Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe Review

Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe review, specs and shooting tips for underwater photography, plus strobe positioning and other tutorials.
By Brent Durand, Photos by Kelli Dickinson

The Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe is the latest in a line of very popular strobes for underwater photography. Compact, powerful and quick to recycle, the YS-D1 took the dive world by storm. The YS-D2 builds on this success, adding some new features and addressing some of the minor "inconveniences" of the previous model.

When the YS-D2 strobe was first released, I put together a comparison with the YS-D1. This article focuses solely on reviewing the YS-D2, so if you're looking for the comparisons, click below.

Sea&Sea YS-D2 vs. YS-D1 Strobe Comparison

The YS-D2 is compact, lightweight and a workhorse for many dedicated underwater photographers. All the photos in this review are from Bluewater Photo's manager, Kelli Dickinson, who has done some real testing of the strobes.

YS-D2 vs YS-D2J Strobe

Sometime in 2016, Sea & Sea moved their manufacturing location for strobes outside of Japan. Some batches of these strobes had reliability problems, with a higher failure rate than the strobes previously had, so in late 2017 they moved production back to Japan. If you see the "YS-D2J" strobe, that signifies it is the strobe manufactured in the new facilities in Japan.

The 2 strobes are priced differently, as some places have lower close-out prices on the YS-D2 strobes. As your Sea & Sea dealer which version will best fit your needs. For a neutral opinion, contact Bluewater Photo, who had both version in stock as of November 2017.

From a features and specifications point of view, the YS-D2 and the YS-D2J strobes are identical, and we will refer to both versions as the YS-D2 strobe from this point onward.

YS-D2 Key Features & Specs

  • Guide Number:  32

    • 24 with 100 degree diffuser, 20 with 120 degree diffuser. This is the same as the YS-250PRO, which is highly regarded by professional wide-angle u/w photographers.

  • Controls:  Mode, Target Light, Level Light

  • Beam Angle:  80x80

    • 100x100 with 100 degree diffuser, 120x120 with 120 degree diffuser.

  • Batteries:  4x AA

  • Glowing Control Panel (colored LEDs indicate shooting mode)

  •  Confirmation (so you know when strobe is recycled after full dump)

  • Dual-poweded Focus Light with Red Filter

  • Color Temp with Diffuser:  5250

  • Weight Without Batteries:  623g / 22oz (including YS-mount and bolt)

  • Available with either YS Mount or Ball Mount


Where to Buy the Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe

- Purchase a Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe

- Dual Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe Kit with Ultalight Control Systems

- Single Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe Kit with Ultralight Control Systems

Bluewater Photo offers the best advice, customer service and deals on gear!




YS-D2 Strobe Control Panel

The control panel for the YS-D2 strobe is very intuitive and makes it easy to select and verify your shooting mode. The knobs are clearly labeled, and the illuminated panel makes it easy to read strobe settings at night if you don't know them by feel. 4 LED light colors indicate the shooting mode: orange for pre-flash, green for no pre-flash, light blue for DS-TTL, and dark blue for Slave-TTL.


TTL Capabilities

The Sea&Sea YS-D2 is fully compatible with all popular TTL converters on the market. It features a fiber optic port as well as a 2nd slave fiber optic port for, you guessed it, slaving it off another strobe. The YS-D2 also features a sync cord port for those shooting a system without popup flash or flash converter, or who simply prefer to use sync cords (check out this strobe rapid fire with the Sony a6000).


YS-D2 Strobe Recycle Time

The YS-D2 electronics just feel better than the YS-D1. They're more crisp. The audible confirmation is a useful feature for shooting at full power - no need to watch for the LED to light up out of the corner of your eye while tracking focus on a quick subject. The LED light accurately turns on when the capacitor has a full charge.


YS-D2 Modeling Light

The YS-D2 strobe has two power levels built in to the modeling light. This is a convenient feature for those shooting macro with a single strobe, however the modeling light isn't useful for dual strobe users, as the strobes shouldn't be positioned directly at the subject. See our article on Underwater Strobe Positioning.

The modeling lights are very useful as backup lights on night dives, however. No more need to carry backup dive lights if you have two strobes with modeling lights.

The YS-D2 strobe diffusers (both 100 and 120 degree) have a hole where you can pop in a red plastic filter that provides a red focus light. This is useful for saving your night vision or for subjects who are disturbed less by red light than white light (generally shrimp, lobsters, crabs, cephalopods).


New Battery Compartment

The Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe battery compartment is separated from the light head and electronics. The reason is so that if it experiences a minor flood, all you need to do is replace the Sea&Sea battery cap, pop in new batteries and you're back in business.

Opening and closing the battery cap is simple, with easy o-ring maintenance.


Video YS-D2 Strobe Review

Bluewater Photo's Kelli Dickinson reviews the YS-D2 strobe in depth.


YS-D2 Underwater Photos





YS-D2 Strobe Conclusion

The Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe is an excellent option for underwater photography, and Bluewater Photo's #1 recommendation for beginner and advanced photographers alike. The strobe is easy to use and understand whether you are controlling it manually or using TTL. It is perfectly suited for both macro and wide-angle photography with DSLR, mirrorless or compact cameras. In short, you will not be disappointed by this strobe!


Where to Buy the Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe

- Purchase a Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe

- Purchase a Sea&Sea YS-D2J Strobe

Dual Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe Kit with Ultalight Control Systems

Single Sea&Sea YS-D2 Strobe Kit with Ultralight Control Systems

Bluewater Photo offers the best advice, customer service and deals on gear!


Suggested Tutorials



Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.

Brent is an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at

Follow Underwater Photography Guide on Facebook or Instagram.


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