SEA&SEA YS-01 strobe

SEA&SEA YS-01 strobe

Kristaps

Buying the Meikon wet dome port lens for our Sony RX100IV was the first step in really learning photography. Buying a strobe was the next. Before this, knowing about apertures and shutter speeds was necessary only for ambient light levels. Now it’s ambient light and strobe light.

But the results are incredible.

uwl09 Entering with the YS-01 strobe.

Now for some “strobe 101”.

The YS-01 strobe—more or less any strobe—is attached by a tray (a left-hand tray, in the image above) to the camera. The tray connects to a strobe extender (the arm between the tray and the strobe). The connection uses a funny little sphere with a clamp allowing for full motion once loosened.

With the Sony, the strobe is connected to the camera housing with a fiber-optic cable. The cable plugs in front of the flash port—when the flash lights up, the light travels through the cable into the strobe, which then engages. This is called “TTL” mode. The fuller subject of how strobes operate—their various modes—is completely beyond me.

Original Photo taken without strobe.

The flash-recycle time (how long the flash takes to recharge) is slightly longer for the internal flash on the Sony RX100IV than the strobe, so be prepared to wait a few seconds between shots. This is very annoying, but… what’s one to do.

In general, I’ll eye-ball the scene before descending, if free-diving, to gauge whether I want to use the flash. But if at depth, it often happens that I want to enable or disable. To do this, I use the “flash up/down” lever on the Nauticam housing. This disables the internal flash.

Inside of darker spaces, I’ll use the strobe’s focus light to keep the sensor from being too stupid.

Wide-angle Photo taken a moment later with strobe.

We’re still learning how to use the flash, but it requires a lot more attention to the aperture and shutter speed. When there’s still ambient light, one doesn’t need to do too much messing around with settings. But as it gets deeper, the camera’s sensor “sees” the world differently than when your strobe fires, so more manual control is needed.

Pros

Lightweight, works perfectly with the Sony. And it’s one of the cheapest strobes out there!

The strobe is slightly positively buoyant as well. This helps a lot when free diving, where every bit of positive buoyancy helps. (Or hinders, depending upon your perspective.)

Cons

None to report, yet.