Tax returns in! Pulling the trigger on an off-camera set-up! Seeking Advice.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MattSepeta, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #1
    Got my tax returns finally!!! Yay, I have my money back, interest free :rolleyes:

    So I have a 430EXII. I want to have a 2 flash off camera system. I almost got a two strobe alien bees system, but decided to wait and think it over.

    I am now ready to order the following today, pending you guys wise insight/approval :)

    -a 580EXII to use as my main light, to be used in conjunction with the 430 as fill/background/hair/whatever. Any disadvantages to using this? I am very familiar with this flash already.

    For control, I am torn between radio poppers and cyber syncs.

    For a beginner in off-camera lighting looking to keep his future doors open, what would be the best bang-for-the-buck?
    -RadioPopper JrX Transmitter for $80
    VS
    -Cyber Sync CST for $60

    I am new to this, and fail to understand the differences between the two.

    For the CyberSync I would need two receivers at $90 a pop.
    For the Poppers I would get the two basic receivers at $80 a pop.

    Will both of these be able to work with both of my off camera flashes ETTL?

    As far as stands go, does anyone see any disadvantages to using this kit from amazon?

    http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-...ie=UTF8&s=miscellaneous&qid=1268331916&sr=8-3

    It covers two stands, mounting feet, and umbrella sets for pretty cheap.

    Reflector: http://www.amazon.com/Westcott-Photo-Basics-304-Reflector/dp/B000N4AYHC

    Urgent feedback is appreciated! I want to start strobing!!!! AHHHH finally!!!
    Thanks all :D

    EDIT: Changed my mind again. I just ordered the lighht stands, umbrellas, and reflector kit, but now I am thinking that I may as wells order 2x more 430EXII's for just a bit more than 1 580EXII. I do not need the master function of the 580, as I will be using radio transmitters... I also do not think that I need the extra reach and power of the 580, as I would benefit more from using multiple flashes in the long run. I will be shooting skateboarding outside, outdoor portraits, some studio portraits, ie: No covering events in huge rooms, etc.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #2
    I'm not sure if both will work with ETTL, but wouldn't you be using the flashes in manual for full control? I use the Cactus v4 to trigger a 580 EX II, 430 EX II, Nikon SB 28, NIkon SB 24. A transmitter & receiver are $40 and additional receivers are $24. So, for 2 flashes it would be a total of $64. Yes, they are certainly not pro or studio appropriate, but for that you'd want Pocket Wizards and for me as a hobbyist I couldn't justify the cost. I used the extra cash to add additional flashes (the 2 nikons), stands, umbrellas, etc.

    I'm sure you are familiar with the website, but go over to strobist.blogspot.com and there is a lot of information.
     
  3. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #3
    FYI, you can save a lot of cash by getting a Nikon SB 24 or 28 on ebay. I recently bought a SB 24 for $60 on ebay and a 28 for $85 on ebay. There's two great flashes (for off camera use only of course with a digital canon) for 1/2 the price of a new 430 EX II
     
  4. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #4
    Situation

    thanks for the advice! you certainly saved me some money here frigeymonster :)

    I just confirmed my order of a
    -Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4
    -Cactus Wireless Flash Receiver V4
    From Gadget Infinity

    and

    From amazon,
    -Photography Backdrops Muslin 9'x15' Black White Support System Carry Bag by PBL
    -CowboyStudio Two(2) Flash Shoe Swivel Bracket Mounts Umbrellas Stands
    -Westcott Photo Basics 304 5-in-1 Reflector Kit
    -x2 Sanyo Eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargable Batteries w/ Charger

    and from ebay-
    -Nikon SB-28 , bnib.

    Will I be needing anything else to make sure this is all compatible?

    Thanks again for the money-saving advice!!!!
     
  5. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #5
    You're crazy to buy Canon flashes to use in manual mode. Buy cheap dumb flashes for a lot less money (Like vivitar or sunpak). Especially since they may be destroyed if a trick goes wrong.

    How were you going to connect the radio triggers to the 430's? The 430's don't have a PC port. Hot shoe adaptors can work, but add expense, and another failure point and make the flash less stable by raising it up another inch (assuming they are on the ground).

    If you are thinking about buying Alienbees, the Cybersync+ is probably worthwhile as they can give you remote power control over the bees. If you want cheap go cactus and hope they work most of the time, if you feel rich, buy Pocketwizards and they should work everytime. Personally I think the Cybersyncs are in a weird middle ground price (and function) wise.
     
  6. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #6
    To jampat

    I went with the cactus v4s.

    I will be toughing it out in manual mode, might as well learn how to get the most control. I decided to "cowboy up", ha.

    So the receivers will connect to the Nikon SB 28 easily, but not to my original canon 430EXII?

    Can you recommend a high quality hotshoe adapter?

    Has anyone heard of flashzebra? Those units seem to be high quality/low price
     
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #7
    SB28 has a pc-sync in, 430exii does not. Normally I hook up radio transmitters to the PC port.

    The v4's should be able to fire the flash in the hotshoe. I didn't realize that the cactus's had built in hotshoes.
     
  8. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #8
    ok, cool

    Thanks for the info.

    Will being forced to use the hotshoe change the mounting of the flash to the stand? Will I need a different piece to connect it then?

    Thanks again, you guys have been extremely helpful.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    The 580EXII is nice but a waste of money for off camera work on a light stand. You don't't need anything so fancy. Read the specs on the "285" and see if you dobn't get a lot more bang per buck.

    For out door use in bright sun you need a surprising amount of power if you need to be (say) one stop below ambient for fill-in flash. I used the units below andthey work well. Very reliable and cheap.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/61441-REG/Vivitar_233965_285HV_Flash.html

    Then I bought a Norman flash system but it's AC powered and not so portable but the control I get is worth the hassle of running a power cable.
     
  10. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #10
    The Cactus's are pretty great in my opinion. They will misfire, maybe 1-3 times out of 100, unlike the perfect record of the pocket wizards and don't have the crazy 1500 feet range the PWs do, but if you aren't a pro you can live with a 1%-3% misfire rate and a range of around 25-100 ft (I've never gone past 20 ft bc I haven't really had the need, but I think they are "supposed to" have a range of around 100 ft)

    I agree that you don't need expensive flashes. I have a 580 EX II because I used it as my on camera flash, but I learned that the 430 EX II suited me better for on camera, so I'm in the process of selling the 580. I agree the cybersyncs are a good value, but for just starting out I think it's best to see if the cactus's work well enough for you.
     
  11. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #11
    I can highly recommend flash zebra. Their customer service is fantastic. I've had a few of their 3.5mm hotshoe adaptors, and when one broke they overnighted me a replacement the next day. They even handwrote me a note and told me to call if I needed anything else.

    This is the adaptor I use with my 580ex: http://www.flashzebra.com/products/0138/index.shtml . It has a 1/4 threaded hole on the bottom which mounts directly to the stud on my manfroto umbrella clamp. If the cactus triggers mount directly to the hotshoe then they may have a 1/4" hole already and you won't need an adaptor.

    I'm also a cybersyncs user and I think they're a nice compromise between the ridiculously expensive pocketwizards and the cheaper ebay / cactus triggers. Never had a misfire or any other problem.

    You might also want to order some gaffer tape as long as you're ordering off the internet. I had trouble finding it locally until I found a commercial theater supply store.
     
  12. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
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    #12
    This is the receiver
    [​IMG]

    So it looks like I can mount the flash on it, then screw the whole shebang onto the stand, without requiring a hotshoe adapter? Or would it be better to get the hot shoe adapter, then connect with the sync cord? In theory, that should not offer an increase in reliability, correct?


    Thanks for the info. Luckily, a room mate works doing A/v for a large hotel, so we have endless supplies of gaffer, duct, and anything tape!
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
  14. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #14
    Yeah, that should work, though it's going to partially depend on how sturdily built the hotshoe on the cactus receivers are. I'd give it a shot.

    If you're going to go the optical trigger root it may be worth going for a Nikon SB-26 instead of an SB-28. The SB-26 has a built in optical slave which was removed on the 28 for some reason.
     
  15. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #15
    Thanks

    Ok, great. I already ordered the SB-28, the Cactus transmitter, and a pair of receivers, but I appreciate the suggestions! I will be doing some shooting outdoors so I wanted to play it safe and go radio over optical :)
     
  16. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #16
    Personally, if I were just starting out I would have split the difference on the radio triggers. IMO Cybersyncs and Radiopoppers are MUCH better made, and their warranty centers aren't overseas in the event something is wonky. For me, a good beginning setup would have been ...

    2x Vivitar 285HVs (<200)
    Set of Cybersyncs
    Stands, Umbrella hinges, brassmonkeys to go around.
    2x shoot through brollys and 2x silver bounce brollys
    5 in 1 reflector (indispensable)
    A strobist Gel sampler
    And 2 sandbags (make'em yourself, swipe some sand from the neighbor's sandbox or beach if youre close, lol)

    Sorry people, but I just don't trust the Cactus stuff, granted you can get a whole set for less than the Cybersync reciever alone, but Paul C Buff is a quality made product. Speaking of which, I need to order two extra receivers next week.
     
  17. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #17
    Thanks for the feedback abraxis!

    -What are brassmonkeys?
    -I was did some comparison shopping before I ordered the flash and went with nikon, are there any deal-making reasons to go with 285HVs over the nikon sb-28s? I will probably be wanting another flash soon to round out a 3 point setup.
    -What do you put the sand in? I live right by a lake so sand will be no problem. What kind of bag do you use and how do you attach it to the stands?

    Thanks!
     
  18. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #18
    Brassmonkey is the jargon for the brass lugs that fit into the umbrella hinge (or umbrella holder). http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/546376-REG/Manfrotto_037_037_Reversible_Short_Stud_.html

    The Nikon speedlights are excellent. Wasn't really bashing those, just giving what I would go for if I was starting new. I like the Vivitars because they're a stripped down flash, nothing fancy, nor are their prices inflated due to David Hobby talking about them (however, he IS the reason they started getting made again). Also, if you drop a 285 and destroy it, it is a 90.00 replace from B&H, no bidding or appealing to the pricing whims of eBay. But really, either way works, lol.

    I used 2" tubular webbing (available in stores that sell rock climbing stuff, REI, Outdoor World, etc. In general, outfitter type stores). Sew the ending shut and fill with sand that has been double bagged in ziplocks. Then sew a small strap (just use the same tubular webbing if you like) to the top and you're set. A better alternative to sand is to get lead shot from a store that sells ammunition reloading supplies (#6 - #8 shotgun shot is perfect). By using shot, you get more weight in a smaller space.

    Here is a site that explains it all ... http://www.diyphotography.net/photography-light-stand-sandbags
     
  19. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #19
  20. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #20
    Nope, looks like that kit has everything you'll need starting out. Trust me, you'll quickly realize if there is something you need extra once you get going.
     

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