Canon 580ex's and the most reliable wireless setup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by William Petruzzo, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I've been shooting with a single 580ex for some time now but I'd like to introduce a second into my shooting for wedding receptions and such. I think it gives an outstanding effect. The trouble is, the IR firing is inconsistent at best. The past few weddings I've shot using the wireless master/slave trigger but it only fires 50-60% of the time. The pictures still end up working, but not having the flare I'm going for.

    So, I'm looking into other solutions.

    In the studio I use my strobes, but they're hardly portable and I don't want to run wires all around a dance floor, you know? I have some pocket wizards also.

    What do you think the best, most reliable configuration would be for shooting with two 580's (with one still mounted on the camera)?
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    If you've got pocket wizards already, PW it. Sure you might have to fire flash on manual (unless you ditch the ones you have for the new TTL compatible ones; I'm assuming these aren't the ones you own), but the point is that it will fire.

    Oh, and, great choice of flashes, sir. The 580EX's are freaking powerful. For kicks, I triggered all three of my flashes at full-power in my room once, just to see if I could blind my current roommate in the next room. Well, he certainly noticed. :lol:
     
  3. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    yeah, I figured that the PW was going to be the way to go. But I'm unsure of how to trigger the second flash unit using the PW while the first flash unit is still on the camera.
     
  4. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    ^ I had no idea you had to shoot with flash on manual to use PWs. You say that there are new ones that are TTL compatible? I am getting a 580EXII and already own a 430EXII so I am wondering the same as bpetruzzo.
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    PW's come with a pc cable to attach to a body when not in the shoe. Buy a small cheap flash bracket and put the PW on that with the pc cord attached to the pc socket. Should be good to go with a flash in the hotshoe and the transmitter on the bracket.
     
  6. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    You could start off with a set of the cheaper triggers from gadget infinity. The V2S can be modified for long range and the new V4 units get you good range right out of the box.

    Also, Ebay has the CTR-301P units. I have used them and the V4 units with my 430 EX and 580EXII and they work great.
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, the latest and greatest from them fully support Canon's ETTL. Thing is you really do pay a premium for it. :-/
     
  8. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I hadn't even thought of using the pc cord! Should work perfectly. However, I don't shoot on brackets and I'm having difficulty picturing the setup. The hotshoe extension cord I use doesn't sport an extra slot on top for me to slide the transmitter on. And I can't imagine a bracket big enough to fit the flash on the camera's hot shoe and the transmitter on the bracket. Perhaps you could shoot me an example?
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    You don't have to slide the transmitter onto anything (hotshoe cord or actual hotshoe)...if you connect the transmitter to the camera's PC socket, it will work just like that. I use this set up fairly often. It's not ideal, but what I do is mount my flash on the camera's hotshoe, then use elastic bands to hold the PW to the side of the flash. A short cord goes from the PW to the camera's PC socket. A 2nd PW is mounted on a light stand with a 2nd flash. This is how I shoot the entire wedding reception.

    The bracket suggestion was just so that you have a place to mount the PW...rather than using elastic bands attached to the flash.
     
  10. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, as I was thinking through it last night, switch between two camera bodies pretty regularly so it might be better for me just strap the PW to my wrist or something so I can switch quickly. Especially since I use a giottos slide plate for my tripods who would complicate a bracket pretty quickly.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    I think I know some people who do put the PW strap on their wrists...so that can probably work.

    My main concern then is the PC connection. I've found that it's fairly common that the cord (or the connection) is the weak link and the result is that the flash doesn't fire...I have to wiggle the cord, twist the PC connection etc. Sometimes I have to scrap the cord and grab a backup because I don't have time to piss around with it.
    You can get screw-lock PC cables that give you a better connection...I think I'll be getting some of these before long.
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The OLD Pocket Wizards are the way to go... for the time being, stay away from the new Pocket Wizards, they are totally frustrating.

    Don't believe me... go read the strobist group and do a search, or if you want to look at a REALLY frustrated group of Canon users, check out the Flickr Pocket Wizard goup. 90% of the posts are complains about the new PWs not working.

    The guy I mentor with bought a PW mini and reliability was crap. Worked *maybe* 50% of the time... which for Pocket Wizards is totally unheard of.

    Oh, and the fear of going all manual... that fades once you do some practicing and see how much better and more versatile manual is over TTL, it just takes a little extra effort. ;)
     

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