Sea & Sea YS-01 Strobe

Another strobe, another article.....This strobe is on a set-up that I have specifically for wide angle work, but why?

It can be difficult to have a single set-up that is suitable for close and macro work and also more panoramic wide wngle work, so for that reason I bought a second set-up to cover this type of work and this was the strobe which was recommended, along with a camera and housing which will be reviewed in a future article!

The strobe is supplied with a clip-on diffuser, you might just be able to see it under the fibre-optic cable, the clipping arangement is much better than the ikelite method as snaps over the strobe and seems quite springy. Also it is secured to the strobe with a short lanyard so that if it does come adrift it wont get lost, again ikelite could learn by having a similar arrangement!


My Overall set-up

The set-up is easy to use and the only part that I don't really like is the support arm which relies on the 'lobsters tail' effect to move, it works but I really prefer the ikelite rigid arms combined with universal ball joints that I have on my other set-up. However this is the set-up that came with the package so I thought that it would suffice unless I really, really don't get on with it.

Well I am sure that the eagle eye will have spotted that the flash is triggered by the camera flash, soooo there is a fibre-optic cable which is secured onto the housing as shown below, it's a wee bit 'Heath Robinson' but it does work.

I wont go into the physics but the operation of the strobe is switched by the built-in flash on the camera, the light which is transmitted to the strobe via the fibre optic cable and the strobe then fires. It all sounds a bit long winded but if you bear in mind that there's nothing faster than light then you can see that the time between sensing the built in flash and firing the strobe is infitessimally small so it all works, well. 


Camera with black-out

There are a couple of issues which I have with this type of set up, firstly nuts and bolts the self adhesive black out screen with built in clip doesn't come as standard with the fibre optic cable, which is kinda understandable however less understandably it isn't even part of the package so you need to specify something which is a 'pre-requisite' as an optional extra. Secondly the adhesive on the black out screen isn't 'brilliant' and after a couple of dozen dives the corners were lifting and I needed to abrade the housing and use some sika-flex to secure the screen.


Strobe front view

The strobe has a built in LED focussing light, the small middle light on the photo above, which in theory is great, however maybe I have been spoiled and it isn't really bright enough for me and I am thinking of how I can incorporate the big-blue focussing light which I use with my other set-up.


Strobe rear with battery housing

The strobe takes four AA batteries which is pretty common with all after market strobes and for that reason performance is broadly similar with a re-cycle time of around two seconds which is more than good enough for most of us amateur snappers. The batteries are housed and accessed via the rear of the strobe and I msut say that I do like the sealing arrangement which 'clicks' into place, so unlike the ikelite door where you wonder if it is tight enough on this model you know that it is correctly assembled, a nice touch.

I keep mentioning the ikelite strobe and that is really because this unit from Sea & Sea is the direct equivalent to the ikelite and whilst it scores more in certain areas there are areas where the ikelite is better, the depth rating on the ikelite is 90m whereas the depth rating on this unit is 75m, not really relevant for 99% of the camera users.

The Sea & Sea model has more levels of adjustment of light level and I must say that I do prefer this level of control over and above that on the ikelite.

The costs are comparable with the Sea & Sea retailing at £389 so around £50 more than the ikelite equivalent so if you are running on a budget perhaps the ikelite is for you.

The other area to consider is that a flood of the ikelite unit can be repaired, any flooding of the Sea & Sea unit renders it scrap, perhaps another pointer for the more cack handed?

Richies rating 7/10 ; A nice little strobe, however I do prefer the ikelite but a subtle combination of some of the Sea & Sea unit features into the Ikelite would make a super little strobe!

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