The Understand Photography Show: Episode 48- An Explanation of Flash Triggers with Joe Fitzpatrick

Peggy Farren 2017-08-08

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Show Notes for Episode #48: Flash Triggers with Joe Fitzpatrick

Episode 48 Joe Fitzpatrick Explains Flash Triggers

Flash Trigger - something to remotely fire a flash so you can have it OFF camera

Why off camera?
1. Flat lighting becomes more dramatic when the light is off to the side
2. Enables more than one flash off-camera (Key light, Fill light, Hair light)

2 Basic Styles

OPTICAL (IR) - light transmitter on camera, receiver on flash
Benefits - cheap, convenient, fine for indoor/studio use
Drawbacks - range - need to be fairly close to the camera
- line of sight - need to be pointed at each other
- bright ambient light makes it more difficult for the flash to see the transmitter - so bright light decreases the range of the trigger

Benefits - longer range, no line of sight, no bright sunlight issues
Drawbacks - more expensive

How it works - Basic Manual trigger (on-off switch) Set flash to desired strength.
Camera signals transmitter, transmitter signals receiver, receiver closes a switch to fire the flash
All of this signaling needs to take place FAST - while the shutter is open
- if shutter speed is faster than trigger speed you could end up with a black bar (shutter) in your image - adjust down 1/3 or 1/2 stop to keep your shutter open longer

How it works - TTL (Through the Lens) metering flash - camera controls everything, more sophisticated than manual.
Built-in-flash or on-the camera flash: Press shutter, camera sends out a pre-flash of predetermined brightness, sensor reads the light coming back from the scene, checks settings and calculates how much light is needed to properly expose the scene, sends signal to fire flash at a specific strength (meters for both flash and ambient light)
YOU only see one flash - it happens SO quickly


RF - Manual

Cowboy Studio, Neewer - $20-$35 for 1 transmitter and 2-4 receivers
- 433mhz, 4 channel, 30 meters, 1/320s
- cheaply made

Yongnuo (RF-605 , RF-603 II) $30-35 pair, group function w/560, manual pass through, compatible with YN-560 III manual flash’s built-in receiver, shutter release, 2.4GHz, 16 channel, 100 meters, 1/320s

GoDox / Neewer FC-16 -$25 transmitter/receiver, 2.4GHz, 16 channel, 100 meters, 1/250s

Pixel Soldier , Phottix Ares , Pixel Rook, Phottix Strato II - $50-100

Paul C Buff Cybersync, RadioPopper Nano , PocketWizard PlusX , Pocket Wizard Plus III - $130-300


Yongnuo YN-622C II or N transceiver - $75/pair

YN-622Cor N-TX transmitter - $40 - offer full eTTL or iTTL plus manual power output control 2.4GHz, HSS, 2nd curtain sync, TTL pass-through

Canon version uses Canon camera’s menu, 1/8000s, 100m, 7 channels

Pixel King Pro , King X Transmitter & Receiver - $150/pair, Canon, Nikon, Sony. 2.4GHz, 15 channels, 300m, HSS, 2nd curtain sync, TTL pass-through

Phottix Odin & Odin II - $250-350 - 1 transmitter + 1 receiver

Radiopopper PX transmitter & receiver - $255

PocketWizard TT5 transceiver - $170
TT1 transmitter - $150
AC3 zone controller - $64

Canon eTTL RF Speedlite System
Yuongnuo YN-E3-RT Transmitter - $74
YN-600-RT Speedlite - $111

Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter - $280
600 EX II-RT - $479
430EX III-RT - $250

See you next week for episode 49: Travel Preparation and Tips with Brian Jannsen!

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Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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