Triggering LumoPro LP180R and Cowboy Studio Mettle Flashes

April 14th, 2016

TriggerScott asks:

I’m an experienced pro who is looking to put together the equipment to do real estate photography. I plan on picking up the Sony A6000 and for lighting plan on using a few LumoPro LP180R flashes with a built-in radio receiver, along with couple of CowboyStudio Dual Power AC/DC 110v Mettle 600W flash heads that has a variety of sync options. I’ve looked at the information on this site regarding radio triggers, however, I wondering if anyone has any updated info about which one would the best one to use with this system?

The LumoPro LP180R specs say:

LP180R may be wirelessly triggered off-camera via the built-in OdinTM receiver. The LP180R will automatically be triggered by OdinTM or StratoTM II Multi transmitters when the LP180R is in Rx-C, Rx-N or STRATO II wireless modes and set to the appropriate channel and group. The internal receiver also enables remote power and zoom adjustments and off-camera Canon and Nikon TTL compatibility in the LP180R when using a Phottix® Odin™ transmitter.

And the CowboyStudio Mettle 600 flash head specs say:

Flashes can be triggered via Optical Sensor, Sync cord, and Test button.

I suggest that you trigger the LP180R’s with either OdinTM or StratoTM II Multi transmitters and in turn, trigger the Mettle’s optically.

Does anyone have any more suggestions for Scott?

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5 Responses to “Triggering LumoPro LP180R and Cowboy Studio Mettle Flashes”

  • I will try to answer as I researched it and considered Odin/Strato system for my A7rII but ultimately settled for Yongnuo/Nikon (I shifted from Nikon to Sony and had Nikon strobes). While the Odin/Mitros line was my first choice, it was perpetually out of stock at the time. Forget the Odin line and focus on the less expensive Strato as 1) TTL does not apply, 2) you would have to buy the Nikon or Canon version and NOT Sony, limiting future Sony TTL expansion, as the LP180 only responds to Nikon or Canon signals, and 3) While the Odin would allow manual flash strength adjustment on camera for the LP 180 where the Strato does not, the Mettle 600 will always require power level adjustments at flash irrespective with how triggered. Also, buy the for Nikon or Canon and not Sony. While the Sony may work in manual mode since it is only the center pin firing to trigger, Phottix uses the old Minolta mount for Sony and would need an adapter to fit it to the A6000 which takes the newer “ISO” mount, and both Canon and Nikon will mount directly on the A6000.

    Concerning the Mettle 600, optical is perfectly fine. About the only time you might have a problem is if you have a modifier, such as umbrella or softbox, or outdoors in full sunlight where the optical signal is blocked or diminished. The good news is, the Odin, Strato and other receivers if using other systems will work. All you need is a 1/8 (from Strato) to 1/4 (to Mettle) cable/adapter, plugging into the Mettle’s PC sync in lieu of the provided cord.

    Concerning the A6000, you may or may not have to do this, but I had to with my wife’s A6000. If setting it all up and it doesn’t fire, take a little sandpaper to the underside of the flash mount to assure a good ground connection. Sometimes when the camera is painted at the factory, some gets under there. If careful, the sandpaper abrasion won’t show. After that, my flashes would work on her camera – which I use as a backup body.

    As an alternative to consider, why did I get the Yongnuo/Nikon – other than the obvious, they don’t make Yongnuo/Sony. While manual only, the YN560-TX ($45) transmitter is similar to the Odin in that I can balance the YN-560-IV ($69) strobes at camera. That saves a huge amount of time as I don’t have to go each flash, lower the stand, adjust, raise the stand. The YN-560IV strobe is similar to the LP180R in that the receiver is built into the strobe and about half the price. For triggering my Nikon strobes, I bought the RF-603 II ($30/pair) receivers, which should work with the Mettle 600. The 560 transmitter will communicate with the 603 receiver. Unfortunately for me, it is fire only, not power levels, so would have to go to the flash unit to adjust which typically was the furthest flash away lighting an adjacent room so it didn’t appear dark through the door. Wouldn’t apply to you as assume with the power of the Mettle 600, will probably be close to camera as a primary light. The YN-560IV is so inexpensive, I resolved the issue by buying another one and don’t use the 603/Nikon combo – but have been seriously looking at studio flash units.

  • @larry – great analysis! Thanks for all the detailed info.

  • That’s really some well researched info there, Larry….thanks so much!

  • I’ve been happy with the Yongnuo system I use. The 560Tx commander is great and has saved me from having to walk up and down a lot of stairs. You can adjust the power level, zoom and turn flashes on and off remotely. I use RF-603 transceivers with my Neewer flashes and JTL battery powered strobes. I keep one in my pocket as a remote trigger.

    The 560TX commander doesn’t have to be mounted to the camera. You can use a RF603 in the hot shoe with a release cable (you may have to build a custom one for the Sony body) and carry the command unit with you. This is great if you are working with a wireless tether to your laptop or tablet.

    There are lots of complaints with the quality control of the Yongnuo products and they don’t have warranty center in the US that I know of. They are very cheap though and if one fails, you can sell it on eBay to somebody like me that may be able to fix it or use the parts to fix another one and get something back on the carcass. My flashes have worked fine and I’m pretty careful with my gear so I haven’t had any major issues.

  • I went through all of this myself – and am now happy using the Cactus V6 transcievers with both my Sony A7RII and a6000. I typically use four (4) flashes (two Canon 580exII’s, one Canon 430exII, and one Yongnuo 568exII). I have full control of the individual flash powers from the camera, and each of the triggers has a specific profile for the flash it is triggering (which allows you to match relative power outputs of a 430ex with a 580ex).
    Pros:
    1) Cheap (I think I paid about $75 each)
    2) Versatile – each can be either a transmitter or receiver (transceivers) and they have profiles built in to match most all popular flashes.
    3) Ability to control power to each (4 separate channels) allows me to balance between rooms
    4) Works with all my equipment (Sony Cameras + Canon Flashes (dumped all my Canon camera gear) + Yongnuo Flashes

    Cons:
    1) No TTL (which I never used anyway – but a deal breaker for some folks)
    2) No zoom control (I liked the Phottix Odin’s ability to control zoom – but didn’t want to fork over for another high-priced Sony version of Odin)
    3) I HAVE had occasional mis-fires – as they allow you to switch between near & far wireless modes (I have it on near when indoors, but need far for outdoors). It’s no BFD when you know what caused the misfire & how to correct, but many swear words were uttered before I figured out the problem.

    They are VERY durable (I drop at least one flash/trigger combo off a shelf/door frame per week – and they always keep flashing), and easy to mount (with a quick-release lever).

    Full disclosure – as soon as either I have enough money or Sony comes out with it’s own rumored triggering system – I will move to that system (I want my high speed sync and TTL flexibility). But in the meantime I think this is one of the cheapest & best solutions…

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