confused about slaves and flashes

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by anthonydamario, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. anthonydamario

    anthonydamario TPF Noob!

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    I'm pretty new to photography, and I have a pretty decent flash that has a slave feature that I use with my D70's on camera flash sometimes. I'm confused about radio slaves and how they work, is it some sort of sensor? If I was thinking about buying a pocketwizard or something, would I need to buy more than one? And is there anything cheaper than pocketwizards?
     
  2. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    Radio triggers are just another way to trigger an off camera flash. Rather than the slave flash needing to "see" the triggering flash (your pop up) before firing, a radio signal is sent from the radio trigger (attached to your camera), to the receiver (attached to the flash), that tells it to fire. They're generally much more reliable than other methods, while providing wireless capability for off-camera flash.

    Check out http://strobist.blogspot.com/, specifically, their Lighting 101 section.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    The system that is built into your camera/flash uses light pulses/flashes to communicate between the 'master' and the 'slave'. This communication allows you to fire and control the remote 'slave' flash. It gives you automatic flash metering (CLS) etc.

    The problem is that light pulses aren't always a reliable communication, especially outdoors. That is why many photographers use radio flash triggers.

    Most radio flash triggers only have simple communication, they can only fire the flash. This means that you don't have auto flash metering and you must figure out and set the power manually. It's a bit tricky to wrap your head around but it's fairly easy once you get the hang of it. Actually, a lot of photographers like the manual aspect because it's consistent.

    Recently, there are a new products that give us the benefit of radio communication while keeping the auto flash metering and other features of the built-in system. Radio Poppers, for example.

    The industry standard product for flash triggering is the Pocket Wizard Plus II. This is a simple radio trigger that will only fire the flash. They are very reliable and their rated range is 1600'. The problem is that they are expensive, something like $180 each, and you need at least two of them. So to answer your question, yes, you would need to buy two, one for the camera and one for the flash. The Plus II is a 'transceiver' so either unit could be a transmitter or a receiver.

    Yes, there are cheaper options. The very cheapest ones (that are fairly popular) are the 'Cactus' radio triggers. You can get a set for $40. Gadget Infinity :: Digital Camera :: Flash Trigger :: Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4
    They aren't known for being too reliable, but it's a great way to test the waters without spending a lot.

    There are the Skyports by Elinchrom Elinchrom EL Skyport Universal Trigger Set-1xTransimtter,1x Receiver Slaves 19360 - Vistek Canada Product Detail
    I use the Cyber Sync. AlienBees: Illuminating the Galaxy with Professional Photographic Lighting Equipment
     
  4. anthonydamario

    anthonydamario TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot guys, that really helped.
     
  5. bhphotography

    bhphotography TPF Noob!

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    RadioPopper makes some great wireless flash transmitters at a fraction of what pocketwizards cost.
     

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