PDA

View Full Version : Wireless flash trigger options...


Please support NSOP by using our affilaites:
      Receive a FREE GIFT from Think Tank Photo

   Camera Gear Rentals   

jacobsen1
08-18-2008, 05:10 PM
OK, so what are the other wireless flash trigger options out there (for canon flashes)?

I know there are pocket wizards and I know they're :$$$:
I know (and own) the ST-E2 works very well.
I know there are other wireless options out there, but what are they?

I'm looking for other cheaper options.

Here's my issue. I own:

2 x 420 EXs
1 x 580 EX II
1 x ST-E2But I rarely use flash. My issue is, when I do use flash, I like to use it off camera. So I'd like a wireless transmitter. But I also don't need all this $$$ tied up in flash equipment. I've had the 420s and ST-E2 sitting around forever from work. They're mine and I don't use them for work any more. So I can sell them. The 580 II is clearly a better flash, and it is a wireless trigger, but if I sell the 420s and ST-E2 then I only have one flash... I'm thinking if I kept just the 580 EX II for now, but had a way to trigger it off camera (inexpensively, because I have the ST-E2 which is worth ~$150, so it needs to be less than I can get for it selling it used) I'd go with just it and a cheap wireless option.

Basically I'm looking to sell of as much of this flash equipment as I can. The 420s and ST-E2 are mine and I don't use them. The 580 was part of the sale of my old P&S. I'd love a wireless transmitter in the ~$50 price range if possible. Also, what wired solutions exist? I'm not totally against wires if they're super cheap.

Jayso
08-18-2008, 05:19 PM
Tesla coils....oh wait you said $50....nevermind....

thomps6s
08-18-2008, 05:27 PM
For less than $50 you should look into Cactus V2s Trigger and receiver.
http://www.mpex.com/browse.cfm/4,514.html

Some people complain about reliability issues, I for one have never had one. and I have fired a few flashes at a time on different occasions.

I am probably going to get a set of these eventually. Affordable and reliable.
http://alienbees.com/remotes.html

jacobsen1
08-18-2008, 05:39 PM
yeah, this is what I've found so far:
radio poppers $360 (http://shop.radiopopper.com/)
alien bees $130 (http://www.alienbees.com/cybersync.html)
CACTUS Wireless Flash Trigger V2s (gadget infinity) $32.95 (http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=16766&cat=274&page=1)and the alien bees don't fire a hotshoe based flash either. I'm sure there are cords that would work with the 580 II since it has a port, but it won't work for any other canon w/o adapters and crazy cords, so I think I'll skip it. Is there anything similar to the cactus triggers I'm missing? Seems like a pretty big gap between those and the bees. I though I'd seen some other option at some point that isn't in this list....

thomps6s
08-18-2008, 05:42 PM
yeah, this is what I've found so far:
radio poppers $360 (http://shop.radiopopper.com/)
alien bees $130 (http://www.alienbees.com/cybersync.html)
CACTUS Wireless Flash Trigger V2s (gadget infinity) $32.95 (http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=16766&cat=274&page=1)and the alien bees don't fire a hotshoe based flash either. I'm sure there are cords that would work with the 580 II since it has a port, but it won't work for any other canon w/o adapters and crazy cords, so I think I'll skip it. Is there anything similar to the cactus triggers I'm missing? Seems like a pretty big gap between those and the bees. I though I'd seen some other option at some point that isn't in this list....

You want to put a flash in the shoe and have one off camera and fire em both?

jacobsen1
08-18-2008, 05:58 PM
oh yeah, and the radio popper jr:
http://radiopopper.com/blog/?cat=5
http://radiopopper.com/products/view/radiopopper_jr
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/10/breaking-radiopopper-jr-announced.html

supposedly it'll be $25, and available summer 2008... Maybe I just wait for them and play with the 580II on camera for now?


You want to put a flash in the shoe and have one off camera and fire em both?

:lol:

not quite (confusing isn't it?)...

I want the receiver to sit under the flash on my umbrella stands and have the receiver trigger the flash via contacts in a hot shoe shape... Basically this avoids having to have wires anywhere, even between the receiver and the flash... Because the bee's solution needs a wire to run between the receiver and the flash to work.

thomps6s
08-18-2008, 06:11 PM
oh yeah, and the radio popper jr:
http://radiopopper.com/blog/?cat=5
http://radiopopper.com/products/view/radiopopper_jr
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/10/breaking-radiopopper-jr-announced.html

supposedly it'll be $25, and available summer 2008... Maybe I just wait for them and play with the 580II on camera for now?



:lol:

not quite (confusing isn't it?)...

I want the receiver to sit under the flash on my umbrella stands and have the receiver trigger the flash via contacts in a hot shoe shape... Basically this avoids having to have wires anywhere, even between the receiver and the flash... Because the bee's solution needs a wire to run between the receiver and the flash to work.

This is what I did to "fix" the cactus setup. The swivel just isn't strong enough and it gets weak.

The original Factory look.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2405/2229934107_a0076f4992.jpg?v=0

The original mount was not sturdy enough to support a strobe on an umbrella stand. The strobe would end up falling forward. I came up with a good, working solution.

I took the umbrella stand "hot Shoe" mount off of my Cactus Receivers and used epoxy to adhere them on the receiver bodies.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2392/2483862125_e8b154be93_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2309/2484677618_0299af6679_b.jpg

dansaa
08-18-2008, 07:03 PM
OMG SHAWN! You're a genius. I have the same problem with the flashes falling forward. I think I'm going to have to copy you.

jacobsen1
08-18-2008, 09:07 PM
Chelsea, you've got the same ones?

and shawn, awesome DIY solution! When you say strobes, you mean normal flashes right, not something heavier?

thomps6s
08-18-2008, 09:11 PM
Chelsea, you've got the same ones?

and shawn, awesome DIY solution! When you say strobes, you mean normal flashes right, not something heavier?

Yeah, Hot Shoe Mount Flashes

dansaa
08-18-2008, 10:44 PM
Chelsea, you've got the same ones?

and shawn, awesome DIY solution! When you say strobes, you mean normal flashes right, not something heavier?
I do! They aren't "Cactus" Brand but they are the same thing. Here's a picture:

http://chelseataylorphoto.com/misc/pt04_rf04.jpg

ride5000
08-19-2008, 07:21 AM
could you just place a rubber washer between the bracket and the housing, such that when you tightened down the thumbscrew it would hold more securely? either a rubber washer or a toothed lock washer.

otoh, if there's no real purpose in adjusting their pitch, just glue the bracket and be done with it.

thomps6s
08-19-2008, 08:11 AM
could you just place a rubber washer between the bracket and the housing, such that when you tightened down the thumbscrew it would hold more securely? either a rubber washer or a toothed lock washer.

otoh, if there's no real purpose in adjusting their pitch, just glue the bracket and be done with it.

There are a couple key issues with the bracket.

A. It doesn't hold the flash i.e it falls forward or backward

B. It sets the Flash too high, especially when using an umbrella

C. you don't need the remote to swivel, especially when you use an umbrella swivel.

jacobsen1
08-19-2008, 09:17 AM
C. you don't need the remote to swivel, especially when you use an umbrella swivel.

yeah, with my umbrella stands, the flash would go in at the set angle, so doing what you've done minimizes the height addition and makes it a solid rise since the flash bottom is solid anyway. Not sure why'd they'd design them with that bracket as it costs more and isn't needed but maybe there are times when it'd be nice? Not with my flash/umbrella stands though.

dansaa
08-19-2008, 01:04 PM
B. It sets the Flash too high, especially when using an umbrella.

This is the main reason I would want to glue them. You came up with a perfect solution!

uncle_git
08-19-2008, 07:18 PM
This is the main reason I would want to glue them. You came up with a perfect solution!

I trigger mine using the cable from the receiver to the strobe and just bungee the receiver to the light stand - that way the flash is at the right height in the umbrella.

I also converted the receivers to run off of AA batteries instead of the oddball hard to find ones they use stock.

Oh and I added a tuned detachable antenna to the transmitter to get better range / performance from them as well - all in all very satisfied.

I'll post pics of my hackery tonight.

jacobsen1
09-24-2008, 01:13 PM
bump for caitlyn. :wave:

PhatheadWRX
09-24-2008, 01:20 PM
Ben, did you end up getting anything to go remote?

Caitlyn, what flashe(s) do you want to use remotely. Chels and I use 430EXs with PT-04 triggers that can be tempromental at times. If you end up with that combo, I did some slight mods to my PT-04 receivers that really helped - http://frenchbrownphoto.com/2008/09/mod-your-e-bay-flash-triggers/

dansaa
09-24-2008, 01:27 PM
I have a question: I have two receivers, and only one has the sync cable input. Does that mean that's the newer one? Should I just put the newer one on the 430 and the old one on on the 580 and see if that works?

I was/am actually going to test this theory out but since this thread got bumped, I thought I might ask to get some opinions.

jacobsen1
09-24-2008, 01:48 PM
old version:
http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=16741&cat=274&page=1
new version:
http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=16767&cat=274&page=1

both have inputs, so maybe try both on the 430 and see if one works better?

and no, I haven't bought anything yet french. I'm on the fence between cactus and a coiled cable.

dansaa
09-24-2008, 01:55 PM
Mine look identical (same wording, etc.), except one has the input and the other doesn't. Hmph. I'll just test it out and report back.

jacobsen1
09-24-2008, 01:55 PM
do they say V2 or V2s?

dansaa
09-24-2008, 01:56 PM
Nope, they're not Cactus brand.

Edit:
http://chelseataylorphoto.com/misc/pt04_rf04.jpg

PhatheadWRX
09-24-2008, 01:58 PM
Chels, I'd try that. Mine does not have the PC port. Maybe the one with the PC port will work better.

jacobsen1
09-24-2008, 03:35 PM
also, you could get a PC to hotshoe cord and run it from that port to the foot of the flash. A PITA and more money, yes, but maybe it'd solve the problem?

thomps6s
09-24-2008, 03:59 PM
also, you could get a PC to hotshoe cord and run it from that port to the foot of the flash. A PITA and more money, yes, but maybe it'd solve the problem?

I mentioned in this thread or another that some people I know who have had issues with their canon flashes, resolved them by using a sync cable from the flash to the cactus receiver.

dansaa
09-24-2008, 04:01 PM
YAY! I think it worked! No random flashes from the 430 AND the 430 is responding every time I press the shutter button and not just from the test button on the transmitter.

Chelsea is very happy. For no other reason, I just kept the receiver with the sync input on the 580 because is can use a sync cable. I didn't even use the sync cable.

http://chelseataylorphoto.com/misc/two_flashes.jpg

thomps6s
09-24-2008, 04:08 PM
Nice!

jacobsen1
09-24-2008, 04:21 PM
Nice work chelsea. So I assume you use both flashes off camera, otherwise you'd use the 580 to pop the 430 right?

dansaa
09-24-2008, 04:48 PM
You are correct, sir!

BobbyT
09-24-2008, 08:55 PM
You could give one of these a try. Made by the company who makes my remote shutter release, which works very well.
http://stores.ebay.com/Hong-Kong-Supplies_Studio-equipment-and-Lighting_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ191707013QQftidZ2Q QtZkm

PhatheadWRX
09-24-2008, 09:03 PM
great to know Chels!!! Too bad mine doesn't have the PC sync. Oh well, my mods are letting it work virtually issue free with my 430ex

riderofbmx4130
10-03-2008, 11:10 PM
are the cactus ones reliable?
any off camera shooting i do with flashes will probably be in the dark, which the whole infrared line of site thing isn't working out for me so much =p

i've looked into the radio poppers intencely and will probably end up buying them once i have the cash since they keep ettl off camera wirelessly! which is nice to have in some cases :p
although $200 each for radio poppers are a lot, but worth it if reliable triggers can't be found. so back to the original question. are the cactus ones reliable?

Idjiit
10-03-2008, 11:37 PM
I know this is a bit off topic, and I haven't read the whole thread. But why the hell would you pop for a 580EX Mark II and use it in manual mode? :confused:

riderofbmx4130
10-03-2008, 11:40 PM
I know this is a bit off topic, and I haven't read the whole thread. But why the hell would you pop for a 580EX Mark II and use it in manual mode? :confused:


In manual mode it's far more consistent IMO.
i've realized that if you only want a fill flash ettl is perfect, but for the main lighting, eh not so much?

thomps6s
10-04-2008, 03:28 AM
I know this is a bit off topic, and I haven't read the whole thread. But why the hell would you pop for a 580EX Mark II and use it in manual mode? :confused:

This is strobist related stuff and I know you know the strobist gig.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 08:20 AM
This is strobist related stuff and I know you know the strobist gig.

Yes, and my point is typically guys are using flashes in "Strobist"-type setups in manual mode, or at least the older non-TTL auto modes. So I would assume there's nothing really in the 580EX II that you'd need in this sort of setup. I'm assuming that Ben maybe wants the 580EX for doing on camera stuff in E-TTL, but is also using it like this?

riderofbmx4130
10-04-2008, 09:55 AM
i find i use my 580exII on a shoe cord for strobist work and the same but useing a 430ex as a slave for off camera work.

dansaa
10-04-2008, 01:22 PM
I shoot with the 580 on camera and off the camera. So I use it both ways.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 01:46 PM
I just tried using the Nikon wireless stuff, using the D700 as the Commander and controlling the off-camera flashes - an SB-900 and two SB-600's. ****ing sweet. Being able to use TTL or have full manual control from the camera is pretty bitchin. Having both visual and audio confirmation while shooting is great, too.

riderofbmx4130
10-04-2008, 01:51 PM
Being able to use TTL or have full manual control from the camera is pretty bitchin. Having both visual and audio confirmation while shooting is great, too.



the reason i want radio poppers for my canon!

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 01:57 PM
the reason i want radio poppers for my canon!

Radio triggers won't give you full manual control from the camera. What I mean by that is that with the Nikon system you can literally change the flash output of the remote flashes from the camera (by using the pop-up flash). So, if your ratio is a bit off you don't have to stop, walk across the room and tweak the flash when your model moves one foot to the left.

The Canon system lets your ratio from the ST-E2 (two groups) or a 550/580EX (three groups), but iirc you can't control things manually - so in conditions where E-TTL is problematic, you're back to running around to set things right.

thomps6s
10-04-2008, 02:03 PM
Radio triggers won't give you full manual control from the camera. What I mean by that is that with the Nikon system you can literally change the flash output of the remote flashes from the camera (by using the pop-up flash). So, if your ratio is a bit off you don't have to stop, walk across the room and tweak the flash when your model moves one foot to the left.

The Canon system lets your ratio from the ST-E2 (two groups) or a 550/580EX (three groups), but iirc you can't control things manually - so in conditions where E-TTL is problematic, you're back to running around to set things right.

I believe Radio poppers offer TTL control from the camera.
Wait, maybe not like the Commander system Nikon has, which seems really, really slick.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 02:05 PM
Ahhh... sorry, didn't realize that "Radio Popper" was actually a product - looks cool! But at $180 per flash, I think I'll stick with my system - that's about what a SB-600 costs! :lol:

riderofbmx4130
10-04-2008, 02:08 PM
Ahhh... sorry, didn't realize it "Radio Popper" was actually a product - looks cool!


haha yeah they are amazing.
full ettl from camera.
i can't wait to buy some!



also, right now i set off my 430ex with my 580exII which is on camera.
so i just change the settings on the camera or flash easily without running over to the other flash anyways. only problem is the line of sight business that gets annoying.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 02:12 PM
Actually, after reading up on the Radio Poppers, it looks like the unit is really dependent on the functionality of your primary flash. So yeah, it'll let you ratio from a 580EX but it's essentially doing whatever the 580EX is capable of doing, but triggering by radio. So, since the 580EX can't adjust manually, neither can the Radio Popper. I believe their reference to manual control is in regards to flash systems like Nikon's that support it.

Am I missing something?

JERM
10-04-2008, 02:52 PM
You're just all happy to have a new Nikon, aren't you?

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 03:02 PM
Believe me, I have my grumbles about my new gear - all of it! But all in all, yeah I'm pretty stoked.

I'm not trying to harp on the Radio Poppers - they really do sound cool if line-of-sight's an issue for you (generally not for me). If I needed a radio system I'd certainly look at those over Pocket Wizards, since they've always struck me as so limiting. Just want to make sure that people going into their purchases knowing what they're getting into, and it sounds like there may be some confusion over their capabilities.

riderofbmx4130
10-04-2008, 04:07 PM
I believe their reference to manual control is in regards to flash systems like Nikon's that support it.

Am I missing something?


you are missing something.

radio poppers were made by canon users for a canon system.
the fact that they work with nikon as well is just an added bonus.
which leads me to the fact that they intended the transmitter to be used with an st-e2 i believe it is. although it works with the 580exII as well as a trigger for your slaves.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 04:37 PM
which leads me to the fact that they intended the transmitter to be used with an st-e2 i believe it is. although it works with the 580exII as well as a trigger for your slaves.

No, I get that. If that's the case then they won't provide "manual" power control of the external flashes "from the camera" - whether that means from the ST-E2 or 580EX, since neither of those devices provide that functionality. All you can do is set FEC and the E-TTL ratio (2 groups for the ST-E2, 3 for the 580) or simply trigger the flashes in manual mode - while requiring you to control the power for each flash on each flash.

Don't get me wrong, it's still kicks ass - but it doesn't do what I was talking about earlier for the Canon system, since to the best of my knowledge the Canon system doesn't support it. If you used it with the Nikon system, the Poppers would be able to leverage that as well.

riderofbmx4130
10-04-2008, 05:12 PM
hmmmm maybe i'm mistaken because i've only ever set off my flashes at the same power. never varried them or knew i could or how to do it.

CaityB
10-04-2008, 05:38 PM
Thank you, Ben :)


Ben, did you end up getting anything to go remote?

Caitlyn, what flashe(s) do you want to use remotely. Chels and I use 430EXs with PT-04 triggers that can be tempromental at times. If you end up with that combo, I did some slight mods to my PT-04 receivers that really helped - http://frenchbrownphoto.com/2008/09/mod-your-e-bay-flash-triggers/

In all honesty I don't know...Time to start a new thread....

jacobsen1
10-04-2008, 10:21 PM
sam, if you're asking me, I had a 550, 2 420s and a ST-E2. The 550 isn't sealed... and the 580II came as a trade for a lens I was selling. I took it figuring I'd sell it, but like the new II upgrades enough I sold the 420s and ST-E2 instead. I rarely use flash, but would like to be able to do off camera. I'm not sure if I'll end up with a wireless solution, more 430IIs, another ST-E2, or what. For now I'm just looking for a cheap off camera solution to see if I'd use it. Manual would be tolerable to see if I'd use it, but yeah, I'm basically trying to see if I even need flashes at all.

I'm thinking of selling the 580II for 2 430IIs when they're available because I really like all the small things they fixed with the IIs. But, yeah, I rarely use flash. Is it because I hate flashes, or the issues with my old flashes? I've also considered getting some "real" lights and scrapping flash all together.

IBwhatdoyouwanttodowithlightsanyway?

first is having a nice studio like setup for having fun around the house. I know "real" lights would be better there, but flashes are cheaper and smaller which is nice. Second is shooting skiing/snowboarding/skating type things. Flashes are easier to move for that, and wireless would be very nice, but they don't always have the power needed. That all depends on the setup though. Portable studio setups are $$$.

Idjiit
10-04-2008, 11:11 PM
I'm a fan of Speedlights, personally. But I like being able to stick them in odd places without it being a major hassle - I've been in situations I literally taped the flash to the ceiling. It is a bummer not having real modeling lights on them, but... meh.

blcknspo0ln
10-05-2008, 03:04 PM
I read through the thread, but not sure if anyone really answered this question:

I have an SB600 and an SB26 that I'd like to use with one of the cheaper systems. I take it that these radio systems (if any) don't support the TTL system? I take it both hot shoes have to be programmed manually and the rf signal just triggers them to fire and the radiopoppers actually offer TTL (which doesn't really matter in my SB26 anyway)?

thomps6s
10-05-2008, 03:19 PM
I read through the thread, but not sure if anyone really answered this question:

I have an SB600 and an SB26 that I'd like to use with one of the cheaper systems. I take it that these radio systems (if any) don't support the TTL system? I take it both hot shoes have to be programmed manually and the rf signal just triggers them to fire and the radiopoppers actually offer TTL (which doesn't really matter in my SB26 anyway)?

Correct, the cheap Wireless systems such as the Cactus brand will just fire the flash, you have to set the power ratios yourself on each flash.

Idjiit
10-05-2008, 03:20 PM
Yeah, the cheaper systems basically just say "Flash now", and will use whatever Manual settings you have configured on the Flash (or Auto Flash if your flash supports it, I would assume).

blcknspo0ln
10-06-2008, 12:15 AM
Yes, thanks for the accurate information. I just buckled down and spent the $42 (cheap!) for the phottix transmitter and 3 receiver auction on eBay. Judging by the feedback and some researching, these seem to be solid (along with dansaa's review). I'm excited to see how this will help me with some portrait work.

blcknspo0ln
10-18-2008, 04:24 PM
Sad day :( I just received my Phottix Pt-04 system in the mail today after THREE weeks and they don't work with my D80. After some quick research, I thought that the camera would recognize the transmitter as a hotshoe and therefore fire it, but little did I know the transmitter only gets fired via pc sync cable (which my D80 doesn't have!). I have the option of buying the AS-15 here:

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Photography-Accessories/Flash-Adapters/3066/AS-15-Sync-Terminal-Adapter.html

but that would make the entire system way more robus than I need it to. I think I'm going to sell this off along with my old Nikon SB-25 and just get another SB600 and use CLS.

Anyone else have this issue? Anybody want my phottix kit for $42 shipped?

PhatheadWRX
10-18-2008, 04:34 PM
dude, your camera won't see the transmitter, but when you press the shutter it should still fire it.

try that out (just press the shutter and look for the red light on the top of the transmitter)

oh and I'll totally buy your SB-25 if you sell it ;)

blcknspo0ln
10-18-2008, 04:41 PM
I just tried it. Put it right back on the hotshoe and screwed it down snug and pressed the shutter with no luck. If I press the test button, the red light on the transmitter and all three receivers work, but not with the camera :(

I have the SB-25 for sale for 85 in the for sale section :(

PhatheadWRX
10-18-2008, 04:55 PM
oh damn, you got the three receiver set too :sadbanana:

you have a pm

thomps6s
10-19-2008, 03:49 PM
Sad day :( I just received my Phottix Pt-04 system in the mail today after THREE weeks and they don't work with my D80. After some quick research, I thought that the camera would recognize the transmitter as a hotshoe and therefore fire it, but little did I know the transmitter only gets fired via pc sync cable (which my D80 doesn't have!). I have the option of buying the AS-15 here:

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Photography-Accessories/Flash-Adapters/3066/AS-15-Sync-Terminal-Adapter.html

but that would make the entire system way more robus than I need it to. I think I'm going to sell this off along with my old Nikon SB-25 and just get another SB600 and use CLS.

Anyone else have this issue? Anybody want my phottix kit for $42 shipped?

I have a new AS-15 if you want it. $10?

PhatheadWRX
10-20-2008, 08:14 AM
He sent me a PM and said his transmitter was bad. I guess the seller is sending him a replacement. Hopefully it works.

blcknspo0ln
10-20-2008, 11:53 AM
Ya, The AS-15 was a good solution, but it turns out the stupid transmitter was broken (I soldered the contact pin, but it broke shortly thereafter anyway). I'm going to wait for the replacement and if it doesn't work, I'm just going to give up!

blcknspo0ln
11-04-2008, 12:00 PM
Just an update, the Ebay company actually sent me TWO transmitters (so I have 2 trans/3rec) and everything works as expected. Love 'em!