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has anyone tried the Marelux SOFT snoot?

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Has anyone tried the Marelux  Smart Optical Flash Tube?

I was about to buy a Backscatter MF-1 and snoot, but this attached to a Z330 seems as good or better.  It seems like it has an underwater quick disconnect.  But if you mount the snoot to your arm then your strobe won't be mounted to anything.  And the snoot is bit big to leave dangling from a cord or something, when you want to use the strobe without it.  I was wondering if anyone had any real experience with this.

https://wetpixel.com/articles/marelux-ships-smart-optical-flash-tube 

 

https://www.marelux.co/collections/soft

 

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well, just for a brief update, it definitely does have an underwater quick disconnect.  I love the ~20 hour battery life that is separate from the strobe itself.  My two main concerns are - is the focus/aiming light bright enough?  and does the thing efficiently capture the light from the strobe, especially a Z330.  I know with the Retra LSD and a Retra strobe you lose a lot of light.

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17 minutes ago, rwb500 said:

I know with the Retra LSD and a Retra strobe you lose a lot of light.

I'm not sure that is necessarily correct, rwb500. I think much depends on the degree to which you narrow down the beam - either with the LSD's masks or, likely with the Marelux, its aperture control system.

If you don't use a mask - or the largest mask circle with the LSD - it doesn't lose a huge amount of light. In any case you just turn up the light output. The same is likely true of the Z330 with a Marelux.

The advantage of the Retra - certainly over the Inon Z240 - is the circular flash tube. I believe this provides more accuracy for the aiming light.  I understand the Z330 is better than the Z240 for this.

 

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Thanks Tim.  From what I have read, people say its the central location of the Retra focus light that makes the aiming light accurate when used with the LSD, and the peripheral location of the Retra flash tube is what makes the LSD less "efficient."  I just remember reading about how people had to turn up the power on their strobe more than they expected.

I would prefer to be able to keep strobe power down to allow very rapid shooting and good battery life.

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42 minutes ago, rwb500 said:

I would prefer to be able to keep strobe power down to allow very rapid shooting and good battery life.

Fair enough!

(worth noting that the combination of Retra strobes and the Retra LSD does not lead to an offset of the flash/snoot barrel combination.)

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9 hours ago, TimG said:

I'm not sure that is necessarily correct, rwb500. I think much depends on the degree to which you narrow down the beam - either with the LSD's masks or, likely with the Marelux, its aperture control system.

If you don't use a mask - or the largest mask circle with the LSD - it doesn't lose a huge amount of light. In any case you just turn up the light output. The same is likely true of the Z330 with a Marelux.

The advantage of the Retra - certainly over the Inon Z240 - is the circular flash tube. I believe this provides more accuracy for the aiming light.  I understand the Z330 is better than the Z240 for this.

 

I did some basic calculations on the Retra and you do indeed lose light due to geometry of the wide beam from the flash tube only a smaller percentage of the light enters the snoot optics.  The INON for example with the small straight tubes gets much more of it's output into the optics - but the focus light is offset, however if your snoot has its own aiming light it is going to be easier to use.

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Interesting! Thanks, Chris

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Thanks guys.  I'm going to buy one and take it to Bali soon so I'll share some more info on it.  But I have minimal snoot experience and won't have others to directly compare it to.

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With snoots, patience is a serious virtue. But once you nail How To, you'll love it. You can get some amazing results and images. Good luck!

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well, i got it.  Its big and heavy but seems solid.  Just because I mentioned it above - there is a quick disconnect but you will definitely not be disconnecting it during a dive.  It is so big and heavy that you have to use the ball mount on the snoot, which means your strobe wouldn't be connected to anything if you disconnect the two.

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I have the Marelux SOFT (Smart Optical Flash tube) in house for review and I have not been in salt water with it yet. These are some of my observations so far. First I have the "dock" for the Inon Z-330 strobes which threads onto the flash in the same way as the shade so it is very secure and I have no fear that the strobe would fall off if the SOFT is mounted to the flash arm. In the attached photo you will see that the dock extends well beyond the  flash head. This extension narrows the beam in much the same way as the Retra reduction ring accessory does. When the SOFT is mounted to the dock and locked into place the configuration of the flash tubes should have little effect on the quality of the light output. I suspect the result is the same when using any of the other docks for strobes like Retra, Sea & Sea and others.

The focusing light requires a 18650 battery which adds to the weight of the system. My review unit arrived with a neoprene cover on the tube which will I guess offset some of the negative weight while in the water. I am not sure at this time if the cover is an option or ships with all units.

The focus light works well unless you are in bright ambient light. The small 2mm diameter end of the range at 170mm will of course be dimmer than the 30mm end at the same distance. I like using the snoot on a small tripod which makes it easer to keep the light where you want it on the subject. As you can see from the attached image the balance is much better on the tripod using the ballhead on the SOFT rather than using the one on the flash. 

 

untitled-02884.jpg

untitled-02895.jpg

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Posted (edited)

thanks Phil.  How do you trigger the strobe when it is mounted off camera?

 

Also it looks like you still have the protective film on the front glass (unless you have removed it since the photo)

Edited by rwb500

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I trigger using a fiber cable direct from the housing easiest and with an Anglerfish flash trigger. The second option requires a second flash to trigger the trigger. 

Thanks for noticing the blue film protective cover. I always try to shoot the product photos straight out of the box when things look most new and the cover was removed before I took the SOFT in the water. Always try to pool test before going into salt water. Also the air needs to be burped from between the flash dock and SOFT once you are in the water, it holds a good bit of air.

Some pool photos.

 

untitled-01266.jpg

untitled-01246.jpg

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