Inon Z240 Review
By Scott Gietler
I own 2 Inon Z240's, and I love them. Here's some initial impressions:
Inon Z240 Pro's
- Excellent build quality. perfect o-ring, nice yellow color so you can see dirt. Excellent battery compartment, this would be very difficult to flood. You can see the oring at all times (clear compartment).
- Stronger than YS-90,Ys-110,Inon Z220. Some people say they are stronger than Ike-125s. Fast recycle time. I measured the Inon Z240 as 1 stop faster than a Ys-110 or a Ys-110s, and 1 1/2 stops stronger if both had diffusers on
- Very small, very lightweight.
- Great angle of coverage.
- Uses 4 AA batteries. Batteries usually will last for 3 dives of heavy shooting.
- Type 3 strobe comes with a high-intensity focus/aiming light
- Works great with my Sea & Sea TTL-converter III for nikon, for macro & close focus wide angle.
- Has the famous "S-TTL" feature that implements TTL via a fiber optic connection, mimicing the camera's pre-flash. (Not applicable when using sync cords).
- Has "pre-flash cancel" circuitry that helps reduce the strength of a camera's preflash, resulting in longer battery life for the camera, and shorter internal-flash recycle times. (Not applicable when using sync cords).
- Diffusers screw in, making it very hard to lose them. I've lost a couple diffusers already from my Sea & Sea strobes. It also makes it easy to place colored gel filters behind the strobes.
Inon Z240 con's
- Color temp of 5500K is good enough for wide-angle, but not ideal, some professionals prefer warmer strobes for wide-angle
- More expensive strobes have more even coverage, even with a diffuser coverage is not perfectly even when shooting very wide-angle (e.g. - with a 10mm fisheye lens), there is light falloff at the edges of coverage.
- Inon Z240 type 3 strobes recommend using low-discharge rechargables such as Sayno Eneloops. This really isn't a big deal, Eneloops are great batteries, inexpensive, can be recharged in any regular charger, and don't lose their charge over time.
- For a point and shoot camera, an Inon D2000 or S2000 will also work fine.
There's some example photos from the Phillipines taken with these strobes here.
Here's a recent cuttlefish photo taken with these strobes:
cuttlefish, bali with inon z240 strobes
Inon Z240 Settings & configuration
The Inon Z240 manual is famous for being hard to understand. Here's the Inon Z240 configuration & settings I use with my Sea & Sea D300 housing and Sea & Sea TTL converter. Note - when used with a TTL converter, the lower right button must be down, not up.
- For normal TTL - put the left dial = S-TTL , right dial = (doesn't matter)
- For FullPower - Simply turn your S&S TTL converter dial all the way to the left for manual, and just leave the left dial on S-TTL (nice feature), or you turn the left dial to FULL
- Manual Power - Set TTL converter dial to manual, turn left dial to M, adjust right dial as needed. Also use the manual power setting for a direct sync cable connection to a dSLR. Note - the "full" setting is 1/2 stop stronger than the strongest manual setting of 11.
Inon Z240 Dial Settings with a fiber optic cable
- The Inon Z240 strobe can be triggered by a camera's internal flash.
- S-TTL - use this setting for TTL with your Inon strobe. The strobe will mimic the pre-flash. The right dial should be at the 12'oclock position. Turn the right dial to the left or right one click for some amount of exposure compensation.
- Low - The same as S-TTL, but with less of a chance of over exposing the subject.
- Manual - for manual power settings (but will not do a full dump)
- Full - for a full dump (maximum power) of the strobe
Inon Z240 Type 1,2,3,4 differences
- Inon Z220 - Z240 predecessor - great strobe, but not as strong as the Z240
- Inon Z240 Type 1 - Original Z240 strobe
- Inon Z240 Type 2 - Added compatibility with Nikon D80/D200 (and future models) when used with fiber optics, because of the increased number of pre-flashes with these cameras.
- Inon Z240 Type 3 - Has a stronger modeling/spotting / aiming light, the bulb changed to an LED. Recommends low-discharge batteries such as the Sanyo Eneloop or Powerbase instant, to prevent overheating, especially when the modeling light is on.
- Inon Z240 Type 4 - Can be fired optically without a fiber optic cable. The TTL flash sensor is many times more sensitive than the previous types. Also, it is safer to use regular AA rechargables.
These differences are the same for the Inon D2000 strobe.
Inon Z240 Issues to be aware of
Manual mode will not fill on full power, it's a half-stop below full power. Only the "full" setting will do a full dump.
Don't make the mistake of ordering the strobes witout h the proper adapter (e.g. - Ultralight AD-IN) to connect to your arm/clamps, they are around $27 each.
Be very careful not to loose the metal screw that closes the battery compartment, it's easy to drop.
Sync Cable for the Z240
The Inon strobes take a nikonos 5-pin cable, just like Sea & Sea strobes, but different than Ikelite strobes.
Official Inon Z240 Specs
- 5500K color temp. My macro shots with the 0.5 diffuser are usually properly white balanced at 5100-5200K in the adobe raw editor.
- Guide number of 24 on land
- Angle of coverage 100 degrees, 110 with diffuser
- Recycle time 1.6 seconds on a full dump, much faster otherwise
- Flashes per charge - 240
- Size - 4.8 x 3.94 x 3.9 in (122 x 100 x 99 mm)
- Weight - 20.5 ounces (580g) on land, almost neutral underwater
- Able to be fired with sync cords or fiber optic cable.
- Takes 4 AA batteries.
My own measurements
- 26.75 ounces (758 grams) with batteries, sync cord, & 0.5 diffuser attached
- 22.5 ounces (638 grams) without batteries
- 21.25 ounces (602 grams) without batteries or attached sync cord
Comparison with other strobes
The brand new YS-D1 strobes compete with the Z240's - read my YS-D1 strobe review
Ikelite DS-160 substrobes are about the same strength, are larger and heavier but have a cooler temperature which can be more desired for people shooting wide-angle underwater photography.
Recommendation and Price
- Highly recommended, great choice for a strobe that can be used for macro and wide angle, for compacts and dSLR users. If you are compact user just doing macro/fish photos, you may not need this expensive of a strobe.
- The price can vary depending on country, $750 in the USA as of April 2009.
- Underwater Strobe and Flash Guide
- Underwater color temperature
- Understanding white balance
- Strobes and Types of Directional lighting
- Strobe positions underwater
Reef shot from Anilao, phillipines with Inon Z240 strobes