Radio Flash Triggers - What we use and why!
WARNING: MIKEY DECIDED TO FILM WHILE HAVING A CREATIVE ANEURYSM WITH ZOOMING IN AND OUT!
Radio Flash Triggers are extremely important because they are what let us take the Flash and fire it off camera. There are a ton and I mean a ton of radio triggers available on the market. We are going to talk about the ones we use and have worked out well for us.
Before we begin we just want to clarify that we are NOT TTL shooters. We believe that MANUAL MODE is king, not only on your camera but on your flash as well. We are a little old school and are not into the latest and greatest technology advantages. We shoot Manual because of one thing - CONSISTENCY!
The radio triggers we are going to talk about do not offer TTL, they are pure manual machines and that's why we like them! We'll go over each one first and then the conclusion at the end. Ultimately it's your say which you prefer, this is just our opinions.
One small clarification before we start, ANY OF THESE TRIGGERS ARE AWESOME! IT DOES NOT MATTER WHICH OF THE THREE YOU CHOOSE TO BUY! WE RECOMMEND ALL OF THEM FROM FROM PERSONAL USE! WE ARE NOT GEAR REVIEW TYPE OF PEOPLE, THESE ARE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!
Paul C. Buff Cybersyncs
The CyberSyncs are the original backpacker's studio triggers. The models we use are the CST Transmitter and the CSRB Receiver. We have used them for a couple of years now and they have truly withstood the time and punishment we have given them. They are solid and can definitely handle abuse. The Cybersyncs are completely reliable and we can not think of a time that a trigger or receiver failed on us. We still highly recommend them but we are starting to use them less and less.
The main reason we are using them less is because of the way they fire the flash.
They use the flashes PC Port and unfortunately it's also the WORST PHOTOGRAPHIC INVENTION OF ALL TIME!
The Pc-Ports on flashes have a couple of huge downsides. The first and worst is that they are easy to damage. If your cable goes in wrong or anything gets in the hole it can cause a short rendering your PC-Port useless. We have 3 flashes this has happened to and are now only capable of firing with the hotshoe or through TTL (since we don't use TTL we can only fire them via hotshoe). The second downfall is they require an extra cable. I know this is nitpicking but let me tell you how crappy it is to show up at a shoot and realize you forgot that tiny little cable. The less stuff we have to carry the better it is.
Price wise they are in the middle of all radio flash triggers. You can get a set, that's one transmitter and one receiver for about $140.00. This is not a bad price when you compare it to more expensive offerings like PocketWizards . PocketWizards are the top of the line when it comes to radio flash triggers, but just like anything top of the line you are going to pay for it. To us the pocket wizards do not have a place in the backpacker's studio, to others it might vary. They are simply too expensive and too big for our likings. One pocket wizard costs the same as a set of Cybersyncs.
Another downside of the PC-Port is that most flashes that have PC-Ports are higher priced, for example the Nikon SB-600 ($200 New) does not have a PC-Port, but the Nikon SB-800 ($400.00 New) does. You can get an adapter, but we have never truly found one that is of great quality.
Now don't get me wrong, the CyberSyncs are AWESOME and we STILL HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM, we just want to show you what we have learned after a couple of years with them and the reason for our choices! So if you have them, DO NOT CHANGE THEM UNLESS YOU ARE COMPLETELY UNHAPPY!
The Yongnuo RF-602 Radio Transmitters. How do you say "HOLY CRAPOLA THESE THINGS ARE A BARGAIN AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" in Chinese. Let me know in the comments. The Yongnuo RF-602 radio transmitters are the least expensive triggers we have ever used but wait I shouldn't just call them radio triggers, they will also fire your camera wirelessly! Yup, this feature alone used to cost around $80 and these triggers/remote shutter releases do it all for a bargain price. I'm sure there are others that are less expensive, but I wouldn't recommend you going any lower than these. You can buy a set for around $50.00, yes I said a SET. That means, one transmitter and one receiver. At those prices who can not afford to get their flash off the camera. If you have been holding out because all those other radio triggers are so expensive, these things are for you.
The build quality is not as good as a Cybersync, but to be honest you'll be able to buy a couple of replacements and still end up paying less than you do for the CyberSyncs. The transmitter is pictured on the right, the receiver on the left. Notice the receiver has a hotshoe! THIS IS AWESOME! NO MORE PC-PORT CRAPOLA! (THANKS TO GRAHAM FOR THIS TIP: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BOTH THE FLASH AND RECEIVER OFF BEFORE MOUNTING THE FLASH ON IT, IT COULD CAUSE A SHORT AND KILL YOUR RECIEVER!!)
With the Yongnuo's the flash goes on top of the receiver directly onto the hotshoe. I love this feature because there are no extra cables to tag along, no faulty PC Port to worry about, simply very versatile. Another huge point is that since we are using the hotshoe of the receiver to fire the flash, it doesn't matter that your less expensive flash does not have a PC-Port! You can use less expensive flashes with these without hesitation or need for extra adapters.
Can you tell I simply love these radio triggers...well I DO! They are cheap, pretty well built if you consider the pricetag, they work as a wireless shutter release for your camera and the best part is they DON'T USE A PC-PORT!! So what's the catch...
The catch is actually not that big of a deal but it can't be completely perfect for $50.00, the world would end.
The catch is the bottom of the receiver where it attaches to your coldshoe on your stand is PLASTIC....THAT SUCKS! Well wait a minute, some of you might be used to the plastic feet depending on the flashes you use so it might not be that bad. The plastic foot to us is a killer because we are very hard on our gear. I know from experience that if you drop a flash that is mounted on top of the receiver, the plastic foot is going to break! So we can not recommend these for putting them on your stands cold shoe. But, their is some hope, the first is to not use a cold shoe. The bottom of the receiver also has a tripod screw that you will be able to use on umbrella brackets that have a screw. Simply take your cold shoe off and put this receiver on and it's pretty solid. Not amazingly solid, but better than before.
The Impact PowerSync 16 Radio Triggers are basically re-branded FlashWave radios. They are sold and warrantied by BHPhoto which has in our opinion the best customer service we have ever experience. These are replacing our CyberSyncs. They are extremely well built, much higher build quality than the Yongnuo's and a tad better than the CyberSyncs, but they should be. They are a little more money at $150 for one transmitter and one receiver! If you are considering the CyberSyncs, then these are for you!
The reason we are switching to these is because of one word - CONFIDENCE! Don't get me wrong, we love our Yongnuo's but they are inexpensive Chinese triggers. We've had zero problems with our Yongnuo's but they are definitely not made to last forever. These Impact PowerSyncs give you complete confidence, just like the CyberSyncs do that they will work when you need them.
So why are we switching if CyberSyncs are completely reliable, well you know how we feel about those PC-Ports and these DO NOT HAVE THEM!! These fire directly off the hotshoe just like the Yongnuo's but are just better built, have better firing range and our Sync Speeds are much faster. These are the recommended trigger if you are a working Pro who wants the best. I choose these over Pocket Wizards any day of the week.
These triggers are definitely for you if you want THE BEST BUT DO NOT WANT TO PAY POCKETWIZARD PRICES! Do not think twice, these things ROCK! And if that wasn't enough, just like the Yongnuo's these will work even though your flash does not have a PC-Port! So basically what you saved by buying a less expensive flash you can put towards these triggers!
Ok, so we've gone over all 3, which do you buy?
I've made a table that shows all the Pros and Cons on some kind of scale from 1 - 10, with 10 being the best! This is about as scientific as we get:
Paul C. Buff
|Flash Firing Method||5||10||10|
|Flash Sync Speed||9||6||10|
Ok, so there you have our scientific test and from the looks of all that scientific data we have a clear winner:
Impact PowerSync 16 with 80 points...HOORAY!!!!
But wait a minute this is lightenupandshoot.com and we don't do scientific tests, only real world tests so it doesn't matter which of the three you buy! They are all highly recommended! So we will try to make it even easier for you by writing a conclusion!
Get the Impact PowerSync 16 if:
- You are a working pro and expect the best from your equipment
- You are an amateur who always buys the best even if it's more expensive
- You are a Canon Shooter who wants a little faster flash sync than 1/160th
Get the Yongnuo RF-602 if:
- Price is a concern!
- You are someone who shoots for fun and doesn't want to spend a lot!
- A Pro who doesn't want to spend a lot!
- Anyone who wants the best and least expensive radio triggers available!
BUY NOW FROM AMAZON.COM BY CLICKING HERE, no more waiting from China Delivery and with free super saver shipping they are almost the same price than buying on eBay!
Note: MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE ONE DESIGNATED FOR YOUR CAMERA SO THAT THEY SEND YOU THE CORRECT CABLE TO FIRE YOUR CAMERA WIRELESSLY! THAT CABLE IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IN THE PACKAGE!
Get the Cybersyncs if:
- You already own CyberSyncs
- You like them
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As always, leave a comment or two, and get off your booties and go shoot!