Wireless flash in the snowy cold

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MattSepeta, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #1
    I have a 480EX flash, and plan on getting either A: Another 480EX + the HotShoe infrared transmitter thingy, or B, a 580EX II.

    Any recommendations?

    I am leaning towards getting the 2nd 480 (Or 420Ex, i dont remember exactly what its called) and the transmitter, as I think I would appreciate being able to put both flashes off camera. Any thoughts on this?

    Also: Has anyone used these flashes in extreme cold? Last snowboard season I shot with a friends 580EXII on camera, and it seemed to work fine.

    Anyone transmitted these wirelessly in the cold? Any issues?

    Any reason I should save up more for some radiopoppers or something?

    Thanks, and I appreciate ANY help, I'm a total noon when it comes to off-camera lighting! :rolleyes:
     
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #2
    For off camera flashes, I would buy Vivitar 285HV's. You can buy a pair of 285's and radio poppers for about the same as a Canon flash. If you are think the flash will be on camera most of the time, I would go 580. It allows you to hook up a sync cord in case you want to use it off camera and it can be the master the fire your 430 off camera. I would get flashes that allow you to use sync cords, a wire is less likely to crap out in bad weather. Just my .02

    EDIT: If you are NEVER going to hook the external flashes up with a wire, I think you can get away with the older (and cheaper) 285's or other old flashes with a high sync voltage. Old flashes plus new digital cameras equals magic blue smoke. I am not sure if something like the radio poppers (or peanuts) can deal with the high sync voltage.
     
  3. osin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    I've read many complains about Canon's transmiter (ST-E2) while shooting outside, especially in bright sun. Therefore I would recommend radio frequency transmitter-receiver combination for you. If you do not need ETTL function of your flash try Cybersyncs http://www.alienbees.com/remotes.html otherwise go for RadioPoppers or new Pocket Wizards...
     
  4. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Where am I???
    #4
    If you are going the wireless route, there is no reason to get another 430EX or a 580EXII. Get a Vivitar 285HV and a set of Radio Poppers (for the cost of a new 430EX) and you're set. This will give you an ETTL-II-capable flash for on camera work (when and if required) and a manual off-camera setup when you have time to do a proper setup.

    I would steer clear of the Canon ST-E2; if you want to go with an ETTL (automatic) off camera setup, you're better off buying a used 580EX (don't bother with the 580EXII) to use as a master, and then use the 430EX as a slave. This is what I have done, and it serves me well in most instances. The major drawback is that you need line-of-sight between master and slave (since it uses visible light, not radio waves), and the range isn't great.

    My advice would be the 430EX/285HV/RadioPopper route; far more versatile in the end (and it will force you to really learn how flash photography works).
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    I use a Wein optical slave with my vivitar flashes. The wein slaves are about $35 each. They work fin but if there are others around you using flash then you can't use them as their flash wil trigger yours. Put they work great if yu are the only one shooting, they trigger from your on-camera flash so the optical slaves work even with a point and shoot. You don't even need an SLR. to trigger the remove flashes. Wein has been making these foe maybe 25 years or more pretty much unchanged. If you can stand a few fause triggers from other people's camera then use them.
     
  6. MattSepeta thread starter macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #6
    I will not

    I do not anticipate ever using the flash set-up around other flashes. It will be used for snowboarding photos and some location portrait work.

    Is there any disadvantage to using the wein optical triggers over radio triggers?

    What kind of fail rate do the radio triggers have, from experience?

    Are there any limitations I may encounter by using them in cold weather, up here in MN I will be using these probably down to -30 degree temps, in the snow.

    Do wired flashes offer any significant improvement? What about cost?

    Thanks for all the feedback guys!
     
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #7
    In bright sunlight, the optical triggers sometimes fail to detect a flash. If you plan on using your pop-up flash to trigger them, it may need to be so bright that it throws off your lighting on the boarder. If you were using a mounted flash, pointing the head at the remote flash should help.

    I've never used radio poppers. I have AB RFT (or RR1, I can't remember) radio triggers and they fire every time once they agree to talk with each other. I have used pocket wizards, again, they work every time, but are a boatload of money.

    Sync cables are cheap, and should not be too susceptible to snow and water as they just short the cable to fire the flash. I have never actually tried them in the snow though and your flashes would obviously need sync cable ports (or hot shoe adaptors). They can limit your motion somewhat

    I have never setup remote triggers in really cold weather, so I can't comment on how any perform when frozen.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    The optical slave look at the light that is reflected off the subjject, not at the triggering flash. Some of these slaves are rates for 100 feet distance. They look not at the amount of light but at the "rate of change" in light. But if you can afford the radio slaves go for it. Then just setup the flash and slave on a tripod. Everyone hereis right, don't waste $$ on Canon automatic flashes, $70 Vivitars do just as well

    The main problem in cold weather is the battery in the flash. For best battery performance you need to keep the battery warm. I Know Nikon make battery packs that attach with a cord the the flash unit. Vivitar makes the same ad I assume Canon must. This allows you to keep the batery pack inside your jacket. The other trick that does not require special battery pack is to keep multiple sets of batteries, one on the flash and the others inside you jacket, then you rotate them.

    Anyways that is ther biggest thing about cold weather, battery performance. In really cold weather as in a multi-day back country backback or ski trip I prefer to take manual a film camera that does not depend on battery power. My older Nikons are all spring and clockwork driven.
     

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