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Thread: Help with studio equipment please...

  1. #1

    Help with studio equipment please...

    I have been out of the studio for 8 years. recently i have bought a portable studio for smaller portraiture jobs that dont require a full elaborate set up. I am having problems working out infra red flash triggers - if i get one, do i still need a hotshoe on my camera?

    I have a pre-digital age hotshoe with my digitl camera and portaflash lights... at the moment the lights and my camera shutter are not in sync and all my photos are dark. would an infra red flash trigger help this and how do i put the discrepancy right once i have one?

    ANY advice greatly appreciated please - i had a very frustrating day playing with it all yesterday and getting nowhere!

    thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Hard to say without knowing what gear you have. What lights did you buy? You can get various hot-shoe adaptors (mostly on E-bay) for a few pounds, if you need one. You can always use a synch cord from camera to lights. What is the camera?

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    I am wondering if I am interpreting your question correctly. You stated that you, "...have a pre-digital age hotshoe with my digitl camera...".

    I use a YinYang infrared trigger which I purchased from eBay quite a few years ago. It mounts on the hotshoe of my camera...

    Help with studio equipment please...

    The YinYang trigger was very inexpensive and cost less than $20 (USD). It has worked flawlessly under the following parameters:

    1. It must have a line of sight to one of the optical sensors of your studio flashes. The trigger will fire that flash and the flash will trigger the other optical sensors.
    2. I use it only in the studio. I have not tried it outdoors...
    3. When using your lights with any optical triggering, they are suceptible to firing if another photographer fires a flash. Since I am the only photographer shooting in my studio, that is no problem...
    4. I would assume that there is a maximum distance from which the YinYang can trigger my lights. Again, since this is studio work, a maximum distance is not a problem.
    5. Not a function of my YinYang, but rather of my older flash units... My sync speed is limited to 1/60 second. However, since the studio flashes are the only lights in my studio when I shoot, they stop any image/camera motion.

    My YinYang has worked better than several inexpensive radio triggers I have tried.

    Of course, the YinYang cannot be used to sync hotshoe flashes used in the Strobist method unless these flashes are equipped with an auxillary optical hotshoe sensor. There is also no ETTL or TTL exposure control but, I always shoot in manual exposure mode when using studio strobes so that is of no consequence either.

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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Hi Pippa,

    Also, are the studio strobes firing at all?

    Keep in mind that you'll need to keep your shutterspeed below about 1/125th, and don't use an on-camera flash to trigger anything as they'll trigger on the pre-flash.

    For rock-solid manual-power triggering, grab some PocketWizard Plus IIs. Not a big fan of infrared triggering to be honest; I use Elinchrom Skyports in my studio (mind you, I have Elinchrom lights), and PocketWizard Mini-TT1 and Flex TT5's outside.

    If none of this gets you going, can you give us more info?

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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Hi,

    Having used a Nikon infra red for quite some years, the problem always is getting line of sight if you are doing anything other than macro and not so hot outside.

    Having invested in Colin's favourites; the PocketWizard mini TT1 & flex TT5s I cannot fault their performance and flexibility.

    However they are pricey.

    But you get what you pay for.

    Wonderful little gadgets and worth every penny/cent.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Most of the flashes I've used, whether they be Speedlights or studio flashes can be optically slaved. These can be a bit problematic in larger settings, but if you are using a small portable studio, I would not have thought that this woudl be an issue. It would be good to know what equipment you are using, especially the camera.

    Modern digital cameras can use a pre-flash sequence to communicate with other optically connected Speedlights. Older or less sophisticated units will see this as the flash and will fire before your camera's shutter actually triggers, so no picture would be the result. I assume you are firing at the appropriate sych speed for your camera? That could potentially be the problem as well.

    I'm with Colin on the PocketWizard. I use these with my studio lights, but tend to use at least some level of optical synch with my Speedlights, because they are easy to set and control right out of the camera when I use Commander mode.

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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Keep in mind folks that this thread is almost 2 years old.

    Manfred, of recent I've taken to using PocketWizard Plus II / Plus III for TRIGGERING my studio lights (100.000000% reliability), but Elinchrom SkyPorts for adjusting the strobe outputs (new module coming to allow me to do this from an iPad).

    For location work, I'm currently using an ST-E3-RT and 5x 600EX Flashes, with excellent reliability.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Keep in mind folks that this thread is almost 2 years old.

    Manfred, of recent I've taken to using PocketWizard Plus II / Plus III for TRIGGERING my studio lights (100.000000% reliability), but Elinchrom SkyPorts for adjusting the strobe outputs (new module coming to allow me to do this from an iPad).

    For location work, I'm currently using an ST-E3-RT and 5x 600EX Flashes, with excellent reliability.
    I noticed the age of the thread after I posted. Should have checked first.

    I have a couple of Einstein 640 units that I trigger with PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receivers. On camera I have the miniTT1 and use the AC3 ZoneController to control the lights. I do a PocketWizard Plus II when I use a borrowed 3rd party light to the mix. As you put it 100%++++ reliability.

    What is really nice is being to control the exposure right from the camera without having to put the light down for manual adjustments. I most went there because I have (had?) severe arthritis in one foot and when I had a flare up, I needed to minimize walking around and the tripping hazard from the synch cable. I had surgery on the foot a couple of weeks ago, and hopefully, that will fix my mobility issues. I stuck in a cast for about the next 10 weeks, so I'm not doing any shooting right now; crutches and cameras don't seem to go together at all.

    I might pick up a 3rd Einstein sometime in the next year or so to give me a bit better control on my background lighting. I tend to shoot 1 or 2 lights (key and hair/kicker if required, with a reflector as the fill light). Borrowing the third light from a colleague has pretty well convinced me that I should up my lighting inventory.

    When I use portable lights (an SB600 and SB900), I find it just as convenient to use the camera's built in commander mode to operate the two units, and of course a reflector.

    I've used a SkyPort a couple of times and found the reliability a bit lower than I had hoped. They seemed a bit tempermental and did not always fire reliably. The Elinchrome gear looked and worked quite nicely; in fact worked perfectly with a synch cable, but the wireless triggering seemed weak when compared to the PocketWizards. I had a chance to use some Photogenic gear that had built-in PocketWizard receivers; nice but way to much money for a hobbiest.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 14th September 2012 at 10:17 PM.

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    Re: Help with studio equipment please...

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post

    I've used a SkyPort a couple of times and found the reliability a bit lower than I had hoped. They seemed a bit tempermental and did not always fire reliably. The Elinchrome gear looked and worked quite nicely; in fact worked perfectly with a synch cable, but the wireless triggering seemed weak when compared to the PocketWizards. I had a chance to use some Photogenic gear that had built-in PocketWizard receivers; nice but way to much money for a hobbiest.
    I found PW and Skyports to be about the same -- a whole bunch of reliable triggers, and then a few in quick succession that were mucked up -- I'm suspecting it may even just be simple RF interference. New 600EX-RT / ST-E3-RT have been perfect though, as has the Plus II / Plus III ... got a WiFi unit coming for the Skyport to allow me to control them from iPad / iPhone ... should be interesting (although the interface is a dog )

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