SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Started Jan 28, 2008 | Discussions
Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Got it for $150 earlier this month. I couldn't find a whole lot of info about it, but took the plunge and am quite happy with it. It costs a whole lot less than pocket wizard and is smaller. Better quality than the e-bay triggers, a.k.a. Cactus. I’ve been testing it for about 2 weeks now. It's a keeper.

Seems to be over $200 in Canada and US, but found a merchant in Korea selling for $150. Check out g9chon. com They sent it to me vi express mail and took less than a week to deliver.

Here are some pros & cons about flashwaves. Let me know if you guys have other experience with this.

Pros:

1. Built-in hot shoe -- you got to love this feature. Also has 1/4" thread for mounting on a tripod or a lightstand directly.

2. Small size -- small as MicroSync. Also, keeps the flash close to the center of the umbrella.

Also, keeps the flash close to the center of the umbrella.

3. Light weight. Very light. But not flimsy.

4. Build quality -- made of plastic, but pretty good. Much better quality than the Cactus brand plastic.

5. Sync Speed -- 1/180s according to the manufacturer. But I was able to sync at 1/250s at 3 fps using Canon 40D

6. Price -- $150 is not bad for this thing. Sure, it’s more expensive than the Chinese made Cactus slaves, but considering the performance/feature and alternatives, I’m happy with it.
7. Triggers multiple flashes with just one receiver!

8. 10 Channels -- I love the dial for setting the channels. Much more direct than 0110 or 0101, etc.
9. Includes cables and adapters. No need to go buy more adapters and cables.

10. Mounting option -- came with a sticky which you can use to stick the receiver on a studio flash or other places.

11. Range -- SM claims 50 to 60 meters. I haven’t tested the max range yet. But within the house, it’s no problem. Also, I was able to trigger it from two floors above in a parking garage.

Cons

1. 23A battery for the transmitter. I guess it keeps the size small, but I prefer AAA to keep just one type of battery. Also A23 is not as easy to find as AAA.

2. Range. I would've loved it if it could do 100 meters. But still better than my MicroSync and more than I need for my use.

3. Synch Speed. It'd be great if it can sync at 1/500s also. But for the price, it's great. And again, more than I need. (But, first, I need a camera that can sync at 1/500s.)

You can see all my test photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/8430822@N06/

Hope this helps.
Gene

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

derknipser Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Looks and sounds interesting. Where did you buy the trigger?

Thanks

Mario

Bill C Veteran Member • Posts: 3,093
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Gene - Thank you for the information and for taking the time to document the various configurations/options on your Flickr account. I was ready to order the MicroSync, however, based on your review I may be switching (yet again!). One of my concerns is support - with the MicroSync, I can return to the vendor in US
Thanks.
Bill

OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Hi Bill,

When buying from the vendor g9hon.com, not having a support in the US was one of my concerns also. The alternative would've been paying over $200 for the same item with a US or Canadian vendor and risk paying $10 for return shipping vs buying for $150 and risk paying $20 return shipping. It wasn't much of a concern to me to pay so much more. The only item I ever returned was the Chinese made Cactus triggers from e-bay. Being that Flashwaves was a Korean made stuff and costing more, I basically figured that it's got to be a higher quality item. It is.

I've been happy with MicroSync also, but as I was considering getting a second receiver, I was looking at alternatives. Basically, getting another receiver and a cable + hot shoe adapter would've cost another $180. So, I was willing to risk trying Flashwaves for $150. (I had found out that a Canadian vendor was selling the same thing for C$250 and was searching for a cheaper alternative.) If I had known about Flashwaves before buying MicroSync, I wouldn't have MicroSync now.

Gene

Bill C wrote:

Gene - Thank you for the information and for taking the time to
document the various configurations/options on your Flickr account.
I was ready to order the MicroSync, however, based on your review I
may be switching (yet again!). One of my concerns is support - with
the MicroSync, I can return to the vendor in US
Thanks.
Bill

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
g9chon.com

Found them through a Korean friend's friend, etc. When I bought them, they didn't even have their website yet. Looks like they are starting their internet business. You can also e-mail them at g9chon@gmail.com.

gene

derknipser wrote:

Looks and sounds interesting. Where did you buy the trigger?

Thanks

Mario

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

J Navarro Regular Member • Posts: 230
How does it control multiple flashes?

How does of control multiple flashes?

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J Navarro Regular Member • Posts: 230
Re: How does it control multiple flashes?

I went to the website. I should have known they sold extra receivers. I just got the cactus remotes and I'll continue to try them. These look like great alternatives.

 J Navarro's gear list:J Navarro's gear list
Canon PowerShot G10 Canon PowerShot G12 Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 60D Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM +2 more
OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
Re: How does it control multiple flashes?

Look at the picture I posted. It's a bit dark, but you should be able to see that I've got two flashes connected to one receiver. One is sitting on the hot shoe and the other is connected via mini phone cable. I've not yet tried triggering 3 flashes because I only one 2, but if someone is willing to lend me a flash, I'll try it out. It looks like the 3rd flash can be hooked up to the PC sync port also.

Anyhow, I was able to trigger two flashes at 1/250s firing at 3 fps. I guess I can hook up two flashes to my MicroSync also - one via submini phone and one via household plug. I just didn't have an adapter converting the household plug to connect to hot shoe. So, I haven't been able to try it. But if someone has the equipment, that'd be neat.

Flashwaves came with the cables. So, it was an easy thing to do. But the included PC sync cable was PC sync to submini phone (2.5mm) rather than mini phone (3.5mm) -- it's for connecting the trigger to the camera for cameras without hot shoe. So, I haven't been able to try two flashes with one of the connected to the PC sync. But I've ordered a pc to min phone cable. So, I'll be able to try it with one flash connected to the PC sync port. But to try with 3 flashes, I still need a 3rd flash.

Gene

J Navarro wrote:

How does of control multiple flashes?

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

fjgindy Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Nice information Gene. These certainly have my interest. I love the hotshoe design as it eliminates the need for a custom wired hotshoe that I use with the ebay triggers (the pc connection on the ebay triggers is terrible).

Are you satisfied with the durability of the hotshoe design on these? How do you feel they will hold up after putting on and taking off a flash over time?

OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
So far so good...

The more I use it, the more I LOVE that hot shoe design. As you said, don't need to mess with wires or hot shoe adapters (unless I want to hook up more than one flash to one receiver).

As far as durability, the hot shoe and the 1/4" thread seem quite durable. No problem at all so far. The only thing that I wish were sturdier is the antenna. But then unless you make the antenna a part of the body like Microsync, I guess it will always be a concern.

BTW - the PC connection on Flashwaves is pretty good also. But I just don't have a need to use it. I tried it to trigger my camera, using Flashwaves as a shutter release. I hung the receiver from my camera using the PC-to-2.5mm wire that was included. Works fine.

Gene

fjgindy wrote:

Nice information Gene. These certainly have my interest. I love the
hotshoe design as it eliminates the need for a custom wired hotshoe
that I use with the ebay triggers (the pc connection on the ebay
triggers is terrible).

Are you satisfied with the durability of the hotshoe design on these?
How do you feel they will hold up after putting on and taking off a
flash over time?

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

fjgindy Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: So far so good...

Thanks again. Great information! I appreciate it.

Genes Pentax wrote:
The more I use it, the more I LOVE that hot shoe design. As you
said, don't need to mess with wires or hot shoe adapters (unless I
want to hook up more than one flash to one receiver).

As far as durability, the hot shoe and the 1/4" thread seem quite
durable. No problem at all so far. The only thing that I wish were
sturdier is the antenna. But then unless you make the antenna a part
of the body like Microsync, I guess it will always be a concern.

BTW - the PC connection on Flashwaves is pretty good also. But I
just don't have a need to use it. I tried it to trigger my camera,
using Flashwaves as a shutter release. I hung the receiver from my
camera using the PC-to-2.5mm wire that was included. Works fine.

Gene

fjgindy wrote:

Nice information Gene. These certainly have my interest. I love the
hotshoe design as it eliminates the need for a custom wired hotshoe
that I use with the ebay triggers (the pc connection on the ebay
triggers is terrible).

Are you satisfied with the durability of the hotshoe design on these?
How do you feel they will hold up after putting on and taking off a
flash over time?

http://genespentax.blogspot.com/

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derknipser Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: So far so good...

Just ordered at the korean guy. I wonder how long does it take to germany ...

Mario

phila_guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,360
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Genes Pentax wrote:

Cons
1. 23A battery for the transmitter. I guess it keeps the size
small, but I prefer AAA to keep just one type of battery. Also A23
is not as easy to find as AAA.

oddly enough, I needed to replace an A23 battery. Tried the local Calumet, no luck, tried the Staples across the street and they had it. Duracell 21/23 12v MN21/A23. Other names for it: Energizer A23; I.E.C. 3LR50; NEDA 1811A; RadioShack 23A, EL12, GP23A

Auto parts store may have it too since it's used for key fobs.

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We have art that we do not die of the truth.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

egarrard Senior Member • Posts: 1,644
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

phila_guy wrote:

Genes Pentax wrote:

Cons
1. 23A battery for the transmitter. I guess it keeps the size
small, but I prefer AAA to keep just one type of battery. Also A23
is not as easy to find as AAA.

oddly enough, I needed to replace an A23 battery. Tried the local
Calumet, no luck, tried the Staples across the street and they had
it. Duracell 21/23 12v MN21/A23. Other names for it: Energizer A23;
I.E.C. 3LR50; NEDA 1811A; RadioShack 23A, EL12, GP23A

Auto parts store may have it too since it's used for key fobs.

Can you use rechargables in the FlashWaves? It would make them an even better deal.

OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
Try your local drug store ...

Hey Phila,

I think you are trying too hard. Try your local drug store, Walmart, K Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears.... To my surprise, I found a bunch of them at a grocery store for about a $1 each.

Gene

phila_guy wrote:

Genes Pentax wrote:

Cons
1. 23A battery for the transmitter. I guess it keeps the size
small, but I prefer AAA to keep just one type of battery. Also A23
is not as easy to find as AAA.

oddly enough, I needed to replace an A23 battery. Tried the local
Calumet, no luck, tried the Staples across the street and they had
it. Duracell 21/23 12v MN21/A23. Other names for it: Energizer A23;
I.E.C. 3LR50; NEDA 1811A; RadioShack 23A, EL12, GP23A

Auto parts store may have it too since it's used for key fobs.

OP Genes Pentax Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
I use Eneloop AAAs

Can you use rechargables in the FlashWaves? It would make them an
even better deal.

I also use regular alkaline AAA on the 2nd receiver. What I noticed was that the higher voltage helps. When eneloop is charged fully, the voltage is at slightly under 1.3v.... I think it was at 1.28v. Anyhow, when it got down to 1.08 or so, I had to charge it again.

At about 1.2v, the change battery light came on. And with the lower voltage, the max sync speed gets lower. But until I had to recharge my eneloop, I had no problem syncing at 1/125s in my room. (1/125s is max sync speed with my Pentax ist D in manual mode.) But when I tested with a Canon 40D I borrowed, there was a difference between higher voltage battery vs lower voltage battery.

Gene

Donna K Contributing Member • Posts: 879
Re: Try Radio Shack

I went ahead and purchased extra batteries to have on hand from Radio Shack since I don't know how long they will last.

I received my FlashWaves last week but have not used them out in the field. I briefly tested them in my house and as far as I can tell, they work fine- as Gene has described. I do like the hot shoe since you don't have to worry about cords. The units ship with a little black pouch that you can put them in for storage in your camera bag, which I find handy 'cause these little things could get easily lost in my bag !

As far as the cost, the Skyports are close in price to the FlashWaves. However, when you take into consideration, the shoe connection and the cost of the included cords/ adapters, they seem very reasonably priced.

Donna K

phila_guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,360
Guess the A23 battery is easier to find after all
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We have art that we do not die of the truth.
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KLA1009 Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

Gene,

Just thought you want to know based on your info and recomendation I bought two receivers with one transmitter. Quick ship (next day with tracking number) and excellent communications. Any way I've only used them breifly but worked fine for my application.

derknipser Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: SM Flashwaves - Cheap alternative to Pocke Wizard

@Gene:

I see a on/off switch on top of the receivers, but the transmitter seems to have no switch, right? How to turn off the transmitter?

Thanks

Mario

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