Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave

Started Apr 17, 2013 | Discussions
InspectorHud
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Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
Apr 17, 2013

Hi all, my son has become interested in photography and is now starting to think about lighting his subjects.  He has moved far enough away that I can't lend him any of my equipment so I'm trying to help by sending him some of my old gear and some inexpensive things to get him started.  I've been looking at the radio slaves on Ebay and some are so ridiculously cheap that I worry if they work at all.  SO, if anyone has any experience with these ebay radio slaves - good or bad, I would greatly appreciate if you would share your experience before I commit.

Thanks

24Peter
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 17, 2013

Yongnuo RF 602's, 603's or YN 622's are all reliable and cheep. But... they may not work with your "old" equipment. Check the specs before you buy.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 17, 2013

Yongnuo RF-602s are the choice if they are for use with both studio strobes and hot-shoe flash. The transmitter is camera specific, Canon or Nikon but the receivers are all identical. The transmitter battery is a bit expensive but lasts a long time.  The receivers use AAA batteries.

If the RF triggers are only for hot-shoe flash then the RF-603 is a better choice since they are transceivers and use AAA batteries.  Their biggest drawback is that the test button doesn't work when the transceiver is not mounted on a camera.

The YN-622 is new and only works with Canon cameras and compatible flashes but it will allow the use of off-camera TTL (Not that off-camera TTL is a good idea), and much more importantly it will allow the adjustment of the flash manual power setting from the camera with compatible flash units.

RF-602s and RF-603s are about $30-$35/pair, the YN-622 is about $90/pair.

A nice accessory is a Maha Powerex MH-C9000 charger and some Eneloop batteries for the RF triggers.

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imagethemomentstudios
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 17, 2013

aputure trigmaster plus are what  use and they never fail. the aputure trigmaster  are little cheaper but just as reliable

http://www.aputure.com/blog/2011/05/19/trigmaster-2-4g-released/

http://www.aputure.com/blog/2013/01/19/introducing-trigmaster-plus-ii-flash-trigger/

yongnuos are limited to a working sync speed of 1/125 second

the aputure triggers work easily at 1/250

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InspectorHud
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to imagethemomentstudios, Apr 17, 2013

Thanks for the suggestions.  I will check those out and probably get something this week.  To be clear, he has a D3100 and I want to get him a simple shoe-mount flash with controllable output.  No TTL or anything fancy.  I have insisted that he learn using everything on manual and I'm surprised how well he has picked it up.  It seems that the LumoPro flashes are no longer available so I will have to find something comparable.  I was tempted to just go the sync cord route, but these wireless syncs on ebay are almost cheaper.  Thanks again.

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24Peter
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to imagethemomentstudios, Apr 17, 2013

yongnuos are limited to a working sync speed of 1/125 second

the aputure triggers work easily at 1/250

Says who? The RF 602/603 all work at the max sync speed of your camera (I do 1/200th all the time) and the 622's do HSS - that's 1/8000 on both my Canon bodies. So you know not what you speak...

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hotdog321
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 17, 2013

For the last few years I've been very pleased with my CowboyStudio radio triggers for both my speedlights and for my big White Lightning strobes. Completely manual, of course, but 75' range and very inexpensive.

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imagethemomentstudios
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to 24Peter, Apr 17, 2013

i use the yongnuo 603 triggers as that is what my assistant has. i get clear banding if used any speed higher than 1/125 on canon 5dII, 60d, 7d as well as my ep-2 and nx-11.

you may not have an issue but i am talking from my experiance with them. btw i use the yn-560II flash all the time and they work quite well, just there triggers are not that good for the price they charge (around $50 AUD) at all the retailers here.

the aputure work without issue just like pocket wizards.

this is all from experience over the years.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 18, 2013

InspectorHud wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions.  I will check those out and probably get something this week.  To be clear, he has a D3100 and I want to get him a simple shoe-mount flash with controllable output.  No TTL or anything fancy.

The Yongnuo YN-560-II is a good choice but you should try to pick up a good used Nikon SB-800 if possible as your first choice.

Speedlights.net | Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlite Review (Manual Flash)

By the way, all the arguing about whether or not the Yongnuo RF-602 or RF-603 will sync at 1/200 sec isn't very important.  Unless you are shooting outdoors in bright light then using a sync speed of 1/160sec or even 1/125sec is sufficient for almost all uses. It is the high speed flash of light that stops the subject motion, not the shutter.

I remember that my early film SLR cameras only synced at 1/60sec with hot-shoe flash units or flash bulbs and I was happy with them.  Being able to sync at a higher shutter speed really makes little difference.

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imagethemomentstudios
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 18, 2013

1/200-1/250 sync will help kill ambient light.

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24Peter
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 19, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

By the way, all the arguing about whether or not the Yongnuo RF-602 or RF-603 will sync at 1/200 sec isn't very important.  Unless you are shooting outdoors in bright light then using a sync speed of 1/160sec or even 1/125sec is sufficient for almost all uses. It is the high speed flash of light that stops the subject motion, not the shutter.

I apologize if my post came across as "arguing". There are indeed many more important things in life than whether I can sync at 1/125th or 1/200th...

I remember that my early film SLR cameras only synced at 1/60sec with hot-shoe flash units or flash bulbs and I was happy with them.  Being able to sync at a higher shutter speed really makes little difference.

As long as there is no ambient light affecting the scene this is a true statement. No arguing here

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 19, 2013

Guys, we are really in agreement.

Outdoors ambient light can be a problem if you are trying to eliminate it.  In this case you generally need High Speed Sync and there just aren't any cheap RF triggers that allow HHS.  About the cheapest are the Yongnuo YN-622s at about $90/pair.  HHS really doesn't come into this thread on cheap RF triggers.

On the other hand shutter speed control becomes important if you want to use ambient light for the background and fill flash with the subject, and in this case it can be inconvenient being limited by not being able to use the sync speed, or even 1/3 stop less.  Fortunately by juggling ISO in 1/3 stops you can get around this inconvenience.

Indoors your shutter speed will be low if you want to include ambient lighting so what speed the flash will sync at isn't very important.

In a studio environment the lighting is generally so low that sync speed is immaterial.  Of course if you have half a dozen lights with 250W modeling lights aimed at the subject & background then shutter speed and ambient lighting can become important.

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tclune
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to InspectorHud, Apr 19, 2013

Here's a couple of excellent round-up articles on inexpensive RF transmitters/receivers or transceivers:

Flashavoc round-up, DPAnswers round-up

FWIW

ETA: I use Yongnou 603s and like them a lot. They reliably fire the flash at any distance I've ever wanted and of course do not require line-of-sight. I like that each unit is a transceiver. I also like that they use standard AAA batteries, although that is a matter of taste. (the 602s are transmitter/reciever pairs and use an oddball battery.) Yongnous can fail to operate at maximum synch speed, although this is camera-specific. I have used mine with Nikon D5000, D70, and D800. Only the D800 needed to have a slower shutter speed (1/160s max instead of the Nikon usual 1/200 s.) It wasn't a big deal to slow the shutter down the extra 1/3 stop, but with Yongnou you should realize that you may have to on some models of camera -- this has also been reported on some Canon models. The way that the 603 attaches to the camera is suboptimal -- it slides onto the hotshoe and doesn't have a knob to lock it in place. I would not put a flash unit on top of the 603 for fear of the whole thng sliding off the camera -- but I don't use the unit with on-camera flash anyway. If you do, you might want to consider this issue in your choice. For the off-camera flash, this isn't a problem because the umbrella bracket or what-have-you grabs the transceiver and clamps it in place, while the flash can be screwed down on the transceiver -- it's just the transceiver-to-camera mount that lacks a lock. The on/off button is poorly placed -- you have to turn the unit on before you mount the flash on the unit, as the flash covers the on/off switch. All in all, though,, for the money it's a really nice reliable manual unit. HTH

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MAC
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 21, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

Yongnuo RF-602s are the choice if they are for use with both studio strobes and hot-shoe flash. The transmitter is camera specific, Canon or Nikon but the receivers are all identical. The transmitter battery is a bit expensive but lasts a long time.  The receivers use AAA batteries.

If the RF triggers are only for hot-shoe flash then the RF-603 is a better choice since they are transceivers and use AAA batteries.  Their biggest drawback is that the test button doesn't work when the transceiver is not mounted on a camera.

The YN-622 is new and only works with Canon cameras and compatible flashes but it will allow the use of off-camera TTL (Not that off-camera TTL is a good idea), and much more importantly it will allow the adjustment of the flash manual power setting from the camera with compatible flash units.

RF-602s and RF-603s are about $30-$35/pair, the YN-622 is about $90/pair.

A nice accessory is a Maha Powerex MH-C9000 charger and some Eneloop batteries for the RF triggers.

good advice

I'm looking at YN622's

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slowhands
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Experience here too
In reply to imagethemomentstudios, Apr 21, 2013

I've gone thru PW, and a few of the older cheap 433mHz triggers, and the YN RF603's are rock solid for the price.  (I do have a couple gribes, but they are minor).

I've bought 8 for Canon.  2 buddies both have 6 each for Nikon.

ALL work fine at 1/200 or 1/250 sync speed, and have a great range (tested to a city block)

Possibly you have a dud or bad batteries????

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mbloof
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 21, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

The YN-622 is new and only works with Canon cameras and compatible flashes but it will allow the use of off-camera TTL (Not that off-camera TTL is a good idea), and much more importantly it will allow the adjustment of the flash manual power setting from the camera with compatible flash units.

I'm sorry - this caught my eye. It would appear that the YN622C is able to do wireless ETTL much like the RadioPoppers can at a much lower price point.

Since when is off camera ETTL not a good idea?

I'd recommend getting two YN568EX's, a light stand and a hotshoe mount/lightbox and have some fun!

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to mbloof, Apr 22, 2013

mbloof wrote:


Since when is off camera ETTL not a good idea?

I'd recommend getting two YN568EX's, a light stand and a hotshoe mount/lightbox and have some fun!

TTL basically assumes the subject and background add up to 18% gray.  E-TTL and i-TTL add in a small correction for measured subject distance as reported by some, but not all, lenses.  If the subject plus background are brighter or darker than 18% gray then the TTL exposure will be off.

A good example would be taking a photo of a bride in a white dress with a white wall for a background.  Alternatively think about a groom in a black suit against some dark green shrubbery.  The TTL exposures would result in gray and depressing images is both cases.

If your background or subject brightness changes, even if the subject to flash distance is fixed, then the TTL exposure changes.  Just zooming in or out, which change the subject to background ratio in the image, is frequently enough to change the exposure.

You can pretty much expect to have to individually correct the exposure of each and every image taken with any form of TTL.

If the subject to flash distance is constantly changing, then TTL is a good idea since it will get you close to the right exposure, especially if you are good at applying Flash Exposure Compensation.

If the subject to flash distance is fixed, which is usually the case with off-camera flash, manual flash power control will give you identical exposures every time.  Changing clothing, backgrounds, or zooming would have no effect.  Even if the exposure is off a bit it is only necessary to correct it on one image then apply the same exposure adjustment globally to all the other images.

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MAC
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Re: Dependable (cheap) Radio Slave
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 23, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

mbloof wrote:


Since when is off camera ETTL not a good idea?

I'd recommend getting two YN568EX's, a light stand and a hotshoe mount/lightbox and have some fun!

TTL basically assumes the subject and background add up to 18% gray.  E-TTL and i-TTL add in a small correction for measured subject distance as reported by some, but not all, lenses.  If the subject plus background are brighter or darker than 18% gray then the TTL exposure will be off.

A good example would be taking a photo of a bride in a white dress with a white wall for a background.  Alternatively think about a groom in a black suit against some dark green shrubbery.  The TTL exposures would result in gray and depressing images is both cases.

If your background or subject brightness changes, even if the subject to flash distance is fixed, then the TTL exposure changes.  Just zooming in or out, which change the subject to background ratio in the image, is frequently enough to change the exposure.

You can pretty much expect to have to individually correct the exposure of each and every image taken with any form of TTL.

If the subject to flash distance is constantly changing, then TTL is a good idea since it will get you close to the right exposure, especially if you are good at applying Flash Exposure Compensation.

If the subject to flash distance is fixed, which is usually the case with off-camera flash, manual flash power control will give you identical exposures every time.  Changing clothing, backgrounds, or zooming would have no effect.  Even if the exposure is off a bit it is only necessary to correct it on one image then apply the same exposure adjustment globally to all the other images.

another app -- fast paced ettl ratios so as not to blow the highlights in the veil as he shows in the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTUuFGTHskY

that said, I went with odins - quicker on the fly, more reliable, longer run usb updates, works in ettl and manual from the camera with my multiple 550ex's and 5d, and my other cameras.

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mbloof
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iTTL/eTTL (NOT TTL) is your friend
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 23, 2013

I was suggesting the modern iTTL/eTTL NOT the scrapped TTL.

Granted, both can still be confused.

http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1298/4707546685_1236cfa24d_z.jpg

I can't imagine in the situation you described ANY auto/manual flash system not needing adjustment in post.

I use eTTL all the time. Its fairly fast, with spot metering (found on most higher end Canon bodies) removes your 'zoom' non-issue AND gets close enough >90% of the time.

Granted I'll tweak the curves on each individual 'keeper' I light with my Bowens monolights, I don't fault the eTTL for me doing the same thing while using it.

Even adult subjects get bored easily/quickly if your wasting their time adjusting your lights.

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