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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 09 Oct 2009 (Friday) 13:30
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AB CYBER COMMANDER IS IN! Do you have yours?

 
RDKirk
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Oct 28, 2009 22:38 as a reply to  @ post 8907955 |  #31

Well, I just spent the last few hours getting to know my CyberCommander. And it did take a few hours for me to get it mostly figured out and save several light set-ups. This is not for people who never got the hang of programming their VCRs.

First, let me say that I certainly like it and will use it happily. I do have a one gripe, though, to get off my chest tonight.

First, I'm an old guy and have gotten farsighted. I liked the very large lcd screen and the large button board of the Radio Remote 1, which was about the size of a 1985 cell phone or a wide, flat cable remote control--you could operate it with gloves on. However, it could only show you the level of one light at a time--you didn't get a simultaneous view of all the light levels.

That's the only bad thing I have to say about it.

This is a trade-off, and I'm sure most people will prefer the tiny size and bright screen. I'll get used to it. One thing I did was to set the flash units at the odd numbered channels to get a bit of visual spread.

Oh, I do wish there was a door to the MicroSD slot.

A very positive thing, though, is that it works very well as a flash meter with the CST on the camera. I haven't wrung that out completely for a long shot, but it will simply my life.

The readout of decreasing color temperature with decreasing power is interesting.




  
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TooManyHobbies
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Oct 29, 2009 08:15 |  #32

RDKirk wrote in post #8915242 (external link)
One thing I did was to set the flash units at the odd numbered channels to get a bit of visual spread.

GREAT IDEA THANKS!


~ Jeff

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Seanzky
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Oct 29, 2009 08:31 |  #33

Can anyone with this unit please post videos or an explanation exactly how it works? (If it's not too much trouble.) I'm really interested in the CyberCommander but aside from knowing what it can do, I don't understand how it would be operated.


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isaax
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Oct 29, 2009 11:32 |  #34

seanzky wrote in post #8917090 (external link)
Can anyone with this unit please post videos or an explanation exactly how it works? (If it's not too much trouble.) I'm really interested in the CyberCommander but aside from knowing what it can do, I don't understand how it would be operated.

sean,
in the interim, you can check out the instructions HERE (external link) to get an idea on how to set it up.


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RDKirk
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Oct 29, 2009 13:37 |  #35

seanzky wrote in post #8917090 (external link)
Can anyone with this unit please post videos or an explanation exactly how it works? (If it's not too much trouble.) I'm really interested in the CyberCommander but aside from knowing what it can do, I don't understand how it would be operated.

You can go to Buff's sites (alienbees.com or white-lightning.com) and get the full set of instructions, but be warned: Cyber Commander is complex. The instructions make more sense when you have the unit in hand. It's not "plug in and wing it." It's pretty much like learning a PDA or new software.

As to what it does, briefly:

1. Along with the cyber receivers that must be attached to each light (ideally), it controls nearly all the functions of the light that are normally accessed on the rear panel of the light of all the Buff lights sold since 1986. The only exception is the 1/4 power button on the higher power White Lightning lights.

2. It also operates as a radio sync trigger (replacing cords and other triggers).

3. When you identify your lights (model, power, modeling light wattage) and configuration for each light (for instance, do you want the modeling light on, off, tracking), you can create up to 52 stored set-ups. These stored set ups can even set the light power to specific levels.

Let's say you frequently use a 3-light setup, sometimes in a location where you have AC power, sometimes where you use a Vagabond. You don't want to use the modeling lights with the Vagabond, so you might have two stored set-ups, one that turns the modeling lights on, another that turns them off.

4. It has a built-in flashmeter that automatically integrates the flash reading with the lighting setup. Let's say you are using just one light. The flash meter shows f/5.6, but you want f/8. So you can press the lever to raise the flash power until the flash meter f-stop reads f/8.

Or let's say you have several lights set up with the ratios you want, but the f-stop is f/8 and you want f/5.6. In this case, you switch the control to "All" and raise the flash f-stop to f/5.6 and it lowers all the lights in balance.

That's what I've been able to do so far.




  
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RDKirk
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Oct 29, 2009 15:25 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #36

The small size of the dispaly is mitigated to some degree in actual use by the extensive ability to create saved setups. Doing all the intial work is rather eye-blurring and will definitely give you the feeling "this is 'way too small." But then again, I get the same feeling with cell phones, PDAs, and DSLRs...the initial setup is eyepain.

But after you've got your basic setups done, using them is much less stressful on the ojos. Here is a suggestion: A way to name the setups.

Using the flashmeter--that's going to take some practice and thought. With the integration into the flash control and the use of saved setups, it becomes a one-step process. I can see it will take a bit of change to the traditional meter methodology to get the best use out of it.

Another suggestion: Being able to set the flash power increments in half stops as well as the current 0.1-stops.




  
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RDKirk
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Oct 31, 2009 13:11 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #37

There was a suggestion that the CyberCommander would not work reliably with the Vagabond because of the RJ-11 connector. I never had any trouble with the earlier Paul C Buff Radio Remote-1 remote control (which used the RJ-11 connector).

After quite a bit of testing, I'm not having any trouble at all with the CyberCommander and either my two Vagabond "classics" or my Vagabond 2.




  
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RDKirk
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Nov 01, 2009 20:30 |  #38

One of my philosophies is that any tool worth using is worth modding. I've tested my CyberCommander enough at this point to declare it usable, so I made my first minor mods to it.

I drilled a hole through the hotshoe foot and forced a split-ring through it so that I can wear it on a belt keeper. It's on the belt keeper that used to keep my old Radio Remote-1. I also wrapped a silicon wristband around it as a slight bumper.

That's the RR-1 controller and an RR-1 receiver in the background. Notice how much larger they are than their Cyber descendants. I had also modded the RR-1 controller--I removed the stub antenna and attached a rubber-jacketed wraparound antenna.

http://www.flickr.com …dkirk/406625767​7/sizes/o/ (external link)




  
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cskn0125
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Nov 19, 2009 21:49 |  #39

Anyone else got input on these?

I'd like to see a video review (aside from the three up on youtube already) of a walk through of the interface, etc. if anyone's taking suggestions....


Finally that it's out, it looks like a reasonably good product.


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Nov 20, 2009 10:28 |  #40

I had taken a long break from studio shooting, but had a shoot last week. I had to clean and organize my studio, so I was running out of time to setup and learn the cybercommander. I went to use my CST, but had a dead battery! In panic, I quickly setup and used the cybercommander. The only trouble I had was that the setup initially has the lights on standby and I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I put them on powered. Even then I had a little trouble with lights I though I had on but seemed to go back to standby. After that it was a breeze to use.

The only thing I wish was different would be an easier way to turn lights on and off without going through setup. Yeah, you can shoot one at a time for metering and you can shoot them all, but without saving to memory or the SD card there is no way to turn them on and off without going through menus. Solution - flip the switch on the light to take it out of the setup.

AND IT WAS SO GREAT TO BE ABLE TO ADJUST LIGHTS FROM THE CAMERA TO ZERO IN ON THE LOOK I WAS GOING FOR! Especially since I switched from the softboxes I had always used before to a beauty dish and an 87" PLM umbrella that I had never used until I started shooting that day.


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Nov 20, 2009 15:05 |  #41

I JUST THOUGHT OF SOMETHING!

The Cyber Commander will make my ring light useable. I tended to only use it when I needed that effect but it will make it easy to use for fill light since now I can easily change the power as I change my subject distance with movement of the camera.


~ Jeff

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Seanzky
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Nov 20, 2009 15:07 |  #42

Thanks, guys! These are all good info.


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Seanzky
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Nov 20, 2009 17:24 |  #43

By the way the three videos by Derek Ralston on YouTube really has me drooling.


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Seanzky
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Nov 20, 2009 17:37 |  #44

Does anyone know if the CyberCommander uses OLED for the display? I wish PCB made it so it used a 9v battery instead. :(

The fact it only lasts 2-3 hours really forces us to use the CST after setting all the lights.


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RDKirk
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Nov 20, 2009 18:04 |  #45

seanzky wrote in post #9052742 (external link)
Does anyone know if the CyberCommander uses OLED for the display? I wish PCB made it so it used a 9v battery instead. :(

The fact it only lasts 2-3 hours really forces us to use the CST after setting all the lights.

I'd rather it used AAs myself because I have so many other uses for AAs that I always have a supply. It would be larger with AAs, but they would also last longer (and I wouldn't mind it being a bit larger).

That's with the screen constantly on. When you're first learning it, you may tend to keep it on quite a bit and use a couple of sets of batteries. Once you've got your work methods down, you'll only be using it a few seconds at a time, so you'll set your auto-sleep to a fairly low number and get a much longer battery life.

While you're actually shooting with the CC as a trigger, the display goes to sleep and is not on, so it's not draining the battery.




  
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AB CYBER COMMANDER IS IN! Do you have yours?
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