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Dive Photo Guide


Sea&Sea Announces YS-D3 Lightning Strobe
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, April 16, 2020 @ 01:30 AM (EST)

Following the announcements of the entry-level YS-03 Solis and the mid-level YS-01 Solis, Sea&Sea has unveiled its new high-end strobe, the YS-D3 Lightning. The strobe, which was announced at DEMA 2019, offers various upgrades and improvements over the YS-D2 (and YS-D2J), its venerable predecessor.

Boasting a guide number of 33, the YS-D3 Lightning has a newly developed aspherical troidal lens covering the flash tubes to provide even light dispersion with no hotspots. The strobe offers a beam angle of 110° as standard, but the optional dome diffuser will increase this up to 150°, according to Sea&Sea. The power of the target light has been greatly increased—around four times brighter than the YS-D2’s—which now allows the strobe to perform double duty as a dive light.

Recycle time has also been improved with a freshly designed circuitry and large capacity condensers, allowing the YS-D3 to fire continuously at GN16 and recycle in 0.8 seconds when shooting at GN22. The recycle time is 1.7 seconds when firing at full power. The strobe features a two-stage signal (visual and audible) to indicate when the strobe is ready to fire.

Backscatter is now taking preorders for the Sea&Sea YS-D3 Lightning, which is priced at $850.

When purchasing underwater photography equipment like the products mentioned in this article, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.com.



Creating a broad evenly distributed light intensity and a wide beam angle for the ultimate underwater image.


High Performance Strobe

Newly designed circuitry and light-emitting unit produces powerful guide number of 33. In addition, a high precision aspherical optical troidal lens has been fitted over the two flash tubes to disperse an even light from the center to the edge. The strobe’s beam angle will increase to 110° by attaching the standard accessories Diffuser. When the optional Dome diffuser is attached, beam angle will increase to as wide as 150° (TBD).


  • In order to avoid misunderstanding, the YS-D3 guide number (GN) and the beam angle are based on measurements taken on land (not underwater).
  • Some competitors will often state a GN measured on land and the beam angle in water, for example a GN 33 and beam angle of 110 degrees. However, this GN 33 value is based on a beam angle of 60~70 degrees. The beam angle may be expanded in water by a dome effect, however the GN in water is significantly lower than the value measured on land.
  • A land-based strobe that uses the same four AA batteries as the YS-D3 may provide a notation that the GN is 60, but these measurements are taken under the condition that the focal length is equivalent to 200 mm (= beam angle 12°). When the beam angle becomes narrower, the brightness of the illuminated area increases due to the light-collecting effect.

Aspherical optical troidal lens

Superior consecutive firing capability to capture those critical moments

The YS-D3 utilizes larger capacity condensers compared with those used on competing strobes. In addition, the D3 is also equipped with a newly designed charging circuit. As a result, the YS-D3 will fire at GN16 continuously without any interval time. Even when the strobe is fired at GN22, the strobe will fire again within a mere 0.8 seconds.

When the YS-D3 is fired at Guide Number over 22, a two-stage ready-to-fire signals will be issued. For instance, after the strobe fires at full power of GN33, the strobe will inform you both visually and audibly when the condenser is charged to fire at GN22. Then, when the condenser is charged enough to fire at GN33, another different signal will be issued. This design allows you to release more shutters in scenes where you want to shoot as many pictures as possible, maximizing shooting intervals between scenes.

Target light with increased power

Incorporating a uniquely designed aluminum heat diffuser, the target light is now powerful enough to be used as a dive light. (About 4 times brighter than YS-D2)

Various accessories available for all underwater imaging experiences

  • Dome diffuser (optional accessory)
    Increases beam angle to 150 (TBD). Essential accessory when fisheye lens is used, or soft light is required.
    + Guide number will drop to –(TBD)EV when it is fitted.
  • Snoot (optional accessory)
    A strobe adaptor which narrows the beam angle to be directed at a target point. Diameter of the opening 25mm. Designed with internal prism which aligns target light`s light axis and strobe’s light axis to the center.
  • Slave prism (optional accessory)
    Optical guiding device to fire the strobe when a fiber-optic cable is not used. This device is for manual use only. The device is effective if multiple strobes are used in a fixed position.  However, the flash may not fire depending on the position of where multiple flashes are occurring in relation to that of the master flash. 

Dome diffuser


Slave prism


Excellent visibility

Backlight panel that is effective 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.

*The color in DS-TTLII mode has been changed from the YS-D2 to match the color with the optical converter.

In DS-TTLII mode In manual pre-flash mode In manual non pre-flash mode


Connection method with arm that can be selected according to preference

YS-D3 comes with a straight type ball base. Optional YS base and new Diagonal ball base can be installed depending on the application.

  • YS base (common to YS-D1/D2/D3): Traditional YS base. Easy vertical swing.
  • Diagonal ball base (only for YS-D3): A ball base inclined at 35 ° compared to the straight type. This makes it easier to lower the strobe backwards, making it suitable for shooting when using a dome port. Also, when a Synchro Cord N is installed, interference between the cord and the ball clamp is minimized.
YS base Diagonal ball base

Diagonal ball base system example



  • [Guide Number (ISO 100/m) (land)] 33, 28 (with Diffuser attached)
  • [Beam Angle] 105°x80° (without Diffuser), 110°x100° (with Diffuser)
  • [Batteries] 4xAA A: 6V Ni-MH: 4.8V
  • [Number of Flashes *1] A: 140 Ni-MH: 220
  • [Recycle time (full) *2] A: 3.5 sec. Ni-MH: 1.7 sec.
  • [Color temperature] 5800K
  • [Color temperature w/diffuser] 5500K
  • [Depth rating] 100m/330ft
  • [Dimensions (WxHxD)] 92x111x147mm/3.6 x 4.4 x 5.8 inches (excluding ball base) 
  • [Weight] 610g/21.5oz (w/o batteries) (excluding YS-base)
  • [Underwater weight] Approx. +40g/1.4oz (incl. batteries)
  • [Others]
    • Exposure control: DS-TTL II,  Slave TTL, Light level control dial (GN): 1/1.4/2/2.8/4/5.6/8/11/16/22/33 (11 steps)
    • DS-TTL II function
    • Slave function
    • Auto power OFF function 30min
    • Sync cord: 5-pin Sync cord/N, Fiber-Optic Cable
    • Over-pressure relief valve
    • LED target light (output is adjustable in 2 steps)
    • Audible charge signal

*1 Number of flashes and recycle time depends on the battery brand, temperature and frequency of use.
*2 Number of flashes and recycle time of Ni-MH batteries were tested on 2500 mAh batteries.



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