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The Fiber Optic Cable or Sync Cord Debate - Pros & Cons

Articles » Photo Equipment » The Fiber Optic Cable or Sync Cord Debate - Pros & Cons

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The Fiber Optic Cable or Sync Cord Debate - Pros & Cons

Depending on the make and model of your camera, which underwater housing you've chosen and which strobes you've decided will best light up those fish portraits and reef scenes, you may have another decision to make: fiber optic cable or electronic sync cord. For some, your gear will dictate your choice, for others, you'll have to be guided by your preferences and shooting needs. We've listed the Pros and Cons for both fiber optic cable and electronic sync cord below to help you determine which strobe sync system is best for you.

Fiber Optic Cable Pros

  • No penetration of the housing so no concern of flooding
  • Removable in water
  • Fairly durable, difficult to damage
  • No electronic bulkheads to flood
  • No o-rings to maintain
  • Can do TTL without the need of a converter, with compatible strobes
  • Takes up very little space in your camera bag
  • Relatively inexpensive

Fiber Optic Cable Cons

  • Rely on built-in flashʼs recycle time
  • Strobe manufacturer specific
  • Can be housing specific
  • Can be damaged if not handled correctly
  • Requires a housing with an optical port
  • Not all strobes accept fiber optic cables

Electric Sync Cord Pros

  • Does not rely on the camera's flash so fast recycle time
  • Compatible with most SLR housings
  • Since you are not relying on built in flash, easier on camera battery

Electric Sync Cord Cons

  • Bulkheads can flood and are susceptible to corrosion
  • Cords have o-rings that need to be maintained
  • More expensive than fiber optic
  • Since the bulkhead penetrates housing potential flood point
  • Requires a converter for TTL
  • Not all strobes accept electronic sync cords

Still befuddled by the options? No worries! Feel free to contact any one of our Sales Pros who will be happy to recommend what gear you need based on your shooting style. Our Sales Pros are all active divers who regularly use the equipment that we stock, so drop us a line! We're here to help!

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