Doing an outdoor shoot...should I use my flash triggers or an SU-800?

Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
14,973
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I have this upcoming outdoor photo shoot. I want to keep it simple. I've been tempted to pick up an SU-800 for TTL flash capabilities off shoe. I currently have two Yongnuo RF-603 wireless flash triggers which I initially bought so I could have a wireless shutter release. I don't want to fiddle too much during the shoot hence thinking about the SU-800, but the RF-603 triggers also work, minus TTL. This is a paid shoot so I won't have much time fiddling with lighting especially since the model will be paid. Any suggestions? Thanks!
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
928
Location
Amstelveen, the Netherlands
I have used the SU-800 to trigger multiple SB8/900s, and it works flawlessly. I've typically mounted the flash on a light stand with an umbrella. I'm not sure off the top of my head what the range is of the SU, but for general portrait photography they work fine.
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
4,638
Location
Orlando, FL
I will take the other road. Outdoors I only use radio triggers. I have Radiopoppers and the Mini/Flex PW system, but 9/10 times I just use PW Plus II's and a flashmeter for exposure. The CLS system is wonderful but maintaining line of sight outdoors, especially when you and the subject are moving around is generally too much hassle.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
684
Location
North of Seattle, South of Canada
Maximum range of the SU-800 is about 60 ft., direct line of sight, but don't expect to get that every time. Nikon CLS can be finicky and rather unreliable outdoors depending on conditions.

Pocket Wizards and RadioPoppers are more reliable when outdoors and/or when range is important.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
7,261
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
If its bright/sunny where you are shooting, I can't get more than about 20 feet reliably (with the SU or a SB900 as a commander), and even that is not very reliable. Especially if you are using more than one. I would use the triggers. I bought a set because of the last time I tried CLS in the sun.
 
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
2,288
Location
Wasilla, Alaska
After too many issues with the su 800 outdoors I simply will never use it that way again.

One major annoyance is that if you have a flash off to your right and rotate to shoot portrait it rarely fires as the lens blocks the ir to the flash. With nothing to bounce the signal off of it just doesn't cut it.

Just my experience, YMMV
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
9,532
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Last weekend we did an engagement shoot outside. I was using the SU-800 and SB-800 set to Remote in a soft. My son was holding the soft box. I decided to not use flash for a few so I simply told him stand behind me. The SB-800 was still going off with no direct line of sight, just a house that could have acted as a bounce. I have no problems getting Nikon's wireless system to work.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
9,532
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
After too many issues with the su 800 outdoors I simply will never use it that way again.

One major annoyance is that if you have a flash off to your right and rotate to shoot portrait it rarely fires as the lens blocks the ir to the flash. With nothing to bounce the signal off of it just doesn't cut it.

Just my experience, YMMV
Using a flash bracket like the Custom Bracket Pro-M will solve this. That way the SU-800 stays on top. Just a suggestion.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
3,551
Location
Redmond, WA
CLS outdoors can be touch-and-go but a lot of it will depend on the positioning of the remote flash(es).

If you can orient them so the remote sensor is aimed in your direction and you're not that far away, you should be fine.

If you have the flash buried inside a softbox or can't orient the sensor toward you, it will be dicier. It might work okay if there is a nearby surface where the CLS signal can bounce off and be picked up.

Please keep in mind that unless you use a cord, the SU-800 points in a fixed direction. With a hot-shoe commander flash, you can rotate the head to point toward the remote and sometimes that helps.

Pesonally, I'd use a radio trigger. PW Plus II if you can't afford a single misfire and can adjust flash power manually. PW MiniTT1/FlexTT5 if you want to use TTL or adjust manual power settings from the camera (add AC3) and can deal with an occasional misfire or 2, or want to use the Hypersync feature to get about another stop of full-power sync. RF-603 or RF-602 if you're on a budget and you can deal with an occasional misfire and adjust flash power manually.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
14,973
Location
Los Angeles, USA
After reading this I may just use my cheapo radio triggers and shoot the flash on manual. I'll have the flash setup in a softbox outdoors. The range on the rf-603 is pretty darn good and it hasn't missed a flash. I'll also have my SB-900 set on a lumedyne as well. I'll post pictures when I'm done!
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
75
Location
KC, MO USA
Also agree.

Using a flash bracket like the Custom Bracket Pro-M will solve this. That way the SU-800 stays on top. Just a suggestion.
I agree 100% with this from my experience as well. Makes a big difference.

Step two, if needed, would be to put the SU800 on a small light weight stand by itself connected to the camera via CLS sync cord. Most people will not want to do this, however.

Step three, if needed, is to have a special extra long CLS sync cord made. Of course you cannot see or adjust the camera controls from the camera position but you use can use FV and flash compensation which gets you what you need probably. Of course this only works for one flash unit.

= Tom
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
567
Location
Athens Georgia USA
Something I've been considering doing is to get a SC-29 cable to get the SU-800 off of the camera and at a better angle w/the speedlights.
Also try aiming the speedlights sensor at the subject and not the camera.
You may want to do some testing first.

Steve
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom