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Torn between the second Strobe or focus light

Discussion in 'Strobes and Lighting' started by Jay_Fish, May 31, 2014.

  1. Jay_Fish

    Jay_Fish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vacaville-California
    I am in the market of either getting the focus light or the second strobe to add to my Ikelite DS 160 strobe. I am mostly interested in to Micro subjects more than wide angle. I am thinking of getting the SOLA 800 because of the red light feature which can be useful when you approach a rather skittish fish or light sensitive fish like Mandarin Fish for example.
    Would any one provides suggestion, the pros and cons of focus light and the second strobe? The only drawback that I know of if I bought another DS160 strobe is the extra weight I have to carry to dive in the tropical water.
    I am currently taking picture with Nikon D300, Ikelite housing, nikon 60mm mostly.

    Thank you.
  2. Wiggsy

    Wiggsy Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: Mt Eliza; Melbourne; Australia
    ...Well....If you use mostly micro/macro, the second strobe will be of limited use, though it will soften shadows. You could use a diffuser to soften shadows though the current trend seems to be to rig up up snoot to narrow down the strobe beam of light. Two strobes are great for wide angle (I know and I am cursing that my second strobe last week literally had a melt down) but there is a lot more bulk - a lot more recharging - a lot more fiddling...a lot more resistance when swimming in currents. A focus light is handy - get a wide beam daylight colour one and you also have a spot light for video. The SOLA 800 would be brilliant.
  3. rob1967

    rob1967 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    It depends on what type of diving you are doing. If all your diving is tropical, good viz, relatively shallow, lots of ambient light, then you can get away without a focus light.

    If you are doing night diving, or diving cold water, or any other situation with less ambient light, then a focus light is essential.
  4. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
    A second strobe is useful but if you are happy with the lighting for your macro subjects today, why do you think you need a second strobe. As for a focus light it is is a good investment and there are 100s to choose from at all price points. I think the red light feature is far oversold (although they do attract lots less worms at night in my hands they have minimal improvement for most skittish fish including mandarins). As for a second strobe you can always get a much smaller one (YSd1/S2000) for fill and packing is not such a pain.
    BV A
  5. Jay_Fish

    Jay_Fish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vacaville-California
    Wiggsy, rob1967, bvanant:

    Thank you all for your inputs on this.
    I have decided to pick up a SOLA focus light just because it has the famous red light that will allow me to approach closer to critters. I will put it to the test in my upcoming trip to cozumel in July and see whether red light will make it any difference to the fish and picture quality.
  6. Interceptor121

    Interceptor121 PADI Pro


    I agree with bill in respect of the red light only being useful to keep worms and krill away. The issue is that if you go on a night dive with a flood light you call for worms but if you have a narrower angle it doesn't happen that much plus you can always stick a filter on a focus light to warm the light to a temperature skittish critters tolerate more (though this is also overrated in my view)
    I have two inon z240 with a red filter on the aiming light that are equivalent to the red sola but they are always with me night and day and no need for an additional piece of equipment. If your strobe has an aiming light I would look to find a sticker to go on it
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014

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