Cheap Off Camera Lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BTilson, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. BTilson

    BTilson TPF Noob!

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    I found this on Gadget Infinity. I know you get what you pay for, but I am on a pretty tight budget. Took me quite a few months just to save up for my D40 kit :)

    http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=16535&cat=256&page=1

    $50 for a flash with a sensor built in to detect the on camera flash. Has anyone had any experience with these, and does anything else similar to this exist that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? This is really intriguing to me, and if it works halfway decent, seems to be a very affordable way to start dabbling in some off camera lighting work.

    I've also considered some of the "Poverty Wizards" made by GI, and doing the antenna mod on them to increase the range and reliability, but even that would be overall more expensive than the flash linked above. (Not MUCH more expensive, mind you, but every penny saved helps!)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Doesn't look like you can put in on manual mode. If that's the case, I wouldn't touch it.

    Used Vivitar 283's go for about $35 on Ebay. Get a few of those and some of the GI triggers to play with.
     
  3. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The thing about that is, is its only "off camera" in the sense that its a seperate flash unit from the camera. You wont be able to TRULY get it "off camera" without some kind of Wireless Trigger setup, and I have no idea about that flash or if its capable of that. What is your total spending budget for a flash? If the above is able to be activated remotely it has a good Guide # - whether it actually reflects practical use is a whole nother story.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    From what I can tell, that flash doesn't have an auto triggering sensor...just an auto metering sensor. It's meant to be used on-camera...although, you could use it off, camera, but would still need a way to trigger it.
    Looking at it further, it does have a manual mode (full power) but it doesn't look to have adjustable manual settings...just full power. You might be able to use the auto settings while off camera, but it might be a lot of hit and miss.

    I would certainly suggest the Cactus radio triggers, if you are on a tight budget. I have two sets of them and I haven't done the mods.
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's bad advice. He should just say screw it and blow baby mama's welfare check on Pocket Wizards instead of formula.

    That's my professional opinion.

    :mrgreen:
     
  6. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    My less-than-$500 wireless lighting setup: Cactus V2S's, Vivitar 285HV's, lightstands, umbrella swivel adapters and shoot-through umbrellas.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I've used Pocket Wizards on several occasions, and I haven't found them to be free from problems. It's likely that the problems were with the connecting cords but still....

    I would certainly recommend them for professional use, especially over the Cactus units...but I'd also suggest looking at other brands like the Elinchrome Skyports. From what I've heard, they are just as good as PWs but with maybe a shorter range..and they are quite a bit less expensive. Plus they allow you to have separate groups to be fired separately or all together.

    I'm still waiting for the Radio Popper Jr. to show up.
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Paul C. Buff Cyber Syncs are even cheaper and work well from what I hear.

    I've never had any problems with my PW's. The only problems I have are that the PC cable's connection to my 580EX II sucks. I should probably splurge on a screw lock.
     
  9. BTilson

    BTilson TPF Noob!

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  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    My advice on kits is to add up the cost of the individual items, and assess whether all the items will be useful. It seems to me that 9 times out of 10 there isn't much of a savings, and sometimes they are trying to dump some almost useless, otherwise unsaleable item along with the things you really want. I mean, if you are going to be shooting wireless, off camera flash do you really need a bracket (like in those kits)? A light stand might be more useful. If you are going to buy a bracket are those the ones you'd want?

    Strobist.com has all the hands on info and reviews of all the wireless options. Usually the scoop on the good prices too.

    I also think that as cheap as Vivitar, Sunpack, Sigma, etc... flashes are that it's silly to go with no-name or unknown-name flashes unless they are an incredible deal, like free.
     

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