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If You Use Wireless Triggers Please Take the Trigger Poll

March 25th, 2012

I just got finished building a page for wireless triggers. You can always get there again by clicking “Triggers”  in the menu bar along the top of the blog.

This is a messy subject. My goal for this page is to list all the popular wireless triggers in use in real estate photography and maintain a corresponding reader usage poll that shows how many readers are using each type of trigger. I think the reader poll on the same page gives a lot of insight for beginning real estate photographers trying to decide what to purchase. When you are able to see user usage distribution of 800 to 1000 people taking the poll (like there are on the camera and lenses pages) it begins to tell you something.

The green shaded lines are what I believe to be the industry standards from the research that I’ve done. The non-shaded lines are triggers that either seem to have some kind of issue, are too new to assess or like the Cactus V2 have a newer version out.

Please take the poll if you use triggers and leave a comment either here or on the Trigger page if you think that I’ve over looked a trigger you think is important.

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10 Responses to “If You Use Wireless Triggers Please Take the Trigger Poll”

  • Larry, nice start. A couple that were perhaps overlooked. I an almost happy you left off the Cactus V5 which is what I currently use, but don’t want to claim as I wrote in a recent Flickr Strobist thread-would like to see how far I can skip them across a lake. To be fair, though, they did replace the V4’s a little over a year ago. Frontrunner to what I am considering is the Phottix Stratos, a sync only for Nikon and Canon, which has been available for several years and was their top of the line until the introduction if the TTL Odin for Canon (Nikon pending) which you listed. Also, like the Odin and too new is the Pixel King for Canon (Nikon pending), and I think their step down non-TTL is the Bishop.

    Of course the Canon ST-E3-RT is too new, as according to Amazon – not released yet, and Nikon doesn’t have – even rumored – a radio wave version of the SU-800. Actually, IR does work amazingly inside with wall bounce of the signal bending the “line of sight” requirement. That is actually my expensive backup when the Cactus are non-responsive. While I don’t have the SU-800, I set the camera to master and use the pop-up for pre-flash signal and light output of the pop-up set to the minimum -3. It’s those times I am thankful I didn’t go used with the older Nikons or the inexpensive Yongnou and similar flashes. Plus will be set up nicely if Nikon ever comes out with a radio version of the SU-800 to compete with the PW Flex and Canon ST-E3.

  • Thanks Larry.
    Very timely for me as I am moving away from using a SU800 to trigger one flash with the rest on slave. I would really like something (Nikon) that allows setting the flashes at the camera but that may not be possible. As an aside I use 3 sb800s and three LumoPro flashes, which were described extremely sensitive at the Stobist, but my three LumoPro have not turned out to be that good in that department. Kind of finicky actually.

    Thanks for all your work.

  • I’m using Cactus V5 Duo’s (4 of them) and have had two go dead on me recently. When they work they work well, but they don’t seem to be very dependable.

  • I do not shoot a lot of real estate but I worked with the PW TT5 and TT1, work great when they work but lots of misfires and frustration. I have since discovered Strobies are on amazon for about 60 bucks for the set which I have not had one misfire yet. I have not challenged the range which I’m assuming is the reason why they are not listed on the poll but anyone who shoots in a studio these are a phenomenal alternative to expensive PW’s. Just thought I would show Strobie some love.

  • @Drew- The reason I didn’t list Strobies is because they are infra red (light) triggers. Infrared gear as demonstrated by the old Canon and current Nikon flash control systems are not as good as radio triggers for real estate work.

  • The poll is great but would be great if the 20 comments could be resurrected or moved to this post.

  • @scott – here’s the best I can do… I’ve copied comments into his comment:

    Tim Stewart: When I started my business last year most of my budget went to cameras and glass. I opted for Cactus III thinking that I could live with a few misfires in the RE business. Big mistake. Don’t ever drop one. The metal springs for the battery contacts is so weak that they bend so batteries lose contact. One also fires whenever it wants not when you want. It doesn’t impress your client as you being a true professional. Fortunately, my images did.

    ———–
    Barry MacKenzie: I use the Yongnuo RF-602 – they’re great and I’ve never any issues with reliability, triggering or misfiring. One thing I love about them is that the receivers are threaded on the bottom. Mine are permanently screwed into the quick release plates on my cheapo light stands (Zeikos 57? video tripods) so when I arrive on site I just clip it on, slide my speedlite in and go. Plus, they’re dirt cheap – I picked up 4 receivers and 1 transmitter (batteries included) for $90 all in.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7216/7019081579_bf5a66ddfd.jpg
    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7231/7019081647_84135fab76.jpg
    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6055/6872976964_1289b5ccb5.jpg
    ———

    James Wallis: I’ve been using the Yongnuo (Nikon) system in Australia for about 2 years now. I’ve found them to be amazingly reliable for the budget price. I set my flashes manually and, at this stage have little need for TTL. I would definitely recommend them for those looking to save a few bucks.

    Great work with this poll Larry. Keep up the good work.

    ———-

    Mike: I have been using PW’s for 3 years now and find them great.
    The only misfires have been of my own making where a frequency has been changed by accident or the batteries have gone flat.

    Range has been excellent easily over 100m.
    The only issue I have had is with the connector leads which are a bit fragile in terms of the plug connectors so I carry spares.

    ——–

    Chris: I have been using the Radiopopper JrX Transmitter and receivers. I found them very reliable and of good quality and very economical on batteries. Each unit uses one CR123 battery which lasts a fairly long time. I started of with disposable batteries since the rechargeable batteries were not readily available (in New Zealand), but I now have found a reliable source (Jaycar Electronics). Keeping a few spare batteries in my bag is provided me with a very reliable setup (I have 1 x transmitter and 4 receivers). I use a mixture of Nikon SB700 (very unreliable) and Yongnuo flashes, all in manual mode. The cables that come with the Radiopoppers have been reliable, but a right angle connecter would have been preferred. I have to unplug the cables when putting them in my bag, but with a right angled plug I could have left them connected, which will reduce setup time. For real estate photography, I never had a case where the radiopoppers didn’t trigger the flashes.

    ——–

    Dave Olen: Like LT above I also have the (Aputure Trigmaster Plus) which I have had for just over a month. Have not put it through all the test but love it so far and was a fair price. I use it on my Canon D60. Also bought the wireless remote slave to use with it.

    ——-

    Amanda: Cactus V5 for me (not listed).

    ——-

    Danka: Can on ST-E2 with 580/420EX when line of sight works… It’s often amazing that infrared does work by reflection as often as it does.

    ——-

    LT: Unfortunately, the system I use is not listed (Aputure Trigmaster Plus).

    ———

    Kim: I shoot with Radio Popper JrX. But for the price they stink! They work but they are cheaply made and overpriced. When I first purchased, small screws were loosening that held cubes together, the cables they supplied where bad, I replaced with ones from Radio Shack. Returned them multipe times. Have been happy with their response though. I should have just went with the pocket wizards.

    ———

    Mike Stewart: I use the Pocket Wizard Multi-Max units. Seems like there should be an option to choose “other” to allow for options not specifically named in the poll. Also…can’t check the results without voting so it forces you to pick an option even if you don’t use any of those that are list

    ———

    Rich: I’ve been using the Flex system with my Canon camera and flashes for a few months now. (Only recently getting in to RE photography though.) Outside of the known range issue and the need to power on the units in the proper sequence, I’ve never had a problem. So far… I’m not expecting the range issue to be much of a problem in RE shooting though.

    Ron Rosenzweig: I have found the Yongnuo 602s 2.4GH to be very reliable and consistent. I’ve been using them for about 2 years now. Since I adjust all of my flash settings manually I couldn’t or didn’t want to justify the cost of Pocket Wizards or Poppers. If I needed TTL I would probably go with the PW Flex. Thanks Larry for this informative poll.

    ———–
    Eric Hilton: I have been using pocket Wizard transmitters, receivers and transceivers for ever, to fire my studio and monolight strobes. About a year ago I read about using the FLEX TT5 (without the mini transmitter) to shoot speed lights at hi shutter speeds. It also offered me a way to keep an on camera flash mounted to my camera, and fire my off camera flash units also.
    The Flex TT5 turned out to be one of the worst experiences as I had many miss fires,(and multiple firing/strobing) both on real estate shoots and on weddings. Pocket wizard tried to talk me through the setups, but finally after many months of issues, they replaced my Flex with a new one saying mine was defective. So far, I have not taken the Flex out of the box, and went back to firing my 3 Nikon speed lights with a pocket wizard transmitter and a couple of receivers in manual.
    Pocket Wizard has been a wonderful company, but the Flex just didn’t work for me.
    Have any of my fellow real estate photographers used the Flex TT5 with much success on TTL?

    ——

    Paula: I just switched to Cowboy Studio trigger/receivers a couple of months ago. I had previously used Yongnuo for a couple of years. I switched because of the batteries. Yongnuo uses a size that isn’t cheap and the batteries don’t last long. Cowboy uses AAA. Both have been very reliable, however because of the batteries, I will continue to use Cowboy.
    ————

    John Driggers: Hmm, like many (I suspect) I use the Phottix Strato II for Nikon with pass-thru ttl and synch-only to off-camera flashes, the Strato (I) was popular too. But, as it’s not listed, I can’t play. I think Your Phottix Odin numbers may end up skewed, as some people using Stratos I or II may choose the Odin in the poll, as it is the only Phottix version listed.

    Cheers from AU

    JD
    ————
    Ian Pitts: shoot with an the original RadioPopper P1 system. 550ex on camera with 580exII’s out remote. I shoot in M flash mode and manually adjust power from the 550.

    ———

    Heath: I am looking forward to the results of this, I have been using Elinchrome skyports for the last 4 years and the receivers are terribly designed with on off switches that are hard to turn on and very easy to accidentally turn off, and a lack of a simple test light that flashes when the unit is triggered so you can be sure it is transmitting.

    ——–

  • Larry, there is probably sufficient response to the Yongnuo brand of triggers to split them by type. I am using the 602’s but hope to move to the 603’s. The 603’s are transceivers and. I find the 602’s simple and reliable.

  • @Andrew- Good point. I’ll do that. Thanks for point out the difference.

  • Heh heh… some of us use several of those trigger systems… I have the TT1/TT5, PWII, and Cactus V5’s and what’s more… I use them at the same time. 🙂

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