Strobes / Flashguns

Choosing the right strobe is sometimes difficult.

One big thing to consider when choosing your strobes, is the batteries they use. I prefer having strobes which use AA batteries and here’s why:

  • You’ll get very good rechargeable AA batteries
  • They’re cheap, durable and fit in many other devices
  • In the event of a problem with your batteries or charger (due to power fluctuation or generator problems), you will always find a replacement – AA batteries are commonly used almost anywhere in the world!
  • You don’t have to worry about charging the batteries every 2 or 3 month when not diving, newer technology batteries have no memory effect and batteries like the Eneloop hold up to 70% of their charge after 5 years of non-use and have a very fast recycle rate when used in strobes.

Fiber-optic cable vs. sync cord

What are the pros and cons of fiber-optic cables and electrical cables (sync cords)?

PROS of a fiber-optic cable:

  • cheaper than sync cord
  • eliminating potential floods
  • work for TTL without TTL converter

PROS of a sync cord:

  • does not rely on the internal strobe, so you can actually make use of the fast recycle times of your strobe(s) – especially when not shooting at full power
  • less heat build-up in the housing
  • doesn’t drain the battery of the camera

If you’re only interested in shooting macro and close-focus wide-angle, smaller and cheaper strobes are sufficient.

One strobe option is the INON S-2000, very small and powerful enough for macro photography and suitable for Point&Shoot cameras. This strobe is connnected with fiber-optic cable and uses 4xAA batteries.

Another option is the Sea&Sea YS01 with a fast recycle time (1.9sec with NiMH) and enough power for macro photography and close-focus wide-angle photography (GN 20). The Sea&Sea YS01 is connected with fiber-optic cable and uses 4xAA batteries.

The Sea&Sea YS02 is also pretty fast in recycling (1.9sec with NiMH) and is also powerful enough for macro and close-focus wide-angle (GN 20).

If you want to shoot some wide-angle images as well, the INON Z-240 is also a good choice of strobe. They are very powerful (GN 24), have a very fast recycle time (1.5sec with NiMH) and are compact in size. I’m using them for a long time now, and so far, they never let me down. The INON Z240 can be connected with sync cord or fiber-optic cable and uses 4x AA batteries.

The Sea&Sea YS-1D is also a top choice for macro and wide-angle, it’s also very compact and very powerful (GN 32), uses 4x AA batteries and has pretty fast recycle times (1.8sec with NiMH). It can be connected with sync cord or fiber-optic cable.

Recycle time is the time needed after a strobe fired at full power to recharge and being ready to fire again.

GN or guide number for an electronic flash measures its ability to illuminate the subject to be photographed at a specific film or sensor sensitivity and angle of view. A higher guide number indicates a more powerful flash.

Guide numbers can be measured on land or in the water, the GN stated in this article are measured on land.

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Posted in Photo Tips.