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View Full Version : How do pros synch their strobes?


Jamesino
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 17:25
How do most professional studio photographers sync their strobes? Do they use radio triggers? If so, which brand is the most expensive?

Wilt
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 17:36
Pocket Wizards are the most pricey, if I recall correctly. Not sure why, apart from the fact that they set the premium product pricing standard probably 15+ years ago, when there was little competition, and all the newcomers try to beat on price.

TMR Design
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 17:46
I don't know if this has anything to do with pricing but I believe Pocket Wizard are still the only ones with 16 bit digital circuitry with the ability to have the frequency chipped for an individual, if needed.

tim
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 18:59
I use Skyports (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/505381-REG/Elinchrom_EL_19360_EL_Skyport_Universal_Radio_Slav e.html/BI/2312/KBID/3114), I don't do much studio work, I mostly use them on location at weddings. They're smaller and cheaper than PWs.

BCRose
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 19:24
PC Buff CyberCync (http://www.alienbees.com/cybersync.html)
Very good products.

Jamesino
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 21:29
These can be transmitted through walls right? Could I set up a few strobes and hide behind a wall and trigger them out-of-sight for a haunted house maze?

TMR Design
4th of October 2008 (Sat), 21:33
Yes, any of the radio triggers mentioned will do that for you.

turbo212003
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 00:29
Yes, any of the radio triggers mentioned will do that for you.


ebay will not right?

tim
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 00:35
Ebay/gadget infinity are radio triggers like the others, poor quality but otherwise the same technology. If you get a good set they'll go through walls, but they're not reliable even without walls. They're definitely not for professional use.

TMR Design
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 00:40
I wouldn't count on the cheaper triggers going through walls. Part of what makes them cheap is the lower power transmitter and limited range. All the other popular name brand radio triggers will go though walls and have very good range, with Pocket Wizards having the greatest range.

Vascilli
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 01:20
I'm "pro" (Just did my first paid shoot, barely broke even but we were only after portfolio shots and we'll be doing prints for someone) and I use a PC sync cable that came with my strobes. Cheap, reliable, but it gets in the way.

JBaz
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 02:51
I've used PW multimax's before and it doesn't get any better than that. Very expensive but if you shoot sports and strobes, its worth it. The regular PW are still good, but I think their value is diminishing a lot now more advanced and cheaper radio triggers are out.

I currently shoot with PCB CyberSync's and they are absolutely wonderful and decently priced. They work really good and have not had a misfire yet, plus they are tiny and work a good distance. They run a 2.4ghz frequency so you won't get interference much from other photog's. Their new CS' should be coming out soon and should give you a new level of control with any PCB lights.

Echo63
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 04:27
i work two different "pro" jobs
for ball/prom photography we shoot using two stobes and a backdrom, synched with either the cactus triggers (ebay/gadgetinfinity) old quantum triggers, or if all else fails, a PC lead
becuase there is normally 2-8 of us all shooting in a small area, we need to use different channels, otherwise we would all be firing each others light.


I work part time as an image tech for one of the local papers, they use PC Leads and skyports in the studio, and with the elinchrom Ranger system that sometimes gets dragged out, and ste2/speedlight for off camera light out on location

BCRose
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 21:26
Not sure about the others but the PCB Cybersyncs can be relayed to double and triple the range..or more..

TMR Design
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 21:39
I believe Pocket Wizard are still the only ones with 16 bit digital circuitry with the ability to have the frequency chipped for an individual.


I don't know if this has anything to do with pricing but I believe Pocket Wizard are still the only ones with 16 bit digital circuitry with the ability to have the frequency chipped for an individual, if needed.

Where did I see that before? :D

Bilsen
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 16:13
Can anyone tell me if Alienbees will somehow connect to and fire a 430EX?

Thanks.

tim
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 16:46
Can anyone tell me if Alienbees will somehow connect to and fire a 430EX?

No, but a 430EX in manual mode will trigger an AB via optical slave.

airfrogusmc
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 16:48
I'm an old cord guy and my strobes 4 1200 WL ultras and 2 750 travel lites have built in slaves.

JBaz
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 16:49
you can upgrade to a 530ex and get the PC connector ones so you can use a wireless trigger or such.

Tareq
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 17:21
Is it fine to upgrade [or maybe downgrade?] from strobes to speedlites?

tim
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 17:42
Is it fine to upgrade [or maybe downgrade?] from strobes to speedlites?

That depends what you mean. If you want to use speedlites in place of strobes they're more expensive, less powerful, and burn out more easily. But you can do it with the right connections.

Tareq
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 18:03
That depends what you mean. If you want to use speedlites in place of strobes they're more expensive, less powerful, and burn out more easily. But you can do it with the right connections.

In fact i don't have anything to light outdoors or in locations, but i see many many people going speedlites way more than strobes, so i feel i should try this way as well, but really i don't have something to make me going portability right now.

bsaber
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 18:06
Speedlights are definitely way more portable than studio strobes but they are much more expensive too. I used to use gadget infinity triggers. They misfire all the time and aren't very reliable. Got PWs about a week ago and never looked back.

Tareq
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 18:46
Speedlights are definitely way more portable than studio strobes but they are much more expensive too. I used to use gadget infinity triggers. They misfire all the time and aren't very reliable. Got PWs about a week ago and never looked back.

I have PWs using with my strobes anyway, but can't someone use some kinds of packs to use strobes while moving? i think many pros keep using strobes in locations and they even never look at speedlites.

M Powered
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 18:58
In studio I use optical slave, less work, less equipment, less hassle. Outdoors, its PW or go home.

bsaber
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 20:35
I have PWs using with my strobes anyway, but can't someone use some kinds of packs to use strobes while moving? i think many pros keep using strobes in locations and they even never look at speedlites.

It's easier to move speedlights around than studio strobes. And for the price, you're getting less power out of the speedlights so it's more expensive.

Bumgardnern
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 23:08
Every one I know uses Pocket Wizards. I think more of it is in their marketing than anything. I hear that sky ports are excellent too.

Rudi
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 04:19
In studio I use optical slave, less work, less equipment, less hassle. Outdoors, its PW or go home.

How do you fire the original strobe though - you still use a PW, right?

I use Skyports all the time, only because my RX strobes can be adjusted remotely from my transmitter, which is mounted right on top of my camera. Best of both worlds and hard to fully appreciate until you've tried it once - then you don't want to be without it! :)

silvex
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 04:26
That depends what you mean. If you want to use speedlites in place of strobes they're more expensive, less powerful, and burn out more easily. But you can do it with the right connections.

If you are carefull not to should every second. They will last a lot. I also let them cool off if I put them thru a high pace. YOu can;t beat speedlites for on-location using david honl modifiers.

TeeJay
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 04:47
.... but I believe Pocket Wizard are still the only ones with 16 bit digital circuitry with the ability to have the frequency chipped for an individual, if needed.

I believe Pocket Wizard are still the only ones with 16 bit digital circuitry with the ability to have the frequency chipped for an individual.

Someones not paying attention! :rolleyes::D

TJ

tim
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 06:40
If you are carefull not to should every second. They will last a lot. I also let them cool off if I put them thru a high pace. YOu can;t beat speedlites for on-location using david honl modifiers.

Yep, for weddings I use speedlites, but I use strobes in the studio.

Wilt
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 08:48
Yep, for weddings I use speedlites, but I use strobes in the studio.

Me too

tcphoto1
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 09:59
I prefer to use Pocket Wizards but have been known to go old school and connect a sync cord from time to time.

M Powered
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 13:21
How do you fire the original strobe though - you still use a PW, right?

I use Skyports all the time, only because my RX strobes can be adjusted remotely from my transmitter, which is mounted right on top of my camera. Best of both worlds and hard to fully appreciate until you've tried it once - then you don't want to be without it! :)

Oh yes, primary strobe is always PW triggered.

TMR Design
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 13:24
Someones not paying attention! :rolleyes::D

TJ

Looks more like someone can't think for themselves. That's no coincidence that the text is an exact copy. ;)

silvex
7th of October 2008 (Tue), 13:32
Pocket wizards...I hate cables...but sometimes there is no choice. Specially in areas with LOTS of wireless activity. So sync cable *sometimes*.

transcend
30th of October 2008 (Thu), 02:57
Not sure about the others but the PCB Cybersyncs can be relayed to double and triple the range..or more..

Why would you do this with this product? But yes Wizards and I believe Skyports can do this as well.

$70/~400 max range they claim.

$188 for a PW PLus, 1600' range

And yes, the wizards DO go that far outdoors with minimal obstructions and decent batteries. I use mine all the time at anything from 2' to 1000'+. I do need to pick up a set of Skyports though to control my Rangers when getting to them is not convenient.

Bumgardnern
31st of October 2008 (Fri), 14:30
I used the Bowens radio slaves yesterday and can say that they work decently. I think that Pocket Wizards work much better though. The Bowens seem to be a bit finicky. The biggest advantage to the PW over the Bowens is that it uses a 1/8in mono which stays plugged in way better than the Bowens stay plugged into their PC connections. Other than that the Bownes seem to have a good build quality.

Jimconnerphoto
31st of October 2008 (Fri), 15:48
wow, I still have wein infrared ssr technology. lol
I use that primarily in studio. I use pw outdoors and ebay triggers for my cheapo flash when i need to abuse it.
I am actually looking into the elinchrome skyports for economic reasons (pm me if your selling, )
Even the cords for the pw are expensive.

Gentleman Villain
31st of October 2008 (Fri), 17:54
All of the above :)

Syncing is probably my most common problem. So I've learned to have multiple ways to sync *just in case* The past few years....I 've had about 4 ways to sync available in my camera bag....and at one point or another...I've had to use each method.

#1 Wizards
#2 Hardwire
#3 Infrared
#4 On-camera flash used to trigger white light slaves on lights

Wizards have been the best for me. But anything that requires a cable to attach it to a light is only going to be as reliable as the cable. So, have lots of cables on hand. Even if you have a whole bag full of sync cables on-hand....there will come a day when absolutely all of them decide not to work at exactly the same time LOL

Recently, I switched to Skyports simply because they can plug directly into my Elinchrom RXs and there is no need for any cables. The skyports haven't given me any trouble yet...But...they haven't been through the gauntlet either. I've put wizards through hell-and-back (both as a self-employed photographer and an assistant) and they've always been bullet-proof.

Just some thoughts. Is there one way that all the pro photographers do things? No...not really. Many of the hobbyists actually seem to have better syncs than many of the "pros" that I've encountered. :lol: