Sunday, June 19, 2011

off-camera flash

I have been using off camera flash for sometime... I have been using Nikon's commander mode which allows me to fire my off-camera flash using my camera.  A nifty system, but has some shortfalls:
1) you have to have an on-camera flash to trigger the off camera flash - the problem is when you don't want an on-camera flash to be firing.  Sure you can set it down to it's lowest setting, but you are still introducing a front light source. 
2) you have to make sure the infrared receiver on the off-camera flash is 'visible' to the on-camera flash.  This limits your range and makes using that flash more complicated and less reliable.

So, I was at my cousins wedding and her photographer was using the Cactus Triggers, which are one of the least expensive triggers on the market.  I had read about these, but had heard mixed reviews on their reliability.  But this photographer had nothing but good to say about them. 

I looked more into them and they had some problems with one of the versions (v4).  Now they have the v5's.  So I ordered a pair and have been trying them out.  

Overall, I really like them.  This is not a review of these wireless triggers per se, so I won't elaborate too much.  Briefly:  they work on manual setting, so you don't get to use Nikon's TTL technology (which is basically Auto Flash mode).  They are very reliable thus far.  And I love not having to line up the old infra-red sensors.  The only problem I have found thus far is that they didn't work with my SB-600 flashes until I put some duct tape covering one of the pins on the bottom of the SB-600s.  Thanks forums for pointing me that direction.
The newer triggers are nice because they claim to work up to 1/1000 shutter speed. They worked at 1/500 for me, but not so well at 1/1000. Further testing may reveal otherwise.

One more shot:   settings:  70mm ISO 800 f4, 1/125 -off-camera flash powered at 1/128 M (SB800)

By the way, here was my set-up for this shot.

And don't worry, the goblet is empty.

Pic of the Day:  

Picture came from the photographer, Amanda, who was so kind to entertain my questions regarding the cactus triggers...  I think she really nails this shot:  great evening light with equally subdued pose and colors; great contrast with her depth of focus, and superb lines/curves take me through the whole of the subjects.  I don't think she uses any reflectors, diffusers, or fill flash... just good natural lighting.

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