The truth about triggers, is there such thing?

Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
108
Location
Illinois
Hello everyone,

I have been researching and am interested in RP's, PW's and CyberSyncs. Looks like all 3 OEM's claim 100% performance and they also have very cool video's to confirm it, LOL.

Internet posts indicate otherwise and plenty of issues. So now,
Is it the OEM trying to sell crap?
Is it the users lack of experience?
Is it the user mixing systems and trying strange work arounds?

The reason I ask is that I am thinking of playing with a small studio using X800and X1600 strobes. With a power pack this set up will also give me some nice portabillity. Need triggers.

For even more portabillity I was thinking of SB or Metz line of flashes. Need triggers.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Chris
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
7,351
Location
Darmstadt, Germany
Real Name
Mike
If my income depended on a trigger firing every time, and I needed the assurance that if it failed I could have a replacement in a reasonable amount of time, I would buy from the PW line. No questions.

However, my income does not depend on my photography, my tolerance for equipment failure is quite high, and I cannot write off my hobby equipment as a business expense. For me, close enough is good enough and I have not been disappointed in my choice of consumer grade triggers for my speedlights.

My Elinchrom monolights came with the Skyport triggers built in, and these meet my requirements. I did test my external triggers to see if they would work with the Elinchroms, and they performed flawlessly.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
My lighting kit includes 4 AB800s, 4 CSR+ units, a Cyber Commander, and CST. I use these almost daily, and (at present) photography is my only source of income.

I would not hesitate to recommend Paul Buff's CyberSync equipment. Is it perfect? Certainly not. Is it adequate for professional use? For my purposes, yes.

This kind of system does much more than simple triggering, so it would be wrong to evaluate its appropriateness solely on the basis of triggering success. I suspect that there's no such thing as a wireless triggering system that never fails, unless you're shooting in an unrealistic environment. But for my purposes, the failure rate has been extremely low (I can only recall a handful of times in the last year+).

The vast majority of my shooting is products for catalog/web applications, and is usually done with all devices within 10-15 feet of each other. It's possible that I would have a different opinion of the equipment if I shot under different conditions, but in my experience I've been very happy with it.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
108
Location
Illinois
Thanks,

Can any of the 3 do both, meaning studio strobes as indicated in my post and SB/Metz flashes?

Cheers,
Chris
 
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
517
Location
Vancouver, BC
When I was in photography full-time, my income depended on the accuracy and reliability of triggers. I can 100% recommend Pocket Wizards. I regularly used 5-6 PW at any one time, and never once had them fail. They're the undisputed leader in remote triggering for a reason, they're the choice of professionals. I don't work for them, they just made my job so easy, and never gave me a single problem.

PW's can be used with both studio strobes and SB/Metz flashes. You can attach them via a PC cord, or a hotshoe adapter if none is available.

I've use PW's for remote camera triggering and for lighting. PW do not rely on line of sight, which is great when your lighting is hidden in rafters or trees or your camera is in the middle of a watering hole.

I will add that I once had one arrive defective from the factory, simply exchanged it, and I was good to go.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
Thanks,

Can any of the 3 do both, meaning studio strobes as indicated in my post and SB/Metz flashes?

Cheers,
Chris

The CSR+ units that I received all came with sync cords that will trigger Nikon's SB units. I'm not familiar with the others, so can't speak to those. While you can trigger the flash that way, you can't control the other parameters of the flash with the Cyber Commander the way you can with a Paul Buff light. Other than RF vs. Line-of-sight, there's not much advantage to triggering speedlights this way (that I can think of).

The other features of the Cyber Commander (besides triggering) are what sold the system for me. Being able to:

- control output
- control modeling lights
- putting individual lights on standby
- save configurations that can be recalled when needed
- metering

...all with the CC have made my shooting workflow much better than it was before.

I believe you'll find that Pocket Wizards have better range than the Paul Buff system, so you may want to consider that aspect carefully. Not sure about the Radio Poppers.

It's nice to have multiple options when considering this kind of purchase. Let us know how it works out for you!
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
141
Location
Shepherdsturd, WV
Performance issues can be caused by week batteries, signal interference, bad cable connections and other issues that are not the fault of the trigger. There is no product that can claim 100% success rate. I use PW's, but I know others that use RP's cyber syncs, and others with huge success. I'd say that you should choose a set based on features and how well they'll incorporate into your setup.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
108
Location
Illinois
Thanks for your posts,

So now you are in the studio with your strobes and triggers.
Now you set up same strobes for temp studio at a event with same triggers?

Same event, if you need to run around with your camera and flash to be even more portable, let's say 2 SB's, do you use same triggers as for strobes or you have different triggers?

Another wards the event you are covering requires a temp studio for formals and then coverage with camera and maybe 2 flashes. How do you manage Controlling lights with triggers.

Cheers,
Chris
 
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
517
Location
Vancouver, BC
Thanks for your posts,

So now you are in the studio with your strobes and triggers.
Now you set up same strobes for temp studio at a event with same triggers?

Same event, if you need to run around with your camera and flash to be even more portable, let's say 2 SB's, do you use same triggers as for strobes or you have different triggers?

Another wards the event you are covering requires a temp studio for formals and then coverage with camera and maybe 2 flashes. How do you manage Controlling lights with triggers.

Cheers,
Chris

I use 2-3 SB-800's for a temp studio... I add an umbrella, softbox, or bare as required. The PW will accomplish this just fine. Just plug the sync cord from the PW into the sync terminal on the SB and away you go.

As for the flash, I just set the flash level manually. Usually about 1/2 or 1/4 and then set the exposure on camera from there. If you have a Sekonic L-358 light meter, you can add a PW module, and trigger the flash to get an exposure reading that way.

If I was still working everyday, I would investigate the new TTL PW, I hear they're really good.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
141
Location
Shepherdsturd, WV
Most all triggers will trigger any type of flash if you just need to make the flash, flash. I you need TTL operation, then you have to get a trigger specific for your flashes and make sure that it has a connector to plug a sync cable into to be able to trigger any other type of flash.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
108
Location
Illinois
Up date on triggers

Hi Everyone,

Based on my other post " killing 2 birds with one stone" I decided to start with one SB900 flash, then parhaps add one more flash?? and then maybe some studio strobes, so....

For my SB900 considering the added flexibillity (box modifiers/beauty dish) I got interested in Kacey's bracket, Creative Light flash speed ring bracket, Wescotts magic slipper and so on.

With that info I called PW tech support and was advised to just get bunch of Flex TT5's. I was told they will do great with my bracket, SB's and future studio strobes.

I perhaps have a problem with their comments and need more explanations:

1) If I mount the Flex TT5 and SB on top on any of those brackets the set up will not be centered, perhaps way to high or will just not fit. Yes? No?

2) In most cases most shoot in manual, studio strobes and even a flash like SB line. If that is the case then why Flex TT5? What is the Flex best suited for?

3) I can see Flex TT5 working well on a camera, with an umbrella set up or remote open flash. But even then can you trust the exposure?


4) What role does Plus II play in all that? Is that the old and good standby?

Thanks in advance for any posts,

Chris
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
4,638
Location
Orlando, FL
The Flex5's form part of a TTL-aware radio control system. They can send both ControlTTL and regular PW radio signals, so you can use them just like the older Plus II's. Of course, you can also use them in full TTL mode, or mix-'n-match TTL and manual strobe use. They will play nice with the Plus II's in a mixed system.

You are correct in that the additional height of the Flex may put the flash rather high on an umbrella bracket resulting in the flash being off-center. That is an issue with, for example, the Lastolite EZbox as it leaves the flash further back than normal from the 'mouth' of the softbox.

Bottom line is that if you are a committed manual flash shooter, get the Plus II's. If you want to have a TTL option, get the Flex/Mini system.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
108
Location
Illinois
""The Flex5's form part of a TTL-aware radio control system. They can send both ControlTTL and regular PW radio signals, so you can use them just like the older Plus II's. Of course, you can also use them in full TTL mode, or mix-'n-match TTL and manual strobe use. They will play nice with the Plus II's in a mixed system.""

John or anyone,
Considering studio shooting, indoor events and field shooting, what would be ideal application for a Flex TT5 type system?.

For strobes and/or flash, If I mix Flex and Plus II I imagine the iTTL/TTL function is lost?

Cheers,
Chris
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
4,638
Location
Orlando, FL
Not necessarily. TTL is still possible on a Speedlight attached to a Flex even if another flash or studio strobe is attached to a Plus II. The latter will be manual of course.

For studio applications, manual all the way. Plus II's are fine. For anything that is more dynamic with changing flash to subject distances, the TTL system is advantageous.
 

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