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oneyellowtang

Isotta Red 64 vs. Seacam 160

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Intrigued with the announcement of the Isotta Red 64, yet leaning towards a pair of Seacam 160's (for wide angle, blue water situations...)

Both are fairly expensive, so hoping to gain some perspective from the collective wisdom of this community.

Not a lot of reviews on the Red 64 yet, but the Seacam 160 is relatively well known.

Thoughts (and TTL is not a target for me, so shooting w/fiber optic with the Seacams is fine)?

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Doesn’t appear to have HSS if that matters to you. 

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1 hour ago, Tom_Kline said:

Looks like it uses AAs which has advantages as well as disadvantages: https://www.backscatter.com/Isotta-RED64-i-TTL-Underwater-Strobe

It might be better to compare this with Retras. It is still at pre-order so not likely to get any user feedback.

@Tom_Kline

I have two Retra Pros which I intend to keep. Looking for something with a little more power for w/a, blue water scenarios...

The Retra's are great (no complaints)... just looking for a little "more..."

 

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I suspect the light output is going to be similar given how much juice one can get out of 8 AAs. Buy two more strobes for a total of four to gain one more stop. If you can do with less angle there is the option of the reflector accessory for the Retras.

Edited by Tom_Kline

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19 minutes ago, Tom_Kline said:

I suspect the light output is going to be similar given how much juice on can get out of 8 AAs.

Isotta claims 270 W-s and a 130 degree beam, whereas Retra Pro is 150 W-s and a 110 degree beam. Wide-angle diffusers spread the Retra Pro beam to 130 degrees, but lose 0.6 stop of light. If Isotta's claims are true (and not like SUPE's specs on D-MAX), I would guess that the RED64 is about as bright as a Retra Pro without a diffuser, but wider, and as wide as a Retra Pro with a diffuser, but brighter by 0.5 to 1 stop. RED64's light is somewhat cooler though, at 5400K vs the Retra's 4900K. Recycle time and battery life are likely considerably worse, seeing that it uses the same 8xAA but dumps almost twice the power per shot. Price difference actually isn't that huge; $1800 for RED64 vs $1545 for a Retra Pro X with a supercharger and diffuser.

33 minutes ago, Tom_Kline said:

Buy two more strobes for a total of four to gain one more stop.

I concur here. Adding two more Retra Pros will give you more light than replacing them with RED64s at a lower cost, and combining Retras and Isottas is not great due to color temperature differences.

I don't think Seacam 160s will give you much, if any, advantage over Retras, and you'd be stuck with Seacam's terrible batteries.

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15 minutes ago, Tom_Kline said:

To get 270 Watt-seconds, i.e. 270 Joules, output for the same batteries one will get about half as many shots. There is something called the first law of thermodynamics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_law_of_thermodynamics

Obviously, hence my mention that recycle time and battery life will be considerably worse. Interestingly, Isotta specs it at 3 seconds recycle time at full power, whereas Retra Pro with superchargers is ~1.5s to 80% (makes sense), but Isotta specs 350 full-power flashes at full power, whereas Retra Pro with superchargers is rated for '350+'. My personal experience with Retra Pro is that this 350+ rating is somewhat optimistic, so if Isotta is dumping 270 joules into each flash, that rating of theirs is even more so - probably 200 or less.

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53 minutes ago, Barmaglot said:

Isotta claims 270 W-s and a 130 degree beam, whereas Retra Pro is 150 W-s and a 110 degree beam. Wide-angle diffusers spread the Retra Pro beam to 130 degrees, but lose 0.6 stop of light. If Isotta's claims are true (and not like SUPE's specs on D-MAX), I would guess that the RED64 is about as bright as a Retra Pro without a diffuser, but wider, and as wide as a Retra Pro with a diffuser, but brighter by 0.5 to 1 stop. RED64's light is somewhat cooler though, at 5400K vs the Retra's 4900K. Recycle time and battery life are likely considerably worse, seeing that it uses the same 8xAA but dumps almost twice the power per shot. Price difference actually isn't that huge; $1800 for RED64 vs $1545 for a Retra Pro X with a supercharger and diffuser.

I concur here. Adding two more Retra Pros will give you more light than replacing them with RED64s at a lower cost, and combining Retras and Isottas is not great due to color temperature differences.

I don't think Seacam 160s will give you much, if any, advantage over Retras, and you'd be stuck with Seacam's terrible batteries.

I thought the new  Retras were also 130° beams with or without diffusers - the original Retra was 110° and got to 130° with diffusers perhaps?   The reviews I've read said the diffusers were probably not necessary for wide angle work.

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