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Cybersyncs, 2 SB-600's & 1 SB-26

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Huff09, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA
    Ok, I am thinking the AB Cybersyncs are the way to go for the lighting setup I have put together, even though I really, really like using CLS with my 600's. Call it lazy, but I like being able to manually adjust flash power from the camera. Also, it drives me crazy that I can dial the SB-600 down to 1/128th power in CLS mode but when using manually, they can only be dialed down to 1/64th.

    Regardless, with a "new to me" SB-26 arriving this week I'm going to have to move away from this when using all three lights.

    So, here are my questions:

    1). Who has used the Cybersyncs and how do you like them?

    B). What cords do I need to hook them up to my SB-600's and do you have suggestions on good quality ones? (I think it's just a pc cord and a HH to hotshoe adapter but want to make sure. I'm also assuming the pc jack on the 26 I have coming will already be set up for this. Yes? No?)

    I know the AB units don't have the range of Pocket Wizards but at this point I don't have need to be 1/3 mile from my flashes so I'm OK with that.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. You must really enjoy a challenge to walk away from wireless CLS. :rolleyes:  Good luck, and please report back as you work through all of the issues in integrating the sb26 into your system. It will be a good object lesson for all of us.
  3. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA
    I guess. I don't see where it's that big of a step away from what I'm doing now. I don't use TTL anyway so the only real change is making the flash adjustments at the strobe instead of at the camera. That and the difference in power adjustments.

    I don't think I'll be completely abandoning CLS just yet, but I do want to start working more lights into my setup and don't really want to spend $200-$300 everytime I need a new light. Once I get comfortable with lighting this way, then for what I spent picking up this SB-26 I could buy 2 or 3 lights instead of just one 600 or 800. We'll see though.
  4. But, Chris, the Cybersyncs run $60 for the transmitter, and $70 for each receiver. You can pick up used sb600s for $125-150. Even if you got the sb26 for free, a sb600 would have been cheaper.
  5. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    There ya go . . . dragging logic into it :biggrin:
  6. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA
    Well, I suppose I'll find out . That being said, anyone out there have thoughts on the original questions?

  7. fjgindy


    Jan 21, 2007
    Anyway...to answer your questions:

    1. The Cybersyncs are very good quality and work flawlessly. You'll be happy with their performance. 150' indoors - 350' outdoors...fire everytime/no spontaneous fire's.

    2. Since the SB-600 has no built in jack to wire it to, you'll need at least a hotshoe with a pc connection to place the SB-600 on. The receivers ship with a mini jack (1/8 or 3.5mm) to mini jack cable, a mini jack to pc jack cable and a mini jack to 1/4" (6.35mm) phone jack adapter.

    The mini jack to pc jack cable will take care of your SB-26. You'll need another mini jack to pc jack cable with the pc hotshoe for your SB-600. Flashzebra.com has a convenient custom hotshoe hardwired with a mini jack cable but it seems he is out of stock at the moment:


    The CS transmitters ship with a short micro jack to pc jack cable.
  8. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA

    Thanks for the great info. So the custom rig @ flash zebra sounds like it will take care of the SB-600's and I'm all set on the 26.

    I appreciate your time.
  9. CLS is a great feature... until you try to use it outside on a brightly lit afternoon to overpower the sunlight, or want to try more advanced lighting techniques with multiple strobes placed at a distance farther away than your onboard strobe can reach. I'm not familiar with the SU800, but I imagine it too would be affected by bright light.
  10. Only Ken Rockwell is allowed to make negative assumptions based on no data :rolleyes: :wink:.

    Here are the results of my outdoor AWL/CLS testing.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  11. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA
    That's part of the problem I've been running into. That being said, I don't use the SU800, just my commander flash. It's fine if, as in UF's example, I have direct line of sight to my flashes. Also, his looks like it was taken on an overcast day which will also improve my results.

    Midday, outside, harsh sun, however, and my results start going downhill rapidly. I doubt I'll give up completely on CLS but I would like other options when it's not working for me.
  12. avyoung


    Dec 17, 2007
    I started off with just one SB800 and a couple of older speedlights. Initially, I used some ebay triggers, but I have found that by packing an extra SB800 or two, it is much more convienent to use off-camera remotes. I am just a amateur that bring the camera long, and the speed and easy of the Nikon CLS really has me hooked.

    I just got a SB900 so that i can get more remote flash power to over power the sun. I live the FPsync remote speeds....a big advantage over the normal 1/250sec sync speed.

    The SU4 mode on the SB800/900 is very sensitive and can be very useful (much more sensitive than the SB26). No delay feature like on the SB26 however.
  13. But does it require a direct line of sight to work? Rarely do I find myself placing my flash directly in front of my camera. How does the SU800 work? Is it an infra red signal? Does this signal travel straight ahead or does it fan out? Can a strobe be placed behind an object so it's hidden and still work?
  14. johan11


    Jan 17, 2008
    I find the SU800 works great indoors, in small and medium sized rooms (for IR bounce). And I quite like using it.

    Outdoors, radio triggers work more reliably for me. I actually find it easier to work with PW's outdoors. Yes, you have to manually set flash power.

    But the tradeoff with CLS is that I can't always place the flashes where it makes sense photographically -- instead, I'm often compromising to give the SB800's IR window some glimpse of the SU800.

    Besides, guesstimating flash power gets easier and easier as you go, and having complete freedom on flash placement is a more equitable tradeoff, in my opinion.
  15. Outdoors, the su800 requires line of sight, but that doesn't mean the flash has to be directly in front of the camera. It can be off to the side, as long as the remote's light sensor window is oriented in the direction of the commander. The light sensor window is identified as item #4 on page 10 of the sb800 owners manual. See page 74 for more information.

    The su800 emits a diffused infrared signal that covers a wide area, which is why its control distance is only 60 feet straight ahead versus more than 100 feet for the popup flash.

    Only if there's something for the infrared signal to bounce off. Indoors, that's no problem.
  16. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Very interesting (and surprising) results - at least the magnitude of the difference. IIRC, you posted earlier that the popup has greater range indoors also. I wonder if there is any range difference between the popup and the SB800/900 as Master.

  17. Cool. Thanks for clarifying. I haven't used the SU-800, but have used my SB-600 via CLS many times to make creative shots, like the one below. This was shot with my D80 using the onboard flash. It was actually in a bright daylight lit room. I set the camera's exposure manually so that none of the ambient light would register, making it look like it was shot at night.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  18. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Great shot! Shows what can be done with the system when you know how to use it.
  19. Thanks. Yeah, this is one of those shots that I couldn't have gotten without the CLS feature, since it allowed me to use a higher speed flash sync than I could have used with a radio triggered non-dedicated flash.

    Edit: I take that back. My shutter was 1/400sec at f/5. I guess I could have just closed my aperture by another stop and used 1/200 second shutter. Still, the CLS feature was much easier to set up. When it's useable, I use it, but as of right now, I only have one SB-600 and one Sunpak 383, so if I want to use more than one flash off camera, I have to set them to manual and fire them with my ebay triggers.
  20. The sb800 and 900 have significantly higher guide numbers than the popup, but I'm not sure how much power is used for the Commander function. You'd have to test it to find out.
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