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About digital strobe slaves
Old 08-08-2004, 02:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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OK, here's one for some people who are more techno geek than I am. In looking for a new Wein infared slave online, I noticed some units labeled as "digital", with the explanation having something to do with a pre-flash put out by digital cameras as a focusing aid. The pre-flash theoretically can set off the strobes before the main trigger, thus leaving no power for the actual exposure. The question is, under what circumstances does this happen? Does it happen with all digital cameras? Does it only happen if the camera's built-in flash is used in any way? I ask because I recently did a two-day shoot with my Nikon D70, and triggered my Norman strobes with my old Wein transmitter and slaves (none "digital") and had no problem. The camera was in manual mode and I did not have the built-in flash fire at all, and I was using the auto-focus constantly. In two days there were no miss-fires, no pre-fires, no problems at all. So what are they talking about?

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Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: About digital strobe slaves
Old 08-08-2004, 03:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I believe the more expensive not-totally-automatic cameras should only fire a pre-flash if you ask it to. The 10D, and i'm assuming D70 have an option to fire only the main flash with out a pre-fire (the pre-flash is for the camera to get a ttl flash metering done). Also, no pre-flash will fire if you don't use the on-camera flash or a dedicated flash set to pre-fire.

I wouldn't worry about the whole 'digital' strobe - it sounds like they are just jumping on the digital bandwagon, and selling to people with cameras that cannot stop themselves from pre-flashing.

Thats my 2c (South African Two Cents [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img], Hope it helps
Ciao
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Re: About digital strobe slaves
Old 08-08-2004, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have an older Olympus C2100 that pre-fires the auto focus flash. It drove me nuts having to buy the "digital" slaves. Needless to say I didn't buy one. Then one day I had a vision [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]....my Sunpak PZ5000 has multi-flash capability. Meaning, I can change the number of flash outputs and the flash frequency as well. By setting it to 2 flashes (or however many your digital camera puts out) and changing the frequency, I was able to get this off camera flash to fire at the precise time. I do believe shutter speed effects the frequency. But now I was able to extend the range to well over 40' with good results. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Now I could move the flash to different angles and everything...just like the big boys. Needless to say my family thought I was nuts [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] when I made this discovery and tried to share with them. I hope this might help others with the same problem. All you need is a flash with multi-flash and slave capabilty.
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I\'m with you
Old 08-08-2004, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Andy

I can't understand what they're talking about.

I guess that some cameras have a "pre-flash" flash to set the E-TTL. But if you're plugged into a strobe, I'd think that wouldn't fire.... My S2 never pre-flashes.

Also, some cameras have an IR focus assist or a little flash focus assist. My S2 has the less-expensive "flash" assist. However, mine has never set off my strobes or anyone else's strobes. Can't understand why that would be a problem either.

Do they charge you more for this miracle digital strobe "feature?" That could answer the question....

Bob

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Re: About digital strobe slaves
Old 08-08-2004, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Andy, I am really surprised to see you asking a question like this. I know of you and I have seen a lot of your work and you are the consumate professional. This is a question that a person like me would ask but I believe I have an answer for you.

I don't believe at all in all of this E-TTL mess. I think it was dreamed up by Nikon and Canon to sell special 'digital' flashes that never work as they should anyway. I bought a Nikon 'digital' flash and had nothing but trouble with it from day one. I now use my trusty SB-26 on aperature mode with my Nikon D1X and the exposures are spot on every time.

As to your question about 'digital' slaves please don't lose a lot of sleep over it because it means nothing but more of your money in the pockets of the manufacturers. I have a Wein Pro Synch SSL that I bought for my F5 and I use it with my D1X and have no complaints at all. In fact I just did a photo shoot last night and the with my D1X, the Wein Pro Synch, and my White Lightning monolights and all of my images were bang on with the exposure.

The SSL is a single channel infra-red slave so it may not be appropriate for your needs but I would reccommend it to a fellow photographer in a moment. I hope this helps.

David Allen
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Not totally related but...
Old 08-08-2004, 10:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When I used my 1n film bodies for shooting events, I was able to set up strobes in the corners of the rooms to add fill lighting to the room...and my flash...the 540 would set be the main light and it would trigger the strobes in the corners...well, when I bought my D30... because of this goofy E-TTL metering, I would fire the strobes in a pre flash..and set off the strobes and not expose my subject properly... so I pretty much gave up on that way of lighting because the alternative was to buy a bunch of 550EX flashes and use their IR triggering system....which I found to be very "hit and miss".. so I just gave up on that type of lighting all together until I was farting around in my studio a few nights ago...and I thought I'd just try it to see what happens.....well, what do you know,,,....the 10D bodies work...( same exact flash unit too) with my strobes once again... but now I am confused as heck...

What gives??

JP [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: Not totally related but...
Old 08-09-2004, 11:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey John Paul,

I have had a D30 for a couple of years. Just use a flash that is not a TTL flash. A Vivitar 283 works fine flashing just once and not doing the TTL thing.

Now I just use Pocket Wizards to trip them, but I used to use a 283 on the camera to trip studio lights.

But for events, I would suggest using a radio type since anyone with a flash on their camera can set your strobes off and then they are still recycling when you need them.
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Re: Not totally related but...
Old 08-09-2004, 11:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok...

Yep, I use Quantum 4i slaves but for the lighting I described above, where I'd use my mounded 550EX as the main light and the strobes in the corners, I can't use my slaves... ... my cameras all have one problem... that all have just 1 hot shoe... I thought about using the pc socket at the same time as the hotshoe...and rig the thing to my bracket but I haven't tried that yet... still in the works.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Thanks for your reply!

JP
 
 
Re: Not totally related but...
Old 08-09-2004, 11:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey John Paul,

I see what you are saying. I always use my "on camera" flash on a bracket with a pc cord. I mount my Pocket Wizard on the hot shoe and then a cable from the Pocket Wizard transmitter to my bracket mounted flash. I have never used a Quantum so I don't know if they have a pass through connection like that or not.
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Re: Not totally related but...
Old 08-09-2004, 06:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hmmmm.......I guess I will have to test it out...Yep! Thanks much anyway! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

JP
 
 
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