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Radio Flash Triggers

Updated 3rd August 2008

I am currently researching Radio Triggers to remotely trigger off camera strobes (flashes). This will allow me more precisely control my lighting and help me to develop my creative side.

What I am looking for initially is a setup with 1 transmitter and 2-3 receivers which will allow me to have a flexible setup for different circumstances.

On a side note, I will be using Olympus flashes FL36/FL50. While I know that the new FL36R/FL50R flashes have a good remote capabilities - via the inbuilt flash (with supported bodies E-3 E-420 and E-520). But, I currently shoot with an E-510 and non R flash.

To avoid GST on imports the price must be less than $500 NZ including shipping!

I have identified a number of different offerings which I am investigating. Some I have already struck off my list as unreliable or unsuitable.

In my current list of Radio Triggers in order of preference:

  1. Cybersync
  2. Flash Waves
  3. Elinchrom Skyport
  4. * Pocket Wizards
  5. ** Cactus (Ebay Triggers)
  6. *** RadioPopper Jr

* Industry Standard - Too expensive at the moment.
** Cactus - The name says it all (too prickly for me)
*** Product does not exist yet (still in development stage)

The below information is based on information from both the manufacturers sites and independent reviews from various websites on the internet. It should be used as a guide only.

Hotshoe Adapter

As I am using Olympus flashes which don't have a PC Sync port I will require a 3.5mm mono plug to hot shoe adapter to trigger the flash from the receiver. I have 2 choices by a hotshoe from Ebay and modify or purchase one from Flashzebra at a cost of around $20 + shipping (quoted at least $6 to NZ).

Unfortunately they don't know when they will be available as there is currently an issue with the supplier.

Cybersync (Alien Bees)

Prices including shipping to New Zealand in $US. International orders incur a 10% surcharge in addition to shipping costs:

1 Tx & 2 Rx - $286.66
1 Tx & 3 Rx - $364.64
1 Hotshoe adaptor per flash (as above) $26

  • 16 User Selectable Channels
  • Range approx 120 metres outdoors
  • Flash Connection method - sync cable - supplied
  • Sync speeds in excess of 1/1000sec reported (dependent on camera)
  • Transmitter connects to hotshoe (no locking mechanism)
  • Repeater mode to extend range
  • 3 Year Warranty

Flash Waves

Prices including shipping to New Zealand in $US:

1 Tx & 2 Rx - $309.95
1 Tx & 3 Rx - $405.95

  • 10 User Selectable Channels
  • Range approx 50 metres outdoors
  • Flash Connection method - hotshoe /sync cable - supplied
  • 10 User selectable channels
  • Sync speeds of 1/250sec reported (dependent on camera) manufacturer advertises 1/180sec
  • Transmitter connects to hotshoe (locking mechanism included)
  • Included accessories - 2.5mm sub-mini phone jack to PC cable; 3.5mm to 3.5mm phone cable; 3.5mm to 3.5mm phone jack; 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
  • 1 Year Warranty

Elinchrom Skyport

Prices including shipping to New Zealand in $US:

1 Tx & 2 Rx - $338.90
1 Tx & 3 Rx - $445.85
1 Hotshoe adaptor per flash (as above) $26

  • 8 User Selectable Channels
  • Range approx 120 metres outdoors
  • Flash Connection method - sync cable - supplied
  • Usable Sync speeds of 1/800sec reported (dependent on camera)
  • Transmitter connects to hotshoe
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • 1 Year Warranty
Submitted by photo-info on Wed, 20/08/2008 - 19:56.

Got some Flash Waves - Initial impression is that they are a good quality. Range is good and they seem to work well.

Only took a week to be delivered to NZ.

I did have a couple of mis-fires on my initial testing. Changed the channel and it's been working fine ever since.

Submitted by Jason (not verified) on Wed, 24/09/2008 - 06:06.

So Cybersync was your preferred option and then you went for Flash Waves? Care to elaborate on reasons?

Submitted by photo-info on Wed, 24/09/2008 - 18:25.

Good question! After further consideration I settled on the Flash Waves over the Cybersync for a few reasons:

  • As I stated above - to work with the Olympus FL-36 flashes I would have required additional hardware - Hotshoe adapter (FL-36 does not have a sync port). Essentially this meant additional cost. For 2 flashes this made the cost of the Cybersync more expensive than the Flash Waves to import into NZ.
  • When I was ready to order I was unable to locate a suitable adapter. As stated above Flashzebra had no stock and no ETA for more. I guess that I could have bought a generic hotshoe adapter and modified to suit my requirements.
  • As the sync speed of the Olympus E-510 cameras is limited to 1/180 sec I had no current requirement for any more than this. On a side note I can sync the external flash at up to 1/200 sec without any problems (any faster and you loose part of the image due to 2nd curtain).
  • Less is more - I would rather have a single piece of hardware. No adapters and cords to break or lose. With the Flash Waves I can attach directly to my umbrella adapters on my light stands and connect the flash straight onto the Flash Wave.
Submitted by Jason (not verified) on Sat, 27/09/2008 - 14:14.

Sounds like the right choice given your situation. I've got some cybersyncs on the way, so I'll be able to pass comment on them in a few weeks.

Submitted by photo-info on Sat, 04/10/2008 - 22:50.

I look forward to your comments about the Cybersync's.

Submitted by Jason (not verified) on Sun, 26/10/2008 - 17:01.

Yup, got 'em, love 'em. Simple. Nothing bad to say. If I remember I'll post any further thoughts after a couple of months of usage.

Submitted by Gary F (not verified) on Tue, 23/06/2009 - 23:41.

I've started looking at these tonight after getting sick of my cheap Chinese remote triggers misfiring way to often! Jason - are you still happy with them? They sound great on their website.

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