Strobe Trigger Recommendation

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by omaha, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'm looking for a recommendation for a wireless trigger setup for my studio strobes.

    I've been using a wire to connect from my RB-67 to the "first" strobe, and then let them "auto slave" from there. The problems are (a) I don't like having the wire around since its a pain and (b) my strobes (I use Promaster 300C units) occasionally decide not to fire (meaning they don't "see" the flash from the first strobe and fail to fire).

    So, I'd like a wireless system that allows me to put a receiver on each of the strobes and bypass the optical slave firing altogether.

    I've been looking, and it seems like these things fall into two categories: Big bux, big features units (eg, Pocketwizard) that are way more money than I think I need to spend and way more features than I need OR cheapo crapola (ie, $20 for the whole setup) that I wouldn't trust not to let me down when I need it.

    All my strobe use is based on manual setup, so I don't need any TTL stuff or automation stuff or any of that. I hand meter and hand set each strobe. I just need something that will reliably and consistently fire the flashes.

    Any recommendations? Thanks!
     
  2. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

    Messages:
    796
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I use the Pocket Wizard Plus X triggers. They are simple triggers, no extra features and are a lot cheaper than the other models. About $100/each so not Chinese knock-off prices but IMHO worth the extra money.
     
  3. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks.

    I was looking at those, and am a bit confused on one point: Is the same unit both transmitter and receiver? IE, if I'm running five lights, does that mean I need a total of six of those units?
     
  4. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The Plus X, like most flash triggers, are both transmitter and receiver. So yes, if you don't want to slave, you need one for each light, plus one for your camera. We used cheapo triggers in our studio at first. They work fine for about a year and then break, so we finally got some pocket wizards.
     
  5. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

    Messages:
    915
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Location:
    Portland Ore
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd go with pocked wizards as well. I've used a bunch of the cheap brands and they are insanely fickle/frustrating/awful and WILL die on you when you really need them.
     
  6. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

    Messages:
    796
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yes they are transceivers, you just need two or more of them. Personally I just use two and fire the rest of my lights as slaves.
     
  7. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If you're having trouble slaving some lights because of their position, for example if the slave sensor is buried inside a softbox or other fixture, you can use an external slave trigger such as this one:
    http://www.adorama.com/FASE.html

    Place where it is sure to be triggered by the other flashes, then run a PC cord back to the light.
     
  8. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks, all.

    I like the looks of the external slave trigger thingy. That may be part of my solution. I like the idea of only needing one receiver instead of five! I have a hard time thinking I have a $600 problem here.

    Any thoughts on the internal slave triggers on these? They seemed to work fine for a couple of years, then they got all ishy. Sometimes they will work fine for hours at a time, and other times they just don't. My life would be a lot easier if they just worked like they were supposed to.

    These are Promaster 300C units. Not super high-end, but not super cheap either.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For my totally amateur use, I recently bought a set on the Younguo triggers. My initial use has been fine, but not long enough for a valid opinion. But I did do some research and from what I read they are reliable enough for studio use. I wouldn't trust them for long distances or when you just have one chance for the shot, but for most use they're OK. (If I made my living using them, I'd get the Pocket Wizards.)

    Note that some triggers may not be able to handle high voltage. Also, some use easily available AAA batteries, others use somewhat scarcer lithiums.
     
  10. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just wanted to say "thank you" again for all the helpful replies here! This is a great forum!
     
  11. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,329
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Bangkok, Tha
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been using these - they held up really well on a recent shoot I did for a commercial client. (I have used PWs in the past (Nikon), but they don't play nice with my Canon kit, as Canon flash units don't use PC sockets.)

    http://www.phottix.com/en/studio-accessories/phottix-strato-ii-multi.html

    The ability to attach the flash via a hotshot was my reason for choosing this style - got tired of failing cords and these are especially easy to use.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,428
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I occasionally bounce the light from a small camera mounted flash off the ceiling, and let the White Lightning internal slaves trigger the big flashes.
     
  13. WayneStevenson

    WayneStevenson Member

    Messages:
    145
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have two sets of inexpensive triggers / receivers. Worked great, with misfires. Especially when batteries got low. But they wouldn't tell you that. Eventually I ended up switching to Pocketwizard Plus IIIs (last year I think). I absolutely love them. And the price is down over the Plus II.

    Though the Plus X is even cheaper.
     
  14. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Anyone have any experience with these from Paul C Buff?

    This is the receiver. They have a version where you in-line the power cord to the strobe, so it doesn't need batteries. They want $70 for this.

    csrb_csr_front_1010.jpg

    This is the transmitter. They want $60 for this:
    cst_front_1010.jpg

    Seems reasonable.
     
  15. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

    Messages:
    699
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Omaha, I have those Paul C. Buff Cybersync triggers. They're quite reliable and I'd recommend them. They do use button cells, though, instead of AA or AAAs.
     
  16. omaha

    omaha Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Oooohhhh. That's an issue.

    If I go this way, I'll get the AC powered one for the receiver, but the transmitter is going to be battery. Did you have issues with battery life?
     
  17. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When doing my research, I did read that the cheapy flash triggers were prone to misfires when the batteries went bad. I guess that's one reason they're cheap. That's why I chose a set that use AAA batteries (cheap, readily available, and greater mah capacity). Not sure yet how that works out in practice; time will tell.
     
  18. analoguey

    analoguey Member

    Messages:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location:
    Bangalore, I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have Used the yongnuos for about 2 years now. (on-off flash use) batteries lasted till now. As have the triggers and transmitter. Hadn't a problem till I pulled the transmitter out a little fiercely from a pc to hot shoe. Receivers still work fine.
    I have used them with speedlights and not strobes - so in varying conditions, indoors and outdoors - only caveat being that my set only works under 1/320 due to transmission losses.
    But as costs go, great bang for the buck. The newer HSS ones are about 60$ or so afaik, while the regular ones syncing to about 1/320 go for 30$ a pair.
    Even the supplied AAA batteries just wearing out. And no mis-fires so far. Knock on wood.
    Cheap enough that if you have issues, you can order extra set as insurance and still have spare cash compared to the name-brand ones.

    Sent from Tap-a-talk
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2014
  19. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

    Messages:
    211
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Egremont, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree. But if you go with them, buy a bunch of extra button batteries for the transmitter off the Internet and keep a few handy.
     
  20. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Since posting back in February, I've use the Youngnuos with a WL10,000. The Youngnuos are "rated" for 12v (newer version is rated higher), but my WLs have a 24v sync voltage. No issues so far.

    Of course, the fact that these ancient WLs (I'm the 3rd owner) are still working is a tribute to the Paul Buff products.