Optical Slaves

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Alpha, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I hereby rescind my endorsement of optical (peanut) slaves. They're temperamental and aren't sensitive enough.

    Buy a wizard or a skyport.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Which ones are you referring to.

    I've got a handful of 'cheap' ones and yes, they are temperamental and not very sensitive. They are especially temperamental with my Canon flash but are better when used with any of my older flash units.

    I'm just curious if the higher end optical slaved are any better. I'm heard 'good' things about Wein gear but I've never shelled out for them.
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I have two Wein peanut slaves. I can't get them to trip for the life of me unless my 600 w/s strobe is pushing half power.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Where's the WTF smiley? What kind of lights are they? Mono lights? Pack head system?

    The Wein slaves usually are pretty good, but most of the time I've seen them used, they're being used on speed lights.

    Paul C. Buff (Alien Bees) is coming out with a set of triggers like the current ones they sell, but they're battery powered as opposed to ac powered. Looks like a good buy for $130ish for a receiver and trigger with additional receivers running about $60ish, iirc.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I'm triggering Sunpak 544's with a Broncolor monolight.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Don't you know by now...that Alpha HATES Paul Buff? Or are just trying to make him mad :lol:

    I don't know what to say about your Wien slaves not triggering the lights. Is it possible that a weak cord or connection might be causing the inconsistantcies? What is the ambient light like? Can you turn down the ambient? Maybe that will help.
     
  7. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Strobe was on 1/8 power, shot through a double-baffled 30x40. Diffuse, perhaps, but I was still reading f13 on the flash meter. All the other lights in the room were off.

    I double checked the sync cables. They're fine.
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    I would think that F13 would certainly be enough to trigger them. :scratch:
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try this:

    - Clean off the cable terminals with commercial contact cleaner

    - clean off the camera sync terminal with contact cleaner. Use a paper or q-tip made to not leave any lint behind. ;)

    - Use a twist tie to "aim" the peanut towards your trigger flash light source

    - Replace the cables with better quality ones

    - You're going to laugh... I have a $5 peanut trigger that I use to set off a METZ 45, and its DAMN consitant. I can get it to trigger consistantly from 5-10 feet away at 1/32nd power off the built-in flash from my D200 and the Metz/peanut trigger on the floor behind our kitchen table!

    Here is something for you to consider... modded Poverty Wizards (Gadget Infinity), anyone? I have 1 trigger, three 4-channel and two 16-ch (for the studio strobes) coming within a couple of weeks. Thats enough to trigger 5 light sources!

    Total cost? $157... SHIPPED!

    I'll do the easiest/quickest mods after measuring real life performance before and after, but man, there are just too many people having a good time with them!
     
  10. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    How old are your slaves Alpha? They tend to crap out after a year of two (for me). They're pretty cheap though right? So frequent replacement is painless. I think last I bought a pair they were $7.99 ea.

    I dunno why they stop working - I suspect the photodetector cells have a short life span. <shrug> Also E-TTL can cause lots of confusion if used with them. Premature what? :D
     
  11. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I already noted that the cables are clean. The slaves are clean. One is brand new and the other is only a few months old. They work, but they're not sensitive enough and they're too temperamental.

    I feel I'm repeating myself.

    I repeat: The slaves aren't malfunctioning because I don't know what I'm doing. Did I accidentally post in the beginner's forum?
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Now I'm really quite confused.

    Had a pretty large shoot yesterday and the slaves worked perfectly fine. Had the Broncolor (600 w/s) on lowest power up about 10-12ft in the air and shooting through a double-baffled 30x40- triggered with a Wizard, and triggering a 320 w/s Photogenic and one of the Sunpaks via peanut slaves, which were about 10 feet away and also up in the air.

    In the other setup, which was in a boxing ring, had the Photogenic w/ beauty dish high up in the air (in the ring), and on the ground below the ring, had the slave on one of the Sunpaks, and it actually triggered through the shoot-through umbrella. Astonishing.

    Still don't know what to make of them.
     

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