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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Pocket Wizards
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03/17/2009 04:29:14 AM · #1
I want to NOT use my onboard flash to trigger my SB600. The reason: I'm doing the photography in my small apartment with the flash close to the subject and it is having an affect on the exposure. Outside is not a big deal since I using my 70-200mm for outside shots with SB600 off camera. I'm basically looking to remote fire the flash, and from what I understand, the distance of the Pocket Wizards are great, meaning I can do some more creative photography there as well. Would this be the way to go?
03/17/2009 04:56:08 AM · #2
Its definitely one of the best ways to go. But they are expensive. The Cactus triggers are quite inexpensive. In other words - cheap. They are prone to misfire and their range is short. But they are far less expensive than anything else out there. I use them myself and the misfires are actually quite rare for me. Others have reported misfires up to 20% of the time. By the way, I've used the pocket wizards in a class I took and I can see why they are so expensive.
03/17/2009 05:24:42 AM · #3
I was recommended some for £20 off eBay with a glowing recommendation, but I can't get a link at the moment because the work fun detector won't allow eBay. They have an RF trigger and also a flash detector trigger. I'll post a link later. I'm going to get a set once I'm at home leng enough to make sure they arrive (I don't want ot be away when they do).
03/17/2009 05:40:57 AM · #4
Am I reading this right...I need 3 PocketWizards? One for the flash, on for my camera and one to hold in my hand?

//www.pocketwizard.com/products/images/PW-P-TR.pdf

page 8
03/17/2009 05:45:12 AM · #5
That would be for relay mode. The Pocketwizard would trigger the camera which would then trigger a flash (or flashes). Two are all you would need to start. (One on the camera would be triggered with a regular shutter release which would trigger the flash)

eta: One more thing to note. Each unit is a transceiver meaning they are capable of sending AND receiving a signal. The drawback of many remote systems is that they have a transmitter and a receiver. If the transmitter goes you have to buy a new transmitter no matter how many receivers you have. (Or vice versa). If the pocketwizard you are using as a transmitter goes? Swap it for one you are using as a receiver. My instructor had one that would no longer transmit but would receive just fine and ended up using to trigger her background flash.

Message edited by author 2009-03-17 05:51:20.
03/17/2009 05:59:09 AM · #6
So, just to simplify things, one on camera to send info to one on the flash.

03/17/2009 06:16:00 AM · #7
Originally posted by heavyj:

So, just to simplify things, one on camera to send info to one on the flash.


Correct. :)
03/17/2009 07:35:41 AM · #8
This comes up often with the Nikon CLS, just so your aware, you can use the on board commander without having the flash effect your shot. 99% of the time just changing the commander setting for the on board flash from "TTL" to "- -" will do the trick (the flash will fire to communicate with strobe BEFORE the shutter opens). If you are close to a subject you can still get some 'after glow' contaminating the shot, in which case you can get a shield from Nikon ($12 at B&H) that goes in front of the popup, or make your own from a piece of exposed film.

See this link for last discussion:
//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=871775

You might know this but I thought I'd make sure before you lay out you hard earned $$ on the Pocket Wizards, not that I have anything against them there are many good reason to use them but there are other ways to still use CLS and not contaminate your shot with the popup. Remember too the the PW's don't do TTL either so they are full manual flash.

03/17/2009 08:23:38 AM · #9
There are other, more middle-of-the-road, solutions for wireless. One of them is the Elinchrom Skyport. I just brought this home along with a couple of studio strobes and softboxes and it's worked better than my Cactus so far.

My Cactus couldn't sync at faster than 1/120, and even then didn't always fire. Not a concern when I'm doing product shots, but pretty embarrassing when people are paying me for portraits. The Skyports seem to easily sync up at 1/250 for me so far. An interesting note about these strobes versus external camera flashes... using lower power on flashes gives a shorter pulse of light, but it is the opposite for strobes, so I'm looking forward to trying some liquid-drop shots.

I'm using the one tansmitter and one receiver, and letting the other flashes fire in slave mode, so now I can use two strobes plus two Sigma 500 Supers, all wireless.

If you just want to see if you like wireless off camera flash, the Cactus are so cheap that it isn't really a big deal to try them out. Maybe they will work well enough for you. Mine weren't that great for me, but I got a lot of use out of them and found out that I really like off camera flash.
03/17/2009 08:34:59 AM · #10
Speaking of TTL, I don't know what the big concern is about not having it.

I find that I can manually estimate settings on all my flashes and get very close to what I want. One or to adjustments and I'm there. I can probably eyeball and adjust nearly as fast as if I had a light meter. I'd like to try a light meter sometime to check it out, though, I may be full of shit. But they ones I've looked at in town here are about $250Can.

As I see it, the benefit of having a light meter is that you can follow a formula as to how much light you want hitting the subject from each side. But I wonder if that's also a drawback. For now I chimp. :-)
03/17/2009 08:35:38 AM · #11
//radiopopper.com/
Radio based wireless ETTL / iTTL and High Speed Sync.
03/17/2009 08:55:00 AM · #12
Pocket wizards are the industry standard. I have 5 and have never had a problem. They have recently come out with a new system that allows you to place a flash on top of the unit on the camera so you can have some on axis fill. I don't know if the new ones are backwards compatible?

Message edited by author 2009-03-17 08:55:28.
03/17/2009 09:40:31 AM · #13
Originally posted by ShutterHack:

Pocket wizards are the industry standard. I have 5 and have never had a problem. They have recently come out with a new system that allows you to place a flash on top of the unit on the camera so you can have some on axis fill. I don't know if the new ones are backwards compatible?

The new one are backwards compatible and they now support ETTL metering as well as triggering. I believe the new units are shipping for Canon and the ones for Nikon are about to be released. I guess the only downside to the new triggers is that they are specific to a platform if you want to use the ETTL capabilities.

These are at the very top of my wish list now. I set my flashes manually for portraits but the metering capabilities can be very useful for faster moving events like weddings. In the past this was hit and miss because of the IR transmission between flashes, but this will be great when it's using radio instead.
03/17/2009 09:50:50 AM · #14
Originally posted by Nusbaum:

These are at the very top of my wish list now. I set my flashes manually for portraits but the metering capabilities can be very useful for faster moving events like weddings. In the past this was hit and miss because of the IR transmission between flashes, but this will be great when it's using radio instead.


Just watch out if you're using Canon gear--notably the 580ex2, as it reduces the range that the pocketwizzards will transmit using the new ETTL PW system (not the old PW manual flash trigger)
The guys at TriCoast had the range reduced to something like 40feet max direct line of sight: Tricoast

Message edited by author 2009-03-17 09:53:56.
03/17/2009 10:47:25 AM · #15
Any reason not to get the Wireless Speedlight Commander SU-800
03/17/2009 11:16:31 AM · #16
Originally posted by Medoomi:

Originally posted by Nusbaum:

These are at the very top of my wish list now. I set my flashes manually for portraits but the metering capabilities can be very useful for faster moving events like weddings. In the past this was hit and miss because of the IR transmission between flashes, but this will be great when it's using radio instead.


Just watch out if you're using Canon gear--notably the 580ex2, as it reduces the range that the pocketwizzards will transmit using the new ETTL PW system (not the old PW manual flash trigger)
The guys at TriCoast had the range reduced to something like 40feet max direct line of sight: Tricoast


This sounds like a major issue given the near 800ft described in the product literature. I put my order on hold and popped a quick not to PocketWizard to see what they have to say.
03/17/2009 11:26:17 AM · #17
I'd check around a bit especially if you're working with Canon gear (don't know how it affects Nikon gear). Reviews are only really coming in now. I'd look for a review of the system from someone using the equipment your on. Apparently one of the 430ex's is better for the PW ETTL system...
03/17/2009 11:41:27 AM · #18
Even when you turn the on camera flash all the way down it still messes up your exposure? I use mine all the time on the d300 without any light from the oncamera flash hitting the subject.
03/18/2009 09:32:29 AM · #19
Back to the OP... I'm not familiar with Nikon's flash system, but isn't it possible to use one of their flashes, maybe the SB800, in a mode where it commands the other flashes but does not emit a flash itself? I know this is possible with the Canon 580ex, so I'm sure Nikon has some that is at least equivalent. I realize that a top of the line flash is an expensive trigger, but it's probably less than buying two pocket wizards or radio poppers.
03/18/2009 07:34:48 PM · #20
Originally posted by heavyj:

Any reason not to get the Wireless Speedlight Commander SU-800


Becuase it does exactly what your built-in controller does and you can set your built in controller so light doesn't contaminate the subject even at close quarters.

If you want range, or non line of sight (though CLS is pretty good at picking the reflected signal up at short range) go the pocket wizard if you have the $$ (wish I did :(), but if your worried about pop-up flash light leakage at close quaters get the SB-3IR for $12.
03/18/2009 11:00:53 PM · #21
If it were me(and it was) I'd buy the Alien Bee cybersync system at a whole lot less then the PW. I currently have two transmitters and four recievers. My total cost was less then two PW Mulitmax units. And I can control 4 off camera flashes from two different cameras. They have been 99.5% reliable and have great range indoor and outdoor. I think they are $69.99 each. Are smaller/lighter and just as reliable. Can also be used to fire any brand strobe. They also come with the sync cord to fit Nikon/Canon(ones with sync port)/and just about any other hotshoe flash that has a sync port. WIth PW you usually have to buy another cord separately.

Matt
03/19/2009 06:26:46 AM · #22
PocketWizards are grossly overpriced for what they do. (Although the newest ones are somewhat better in terms of features.)

I use Cactus 16-channel radio slaves and never have a problem. I've modded them to fit my needs, which was easy and cheap - I now have 2 Tx and 5 Rx units, all for under the price of a single PW.

PWs may be "industry standard," mostly because they were the only viable option for a while. Now they've got serious competition from other, less expensive, companies. Shop around and read some reviews and go with what fits your needs best.
03/19/2009 11:44:33 AM · #23
Hey I always wanted to use my 5 PWs for some creative outdoor settings, and will soon. You can regret spending much and think about all the other things you could've bought instead. Or you can do those innovative photoshoots and hopefully make enough money to pay for them.

Reliability is important, you might also be able to get reliable Tranceiver at a lower price.

There are 3 Professional Monolight Mfg. that come with Built-In PWs and are compatible.
ProFoto, Photogenic, and Dynalite

But then I think the Bowens Monolights with RC3 Remote controls, that control all adjustments, is impressive. See: Bowens-UK / Bowens-USA

There is the "Standard" and the "MultiMax II", the 2nd one has an LED display and more Channel settings. If you are in a situation where there are many photographers your channels won't interfere. If you have a Sekonic Light Meter that triggers the flashes, it only works with the higher channel numbers that the MultiMax II has.
03/19/2009 11:58:56 AM · #24
Pocketwizard prices have come down. The standard unit is only 169 now, per the calumet photo mag that came yesterday. Also they don't require modding and haven't been subject to manufacturer recall. So those factors might also be worth considering.
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