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Optical slave
Old 04-08-2004, 12:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Has anyone had any luck with optical slaves... I bought 2 off of ebay and they don't work 90% of the time... OK ... did I just go cheap or do they not work for everyone? If I spend $45 bucks on one will it be alot better or do I just save my money for a radio slave? or do I use long cords? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
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Re: Optical slave
Old 04-08-2004, 06:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have much experience with optical slaves, but, depending on how your lights are set up, the slave might not be able to catch the triggering flash. Also, at least with Canon's ETTL and ATTL flashes, there will be a pre-flash which will probably trigger your slaved flash prematurely- and, of course, not allow the slave to recycle before the actual flash goes off. Opticals also present a problem if you happen to be shooting around others who are using flash.

If you can spare the $$$, I'd suggest going for radio slaves. I've had my Pocket Wizards for about 2 years now and have no regrets on the purchase. Much more convenient than a sync cord and more reliable and versatile than optical slaves.
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What Denis said...
Old 04-08-2004, 07:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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...I've got a couple of the $9.99 special optical slave triggers that I stick under my two non-dedicated camera flashes...They work most of the time, but I've found that they don't necessarily "catch" the trigger from all of the advertised angles.

I've also noticed that when the slave triggers are in bright light, moving across the source (a "flashing shadow" if you will) will occasionally cause them to fire spontaneously.

Still, they were a cheap experiment, and they gave me a bit of an advance on multi-strobe behaviour education before my Bees show up (tomorrow).

For what it's worth, I plan to run the Bees wired until I recover from their purchase, at which time a PW setup will be on the way.

Cheers~!
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Re: Optical slave
Old 04-08-2004, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've got some of the Wein peanut slaves and they work very well in a small area. I prefer to use my Pocket Wizard radio slaves, they are much more reliable and have a longer range.

I think I paid $40 something for the 3 peanut slaves, so they are worth the money, I mainly use the peanuts when I'm doing location work in a fairly small area that doesn't lend itself to full sized studio strobes to fire off a couple Vivitar 285's or a Quantum Qflash I have set up as a background light. I usually use a SB-80 Speedlight on a TTL cord to trigger everything.
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Funny you ask
Old 04-09-2004, 08:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This is something I have on my mind for a long time.

I want to use a device that can trig my studio strobes
replacing the electrical cable that I normally use,
to get more freedom and as a safety measure for my camera.

I read publicity and articles about infra red devices and radio slave.
I was almost ready to buy a Wein infrared trigger (it's goes on the camera shoes)
but I read many reports on the WEB from users complaining about the quality.
The device was not firing the strobes all the time.

Finally I did a test last weekend that I wanted to do for a while.
I was using my regular TTL Speedlite 430EZ from Canon.
The setting was 1/32 in manual mode. This is little power
and I never drained the accumulator dry.
I shooted over 600 pictures.

The head can be rotated and was directed to the ceiling.
Everything went fine and all the pictures are properly exposed.
The power of the flash is too small to make a difference in the lighting.

I am going to stick to this approach for a while.
I try to minimize the gadgets I buy.

Ciao
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Re: Optical slave
Old 04-09-2004, 10:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have used some of the "peanut" optical slaves to trigger smaller flash units for fill or background lighting. Any optical / IR unit has challenges. For example, I use ONE radio slave to set off one of my heads and use the built in IR slave to set off the rest. Typical problems:

- the radio-fired unit is set to a low power and the IR can't "see" the flash
- the contrast between the flash and the ambient light is too small and the IR won't fire
- the units are set up in such a way that the IR can't see the primary flash and the IR won't fire
- I've had two units across from each other and the MODEL blocks the flash and the IR won't fire

Sometimes I can adjust the ambient light or the position of the strobe head. I have between one and four heads in the shot -- so sometimes I have to pick a different strobe to put the radio slave on. Sometimes it's the hair light because that one is high and behind, and the IR unit on the strobes can "see" it better.

If you want a 100% reliable trigger, you should buy a radio unit for EACH head. Since that costs $100 a head.... I use the IR built into each unit. I'm shooting with Calumet Travelites and have found them pretty reliable. It's almost always the moody figure or fashion work that becomes an issue -- again, with a low amount of light from the unit that is radio-attached. It's easy to fix with a little planning.

Good shooting!
Bob

Something with a low light and two opposing strobes:
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