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First Look: Sea & Sea's New YS-D3 Lightning Underwater Strobe


Sea & Sea’s new YS-D3 Lightning Underwater Strobe is a full-featured strobe, elevating Sea & Sea’s already stellar lighting range to a new level. A significant upgrade from the highly popular YS-D2J, the YS-D3 Lightning is equipped with high-precision circuitry allowing continuous shooting at Guide Number (GN) 16, a 0.8 recycle time at GN 22 and only 1.7 seconds at GN 33. With a long list of impressive features, this strobe is well-suited for the demanding underwater photographer.

Sea & Sea have developed a new high-precision aspherical optical toroidal lens to fit over the two flash tubes. This creates an even spread of light from the center to the edge. The strobe’s beam angle will increase to 100x110° with standard diffuser accessories. The beam angle can be increased to 150x170° by using the optional dome diffuser.

While shooting the YS-D3 at a guide number of 22 and up, a two-stage ready-to-fire signal will be issued. For example, after the strobe flashes at a guide number of 33 (full power), the strobe will give off both an audible and visual signal indicating that the condenser is charged to fire again at GN22. Then, when the condenser has in turn charged enough to fire at GN33, another different signal will be issued. This design allows underwater photographers to shoot fast moving subjects continuously.

Sea & Sea has carried over the backlight panel from the YS-D2J model for supior visibility when shooting in dark environments. The indicator color on the back of the YS-D3 changes each time the position of the mode switch is changed. Blue (in DS-TTLII mode), light blue (in slave TTL mode), orange (in manual mode with pre-flash), and green (in manual mode without pre-flash) The positioning of the operation system is obvious during night diving.

Sea & Sea has also listened to divers wanting to use the strobe for macro and now sells an optional macro snoot that locks into the bayonet mount on the front of the strobe. The snoot focuses the light into a narrow beam for dramatic and creative macro photography.

The Sea & Sea YS-D3 Lightning is an exciting new edition to the world of underwater photography, providing an innovative underwater lighting unit in a relatively compact and travel-friendly body. At a competitive price point of $849.95, Sea & Sea has improved upon the highly popular YS-D2J in almost every way. The continuous firing and two-stage recycle time capabilities are particularly exciting, ensuring underwater photographers never miss a shot!

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