Radio Trigger question...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BuS_RiDeR, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. BuS_RiDeR
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    BuS_RiDeR Well-Known Member

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    I have a buyer for my Washburn bass, which means I will soon have some disposeable income.

    My plan WAS to buy a Pocket Wizard for my 50D in an effort to bypass the sync cord.

    ie. Pocket Wizard transceiver on the camera would trigger my Bowens Gemini monolights via the built in photocell/slave cell on my lights.


    But, I was informed that I would need to buy 2... Because the Bowens Gemini monolights won't fire without a sync cord... or a connection between 2 Pocket Wizards.

    So I would need a Pocket Wizard on my camera and one connected to one of the monolights??? Even though they have built in slave cells???

    I need to know whether or not I will have to buy 2...
  2. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    I don't know about your specific lights. But with most (probably all) studio lights...when they say that have a built-in slave cell...it means that the light will trigger when it senses another flash/strobe fire.

    In other words, it's not a receiver for your Pocket Wizard...it's a receiver for any flash. So if you do want to use a radio trigger like the PW, you will indeed need two units...one on the camera and one on the light. You only need to have a receiver on one light, because the others will be triggered via their built-in slave cell.

    So yes...you could just use a flash on the camera, to trigger the lights. You would have to make sure that the flash doesn't use a pre-flash (E-TTL uses a pre-flash). And of course, using a flash to trigger your lights, will affect the light in your scene...which is one reason why most photographers don't use an on-camera flash to trigger their lights.

    If you don't need the reliability of the PW units. You could buy a $40 wireless flash trigger. Or if you don't need the range of the PW (1600 feet), you could get something like the Cyber Sync from Alien Bee (that's what I use).
  3. BuS_RiDeR
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    BuS_RiDeR Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the response. This does make sense. Although I was hoping that the built in cell would be able to "see" the signal from the PW. Wishful thinking on my part I guess.

    The OCF option is not really something I want... So I guess I'll have to wait until I can afford two PWs...

    On a similar note... Is anyone familiar with the Cactus radio triggers? My local camera shop stocks them, but I don't know how good/bad they are.
  4. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Those are the $40 flash triggers I was referring to.
    Gadget Infinity :: Digital Camera :: Flash Trigger :: Wireless Trigger :: Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4

    They are essentially the exact same thing as the PW Plus II units. They send a radio signal from one unit to another, which tells the flash/strobe to fire. You could use either the PW or the Cactus for OCF for studio work.

    The practical difference is that the PW is a high quality unit that is made to be reliable and has a very high range. Also, the PW Plus II is a 'transceiver'...so the unit can send or receive...meaning that you don't have to pick the right on to put on the camera or on the strobe. With the cheaper ones...there is a specific sending unit and a specific receiving unit...but this in itself, is not worth the huge price difference.

    I have some of the older, cheaper Cactus units. like THIS and they do work...but they were not consistent enough for professional work. That's why I went with the Cyber Syncs instead. I use them both for triggering my studio lights and for triggering off-camera-flashes.
  5. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    The built in trigger start in the classic monolight the series above the ones you have so you will need 2 or you could get the Pulsar trigger by Bowens, i use these Twin-Link Remote Flash Triggers

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