Talk to me in "layman's" terms

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by texassand, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    Can someone please please please give me a brief explanation on what the whole "wireless" radio, slave, remote, pc connections, ac "something or other" stuff is exactly? I'm getting all these terms confused and I just need some to give me a brief explanations in layman's terms so that I can at least understand what I am reading. I would really appreciate it. I've tried to google this and can't come up with just a basic explanations on how all these things work together.

    THANK YOU!!!!:heart:
     
  2. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Well . . . they work without wires connecting them . . . So no wires get in the way. And they don't get tangled. And you can't trip over them. And you can't forget them. Or break 'em.
    So on, so forth.

    Anything else you don't get?
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    In the photography world PC is the name for the type of connection/cable that we use for connecting flash/strobe units. (it has nothing to do with personal computer).

    Many cameras come with a PC socket...so that a PC cable can be directly connected to the camera and to a flash/strobe unit. If you camera does not have this connection...you can get an adaptor that will fit onto the hot shoe...and has a PC socket.

    If you want or need to fire your off camera lights without being connected with a cable...then you need a wireless system. One popular method is 'Radio' slave triggers. A sending unit is attached to the camera (probably using the PC connection)...and a receiving unit is attached to the flash unit. Then when you release the shutter...the units trigger the light.

    The top end radio slave brand is Pocket Wizard. They are pricey...but said to be very reliable. There are also cheap units being sold on E-bay. I've heard from people who say they work fine...and I've heard from people who have had problems.

    Another wireless method (I think) is Infra Red commnuncation. Canon units, for example, can be fired remotely with the right equipment. The top end Canon units (550EX & 580EX) can act as the master...and fire a remote unit. Or you can get an ST-E2 unit that going into the hot shoe...and fires the remote Canon flashes.
     
  4. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    So then, what if you have 3 lights? Say for example you have a main light, a fill light, and a backlight. Would you have to buy THREE radio triggers? Or would one trigger the other two? How does that work?

    So no cables would be involved then? And then once it's all hooked up, pressing the shutter speed on my canon xt would trigger all three lights to flash?

    THANK YOU BIG MIKE!!!!
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Most studio lights have optical triggers. So if you fire one light with the radio slave...the others will fire with their built-in optical triggers.
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Just to note, those "optical" triggers, that sense a flash from your key light and then trigger, are not 100% reliable. They rely on the slaves seeing the flash from the key light. Sometimes in your light setups, this can get tricky, especially if you are outdoors, mixing ambient and flash illumination. The best method is indeed to have a radio trigger for each light.
     
  7. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    And that's why it's also the most expensive.
    I've used optically slaved flash for 25 years and it's worked for me all that time. I saved a bunch too.
    Radio triggering probably has greater range than the 15/20 feet that optical slaving often is limited to. But I've never needed greater range yet.
     
  8. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    It's not only about range. Try using optical slaves outdoors in bright sunlight, and watch what happens.
     
  9. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Done that a number of times (wedding party in the park in springtime, etc.) with 2 slaved flashguns and never had a hitch... Go figure!
    But then, it stands to reason that not all optical slave systems are created equal, doesn't it?
     
  10. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Yes it does.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I still sync one light with a cable and optic slave the others. I have had 6 lights in a shoot and if I tried to pc cable all of them it would be a mess. And before the question comes up to do more than one light with cable you can get a 4 way connector. I have one but never used it (still wrapped in plastic). I bought a cheap radio slave to play with and the battery in the transmitter died in a week, and the reciever is finiky. So not good experience with the elchepo wireless (the replacement battery was 1/4 price of the transmitter go figure).
     

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