Multiple Flash -off camera

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by rdompor, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. rdompor

    rdompor TPF Noob!

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    Is there a way for me to fire multiple flashes (2) off camera via sync cord? PW's are currently too expensive for me and I've heard that other options are not very reliable. I was thinking of maybe using a splitter at my camera so I can just use two sync cords.

    Also, what flash heads would you recommend for overpowering high afternoon sun? I would be using the combination of two flashes I mentioned above. I currently have just one sunpak 383 super which I don't really find sufficient for this type of use. I'm on a very tight budget and would certainly like something cheap so EX's (I'm using Canon) are out of the question.

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks a lot, guys!:D
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Optical slave on one of the flash units.
     
  3. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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  4. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. Big Mike

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

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    Optical slaves may not be the best idea for shooting in bright sunlight. The master would probably have to be pointed directly at the slave, which isn't the usual set up.

    I can't find a link but I think I've seen a PC cord 'splitter'...so you could run the cable to the splitter then a cord from there to each flash.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not reliable is relative. :)

    I just bought the Gadget Infinity triggers (also known as poverty wizards). I've used the same weak batteries that came with the units and in close to 500 shots now, I have not had ONE misfire yet. I do expect them to happen, but since I am not getting paid for my pictures, I sure won't mind the odd misfire.

    Let me put it this way... if you are a professional photographer, you have NO reason to use anything but Pocket Wizards or perhaps the up and coming top of the line Radio Poppers.

    The GI (Gadget Infinity transmitter/receiver) units are DIRT cheap and the only thing downing them are 4 things:

    - They have a meager 30 foot range
    - They are built flimsy
    - The receivers use expensive proprietary non-rechargeable batteries
    - They cannot sync much above 1/250th of a second

    Well... my rebuttal is:

    - With 2 minutes work, I increased the range of my setup from 30 feet to (max range unmeasured yet, but I will try it out tomorrow) at least 120 feet.

    - Built flimsy? What do you want for 35 dollars? If a receiver breaks, get another one for 18 dollars! At this price range, buy double what you need and they will far outlast what you want and still be 1/20th of the price of a Pocket Wizard. In fact, I bought 1 transmitter and *5* receivers for substantially less than a SINGLE Pocket Wizard!

    - The proprietary batteries in the receiver... This is another EXTREMELY simple thing to address with a 60 cent external enclosed battery case, 2 pieces of velcro and a spot of solder. Now they last longer, use CHEAP rechargeable batteries and last forever.

    - The standard sync speeds... My camera's maximum sync speed is 1/250th, but I have had a few 1/320th shots that came out clearly, even though they were not supposed to... In short, I do not need more that 1/250, as most do not either. If I need a picture with a 1/8000th shutter speed AND a flash, Nikon's wireless has me covered.

    As to what flash heads to use to overpower bright sunlight It is obvious you are not experienced in strobism (yet :) )... because the question you should be asking is... "how can I create an APPARENT light source that is larger/greater than ambient?" The answer is bring the light source closer to the subject and maybe even diffuse it so its not harsh.

    Obviously, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on professional mono-lights, but did you know that you can overpower weaker afternoon sunlight with an ordinary flash head like a Vivitar 286HS, a Nikon SB600 or SB-800, or even your Sunpack 383? A nice afternoon spent reading at www.strobist.com will open your eyes to some major possibilities.

    Now I am not saying that you can light an auditorium entirely with one low end strobe, but you can overpower the sun with a single strobe on an object as big as 2 people full-height from 6-10 feet away... and if done right, at less than full power!

    As far as triggering them both, there are several ways to do it:

    - "Y" synch cord and a wire going to each strobe

    - Use the flash on your camera to trigger optical triggers (peanut triggers) on your strobes. These are 10 small bucks each and you are then wireless to boot!

    - A combination of the above... a wire from camera to 1 strobe and a peanut trigger on the second strobe gives you lots of possibilities.

    - You could spend $45 for the GI wireless transmitter and 2 receivers and go 100% wireless.

    Just some food for thought for you. ;)
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Yikes! I did not notice the cost when I posted that, I had just remembered seeing a split flash cord somewhere and posted it. that was an interesting post on increasing the ability of the "poverty wizards". Thanks!
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh I am sure you had not noticed the costs. I was looking for something like that for my father, and checked out your link. Surprising to say the least. :)

    Link to my blog on the GIs. I'll add a few pics and comments about distance after I test out the distance as accurately as I can.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ok, I had to do it... I went and did some measurements. Let me say that the results were NOT what I expected. I set a small minipod out on my street and placed the the modified receiver (to use 2 X AA rechargeable batteries), on it with the SB-600 at 1/4 power on top of it.

    I had set in my mind that for a distance to be successful, it had to take 3 consecutive pictures from a standing, kneeling and above my head positions. Any 2 consecutive misfires would define it as a failed distance and 3 consecutive misfires a complete failure.

    I popped the shutter once as a test, it worked... so off I went walking:

    30 Feet:
    [​IMG]


    50 feet:
    [​IMG]

    75 feet:
    [​IMG]

    100 feet:
    [​IMG]

    125 feet:
    [​IMG]

    150 feet:
    [​IMG]

    175 feet:
    [​IMG]


    200 feet:
    [​IMG]


    225 feet:
    [​IMG]

    250 feet:
    [​IMG]

    275 feet:
    [​IMG]

    300 feet:
    [​IMG]

    At 358 feet, I could go no further again, else stand on someone's front yard! :
    [​IMG]

    The important thing... were there any misfires? Yes, ONE... at the 358 foot mark. I also took pictures of all measurements where my back was to the flash, I was bent forward and took pics of the measuring wheel. EVERY picture that I took in this position set off the flash, even at the 358 foot distance:

    [​IMG]

    I wanted to make sure that the distance we were walking away was the same back as we stopped going there (obviously), but measured the distance in one shot walking back... avoiding any potential slips or miscalculations.

    It was 1/10th of a foot more coming back... close enough:

    [​IMG]

    I've left all EXIF data in place on all pics for those interested.

    Wow... to say that I am happy about this, is a little understatement. These things are called POVERTY WIZARDS. What I think they should be called is UNDER-ESTIMATED WIZARDS.

    Now, I did not take 100 pictures at 358 feet, so consistancy at this moment is in question... but quite frankly, I could not care less. If they can trigger at 358 feet... they should logically be very consistent at 75-100 feet which is still about 50 feet more than I can ever see using.

    For the money, that makes me a happy camper!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks, you saved me a lot of grief. I was thinking of doing something similar tomorrow. :D
     

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