what piece of equipment am I missing?

nick001

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I am just learning about flash photography and recently ordered an entry level mono-light setup, but I think there is a piece of equipment missing as nothing is happening with the lights when I take a photo.
I asked the sales guy for a complete shopping list for what i wanted to do. I figured that I'd just buy everything on his list then learn how to use it. What is missing??? Please be kind, I am just learning.

Here is what I received: I am using a Nikon D3100.
2 FLASHPOINT 1220M MONOLIGHT's
2 FLASHPOINT LIGHT STAND 7.2' AIR CUSHND
2 GLOW SOFTBOX 40" X 56"
1 WEIN SSHSHS SAFE-SYNC F/HOT SHOE #HSHSB
 

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Is the Wein SSHSHS Safe-sync F/hotshoe #HSHSB engineered to fire the flash?

Is it radio frequency?

Is it comprised of a transmitter on the camera and a receiver on the flash?

Is it powered up?

Is your flash connected to the remote (receiver) part?

Is your camera set to flash?

Is your flash plugged in?

Is your flash turned on?
 
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nick001

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hmmm...I have the Wein in the Nikon D3100 hotshoe and pc connected to a monolight, and everything turned on. Am I missing a trigger or something? I have a feeling the Wein is only to protect high voltage currents...
This is the Wein product description:
The Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe (SSHSHS) regulates and reduces the flash sync voltage of the flash from up to 400V to less than 6V. This is especially important for current automated SLRs or digital cameras when used with older flashes or lighting systems.

This model mounts directly to a camera's hot shoe and provides a hot shoe on top and a PC female flash connection on the side. You can have a flash connected to the hot shoe and a flash being triggered by the PC female connection-and unlike so many other offerings of this type, both will fire simultaneously from the same signal.
 
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Derrel

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There must be a working PC connection cord hooked up to both the camera, and to the monolight. Just to be safe, I would make sure the flash unit's Slave is set to OFF.

I have a Wein Safe Sync myself, and have used it for 10 years, off and on, and am not sure if we have the same exact model, but I use mine with a Paramount brand sync cord, sort of th the Rolls-Royce of sync cords. There are MANY cheap, crappy sync cords on the market, and many are not reliable; the connections on PC cords are notorious for making poor connection (there's an old joke that PC stands for poor connection). Yes, the SafeSync is just to protect the camera from high trigger voltage flash units. Nikon cameras can take exceptionally high trigger voltages, BTW, but dealers love to sell SafeSync units...

The thing is though, the D3100 does NOT have a PC outlet, so you must have some kind of hotshoe slide-in accessory that does have a PC outlet on it, if you want to trigger a monolight or other studio type flash via a PC connecting cord. The Nikon AS-15 is the best and most-reliable unit of this type, and I have owned one for many years now and have used it with Nikon and Canon cameras. Nikon AS-15 Sync Terminal Adapter (Hot Shoe to PC) 3066 B&H

I would say that if you need to shoot, do this: In the custom function menu on the D3100, wade in there, get to Flash, turn flash to Manual in the menu, then click the power level own to 1/16. Pop up the built-in flash and use its flash pop to slave-trigger the two Flashpoints. Turn their optical slaves to ON. That ought to synchronize the two Flashpoint monolights. The 1/16 power flash coming from the camera will not affect the exposure much at all.
 
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nick001

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ok thanks....so what he gave me is nothing more than voltage regulator? You are right the D3100 does not have a pc outlet, but the Wein does. So I put the Wein in the hotshoe of my camera, connected the pc cord from the Wein to the monolight, and nothin happens. I think I am missing another part to trigger the flash. Sorry to be so elemental in all this.
 

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nick001 said:
ok thanks....so what he gave me is nothing more than voltage regulator? You are right the D3100 does not have a pc outlet, but the Wein does. So I put the Wein in the hotshoe of my camera, connected the pc cord from the Wein to the monolight, and nothin happens. I think I am missing another part to trigger the flash. Sorry to be so elemental in all this.

Yeah, the SafeSync keeps high voltages from going through the camera's circuitry, but that model ALSO allows a shoe-mounted flash to be used and fired at the same time as a second flash connected via PC cord, so it's a bit different than the earlier SafeSync, which did NOT have the hotshoe on top. The Wein ought to work as a PC outlet. I would try flipping it around and sliding it in "backwards". Other than that, there's the cord to troubleshoot, at both ends. It **should** fire the flash as long as the PC cord is good and the connections are good at both ends, and the flash unit is good and in working order.

You have not mentioned if the monolights have been tested; do they fire when you turn them on and hit the TEST button? Are the flashtubes fully, 100% inserted? Sometimes a flashtube can come out 1/8 to 1/4 inch and appear to be in right, but it is not, depends on the flashtube design.

Have you tried my suggestion of using the built-in flash in Manual mode and using the optical slaves to trigger both Flashpoint monolights?
 

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Sorry to be so elemental in all this.
Don't be sorry. There are many different pieces involved to use flash, and as far as I know, there is not one single source that explains it all.

FWIW: I use a radio-frequency set of transceivers (they do either; transmit or receive). So one goes in the hotshoe, and another one connects to a remote flash using either a PC cable or a mini phone plug, depending on what kind of socket is on the flash.

If you don't mind connecting with a cable, then get the PC type, and long enough to go from the camera to the nearest flash.
 
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nick001

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Firstly, thank you so much for your replies. Derrel: yes i did what you suggested but to no avail. I have a feeling it is the pc cable that isn't connecting right from the camera to the mono light. Is there an easier way other than pc cable?
 

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Why don't you run a simple test to make sure of where the problem might be.

1. Set one or all of your strobes to slave function.

2. Remove any attachments from your camera, including cables.

3. Set your camera to activate (flash) the built-in flash.

4. Take a photo.

The strobes should fire. If not, then double-check their power cables, and test-fire each one to make sure they work.

Re-do the test.

If there is still no flash, then you've got more complicated issues.
 

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Designer said:
1. Set one or all of your strobes to slave function.
2. Remove any attachments from your camera, including cables.
3. Set your camera to activate (flash) the built-in flash.
4. Take a photo.

The strobes should fire. If not, then double-check their power cables, and test-fire each one to make sure they work.

Only thing I can add here is to step #3: the pop-up flash on the camera needs to be set, by you, to Manual output control, in the custom function menu. Also, the flash's output must be "seen" by the slave units on the monolight.

Each monolight comes with its very own PC connecting cord, so you ought to have two, different cords to cross-check this issue. There really is no easier way to fire a studio flash than by using an old-fashioned PC cable. it is the simplest, most-direct, least complicated, least technologically demanding method ever invented to fire a studio flash unit. have you tried BOTH PC cords? This ought to be a couple of minutes' worth of tinkering in order to get this going.

Have you tried manually firing the Falshpoints? You wrote that "nothing is happening" when you take a photo. How about if you power the flash units on, and then test fire them. What is happening? Is one unit firing? WIll both of them fire when you touch the TEST button on the back? Do you have the FLASH turned on AND the modeling lights turned on?
 
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nick001

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Sorry for the late reply. So anyway, after some tinkering and following your directions I got both lights to work....a big THANK YOU for all your help!
I am taking full length pictures of clothing dressed on a mannequin for my up coming website.
I used d3100's in camera flash (covered it with thin almost paper like white vinyl, and put the camera in Aperture). I was surprised. The photos aren't half bad considering I don't know what I am doing yet (they seem to have a yellow tinge to them). I know I need backdrop stands and white paper, then two more smaller mono lights to blow the background out. What other equipment would you suggest?
The one thing I don't understand is why do I need the Wein hotshoe adapter?
 

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The one thing I don't understand is why do I need the Wein hotshoe adapter?
Why don't you ask the person who sold it to you?
 

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If your photos have a yellow tinge to them, it could be two things, both of which are VERY important to resolve!!! First off, you said you put the camera in Aperture, which I assume you mean Aperture priority automatic or "A" mode on the mode dial....that is the absolute wrong way to shoot studio flash images, because indoors, it will almost always lead to a slow shutter speed, which will pick up ambient light and or light from the modeling lamps, which will give you yellowish images.

Also, in Aperture priority automatic or "A" mode, the slow shutter speeds indoors can easily lead to a slow exposure time that can lead to ghost images or blurred images, unless the camera is rock-steady, and the subject is also rock-steady. With mannequins, I assume they will be rock-steady, but if the shutter speed dips too slow, the chance of camera movement giving a blurred image is pretty significant.

The idea when shooting studio flash images is to MANUALLY set the camera's white balance to the Daylight setting, also called Fine Weather by some Japanese manufacturers. The normal manually-set setting ought to be around 5,500 to 5,600 degrees Kelvin in most cases. The yellowish tinge you've gotten in your pictures is probably due to the camera's automatic white balance setting being very low, light 2,700 to 3,500 degrees Kelvin, due to indoor light being "seen by" the camera's WB detection system. Also, in A mode, you might have a slow shutter, such as say 1/15 second, which is literally picking up a lot of that ambient light.

You really want to shoot studio flash shots at a fairly fast shutter speed, like say 1/125 second, or 1/160 second, or 1/180 second, and thus keep the ambient light wayyyyyy under-exposed, and have the pictures exposed almost totally by the bright, instantaneous flash bursts.

The sales person sold you the SafeSynch to provide a PC outlet for the D3100, and probably also to make a profit for the company. The Nikon AS-15 would have done almost the same thing; the SafeSynch model you were sold however does have a hot shoe AND a PC outlet, which the AS-15 does not.
 
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nick001

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Thanks Derrel, I appreciate your input and experience so much!! I will give it a try in manual. I have the camera on a tripod and use a clicker ( so no movement of the camera) and everything is 'rock solid'.
 

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