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Choosing Strobes | Ikelite TTL Housing

This quick guide runs through all of the major considerations when choosing a strobe to suit your Ikelite TTL Housing and camera system.

Why Ikelite?

Our strobes are designed from the ground up specifically for underwater photography. That's why our flagship DS160-series is widely renowned as the fastest, most dependable, and best quality of light among any strobe on the market. We are the only underwater strobe which is 100% made in the USA and always available to support our customers with advice and service.

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Sync Cords
Connect Ikelite Strobes
Connect Non-Ikelite Strobes
Connect Strobes from Different Manufacturers
Connect Optically Triggered Strobes
Connect Remote Strobes
Arm Systems
Creative Accessories
Quick Comparison
DS51 strobe DS51 strobe DS51 strobe
Model DS51 DS160 DS161
Purpose Compactness and cooler light make this the classic macro strobe The professional's go-to strobe for underwater wide angle photography All the benefits of the DS160 plus a built-in 500 lumen video light
Color Temperature 5700K
Good for wide angle in blue water
Best for green water
Best for macro
4800K
Best for wide angle in blue water
Good for green water
Good for macro
4800K
Best for wide angle in blue water
Good for green water
Good for macro
Coverage Best for macro
Good for wide angle
Best for macro and wide angle Best for macro and wide angle
Batteries AA (4)
Common battery type
Average recycle time
Battery Pack
Faster than AA
Supports rapid firing
Environmentally friendly
Battery Pack
Faster than AA
Supports rapid firing
Environmentally friendly
Modeling Light No Built-in Dual purpose video/modeling light
Compare INON Z-240
SEA&SEA YS-03
SEA&SEA YS-D1
SEA&SEA YS-250
Subtronic Pro160
SEA&SEA YS-250
Subtronic Pro160
Sync Cords

Connect Ikelite Strobes

  • Straight or coiled cord for single strobe
  • Y-cord for dual strobes
  • TTL operation with compatible Ikelite strobes
  • Check housing details for compatibility by serial number
  • OK to mix and match different size Ikelite DS strobes
  • Non-DS / non-digital Ikelite strobes not compatible

Connect Non-Ikelite Strobes

  • Strobes must feature an electrical bulkhead to be connected by sync cord
  • Non-Ikelite strobes are not capable of powering external TTL electronics
  • Non-Ikelite strobes must be used in manual power settings and will not provide TTL operation

Connect Strobes from Different Manufacturers

  • We do not offer electrical sync cords to connect two different brands of strobes
  • To combine different brands, it's easiest to attach one via electrical sync cord and trigger the second flash optically
  • Most fiber optic strobes can be triggered off of a strobe as long as the fiber optic cable is attached to and pointing at the strobe's flash

Connect Optically Triggered Strobes

  • Some cameras do not have a built-in flash
  • The built-in flash may not be usable due to size constraints or unwanted reflections
  • Check housing details for compatibility
  • Most fiber optic strobes can be triggered off of another strobe as long as the fiber optic cable is attached to and pointing at the strobe's flash

Connect Remote Strobes

  • Strobes with an optical slave option may be triggered remotely off of a strobe attached to the housing via sync cord
  • Transmission distance and sensitivity are dependent on several factors including: the design of the sensor; direction and field of view of the sensor; amount and direction ambient light; and water conditions
  • Ikelite DS strobes may be triggered remotely using the Optical Slave Converter which supports manual exposure as set on the strobe and automatically configures itself to the pre-flash (or non-preflash) behavior of the camera
  • Strobes may be positioned at a distance by adding an extension cord in between the strobe and sensor or housing
  • Aquatica supports the connection of a Pocket Wizard to our housing and strobe bulkheads for remote triggering using their Water Wizard product
Arm Systems
  • Short arms are good for portrait and macro close-up
  • Longer arms are better for wide angle
  • Ball socket arm systems with 1" ball components have more holding power than flex arms
  • 1" ball components are compatible with similar systems from Ultralight, Aquatica TLC, SEA&SEA, INON, Nauticam, and others
  • Flex components are compatible with similar systems using 3/4" Loc-line fittings
Creative Accessories
  • Use dichroic excitation filter and yellow barrier filter to see fluorescence of corals and animals at night
  • Use a domed diffuser for even wider, softer coverage