Cactus V4 Range test

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by benhasajeep, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Ok, had a short chance to test some range on the Cactus V4's.

    Set up was 2 flashes at same location. I started at 150' and all was well. 20 for 20 (actuations, 40 flashes 2x20). I then tried same distance with the small antenna down and they would not go off.

    I then moved the camera to 200' and again 20 for 20. I then moved to 250' and started to get some misses. One flash was consistant 20/20 other was about 10 for 20. Was always the same flash (left one as I was looking at it). What is odd is when I turned the camera 90 degrees to the left. The left flash was perfect and the right flash did not fire. Turned back to straight on shots and again left flash intermittent and right flash perfect. I then moved to 300' and left flash started to fire and right flash was intermittent. As I was moving farther away I was getting lower than the flashes. But only about a drop of 6' in elevation. Flashes would fire from 300' but not consistant. 300' was as far as I could go (would have to cross busy road). Measurements made with a 300' fiberglass reel tape measure.

    I then moved back to 225' and to an area with nothing but lawn between the flashes and camera. Both flashes were again 20 for 20.

    Flashes and recievers had fresh batteries (alk in the recievers, and rechargeables in the flashes).

    Also noticed that anything near the transmitter like a hand makes a difference (shortened the range). I noticed this as I was hitting the test button while moving around and was not getting the same range as I was using the camera shutter button. I was going to grab my SC cord and move the transmitter off camera but the rain started to come. So play time is now over.

    Range for consistant use appears to be around 200' -225' (line of sight no obstructions). Cactus claims 100'.
     
  2. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    Very cool results. I have been waiting for a review of these. With that range right out of the box, these will be very popular.
     
  3. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Cool beans. I just got mine today. Have you figured-out how to get to the battery in the transmitter? I'm at a loss.

    And really now, are we ever going to use a flash at 200'? The highest guide number for my flashes is 58'. :lol:
     
  4. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    What camera and flashes were you using for the test?
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I used a D300 and 1 SB-600 and 1-SB-80DX for the range test.
     
  6. DeadEye

    DeadEye TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This is due to polarity . There is a 20 db difference between vertical and horizontal polarity. 20 db is a HUGE difference in signal strength. 3 db is your half power point and it logarithmic . To put this in perspective if a transmitter putt out 1000 watts and you transmitt on a horizontal antenna but receive on a vertical antenna . The received signal will be the same strength as a vertical antenna at 16 watts.

    Well if you start with one milliwatt as with the cactus. -20 db signal is below the noise floor of daylight. Yep that radio noise generated by daylight kills the signal .
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The Guide Number of the 580EX is 58 METERS...190 feet.

    And there might be some situations where both the flash and the model are far away from you. You wouldn't need a lot of flash power...just a lot of range on your radio trigger.
     
  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    The antenna was vertical the entire time. Just turned 90 degrees to the left. The 2 flashes were only 5' apart at the same distance from transmitter. Initially the right flash fired correctly and consistantly. The left flash was inconsistant. When the camera and transmitter was turned to the left. The left flash was perfect and the right failed to fire. When turned back, again left was intermittent and right was fine. Although not directly in the line of site there was a block retaining wall half way between the transmitter and flash. Probably 3' to left and 3' down from absolute center line of transmitter to reciever.

    The flashes were set to 1/16 power, but I still gave approx 2 sec between firings to make sure a misfire was not due to the flashes. The flashes also had standby mode turned off.
     
  9. photobazz

    photobazz TPF Noob!

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    Great post very informative. My experience for what it's worth...

    These Cactus V4 triggers are really very good for the price. I've got a couple myself and haven't had a problem using them on professional jobs.

    I haven't tried extreme distances (greater than 15') but in a studio environment they respond very well, no misfires. Also the outdoor stuff that I have done with them has also been very good.

    Found it quite difficult to get a set here in the UK but found this store that sells....

    Camera Accessories and Flash Triggers Cactus V4


    Thanks

    Barrie

    Wedding Product Fashion Photographer Watford
     

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