In order to achieve the best possible flash photography results, taking flash off the camera and using multiple flash units become necessary. For example a typical setup for studio portrait shooting may include key light, fill light, background light, and often hair light. Not all shooting situations require this many lights but it is safe to say triggering multiple lights and synchronizing the light output with the camera’s shutter is the solution the photographer need to find.

Typically corded connections between the camera and flashes are supported by most camera/flash systems but most photographers do not like the hassle of wires. The simplest form of wireless trigger is the inexpensive optical slave triggers. But very often they suffer from poor range and are prone to interference. One step up is radio frequency (RF) wireless flash triggers. These triggers can trigger the flash from long distance and do no require line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver. Most of the low cost triggers (for example, check out our review of an eBay trigger iShoot PT-04 CN) do not support remote flash power adjustment. All the remote flashes need to be in manual mode. If the photographer needs to change the flash power, he/she needs to get to the flash and change it by using the controls on the flash. Sometimes this is an acceptable inconvenience but sometimes it is unacceptable because of the physical location of the remote flashes or the time required to do so.

This discussion will be focused on wireless triggering and remote power control options currently on the market. Read More…

Posted in Photography Lighting on March 24th, 2010. No Comments.

If you haven’t seen it, here is the original post about the Smart Optical Slave Flash Trigger (SOSFT) prototype built on an Arduino platform. Since I need to free up the Arduino Duemilanove board for other purposes and want to test the trigger in more practical situations, I decided to build it on a small perfboard I found in RadioShack. Read More…

Posted in DIY Photography, Photography DIY on March 5th, 2010. 3 Comments.

Optical slave trigger is the easiest way of getting the flash off camera without wires. However, most of the optical slave triggers are quite dumb. They trigger the flash as soon as a light pulse is detected. This works fine if all of your flashes are in manual mode. If you want to use a dumb flash in TTL flash system, or wireless flash system such as Nikon’s Advance Wireless Lighting (AWL), you will run into trouble. The flash will be triggered prematurely when the TTL metering pulse or wireless communication pulses are emitted. Read More…

Posted in DIY Photography on March 1st, 2010. 16 Comments.
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