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This here is a textbook illustration as to why engineers should not be allowed to independently design UIs. Between this gem and the 'press button five times to activate', it has some engineer's fingerprints all over it.When I read this, I thought to myself, I did fire a single shot and waited. To prove it out, I tried again. Set my YS-N converter to manual and the strobe to manual. I took a picture and nothing happened. My knee jerk reaction was to try again after maybe a 2 second delay. Keying in on a "few" seconds, I waited a little longer... The dang thing fired every shot afterwards. I repeated this multiple times, and it works. Turns out I just needed to realize the first time won't produce a flash. Thanks!
It's not that complex really. The manual just wasn't clear enough as to what the auto sync process was. It just states it auto syncs... Thanks? The steps for the MF2 are, turn it on to manual mode, fire a shot (no flash will be observed), and wait 3+ seconds. I expected to see a flash on the first shot and that was throwing me off. But to your point, there could have been some sort of status light flashing that it was in auto sync mode and stops blinking when complete. I'm a little partial though, I'm a software engineering manager, and I am a strong proponent of UIX.This here is a textbook illustration as to why engineers should not be allowed to independently design UIs. Between this gem and the 'press button five times to activate', it has some engineer's fingerprints all over it.
I have a love/hate affair with the Backscatter Miniflash Strobes. I've been an early adopter of the MF-1 strobe/snoot combo and recently bought the MF-2 strobe as well.
A little history first. I got the MF-1 strobe in early 2020 and have used it ever since. I've done hundreds of dives with it and now always carry this strobe when I shoot Macro, paired with a larger Inon 330 strobe. I've actually started to use the same Big/Little combo on some wide-angle shoots as well, to very good effect.
Unfortunately, my experience of reliability has been dismal with the MF-1. It "stopped working" on me 3 separate times requiring it to be sent in for service for repair or replacement. It's pretty clear that the initial MF-1 strobes had a charging or capacitor circuit defect. I think the 2nd repair/replacement came with a note that the replacement had "updated circuits" to deal with the problems. Which did not prevent it from failing again. The fourth MF-1 I got worked the best, lasting for over a year and maybe 300 dives. But then it got a minor flood and died. That one we can blame on me. However, in keeping with Backscatters excellent service, they sent me a brand-new MF-1 strobe anyways. Amazing, I love Backscatter.
When the last MF-1 flooded, the MF-2 had recently been released. I decided to buy one of these as a replacement. After my order Backscatter told me they were replacing my flooded MF-1 as well, so now I'd have a backup. Great.
I've been using the MF-2 for a few weeks now and I'm already having problems with it. It's too soon to say if it's defective or if the customer is "using is wrong." Here is the problem.
1) Backscatter say that you can ONLY use the approved Xtar 21700 5000mah battery with the MF-2. However, this battery is not even sold in the USA except by Backscatter bundled with an overpriced charger and 2 cells for $85. Two batteries ordered direct from China (3-4 weeks shipping) only cost $22.
2) I don't want to buy their bundled charger. I already have a charger that is USB-C based. I don't want to own an AC powered charger. All my camera chargers are USB based for consistency and tidiness of the charging station.
3) I instead have two NiteCore brand 21700 batteries that I could by in the USA from Amazon or BatteryJunction. A pair was $50, which is double the price of the direct from China price, but without extra shipping fees.
4) The NiteCore brand is high quality, and in fact was the only Approved 18650 battery for the MF-1 strobe. (Which worked fine with other 18650 batteries as well)
5) Backscatter says that the MF-2 CAN be used with the approved MF-1 18650 batteries with a sizing sleeve. So that means NiteCore is approved, Right???
Problem: My MF-2 strobe does not work consistently. I took it diving last night and the MF-2 would fire every time I took a picture, but there was NO Intensity behind the flash. All my pictures were black with the MF-2 alone. I reproduced this on my bench after the dive. Swapping to another battery got it to work properly again. I charged both of my NiteCore 21700 batteries (which at 80-90% capacity already) and now they both work. So it's not at all consistent. The MF-2 has worked well on 5-6 dives in the last couple of weeks, and now it does not work consistently. he MF-1 strobe I also have is working perfectly with the NiteCore batteries.
So, it this MF-2 broken? Is the design so poor that it can't be used with other previously/currently recommend batteries?? Or what??? Am I a chump for buying this strobe after such a poor history with them?
Regardless, I'm pretty frustrated with the Backscatter strobes at this point but I still want to use them. The results are great when it works.
Thanks Dave, very helpful. I may play a bit more before buying a second z330…I use the combo many ways:
* Macro with snoot as primary and 330 for fill light at low power
* Wide angle with 330 providing wide angle area lighting and snoot illuminating the subject
* Removing the snoot and using the mf-2 as a second wide angle source, usually inward lighting from the right.
* I rarely use the snoot as a single lighting source as i don't love the spotlight effect
Hope that helps.