Nikon CLS vs. Alienbees Cybersyncs

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by epp_b, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I want to start using my SB-600 speedlite off-camera. I do not want to use an iTTL cable; those things are too limiting for what I intend to achieve.

    I'm stuck choosing between waiting to upgrade to a D90, which will give me CLS capability, and buying a set of Alienbees Cybersyncs. I can afford Cybersyncs right now, but a D90 would have to wait a while. It will be easier for me to make a decision if I have an idea of how they compare.

    1. With CLS, my understanding is that I need to either let the built-in flash affect the exposure or have a preflash delay. Is that correct?

    2. I am aware that RF triggers will reduce the sync speed by 1/3 - 2/3 of a stop because of the radio delay. Does CLS have this limitation in the non-preflash mode?

    3. I know that CLS can let you adjust the output power remotely from the camera and that a Cybersyncs setup would require me to adjust it directly from the flash. Does anyone find this to be a pain?

    Is there anything else I haven't thought of?
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With CLS, once you set the camera to what you want it to give you have an option how you want your flash to fire (AA, TTL, M). Once you depress the shutter button on the camera, it sends a pre-flash followed shutter opening. Meanwhile, you can turn the camera's flash off ONLY using it as a commander.
    Personally CLS is a nice feature but isn't ideal, at least for me, outdoors - it doesn't do what radio transmitters/receivers do = catch the signal and set the light off. In CLS you have to make sure that your slave sees the preflash and when your slave is a backlight with subject b/n IT and PREFLASH source, there were times where it didn't fire.

    Interesting that you're saying that. Assuming that you're connecting transmitter to the camera directly either via pc sync (d200, d300, etc) OR on hotshoe adapter (d90) I don't recall ever loosing that amount of light you're referring to. With CLS (at home) I never metered, but using radio transmitters (when at work) the meter is around my neck.


    If you're shooting portraits, you set your lights and go "shoot" of course a LOT depends on your lighting style.

    CLS = AA batteries thus you have to keep in my recycling time. Using strobe/studio lights (whatever people call them), recycling time is minimal.
     
  3. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh ... right, I forgot about the IR line-of-sight requirement.

    So, say I wanted to use this in an action setting, like an outdoor sporting event in the evening or at a concert where I'm allowed to get close and use flash ... CLS wouldn't work for this, then?

    I was just parroting what I read in the Cybersync manual. It's not about losing light, it's that the flash fires very slightly later than it would on-camera because there's a brief lag in the RF signal.
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a 2months old and a 2yr old. Two months old is CONTINUOUSLY moving so the 1/4 second delay (or so) that CLS causes for me, I loose the shot. For my two year old, I have to bribe her NOT TO MOVE and it works ok. Pre-flash takes probably 1/4 to 1/2 second and in sports, I don't have to tell you that, you might not get what you're looking for. IRONICALLY, Nikon School DVD on CLS does demonstrate sports (dancing) images but for me and my use, it just a bit slow.

    It is still interesting. I've been using Quantum Instruments | Radio Slave 4i Sender | 505SIA | B&H Photo with Quantum Instruments | Radio Slave 4i Remote | 505RIA | B&H Photo and yet to see that delay. But it makes sense what they are saying.
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Definitely. For action, I need it to fire now, not a 1/4 second from now.

    I guess what I was asking was whether preflashes are required for CLS. Or is that only in TTL mode? What if I set the flash(es) manually?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  6. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You know it!:thumbup:

    CLS is nice if you're on the budget. It is also a nice feature for portraits, macro, but anything action related in my opinion, it is not reliable. There are people out there who shoot weddings with CLS. I have an idea HOW they do it, but questioning reliability of it.
    Perhaps one day Nikon, if hasn't yet, will come out with a camera that has a built-in radio and flash units with built-in receivers but until then... ;)
     
  7. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ...was thinking...

    You can always go out and spend $ on cybersic, is there anyone from whom you can burrow D90, D80, D70, D200, D300 (not sure about d100). If so, play with CLS, maybe you'll be happy with it.
    Buddy of mine is getting into photography, recently purchased on ebay, a set of 3receivers with one transmitter for $60.
     
  8. Bad Andy

    Bad Andy TPF Noob!

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    I have been thinking of starting (off) flash photography myself. My camera like yours can't act as a commander. I have been looking at getting Nikon's SU-800 flash commander. I believe it uses only infared for its "pre-flashes", and may work better. Certainly less expensive than a new D90 body.

    -Andy
     
  9. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I looked at that, too. Is there still a delay for the "command" signal before the "exposure" flash?

    EDIT: OK, I've considered the line-of-sight requirement (boo-urns) and the fact that I'd be limited to buying one of Nikon's three expensive flash units (SB-600, SB-800, SB-900) if I ever want to have more than one off-camera flash. With Cybersyncs, I can just buy any old flash on eBay and buy another receiver. I think the Cybersyncs are for me :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009

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