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FlashZebra overpricing?

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by dbguy, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    I see no reason to assume it is two units. What would you do with two? :) 

    If you hunt hard enough in Google, you can find a couple of other places pricing it around $24, but most price it around $18.

    You can find others like the Hama for maybe $14, but the AS-15 is excellent. Has the screw lock so that it will not slide around in the shoe.
  2. im thinking about purchasing the AS-15, or would it be better if i get one where you can attach another flash on top of the hot shoe?
  3. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    Well, dunno, but not better for me. :)  Because, the camera hotshoe is probably not where you want the flash located, unless you are walking around the room bouncing from ceiling.

    The AS-15 is great, but it is only for Manual flash mode, since (if speaking of digital cameras) no TTL setup can work from a PC sync cable (Nikon digital iTTL has its own new wireless methods for multiflash TTL). So if necessary to have a flash on the hot shoe, you could instead put a flash directly on the hot shoe (a flash with a PC sync connector, like the SB-800, or most any flash except the SB-600 and SB-400), and then run a sync cable from it to the other flash. But what you probably would do (since any PC sync cable requires Manual mode anyway) would be to use an optical slave trigger instead, no wires. Or maybe a radio trigger. Both of which are also Manual flash mode only. No specific comment can be made without knowing specifics.

    Perhaps the question is about the reference to the Hama adapter? It does have a shoe on top, but it is a cold shoe, not a hot shoe. Its top shoe is just a holder, it has no means to trigger a flash up there. But if using the Hama, you will discover it quits working after awhile, and then when you look down to check it, you realize it has slid forward or backward, enough it no longer makes contact with the center pin. Readjusting it fixes it. Or you can use the Nikon AS-15 which has the screw lock to prevent any problem.
  4. hmm.. well i'll be triggering a sb-600 and a sb-800 and a alienbee 1600... i was thinking of using a sync cord for my alien bee but after reading your response, i have no other way of triggering the sb lights without setting them to slaves. im not even sure if the sb-600 has a slave.

    but i think it'll be easier if i just set my alien bee as a slave and trigger my speedlights through CLS.. wouldn't that be a better idea than getting the AS-15?
  5. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006

    I have Alienbees and SB-800s too. The overwhelming fact of life is that the Alienbees (and all studio lights) are manual lights, and they simply are not compatible with Nikons CLS TTL operation. Period. They are manual lights.

    So forget about Commander or iTTL with the Alienbees. Because Commander or iTTL mode fires the preflashes which will trigger manual lights too early, before the shutter is open, so it becomes pointless. Instead, everything must be in Manual mode.

    But you can use the SB-800 with the Alienbees, if the SB-800 is in Manual mode. By Manual mode, I mean the mode M set by its Mode switch, or it also includes its SU-4 optical slave mode (which is Manual mode). Both ways, you set the power level manually, like to say 1/4 power. Then the SU-4 SB-800 becomes just another optically triggered manual light, same as the Alienbees. From the AS-15 on camera, just run a sync cord to any one of the lights (the near one), which will trigger all the others in slave mode. But everything must be in Manual mode - the camera and all of the lights.

    The Alienbees understand nothing else but Manual mode. Which is no disadvantage for studio work with a flash meter. Manual mode is actually the strong advantage that allows your complete control, without dumb automation getting in the way and doing something unexpected. :) 

    But the SB-600 has no manual operation to allow its use with the above lights in manual mode. It does have a Manual mode M on the hot shoe, but no way or connector to trigger it if off of the hot shoe. You could use it on the hot shoe (perhaps at low power pointing up, or towards near light, just as a trigger), or you can add a shoe foot accessory to add a PC connector to one SB-600 (and use it to trigger all the other slaves). Something like this (however I have never used this one):

    Or we can imagine that we "could" add a shoe foot optical slave accessory, however beware, many of these (of the batteryless type) will not work with the SB-600, due to low sync voltage on the SB-600 to power them. The SB-800 already has this built in (SU-4 mode). The "digital" optical triggers contain batteries which probably do work - if they have a "film" or manual mode.

    There are other choices. You could use radio triggers, with a radio transmitter in the hot shoe, to trigger the first light.

    But all you need to use what you have is some way to trigger the SB-600 in Manual mode. Which could be just to put it in the hot shoe. Or it could be a Nikon SC-17 or SC-28 cable (hot shoe extension cable), but which is only a couple of feet long. Or it could be the AS-15, and the above adapter, and a PC Male to PC Female 15 foot cord between them. Either way, all else is in optical slave mode, triggered by this SB-600, and the camera is in Manual mode. Should work fine, but you will want a flash meter to meter and set each manual light to the desired power level for your lighting ratio, etc.

    (FWIW, from AS-15 direct to a SB-800 requires a PC Male to PC Male sync, cable, but the adapter above says it is Male, needing Female to match it). Male to Female is an "extension cord" concept.

    Hope that helps. It becomes much easier once you realize the Alienbees are not compatible with the Nikon automation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2008
  6. i know that the alien bees dont work in iTTL mode... i rarely use that mode anyways when i have a shoot. i usually pop open my on camera flash and set it to -- so it wont fire, and just set the sb600 and sb800 to manual mode so i can trigger the flashes.

    how would u even use iTTL? i didnt know you can use that option when im using the on camera flash to trigger the flashes? its always set on manual... did that make sense?

    but i can just set all of my flashes to manual mode.
  7. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    Not sure we are on the same page, and I seem to be facing a difficult road now. May be my fault, and sorry if it is.

    The "- -" is in the commander menu, and the commander is not compatible with manual flashes. Yes, you may say that the commander does also have the Manual power level setting, but which is NOT "Manual mode". It is still Commander and Remote mode. The difference is that then the Commander sends a preflash to the remote to tell it that it is to use say 1/4 power manually. That preflash command will trigger any true manual mode lights waiting on any flash to be triggered - before the shutter is open. For example the Alienbees, which do not understand Nikons CLS Commander and Remote mode.

    The distinction I make is for the internal flash menu (if internal flash is used) to be set to MANUAL mode, not in COMMANDER mode set to a manual power level. The MANUAL menu should work fine, because it prevents any preflash. But the TTL or COMMANDER modes are incompatible with the Alienbees, or with any Manual lights trigger.

    Of course, if the internal flash door is shut (so an AS-15 or a speedlgiht can be put in the hot shoe), then it does not matter what the internal flash menu might say. It is inoperative if the door is shut.

    That was my point too, iTTL or Commander cannot be used with manual lights. The manual lights understand only Manual mode.

    I mention it because you said "- -" and you previously said:

    Which is what set me off. :)  The point being the Commander is incompatible with the Alienbees. But if you actually meant real true genuine manual mode (and NOT commander menu, and NOT "- -"), then I made the incorrect assumption and I regret it.
  8. haha yeah no problem. i think we were on the wrong page.

    okay let me try to start over.

    this should work right:

    i set my alienbees to slave mode (which will fire when my speedlights fires), and use camera to command my speedlights

    that would be better than using the AS-15 and connecting that to my alienbees, right? then the only way i can get my speedlights to fire is if i set my sb-800 to slave but my sb600 doesnt have slave which i wouldnt have any way to get my sb600 to fire.
  9. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    Yes, assuming you put that camera flash into its manual mode, then it should trigger your Alienbees fine as slaves. But if your camera flash is in either iTTL or Commander mode, that preflash will trigger the AlienBees early, before the shutter is open, which will not be useful.

    Why better? Seems arbitrary, either way should work fine, except for trying to add the SB-600 into the mix.

    Yes, the SB-800 has great manual and slave features, but the SB-600 is not equipped for triggering in manual mode except on the hot shoe, and it does not have that slave feature. If you want to use the SB-600 with the others, and if it is not to be on the camera hot shoe (where it can be triggered), then I think you will have to fire it with the AS-15 and sync cord to the third party adapter (which provides a PC sync connector), and then it can fire all the other slaved flashes. Otherwise, I think the SB-600 is not in that game with the others.
  10. cool! thanks wayne for the responses, totally off topic of the title hahaha. but its all good!
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