing, so that part works. 

I'm looking for some pointers as to what settings I should use. From my understanding, 8 on the strobe roughly means f/8 aperture. Or do I have it completely wrong? I'm looking to (at least in the beginning) have things in sharp focus before experimenting with blur, etc. 

 

The A7iii supports fill flash, slow sync, rear sync. I'm mostly shooting at f/8 with a min ss of 1/500s at 16mm, and getting iso values of 100-350, mostly below 250...so happy with that (bright Caribbean waters!). I've been using rear sync. Is this correct? The reefs are quite bright anyway. Would fill be a better option? I wonder if I'm getting away with poor settings because there quite a lot of ambient light. 

 

Appreciate any tips or tutorial recommendations. 

It is hard to tell from what you have listed.  The first thing you will need to do is lower your shutter speed to 1/250 or lower, the max sync speed of the A7III is 1/250 so you won't be getting the full frame exposed with flash.  I would also use front sync as external strobes don't support rear sync - the strobe may go off but it may not properly sync with the shutter.  Based on your settings I would guess there is little to no flash contribution in your images.  I don't think fill or slow sync makes much difference with manual strobe output or manual exposure control on the camera.

Sounds like you are using aperture priority with auto ISO.  the problem with this is the camera thinks there's enough light and will over expose on ambient.  You want flash to dominate the exposure. 

With the 16-35 I would be stopping down more than f8, the corners are likely to pretty blurry with the small ports provided on the seafrogs housing.  I would think f13-16 would be needed to improve the corners at the widest settings.

I would suggest manual exposure,  the correct exposure to get fairly deep blues will be around 1/250 @ f11 ISO200.  With this setting the reef itself might be underexposed and you want enough flash power to compensate for that.  Start off with a test shot of the water at these settings and adjust ISO and/or shutter speed to get a deep blue, but keep below 1/250.

I would start at half power on the flash, which would be 22 on the dial.  The numbers are guide numbers which is subject distance times aperture at ISO100.  Adjust the flash power up or down to get a good exposure on the reef or your subject.  You need to be less than 1m away from from subject - the range of the flash is not that great.

I would also setup the camera and take a test shot pointing into a mirror - this will check it is syncing properly,  If you can see the strobe in the exposure it is working properly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

It is hard to tell from what you have listed.  The first thing you will need to do is lower your shutter speed to 1/250 or lower, the max sync speed of the A7III is 1/250 so you won't be getting the full frame exposed with flash.  I would also use front sync as external strobes don't support rear sync - the strobe may go off but it may not properly sync with the shutter.  Based on your settings I would guess there is little to no flash contribution in your images.  I don't think fill or slow sync makes much difference with manual strobe output or manual exposure control on the camera.

Sounds like you are using aperture priority with auto ISO.  the problem with this is the camera thinks there's enough light and will over expose on ambient.  You want flash to dominate the exposure. 

With the 16-35 I would be stopping down more than f8, the corners are likely to pretty blurry with the small ports provided on the seafrogs housing.  I would think f13-16 would be needed to improve the corners at the widest settings.

I would suggest manual exposure,  the correct exposure to get fairly deep blues will be around 1/250 @ f11 ISO200.  With this setting the reef itself might be underexposed and you want enough flash power to compensate for that.  Start off with a test shot of the water at these settings and adjust ISO and/or shutter speed to get a deep blue, but keep below 1/250.

I would start at half power on the flash, which would be 22 on the dial.  The numbers are guide numbers which is subject distance times aperture at ISO100.  Adjust the flash power up or down to get a good exposure on the reef or your subject.  You need to be less than 1m away from from subject - the range of the flash is not that great.

I would also setup the camera and take a test shot pointing into a mirror - this will check it is syncing properly,  If you can see the strobe in the exposure it is working properly

Wow... That's a mine of information! 

I'll try out everything you said in tomorrow's dive. Thank you very much! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ChrisRoss that worked! I got lucky on the first dive as the flash didn't actually fire due to the connector to the bulkhead not set properly (another reason I might get the A1 seafrogs and use fibre optic... The sync connector on the seafrogs is a pain to align). Had the flash fired, at 1/500, half the image would have illuminated destroying all the photographs. The mirror top really helped and I tried out everything to make sure before going in. 

All I can say is WOW. The strobe makes such a huge difference in terms of colour, vibrance, and everything else. I'll post some photos I took when I'm back in London, and have had time to process the work. With the strobe, the shots look amazing straight out of camera, compared to ones without which will need a lot of editing. 

Also sort of glad I ended up with the ys-d3. The fast cycle times really helped in certain circumstances. Although, at times I did get trigger happy. The strobe kept up for 10 shots but then "rested" for 90 seconds before replenishing. 

I'll experiment with the strobe some more on my next trip. But would you say getting another strobe and running at 11 each (instead of one at 22) would give better results? It'll definitely cycle a lot faster. But I expect if not set up properly, the backscatter might be more difficult to manage. Might even try iso 400 and strobe at 11, or even higher ISO. On land, I can comfortably push the A7iii to 6400 ISO with denoising in post. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ashic said:

All I can say is WOW. The strobe makes such a huge difference in terms of colour, vibrance, and everything else.

Yep, once you see the difference, having a strobe is a no-brainer, right? 

You ask about a second: you won't see the quantum difference that having one made . Having two allows you, obviously, to light a wider area - but, more importantly, it allows you to light different areas for creative effect.

But it does make camera set-up and manoeuvring in-water more complex. So it's worth getting used to one strobe first and then move to a second.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ashic said:

@ChrisRoss that worked! I got lucky on the first dive as the flash didn't actually fire due to the connector to the bulkhead not set properly (another reason I might get the A1 seafrogs and use fibre optic... The sync connector on the seafrogs is a pain to align). Had the flash fired, at 1/500, half the image would have illuminated destroying all the photographs. The mirror top really helped and I tried out everything to make sure before going in. 

All I can say is WOW. The strobe makes such a huge difference in terms of colour, vibrance, and everything else. I'll post some photos I took when I'm back in London, and have had time to process the work. With the strobe, the shots look amazing straight out of camera, compared to ones without which will need a lot of editing. 

Also sort of glad I ended up with the ys-d3. The fast cycle times really helped in certain circumstances. Although, at times I did get trigger happy. The strobe kept up for 10 shots but then "rested" for 90 seconds before replenishing. 

I'll experiment with the strobe some more on my next trip. But would you say getting another strobe and running at 11 each (instead of one at 22) would give better results? It'll definitely cycle a lot faster. But I expect if not set up properly, the backscatter might be more difficult to manage. Might even try iso 400 and strobe at 11, or even higher ISO. On land, I can comfortably push the A7iii to 6400 ISO with denoising in post. 

 

 

Adding a second strobe adds to complexity but for wide angle work will give better coverage filling in shadows etc.  But no it won't allow you to halve your flash rate - used properly the beams from the strobe meet in the middle of the frame and each strobe illuminates it's half of the pic - this is the recipe to minimise backscatter.  This guide will give you some ideas on strobe positioning: https://www.opticaloceansales.com/files/OOS-Strobe-Positioning.pdf

ISO is a double edged sword, double ISO and you can halve flash output, but you also need run a faster shutter speed or else the ambient light starts to dominate with all its blue green light and you dilute all those great colours from the strobe not to mention that the water column will be stop brighter.  But you are already up against your maximum sync speed - so you are sort of trapped with your exposure settings.  About all you could do is get closer which will allow you to dial back the strobe a little. 

I'm not sure what you were shooting but I don't often feel the need for speed when UW, try taking your time and thinking about composition.  Of course if you are shooting fast action like sharks, you may choose to shhot more quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ChrisRoss it was a number of fish moving in a little hideout, hence the repeated shots. The composition was the same, but their movement made for interesting shots.

I'm getting more and more tempted to get the A1 housing next. Even if Seafrogs, it won't be worse than the seafrogs A7iii housing. At it can deal with flash at 1/400 with the mechanical shutter in full frame. 

I understand the point about two strobes not being additive. That makes sense. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ashic said:

@ChrisRoss it was a number of fish moving in a little hideout, hence the repeated shots. The composition was the same, but their movement made for interesting shots.

I'm getting more and more tempted to get the A1 housing next. Even if Seafrogs, it won't be worse than the seafrogs A7iii housing. At it can deal with flash at 1/400 with the mechanical shutter in full frame. 

I understand the point about two strobes not being additive. That makes sense. 

Yes you could get an A1 - but it seems to me a bit of a shame to cripple a camera/lens combo like that behind the small non optimised dome that seafrogs offers, yes it's a cheap way to get your camera underwater and it seals if looks after properly and has most of the functionality.   Getting a faster sync speed in nice, but there are other ways to deal with that that don't involve so much expense.  and would deliver superior results .

For example in US prices the A1 is $6500.  Then you have to get the housing.  For the same $$$ more or less you could get a Nauticam housing, the 28-60 lens, the right port and focus gear and bayonet adapter and the WWL-1B.   This would give you images that are sharp to the corners and as it's a wet lens it is designed to work at wider apertures so you could shoot at f5.6-8 range and still get good corners and sharper all over the image than the 16-35 in a small dome. There are probably other housing options you could consider.

Or you could get the WWL-1B and bayonet adapter and use it on your current housing, you would need the 28-60 port which is shorter than the standard port to allow this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ChrisRoss said:

Yes you could get an A1 - but it seems to me a bit of a shame to cripple a camera/lens combo like that behind the small non optimised dome that seafrogs offers, yes it's a cheap way to get your camera underwater and it seals if looks after properly and has most of the functionality.   Getting a faster sync speed in nice, but there are other ways to deal with that that don't involve so much expense.  and would deliver superior results .

For example in US prices the A1 is $6500.  Then you have to get the housing.  For the same $$$ more or less you could get a Nauticam housing, the 28-60 lens, the right port and focus gear and bayonet adapter and the WWL-1B.   This would give you images that are sharp to the corners and as it's a wet lens it is designed to work at wider apertures so you could shoot at f5.6-8 range and still get good corners and sharper all over the image than the 16-35 in a small dome. There are probably other housing options you could consider.

Or you could get the WWL-1B and bayonet adapter and use it on your current housing, you would need the 28-60 port which is shorter than the standard port to allow this. 

That makes complete sense except for the fact that I already own an A1 for overwater photography :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ashic said:

That makes complete sense except for the fact that I already own an A1 for overwater photography :)

Fair enough, the price for a sea frogs A1 housing with 8"dome is the best part $US1000 i see.  If were spending that sort of money I think I'd spend the bit extra to get the WWL and get good optical quality all across the frame and then you don't need the additional sync speed and can stick with your existing housing.  You'd need WWL, sea frogs port for 28-60, bayonet adapter and WWL-1B.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ashic said:

That makes complete sense except for the fact that I already own an A1 for overwater photography :)

The important point that others say is that cameras do not come first in underwater photography equipment, but housing setting first.

Edited by Edy park

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2021 at 4:58 AM, ChrisRoss said:

Fair enough, the price for a sea frogs A1 housing with 8"dome is the best part $US1000 i see.  If were spending that sort of money I think I'd spend the bit extra to get the WWL and get good optical quality all across the frame and then you don't need the additional sync speed and can stick with your existing housing.  You'd need WWL, sea frogs port for 28-60, bayonet adapter and WWL-1B.

It's a big extra though:

WWL-1B: £1195
Seafrogs 28-60 port: £149
Bayonet adapter: £79
28-60 lens: £449
WWL (would I need this in addition to the WWL-1B?)

Total (assuming just WWL-1B): £1872

Seafrogs A1 with 6"/8" port: £702/£719

The latter does then give me a LOT more cropability, and 1/400 shutter. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2021 at 2:34 PM, Edy park said:

The important point that others say is that cameras do not come first in underwater photography equipment, but housing setting first.

Yes, and if I were a pro underwater photographer doing 50+ dives a year, I'd not even ask the question and go directly to Nauticam. I dive rarely - maybe 1-2, possibly 3 times a year, and for me the land photography stuff comes first. So, while I know putting underwater gear first would definitely get me better images, I'm sort of having to spend according to priorities. I've happily spent £740 on the YS-D3 mk-ii strobe, and the improvement that's given is amplitudes above what I was getting without lighting. But then if the next improvement comes at an expense of £1.5K+ overlay, I'd probably spend that on a lens upgrade that I'll be using several hundred times a year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ashic said:

It's a big extra though:

WWL-1B: £1195
Seafrogs 28-60 port: £149
Bayonet adapter: £79
28-60 lens: £449
WWL (would I need this in addition to the WWL-1B?)

Total (assuming just WWL-1B): £1872

Seafrogs A1 with 6"/8" port: £702/£719

The latter does then give me a LOT more cropability, and 1/400 shutter. 
 

I think the point is slightly different - spending around $1000 to get a 1/400 shutter speed while still having soft corners due to the small dome size with the 16-35 is not something I see a lot of value in.  The problem you are dealing with is wanting a wider field so you can get closer and cropping doesn't help there.  The image degradation also means that your cropability is not as good as you might think.  The image quality from the WWL is well ahead of of a 16-35 in a proper 230mm dome port and even further ahead of that lens in a 6-8"dome which may not be optimally placed behind the dome (as it's a universal dome for a number of lenses).    It also looks like the prices for Nauticam gear are a bit steeper in the UK compared to US$ prices..  and yes it's just the WWL- 1B.  You might wait and see if one comes up second hand.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I think the point is slightly different - spending around $1000 to get a 1/400 shutter speed while still having soft corners due to the small dome size with the 16-35 is not something I see a lot of value in.  The problem you are dealing with is wanting a wider field so you can get closer and cropping doesn't help there.  The image degradation also means that your cropability is not as good as you might think.  The image quality from the WWL is well ahead of of a 16-35 in a proper 230mm dome port and even further ahead of that lens in a 6-8"dome which may not be optimally placed behind the dome (as it's a universal dome for a number of lenses).    It also looks like the prices for Nauticam gear are a bit steeper in the UK compared to US$ prices..  and yes it's just the WWL- 1B.  You might wait and see if one comes up second hand.

 

Makes sense. I'll keep an eye out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...