Do you fire your studio lights with 1 receiver each, or just one for the key light?

Joined
Jun 15, 2008
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England
Up until now I've just fired my studio lights with the trigger that came with them, using the cells on the extra lights.

I'm after some new radio triggers for use away from the studio (with Nikon speedlights) and I'm wondering whether to get some that can also work with the studio lights. It would be nice to have the option of hypersync with my studio lights, it would also be nice if I could switch use groups to fire/not fire them without having to climb a ladder. Finally, the positioning on one of my lights means it doesn't easily fire using its cell, so it could benefit from a separate receiver.

So do you use extra receivers for your studio lights, or is there not much benefit?

I'm considering getting a PW set (with TTL) and a couple of extra plus IIs for the studio.

Thanks
 
Joined
May 11, 2008
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745
Location
North Carolina
In the beginning I always fired the lights with the optical triggers built into the light. After I got the Cactus triggers, I had enough to fire the extras with those so that's what I did. It allows me to fire the lights individually from the camera (using the test button on the transmitter, turning off the other lights individually of course) which allows me to meter each light individually. One of these days I'd like to get the PW flex system for the Nikon speedlights and will do the same thing with the studio lights. I also just feel better as far as reliability - I think the radio trigger would be more reliable than an optical one. It's just a personal thing.....
 
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Jun 15, 2008
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In the beginning I always fired the lights with the optical triggers built into the light. After I got the Cactus triggers, I had enough to fire the extras with those so that's what I did.
Thanks, that's basically what I'm considering. I'm not sure which should be most reliable, radio triggers or the in-build cells, but it would be nice to have the option of firing the lights in different groups.

It allows me to fire the lights individually from the camera (using the test button on the transmitter, turning off the other lights individually of course)
You don't mean you have to physically turn the other lights off do you, I assume you just deselect their group?

One of these days I'd like to get the PW flex system for the Nikon speedlights and will do the same thing with the studio lights.
The Cactus 5s are getting good reviews, and a lot of people are happy with the cheap alternatives (Yongnuos, Phottix, Cactus etc), but the fact that there are people like you that are thinking of upgrading makes me wonder whether I'm better going for PWs or RPs straight off.

I don't need TTL at the moment, but probably will want it sometimes over the years. RPs have been reliable and I'm not sure if the new PWs are fully sorted yet, but I don't think the RPs are right for me - I'd have the PX set-up for my SB800s, but when in the studio I wouldn't want a flash on my camera (even the popup). I know you can get the JrX system for the studio, but I wouldn't want 2 systems. The PX transmitter can't sit on your camera without a flash, and just fire the receivers in manual mode can it?

I can't find reviews of all the latest triggers, things have changed so much. It would be nice to have a review of:
PWIIs, PW Flex, RPs, Yongnuos, Cactus 5, Pixel TR331s, Phottix, with the pros cons of each:

Reliability
Range
Battery type
TTL/Manual
Sync speed
Build quality
Size
Cost

Any volunteers?
 
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Apr 10, 2009
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513
I have individual triggers on each of the lights as it makes life easier when metering.
 
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Mpls, Mn
that as well, and i find it very hard to use the slaves outdoors, most times not even working, and so i got individual receivers for each light.
 
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
745
Location
North Carolina
Mike - I do mean to turn off the lights individually, either by the power switch or the receiver; cactus doesn't have the luxury of setting groups. I haven't been able to test the range of the cactus fully, but I have triggers lights in the back room of the house from the front room (about 30 ft straight line with two walls inbetween). I have also used them for two swim team t&i shoots and one baseball league t&i (22 teams) and haven't had any misfires that were not due to user error. The transmitter and receiver both take 1 AAA each, making it easy to find batteries. They're all plastic, but seem sturdy enough. That and the fact that they're very inexpensive makes it possible to have a few spares on hand incase one does get broken. You can order them from Gadget Infinity (China) and wait for the shipping or pay a little bit more and get them from Midwest Photo Exchange (US) and get them quicker.
 
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May 11, 2008
Messages
745
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North Carolina
Dang it. I should've waited........
Just kidding. The 4's were the latest and greatest from cactus when I bought them and my v4's have done very well for me with what I've done with them. I do plan on an upgrade when funds allow.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
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Dang it. I should've waited........
Just kidding. The 4's were the latest and greatest from cactus when I bought them and my v4's have done very well for me with what I've done with them. I do plan on an upgrade when funds allow.

I just did the upgrade. The higher frequency radio has more range and is more reliable (I use them out in the field a lot). What was a surprise is the size, the v4's are sleek and "cute" compared to the huge and blocky v5's. The v5's look like a 70's American sedan versus an Italian coupe. :smile:
 
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Jun 15, 2008
Messages
1,118
Location
England
The search continues:

I'm liking the look of the new Phottix Stratos Multi II 5-in-1. The first Stratos was popular, and the new one adds functionality for groups, which as you guys have posted here, would be really useful in the studio. Reading reviews I get the impression they're a little better than the Cactus V5, with TTL passthrough too. They're also reasonably priced.

But when in the studio I really don't want to be constantly changing batteries in the receivers, it's just asking for trouble. So to use the DC inputs, do we have to buy some transformers and add more cables to our setup?

The very expensive alternative I'm considering is the TTL PWs, with the AC3. I don't need them for the studio, but they would be nice when using my SB800s (not a lot at the moment, but who knows in the future).
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
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3,164
Location
Toronto, CANADA
I use 3 remotes with PW Plus II's on each... simply because I bought a 4-pack of PW's and they fire ridiculously reliably.

However I'm still shooting speedlights as the remotes instead of strobes, and not sure why any more. No doubt time I bit the bullet and invested in half-decent proper strobes.

EDIT... bullet bit. 3 AB's now, and still using 4 PW's to trigger them all most of the time.
 
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Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
780
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I usually put a radio trigger on each light, but occasionally I'll use the optical slave. I use the PCB CyberCommander and PCB triggers. They've worked flawlessly both indoors and out.
 

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