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ANOTHER SU-800 question...

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Prettym1k3, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. So, I just picked up an SU-800. I do mainly sports photography (I know, I know... should have bought a set of Pocket Wizards). So, today I'm outside shooting, and I'm standing about 15 feet from my flash. The SB-600 was mounted on a tripod with the IR receiver was angled toward me facing no more than 15-20 degrees off of direct-line to my SU-800. There were no obstructions, no debris, no dust... nothing between me and my SB-600.

    It fired just fine up until about 12 feet, but once beyond that, it refused to fire. So I'd walk close, shoot, it would fire, and do the same thing as I took steps backward. Once I hit about the 12 foot mark: nothing.

    Any ideas? No, it's not set to marco. Yes it's set up properly. And inside my house I can fire the flash about 30 feet away without a hiccup. I can even get the flash to trigger through thin walls from about 15 feet away and through a sofa.

  2. It may not just be synching. Back when i used it for snowboarding the same thing would happen. I ended up having to swivel the flash head and have the infrared on the flash pointing directly at you, other then that im not sure

    And it seems like you got the hang of it much easier then me. Since it runs on infrared i never could have gotten it through walls and or a sofa?
  3. actionshooter


    Aug 26, 2008
    I just received mine and then left on vacation so haven't had much of chance to play with it, but from researching them inside you have lots of bounce surfaces so you can get away without line of sight (within reason). Outside in direct sunlight you will have some struggles. From reading and watching Joe McNally videos, one thing he does a lot is take the SU-800 off camera via a cord and make sure it faces the remote flash sensors. I've seen him use with an assistant holding it and also putting it on a lightstand just to make sure he can improve the line of sight. That might be something to try.
  4. So, maybe this will help.

    Here are three pictures. In all three of these pictures, the flash fired. I was standing in three different places. Once I stepped back further than 15 feet, the flash wouldn't fire at all. As you can see in picture #1, the IR sensor on my SB-600 was facing directly at the trigger/camera. Regardless, picture #2 doesn't even show the flash/IR receiver in the photo, and it still fired. In picture #3, I pointed my camera right at the flash/IR receiver from about 5 feet and it fired perfectly. Then, took about 5-6 steps back, and it wouldn't fire anymore, even though my camera/SU-800 was pointed directly at the flash, and the IR-Receiver was pointed right at me.

    Any other ideas? Do I possibly have a faulty SU-800?

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    (Sorry for the crappy pictures. About 2 minutes before these shots my buddy broke his nose and I had about 3 minutes setup time, snapped 8 pictures, and we went to get my buddy to the ER).
  5. Okay, I just tried it in my living room, and even in the house, with the SU-800 pointed right at the SB-600 IR receiver, I can't get more than about 25 feet out of it.

    Looks like I'll be returning it (kinda' bummed... it was a birthday gift) and getting some pocket wizards with the adapters for my SB-600 and my D40.
  6. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006
    The IR sensor is the small round window on the right side of the flash body. It looks like you have that sensor facing the bike rider in those pictures.

    There is a picture of the IR sensor in the SB-600 manual, on page 10.
  7. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Keep in mind that the IR sensor of the flash is not at the front but at the side (to the LEFT side when looking at the "blinking" side of the flash as shown in the images). Indoor it's not a big deal since you have IR bouncing of every wall but outside it is. Rotate the sensors towards you and you'll get better results.

    The popup flash seems to have a better range outdoors than the SU-800, or so I am told. You might want to experiment with that as well (not as convenient as the SU-800, but...)

    Finally if you do this a lot consider getting radio poppers.
  8. Diddlbiker, unfortunately the D40 doesn't have the option to use the pop-up flash as a commander.

    I played with the trigger/flash a little more and it seems to be okay now from certain angles. Regardless, I still think I might return it for some PW's.

    Thanks guys!
  9. IsamuM

    IsamuM Not-quite- Moderator

    Jan 11, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Just in case you missed the very important point that both David and Bart mentioned, the IR reception sensor on all Nikon speedlights is on the RIGHT SIDE of the speedlight, not the front which you have pointing at the camera in your photos above. The SU800 should work at far more than 15 feet even outdoors; you just have to have it pointed at the round IR sensor on the RIGHT side.
  10. Was that the RIGHT side, Isamu? :biggrin::biggrin:
  11. Haha... thanks guys. Looks like some user error on my end. I'm extremely pleased with the CLS, which has got me confused as to whether I should return it and pick up some PW's (with adapters, etc. for my SB-600/D40) or keep the SU-800. The CLS is super handy considering that I'm a total novice and it would really take me a long time to get a shot setup if I had to walk 25-40 feet each time to manually adjust my flash.

    I can't tell you how many times I've examined my SB-600 and said, "Oh, that's the IR receiver." Then yesterday, with my friend breaking his nose and feeling VERY rushed, it just completely slipped my mind. :rolleyes: 

    Hopefully I'll get back out on the trails to take pictures and turn that IR receiver 90 degrees. :wink:
  12. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Whoops I missed that...
  13. IsamuM

    IsamuM Not-quite- Moderator

    Jan 11, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    RIGHT!!!!! :biggrin:
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