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Need advice on SU 800

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by BigPixel, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    Greetings all, haven't had much time to visit lately...New job, new equipment, new responsibilities as a staff photographer for U of Hawaii.

    I have a question regarding the SU 800. We have a Fuji S3, two SB800's. Am I correct in assuming that the SU 800 will trigger the 800's by radio frequency out of a line of site? A fellow worker doesn't think so, says I need pocket wizards available at Strobist.

    Any and all advice much appreciated.

  2. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006
    Nope. It uses IR, not radio frequency.

    Indoors, the signal will bounce off of walls quite nicely. I often use it, out of line of sight, when inside. And many people use it successfully outdoors, too. BUT, it is not the same as using the Pocket Wizards. It is a great tool, but it does have it's limitations.
  3. I've used my 2 SB-800s and Su-800 outside at the beach and they worked flawlessly. When you can, rotate the base of the SBs towards your SU for better line of sight.

    When I used it at the beach, the SB was above me, behind the SU and it triggered every time.

    If anything, test out various set ups to see what works and what doesn't.
  4. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    What about the SU 800's advertised iTTL response? Does this mean it only works in TTL? Can I set my SB 800's to manual, adjust output level like with Pocket Wizards?
  5. It will work with iTTL, TTL, AA, manual. In effect anything that the SB800 can do when acting as a master but much better. I have shot with the SU800 at 100 ft. outdoors. I also use the SU800 indoors and it bounces off walls and ceilings and will trigger hidden flashes.
  6. You place the SBs in Remote mode and then the SU-800 can command the SBs in either TTL, Manual or AA.

    I personally use manual most of the time. But let's say I'm using TTL, I can place my SBs on stands and never have to touch them, I can adjust the flash exposure with the SU-800. The SU-800 sends all the info for exposure with the IR signal when it triggers.

    You can make all your exposure adjustments with the SU-800 and never have to touch the SBs...well, except for angle, but I think you knew that.
  7. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    Thanks guys.

    Final absurd question, I assume that as I can use the SB 800s on my Fuji S3 that the SU-800 will work as well. Correct? I already know that the Pocket Wizards work.

    The deal for me in my new job is matching a flash commander with existing strobes and camera. (Fuji S3, 2-Nikon SB 800)
  8. If your not gonna use TTL i dont really see the point by getting a su-800.

    Going manual you need to chimp alot and thats fine if you have the time (dont know what kind of work you will be doing).

    Sure the benefit will still be that you can adjust the power from the su800. But you still need to go by trial and error when you go manual. Unless you use a lightmeter.

    So for ttl shooters yes su-800 is a smart solution.

    For those who dont, well then a pw will probebly be a better investment +the fact they are far more reliable.

    Yes the su-800 will work on the s3.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  9. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    so I guess for me the best of all possible worlds is to use a SU 800. That way I can control lighting in all modes from the camera; TTL, manual, etc. I know that PWs are not compatible in TTL.

    Thanks all for your advice. Have I got it right?
  10. I think so, and the su800 is certainly worth a try. It's only $250, and if it turns out there are complications and you can't return it, you could sell it for $235 in a heartbeat, so there's not much risk.

    I don't know if I had the chance to congratulate you on your new job, BP. This has been a great year for you, with a lot of very positive changes! I hope your run of good fortune continues :smile:.
  11. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    Thanks Frank! It is shaping up to be a good year. My job is as a staff photographer for External Affairs and University relations at UH Manoa. I'll be doing lots of stuff for various web sites and several publications at the U. So far its way fun. Just wish I were a bit more experienced technically but I'm learning fast!
  12. Hey Mike -

    From what I've seen here, you have the "eye" that will let you outperform any imagined "technical inexperience" . . .


    On any tough days, keep in mind what a dream job this sounds like for us "middle-earth" types . . .

  13. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    Thanks Eric, really! I feel its a dream job too. Lets put it this way....I was self employed for almost 28 years. This is the first 'job' I can't wait to get to in the morning and I've tried several in the past 10 years since I sold my business on the Mainland.

    Mahalo for your support.
  14. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    SU-800 Question

    I don't have the SU-800. D-80 and SB-600. Tonight while outside I tried using my new light stand and umbrella. I was only 5 - 8 feet away from the flash and my camera in commander mode would not trigger the SB-600. (The flash was pointing into the umbrella) My light stand was almost at my 9 o'clock. So I tried moving back a little and angled the flash towards me slightly. It worked but I had a few shots where the flash did not fire. There was nothing in the area and I could not think of anyway to bounce the IR to the flash?

    Will the SU-800 have the same problems. I was really close to my flash. I was pretty disappointed.
  15. Doesn't the head on the SB600 rotate? Turn the front away from the umbrella and turn the head around into the umbrella.
  16. The SU800 puts out a stronger signal than the internal flash, but if there's nothing to bounce off, and the strobe's sensor isn't in line of sight, it won't be able to command either. Phil's advice is correct.
  17. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    Phil - Yes the head does rotate. However, a person has to be smart enough to think about that! I hope from now on I will. Thanks.
  18. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Umm, is the S3 compatible with iTTL or just d-TTL? I thought the S5 was the first Fuji to be iTTL-compatible. If that's the case, you might want to reconsider the SU-800 because I don't think it will be able to "control" the remote flashes, it was basically just act as a "dumb" flash trigger and you're spending a lot of money for funtionality you won't be able to use.

    As for outdoor use, I've not had much luck at all, you can pretty much forget using the flash camera-right while shooting vertical, that's for sure. I really the SU-800 itself could be rotated to point more directly at the flash, that would probably help. I've found the SU-800 to work pretty well indoors, but I've had very little luck using it outdoors.
  19. LoL:biggrin: Been there done that.
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