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Nikon made Strob-ism easy

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. I passed by a photoshoot yesterday, and paused to check out the gear and technique. It was a Canon shooter, taking staged shots for a corporate brochure, and he had a mother/daughter posed in front of a flowerbox. His strobe was on a stand behind him, shooting into a white 45" umbrella, and providing fill. It was a monolight, and he had it cabled to what looked like a minature car battery to power it. He has a PW transmitter in the hotshoe of his camera, and a receiver hanging off the strobe.

    All I could think was, thank goodness I'm a Nikon shooter. I can do the same thing controlling an sb800 with an su800 or with my camera's internal flash. No need for external batteries, cables, transmitters, receivers and such. Nikon sure made it easy for us :biggrin:.
  2. yrrek

    yrrek Guest

  3. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006
    Yep. I love my portable studio in a bag!!
  4. I agree frank.
  5. Sharon


    Feb 18, 2006
    Since I'm just getting into the whole "storbist" thing, I've been wondering about this subject. I don't have the SU800, but have been considering it. I'm currently using my on camera flash to fire my SB800 off camera.

    So, my question is, do you think I would be better off buying the SU800 or the PW's if and when I get to the point where I want to use more flashes or have more distance between camera and flash? I have acquired a couple older Nikon flashes sb80 and sb28, but I don't think I can control either of them with the su800. I'm not sure I'd ever actually use more than two flashes, but if I'm going to plunk down the money for the su800, I'd just like to know it would be reliable in most situations.

    I agree, it sure seems like the nikon system would be easier to control and all from the camera, no less.
  6. Sharon,

    I asked a similar question yesterday and got some good advice. Please look at the thread "D200 Commander vs. SU800 Commander" https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=120911

    The information that Uncle Frank and Greyflash provided sold me on the SU800!

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. Amen. I have the Canon equivalents (580ex and 430ex flashes, their "SU800 wannabe" and they are a major PITA to use.

    The SB800 is the best flash made IMHO. The system is awesome too. Haven't found a good use for the cute little flashes, but I like em anyway.

    I have and use the SU800 too. Nothing like it.
  8. Sharon


    Feb 18, 2006
    Jim, thank you. Just finished reading that entire thread. Sounds like the SU800 is the way to go.
  9. ok, so he used different equipment and some expensive PW's... which is the same as the strobist uses.

    what if you're outside and the flash won't fire, what if you're outside and the batteries are running out, what if you're getting paid a lot of money and need backups?

    I'm sure you can do the same thing, and I'm sure it would look just as nice. However, you don't have a backup if something goes wrong or doesn't work.
  10. ??? I wasn't discussing backup gear, Andrew. I didn't spot any, but since the follow I was observing was a pro, I'm assuming he had some. I bring a backup camera, flash, lenses, memory cards, batteries, etc. on any paid shoots I'm lucky enough to book, too. My point was about how easy it is to shoot off-camera with Nikon gear that's designed for CLS. There's no need to buy extra stuff to start off, though some may want to buy gear that will extend their range later on.
  11. ffb2t


    Jan 16, 2006
    There's only one problem with the Nikon CLS, the Nikon part. That's where PWs have the advantage, they are system agnostic. You can put your lighting system together and it will work with any camera. Far as I know, you can't put the SU800 on a Canon, Hassy, Leica...etc and I don't think (haven't looked into it), that you can fire studio strobes with the SU. For many if not most this may not make a difference though.

    If you are just getting into strobe lighting (and have not yet plunked down the 300 for a SB800) I don't think it is the best way to go for the above reasons. Further if you are on a budget, I think you can get more bang for your buck basing a system on PWs than you can from the SU (and again, for many this may not be a factor either).

    Either way gets the job done though, that's really all that counts.
  12. no I'm saying I don't trust nikon cls for things like this.

    that's all.

    The other part about the point I was trying to make, and the part you missed was that YOU would be the one to need back up if you used cls. PW's aren't going to fail, they are tried and true pro material, a flash unit really isn't going to fail unless you do something dumb to it. However, cls needs to see all those preflash deals and there is more going on. This may cause problems which may lead someone to go to plan B which are PW type things and wires.

    and for the record - I'm not going to talk about the main point or just limit comments to the question asked. This doesn't help anyone if the real problem or issues are something that wasn't brought up right away by the op. So I'm going to talk about anything I feel is valid to the question.
  13. Fair enough. Then by all means get gear you'll be confident in.

    The only problems I've had with CLS so far involved batteries, so I now carry extra sets of AAs, and a light stand blowing over, which I addressed by adding a tent spike, a bungee cord, and a hammer to my kit. Other than that, CLS has worked reliably... once I figured out my part in the process. I'm still the weak link in the chain, but I'm not going to upgrade myself quite yet :wink:.
  14. Good point. CLS only helps Nikon shooters if they shoot Nikon cameras.... but I'm not sure why that should come as a surprise :confused: .

    Oh well, I had a grand day on Saturday, shooting with an off-camera flash at a bbq in the afternoon...

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

    View attachment 103533

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    ... and at the bi-weekly hold'em tournament in the evening, for my Poker Faces series.

    View attachment 103535

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  15. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas

    Andrew, flash units, cables and PWs are electronic gear, and all can and will fail, despite your opinion to the contrary.
  16. Anything made by people, especially if it takes batteries, will break!

    Great shooting, Uncle Frank. I agree about the flash system, as well as agreeing about using whatever you have confidence with.

  17. that wasn't the point...
  18. Rob G

    Rob G

    Jun 19, 2007
    Dayton, Ohio
    childish gear arguements

    Sad to see the childish fighting from DPreview making its way over here. That is why I stopped reading DPR, just a bunch of childish gear arguements. Hope this place doesn't get like that!

    Rob G.
  19. Oh my goodness, why do we continually have this PW vs SU800 argument. Neither one is the holy grail. They both work within their limits. Either one can fail due to electronic or battery problems. The PW's have more flexibility to work with other manufacturers equipment, SU800's work with the Nikon CLS, PW's have more range, SU800 can adjust the flash(s) from an on camera position.

    Yikes, most members here are pretty smart and can figure out which one is best for them based on the equipment they have. There is no need for any of us to sound like our pet is the only game in town.

    Amen to what Rob said above, thank you.
  20. ffb2t


    Jan 16, 2006
    Honestly aren't you all overreacting here? I mean the only one who did this:
    was the OP (and based off UF's posts I don't think that's his intent), and obviously this:

    is not the case based on this thread (see two posts in this thread alone) and the questions you see in the LL forum.

    I thought the idea of this forum was that when someone asks something like this:
    that people were to give them information about what is the best choice. Given that, as I understand, the SB28 does not have an infrared receiver, the SU800 may not be the best choice for this, right?

    Personally, it does not matter what you use if you are happy with it. But if someone has a question, shouldn't we try to give them options? What does that have to do with gear bickering?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2007
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