Japanese company Inon has been busy lately. The world’s best-selling underwater strobe company discontinued their classic Inon Z-240 strobe last year with a promise of new improved one. So, when the Z-330 was announced nobody was really surprised. The Inon Z-330 has already been praised as a world’s best underwater strobe and the for good reason. It is a clever unit. If the launch of the Z-330 was anticipated the opposite can be said for the D-200. What D-200 you might ask? Almost without any fanfare or pre-warning, a new mid-range Inon has landed on my desk. At the time of writing, not even Inon’s website has a mention of it.
In the end, the D-200 is not a surprise move by Inon. It is, of course, a natural development to replace the old mid-range D-2000 unit that got discontinued a while back. (confusing model numbering… I know). Analogous to the D-2000 and the Z-240 sharing the housing body, the D-200 uses the same housing than the Z-330. It has the same large improved buttons and the glass dome port. It also has the same 220-lumen AFO spotting light and even the same rotating light shade introduced with the Z-330. The things that did not change is the output. The D-200 retains its quite meagre guide no 20 power, which is a bit of a surprise, as both the Inon’s smaller S-2000 unit and the competing Sea & Sea YS-01/03 range lights come with the similar output.
The new glass dome port of the D-200 offers 110 degrees beam angle without a diffuser. The dome port is, of course, the main selling point of the new class of Inon strobe as it sets them apart from the competition. The D-200 ships with a softening dome diffuser and the new range of bayonet dome filters, made for the Z-330, can be also used. The most interesting of these is the 4600K warming filter that helps you to create extremely rich blue backgrounds for your underwater wide-angle photos. Reflections on your housing dome port can be an issue with the D-200 but if you use the rotating light shade actively you can eliminate this. The light shade can also be used to create a shadow in front of your dome port thus reducing unwanted reflections from any floating bits in the water; Read: Backscatter.
The D-200 includes the renowned S-TTL system found in all other Inon strobe units and over the years this has been found to be an accurate and flexible system that keeps on producing great results. Another advantage is the way Inon can accommodate their system to work with a wide range of cameras, where other manufacturers have struggled. Going manual is now also easier than ever thanks to the large adjustment knobs and the phosphorescent rear panel that glows in the dark. The Inon D-200 has a very sensitive slave sensor and can be used with pretty much all fibre optic cables currently on the market. What is missing though, is the electrical cable connection found in the Z model. So, if you still have a housing that only uses an electrical connection to trigger the strobes then the D-200 is not for you. However, almost all new housings by respectable manufacturers in the market already include an optical triggering possibility. Cumbersome and fault-prone electrical cables start to be a thing of the past.
In the nutshell, the D-200 is a 100 quid cheaper version of the Z-330 with less power. Apart from that, you get all the same amazing features. Is it worth the saving then is a completely different issue? The D-200 underwater strobe is now available from Mike’s Dive Cameras.