TTL Underwater Strobes for Canon R10 (and R7) // Setting it Up [VIDEO]

TTL Underwater Strobes for Canon R10 (and R7) // Setting it Up [VIDEO]

By Jean Rydberg

The Canon R10 packs a punch with a great price-to-performance ratio, so much so that we had to make a 200DLM Underwater Housing and Canon EOS R10 Camera Complete Kit out of it. In our last Canon R10 video John Brigham showed you how to set up your housing. This video will cover attaching strobes to your Canon R10 housing. As you know from our previous videos, strobes are integral underwater to add that color and clarity you won't get otherwise. 



Tray with Dual Quick Release Handles

ikelite underwater system quick release tray

The first step when adding strobes is to add a Tray with Dual Quick Release Handles to the housing. The quick release handle has a button on it that allows you to very quickly add or remove your strobe arm. This is proprietary to Ikelite and has been a favorite for many, many years.

When attaching the tray to the housing, ensure the buttons are pointing towards you so that you can push them with your thumbs when using your housing. To attach the tray, line up the two holes on the tray with the corresponding holes on the bottom of the housing. Use the included screws with the flat washer and put both of them in just using your fingers before grabbing a screwdriver.

Once you start to tighten them, you really want to get these snug on the housing because you don't want it to come loose or start to wobble while underwater. 

When you're traveling it's not a bad idea at the end of your trip to remove your tray and handle and rinse the mounts on the bottom of the housing and rinse your hardware very well so that it's not going to stick or cause you any problems later.


Choosing Your Strobes

DS160 II TTL strobe

In this video, we're showing you the DS160 II Strobes. These are great strobes to shoot with this system because they're middle of the road price-wise but have a really professional quality of light. They produce a beautiful wide beam, they're super fast because of the dedicated rechargeable battery, and you get tons of shots per charge. You could also do the same thing with the smaller DS51 II or with the more powerful DS230.


Assembling the Ball Arms

strobe arm

In this video we're using a Wide Angle Ball Arm that has two segments that extend from the housing - this is really good for a wide angle photography. Alternatively, you could use a Compact Ball Arm that has only one segment if you want your strobe to be more compact with the housing, which can be a lot easier when you're shooting macro. However, the wide angle ball arm can do both wide angle and macro.

You'll notice the ball arm has the quick release on one end and it has a loose clamp on the other, which is going to attach to the ball mount of the strobe. Loosen the clamp to open it up and angle them so that the first ball mount is in one half of it and the second ball mount is in the other half of it. Then, angle them straight again and tighten your wingnut.

Ball arms made for underwater are not going to hold your strobe perfectly above water. When they're underwater, you can just kind of finger tighten them and they'll still be able to be maneuvered but won't go anywhere on you accidentally. But on the surface, they may slip a little - don't be alarmed by that. Just position your strobes in a way that they're secured to the sides of the housing. You don't  want to keep cranking them too firmly on the surface because that's going to tear up the o-rings on the balls and make them wear prematurely.

What is TTL? 

sync cords and ttl converter

Now that you've got your strobe attached to the arm, you can begin to attach your sync cord. One option is to connect the sync cord directly to the housing if you're going to shoot with manual strobes. That would allow the camera to just send a trigger signal and you would set the power of the strobe with the knob on the side of the strobe in between each shot every time your subject changes in distance.

What we prefer to do underwater is shoot TTL, which means that the camera is actually metering the lighting and the distance to your subject using pulses from the strobe, and it will adjust the power of your strobe in between every shot. So as your subject moves side to side or farther away or closer to you, the camera is going to change the power of your strobe automatically and give you the correct exposure with every shot.

To do this, you will have to use a different TTL hot shoe, because the hot shoe inside of the housing as it comes is a manual hot shoe. It's a very simple thing to disconnect the connector of the hot shoe, take it apart, and plug in the TTL hot shoe that comes with your DL5 DS Link TTL Kit

dl5 ds link hot shoe connector

Attaching the DL5 Converter is simple but we cover it in even more depth on our DL5 DS Link TTL Converter Video


Attaching Sync Cords

strobe sync cord ikelite

Now, you can remove the caps from your strobes, sync cords, and DL5 Converter. The DL5 is going to attach to the housing in between the housing and the sync cord. The DL5 has the standard Ikelite plug and you'll align the connectors with the bulkhead on the housing and tighten that all the way. 

This video covers attaching dual strobes, which is our preferred method to shoot. The dual cord has three ends on it. It has a short straight end and it has two coiled ends. The straight end is what's going to go into either the housing or the DL5 converter. The coiled ends will go to the strobes.

One of the coiled ends has a red band that is called your secondary strobe. Your primary strobe, with no band, is what's powering your DL5 converter and it's called your primary strobe. If you want to turn off a strobe underwater, turn off your secondary strobe.

Now we'll connect the single straight end of the cord to the DL5 the same way that we connected the DL5 to the housing's bulkhead. Tighten that all the way and connect one end of the dual chord to each of the strobes. 

Attaching Ball Arms to the Handles

connecting arm to handle

Attach the ball arm using that quick release, press the button, push the ball arm down and when you release it's locked on to the handle. Now you've got everything attached, and you're ready to turn your strobes on and take a test shot.


Taking a Test Shot

test shot ikelite strobe

First, set both of your strobes to TTL and turn your strobes on, turning on your primary strobe first. And at this point, your DL5 will light up with a blue light indicating that is turned on and that it is in TTL mode. 

The DL5 used in this video has already been preset for the Canon R10 camera on program #5. When you get your DL5, it will be set on program #1 and we encourage you to use the instructions for the DL5 or check out John's video on how to set the program for the DL5. You want to set it to program #5 to work properly with the Canon R10 camera.

Next, turn on your secondary strobe and your camera and everything is ready to take a test shot. When taking that test shot, the lights on the strobes give you a brief green flash of light. That is a confidence signal that tells you that it's received a TTL signal from your camera and it's fired a TTL flash.

With your green confidence light on each of your strobes, and after having taken your test shot, you're ready to go diving!


Contact Us

If you have any questions at all, please contact us via email at and also check out our YouTube channel which is full of content to help you with equipment set up, camera setting cheat sheets, and a whole lot more. Happy shooting!


Jean Rydberg IkeliteJean Rydberg, daughter of Ike Brigham, became President & CEO of Ikelite in 2006. Prior to that, she wisely pursued a degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics to prepare herself for the challenges of running a technology-driven manufacturing business with global distribution. Jean fully embraces the need to travel outside of her hometown of Indianapolis to experience good diving. She believes that any camera is capable of amazing results in the right hands, and anyone can become a great photographer given the right advice. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband, cats, and two daughters (though not necessarily in that order).


Additional Reading


Canon R10 Underwater Housing with Kit Lens // Setting It Ups [VIDEO]

Programming a DL5 or DL6 DS Link TTL Converter for Canon Cameras [VIDEO]

Stop Doing This to Your Strobe Battery Pack! [VIDEO]

Why You Need Strobes Underwater

The Myth of TTL Strobe Exposure Underwater

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