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Introduction

Inon have recently released the D-200 as successor for their D-2000 strobe, which is actually a simplified version of the Z-330. Since its release, the Z-330 was constantly back-ordered due to high demand and lengthy production process, so the D-200 was released just on time, and it more readily available.

The D-200 also sells for a very affordable price of $499 USD. That’s excellent value for money!

Overview of Inon D-200

As mentioned above, the D-200 is a simplified version of the Z-330. It shares the same basic design, but with a lower output – 20GN and no sync cord connection. It can be triggered optically only.

These changes allowed Inon to drop the price to $499 and frankly, it’s more than enough for many divers. Especially those using a compact camera, who don’t need the sync cord connection and don’t need such a powerful strobe as they can tune down ambient light with shutter speed.

The D-200 shares the same great features from the Z-330, including the unique dome front design and two flash bulbs (one horizontal and one vertical) for maximum wide angle coverage of 110 degrees, without a diffuser. It also has the built in rotating light shade which helps minimize backscatter, if you remember to rotate it so the flap is between your strobe and lens.

Single D-200 strobe lighting up coral formation | Shot with TG-5 + KRL-02

Compared to the previous Inon strobes, such as S-2000 and Z-240, Inon have (finally!) simplified the controls and improved the knobs and labels, to make this strobe far more user friendly and easier to control.

The same sensitive light sensor is used, which works perfectly with any fiber optic cable as well as LED triggers, and is so sensitive you can use it off-camera and pretty far away for creative lighting setups (see sample below).

Both ball and YS mounts are available (sold separate), for maximum versatility. Note that a special fiber optic cable is needed to connect to the bottom of the strobe. Alternatively, you can get this nice little adapter kit to use any standard S&S type cable with Inon strobes.

The D-200 modes include Manual, S-TTL (slave TTL), Low and Full. Full and manual are pretty straightforward.
I love having the full mode option – if I need more power quickly, I can twist it all the way in a split second, one step back and fire away.

S-TTL and Low are automatic modes, which mimic the on-camera flash to produce exactly the right output. When used, the power knob has to be pointing up on neutral, or you can apply flash compensation by moving the power knob right and left.

The recycle time is phenomenal – 1.3s in full power. That’s probably the fastest strobe in the market!

Top features

Strobe Modes S-TTL Auto / TTL Auto / Manual / Full
Connection Optical Connection (Optical D Cable, Wireless)
Power Modes 2.5 to 20 GN (13 steps in 1/2EV)
Beam Angle Underwater 110º x 110º circular beam (Strobe light)
30º   (LED Focus Light)
Focus Light Intensity 220 Lumens
Color Temp. Approx. 5500K
Recycle Time Approx. 1.3 seconds minimum (Using Eneloop batteries)
Flash Capacity Approx. 410 flashes   (Using Eneloop batteries)
Approx. 540 flashes (Using Eneloop Pro batteries)
Weight (air) 577g/20.4oz (without Strobe Light Shade / Strobe Dome Filter SOFT / batteries)
729g/25.7oz (with Strobe Light Shade / 4 x “Eneloop” batteries)
Weight (U/W) Neutral (with Strobe Light Shade / 4 x “Eneloop” batteries)
Depth Rating 100m / 328ft

Usability

The newly designed knobs are perfect. They are so easy to twist and so easy to see where they are pointing – they even glow in the dark!

The power knob stops at the far ends of its range, as opposed to previous strobes, so it’s easy to know when you’re on minimum or maximum power output.

Rotating the light shade is very easy, and even removing it underwater can be done quickly, just in case you need a wider beam for a few shots. I found that I prefer having it off, as long as the visibility is good and the water is fairly clear of particles, since the beam is reduced quite a bit by the shade. Especially if you are using just one strobe, you probably want to enjoy the full 110 degrees beam so you might want to leave it off.

The Inon D-200 can automatically detect pre-flashes and adjust accordingly, so you don’t have to worry about it. Just make sure the knob is UP for pre-flash detection mode. If you are firing manual flash on your on-camera flash, then push the knob DOWN to save battery life on the strobe.

Overall I found it much easier to use than previous Inon strobes, so there was a big improvement here on their behalf!

TTL Test with TG-5

Coming soon!

Slave mode – Off Camera

Coming soon!

Comparison to YS-D2J (without diffuser)

Beam angle comparison between Inon D-200 and S&S YS-D2J, without diffuser and without a light shade on the D-200

When comparing the D-200 directly to the YS-D2J, the difference is obvious. The D-200 produces a nice round and uniform beam, which is very wide to begin with. Most other strobes require a diffuser to reach that nice beam shape, which reduces the power by 1/2 stop – 1 stop, depending on the diffuser. This means you’re actually getting more power out of the D-200 compared to other 20GN strobes like the YS-01 and S-2000.

Wide Angle Tests

Shooting divers with a single D-200 strobe, no diffuser. Notice the wide coverage of just one strobe!

The D-200 performed beautifully for wide angle shots, thanks to the dome front which produces a very wide beam, as I showed previously.

On the photo above I did get some backscatter, because I positioned the strobe fairly low to get light inside the divers’ masks. Placing it higher would have prevented the backscatter but their eyes would likely be in the shadows.

Here are a few more examples:

Macro Tests

No real surprise here, but the D-200 works great for macro. You can tune down the power output and bring the strobe right in there for nice uniform lighting.

Conclusion

The D-200 is another excellent and reliable strobe produced by Inon, who have been leading the market with their strobes in recent years. The most significant change on this one is the excellent user interface and the dome shaped front.

For those of you who are looking for the perfect strobe, but don’t need that much power or sync cord capability, the D-200 is almost identical to the Z-330. Compact camera shooters should definitely choose this one, as they can reduce ambient light with shutter speed so they don’t need that much power.

You can’t go wrong with the D-200. Way to go Inon!

Get your Inon D-200 here

The post Inon D-200 Underwater Strobe Review appeared first on Underwater Cameras Blog by Mozaik.

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Over the past few years I had a chance to test many of the popular wet lenses available in the market. I thought it might be helpful to share some of my results with you, so you can get a better idea on what to expect from each lens.

List of lenses tested in this post:

  • Fantasea-AOI UWL-400F
  • Fantasea-AOI UWL-09F
  • Fantasea-AOI UWL-09PRO
  • Fantasea-AOI UCL-09
  • Fantasea-AOI UCL-05
  • Fantasea-AOI UCL-900
  • Kraken KRL-01
  • Kraken KRL-02
  • Kraken KRL-03
  • Nauticam CMC-1
  • Nauticam WWL-1
  • Nauticam SMC
  • Inon UWL-H100
  • Inon UCL-165

So without further ado, let’s dive right into the photos!

Fantasea-AOI UWL-400F

UWL-400F mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

Fantasea-AOI UWL-09F

UWL-09F Mounted on RX100 VI in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on RX100 VI in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on RX100 VI in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on RX100 VI in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on a A6500 with 16-50mm lens in the Fantasea FA6500 Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on a A6500 with 16-50mm lens in the Fantasea FA6500 Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on a A6500 with 16-50mm lens in the Fantasea FA6500 Housing

UWL-09F Mounted on a A6500 with 16-50mm lens in the Fantasea FA6500 Housing

Fantasea-AOI UWL-09PRO

UWL-09PRO Mounted on Canon G7X II in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09PRO Mounted on Canon G7X II in Fantasea Housing

UWL-09PRO Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

Fantasea-AOI UCL-09

UCL-09 Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

UCL-09 Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

Fantasea-AOI UCL-05

Blue Ringed Octopus, lit by the Kraken Ring Light 3000. Taken with the Sony RX100 V in the Fantasea FRX100V housing + UCL-05.

Blue Ringed Octopus, lit by the Kraken Ring Light 3000. Taken with the Sony RX100 V in the Fantasea FRX100V housing + UCL-05.

Nudibranch, lit by the Kraken Ring Light 3000. Taken with the Sony RX100 V in the Fantasea FRX100V housing + UCL-05.

Nudibranchs, lit by the Kraken Ring Light 3000. Taken with the Sony RX100 V in the Fantasea FRX100V housing + UCL-05.

Fantasea-AOI UCL-900

UCL-900 Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

UCL-900 Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

UCL-900 Mounted on RX100 V in Fantasea Housing

Kraken KRL-01

Kraken KRL-01 Mounted on G7X II in the Fantasea Housing

Kraken KRL-01 Mounted on G7X II in the Fantasea Housing

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Fantasea have recently released a complete bayonet system for their housings – the QRS (Quick Release System). We took it for a spin to check if it’s worth getting! (spoiler alert – it is!)

Wet lenses are awesome. Many compact and mirrorless shooters use them on a regular basis, as well as DSLR shooters who use diopters. Even though 67mm is an industry standard, it’s a bit of a hassle to screw the lenses in and out every time, not to mention screwing it onto the lens holder!

By the time you’re done switching, the shark may be gone, the blue ring octopus disappeared, and the nudibranch fell asleep! Enter the QRS system! The bayonet type QRS is designed to facilitate lens switching and shorten the switch time significantly.

The system consists of a mount that goes on the front of your port ( FA-4050 ), a mount on the lens (  FA-4067  or FA-4069 ) and a lens holder that fits on your arms ( FA-4061 ), to stow the lens when not in use.

You can get adapters for most lenses, whether wide angle or macro. Fantasea have made the housing adapter universal, so while it’s a perfect fit for the Fantasea housings, it can also be adapted to fit almost any brand, provided the port has a 67mm thread on the front.

Check out the video below showing how easy the system is:

Fantasea-AOI Quick Release System - QRS - YouTube

Note that some lenses will require a special adapter, to make sure the lens is properly aligned with the port. For example, the Fantasea-AOI UWL-400F requires a unique adapter, since the universal one positions it too deep so it hits the port.

Lenses tested and confirmed compatible with the QRS: Close-up lenses:

Fantasea UCL-09F, UCL-05F, UCL-06F, UCL-900F

Inon UCL-165

Nauticam CMC-1, CMC-2, SMC

Subsee +5, +10

Wide angle lenses:

Fantasea UWL-09F*, UWL-09PRO*, UWL-400F*, UWL-04

Kraken KRL-02

Inon UWL-H100**

* Special mounting ring required (sold separate)

** Severe vignetting. It fits but far from ideal in terms of optical performance.

Conclusion

Overall, I was very happy with the QRS system! It works great, does exactly what it’s supposed to do and universally compatible with plenty of different brands.

It’s bit more of an investment when purchasing your kit, but it’s well worth it underwater where every second counts!

The post Testing the Fantasea QRS System appeared first on Underwater Cameras Blog by Mozaik.

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The thin line between strobes and video lights is starting to diminish, with Kraken recently adding a “Strobe” feature to their entire line of video lights!

Starting with the Ring Light 3000 and the Hydra Macro 2500, Kraken introduced a new feature to their video lights. By using a fiber optic cable, you can trigger the light, using the built-in flash in your camera, to fire a burst of light, for brief moment, which is actually stronger than the maximum output of the video light. For example, the 2500 model can fire a burst shot at 4000 lumens.

This feature was recently implemented in the popular Hydra 3500 and Hydra 5000 lights, while at the same time upgrading the CRI to and impressive 90. The new models were renamed 3500S+ and 5000S+.

So How Does It Work?

The video light is fitted with an extra hole for fiber optic cable, in addition to the one that’s dedicated for the optional remote control. You connect a standard fiber optic cable (S&S type connectors) between the Hydra light and your camera housing.

To set the Kraken Hydra on strobe mode, you first turn it on (long press both buttons) then press the left button to cycle between the modes and choose your “constant” mode. That’s going to be the one that’s constantly on and helping you focus.

Then you long press the right button, to turn on strobe mode. In strobe mode, you can use the left button to cycle between your “burst” mode. This would usually be set on flood.

Now, the light will be on the “constant” mode on a low setting, with the indicator LED blinking. When your camera flash fires, the Hydra will output a short 1 second burst of light, then go back to dim constant.

Pretty cool huh?

Blenny, Taken with a Nikon 105mm and Hydra 5000S+ on strobe mode

What’s So Great About It?

One light fits all – You can use the same light unit for both videos and photos.

Conserve battery life – Your Hydra light will last much longer on strobe mode, since you are only using it for short bursts of light.

No recycle time – Because it’s an LED, the Hydra can fire as fast as you want! Your limitation here would be the built-in flash though, which needs to recycle. I recommend lowering the output on your built in flash as much as possible.

Strong(er) output – Sure, it’s still no match for a strobe, but you get much more juice out of the burst mode, about 1.5 times the maximum power of the light. Give it a few years and we’ll see lumen rating go up.

Two shrimps, Taken with a Nikon 105mm and Hydra 5000S+ on strobe mode

What’s Not So Great About It?

The utopian reality of LED strobes isn’t here yet. There are still some limitations which keep classic strobes relevant.

Lower Power Output – An entry level strobe produces light equivalent to 30,000-40,000 lumens. LED video lights aren’t there yet, and the ones that are that strong aren’t very compact.

Freezing your subject – A strobe dumps most of its light in an instant. Sometimes as fast as 1/10,000s. This helps us freeze the subject even with a faster shutter speed. The power isn’t affected by shutter speed. A video light on strobe mode still works as a video light and emits a constant beam for about 1s which means the amount of light in your frame is still affected by your shutter speed and susceptible to motion blur.

No TTL – There is still no solution to produce a TTL-like feature, which causes the light to produce the exact power output required to light up your subject well.

No power modes – The burst mode always fires at full power and cannot be adjusted. Yet.

Clownfish, Taken with a Nikon 105mm and Hydra 5000S+ on strobe mode

Bottom Line

Kraken’s innovative strobe feature is awesome. It creates an alternative for a strobe, which isn’t perfect yet, but definitely nice to have and sufficient for many underwater photographers. It’s only going to get better from now on, with stronger outputs, new technology and features and interesting future innovations. We’re excited to see how this develops.

Until then, I strongly recommend using the Kraken Hydra lights on strobe more for macro photography. It works great, the power output is strong enough for good macro shots and it’s very fun to experiment with!

Blenny, Taken with a Nikon 105mm and Hydra 5000S+ on strobe mode

The post Testing the Strobe Feature on the Kraken Hydra 5000S+ / 3500S+ / Macro 2500 appeared first on Underwater Cameras Blog by Mozaik.

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