Suggestions on wireless flash trigger.

Started Mar 9, 2008 | Discussions thread
Darth Vader II Regular Member • Posts: 337


I'm a big worshipper to SU-800 and Nikon's Creative Lighting System (as known as CLS) so I'd be happy to help you out.

SU-800 is the best choice for wireless triggering with one very small and acceptable limitation, where the working distance is 33.4 feet away from the further flash unit in the working space. 33.4 feet in radius (66.8 feet diameter) working space is quite acceptable. It will fire the SB-800's as long as you do not have any metal objects in the way (it will interrupt the communication between SB-800 and SU-800).

The SU-800 is very good and beats Pocketwizards in many areas. I understand Pocketwizards have a better working distance (over 200 feet by estimation) but it is not very user-friendly product. Using SU-800 allows you to control multiple SB-800's (or SB-600's or SB-R200's) from one same spot where you are standing by the camera. The SU-800 have four different modes that includes iTTL, AA, M (Manual), and ---- (it won't fire the flash unit). Using M-model on the SU-800 is the best option for you to use that provides full control with multiple flashes. M-mode is pretty much like using studio strobes where you can increase / decrease the light power from Full Power to 1/128 Power. The Pocketwizards don't have the same features as the SU-800 since Pocketwizards is only to trigger the flash unit. It can be such a huge pain when you have to walk all across the working space to make adjustments to the flash units. Using Pocketwizards with SB-800's only allow you to work in M-mode.

If you wish to go with Pocketwizards for better working distance, remind yourself, more flashes you get, more you have to pay for additional Pocketwizards to fire the whole lot of SB-800's. It'll save a lot of money if you go with SU-800 option but the only turn-off for me is that you have to pay $10 for a very small battery that drains pretty quick if you leave it on for a long period of time.

In addition, unfortunately, SU-800 isn't compliable with high speed shooting that you requested for (3 FPS minimum). The SU-800 doesn't have a recycling pack like SB-800's so it works for one shot only then have to wait 1-2 seconds for it to recycle back to full power to fire for the next shot.

If the high speed burst is a priority for you, I would suggest you to use SB-800 as a Master Flash and set the mode to RPT - it is also known as Repeat Flash then set the other Remote SB-800's in the same mode and use the lowest light power (such as M-mode) so the flashes will fire fast without a hiccup after about 20 or 30 shots sequence. SU-800 cannot support this kind of area. If you're using D2H, D2Hs, or D3, you can increase the ISO and use the lowest light power for RPT to save the battery power for burst shooting.

Anyway, I have a little 'tutorial' on Creative Lighting System on my website if you wish to read for more details, here it is.

Hope this helps.

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Joseph Nicholas Spina

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