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I’ve been almost exclusively a fast lens available light man for years, but of late I’ve committed to learning how to use speedlights better. A lot of good things, but also hiccups I didn’t expect.
1. White ceilings and walls are great for bouncing, but if everything is white, your shots end up looking dull as dishwater.
2. Daylight fill flash can be a surprising difficult and inconsistent experience.
Under full sunlight, things work more or less as expected but in mixed sun and shade, things get weird with iTTL. I get much better results going full manual on everything, camera and flash power, but that’s a rough way to shoot moving subjects in changing light.
Ever tried to shoot a kid’s birthday party outdoors in Spanish sun with a speedlight on your cam adjusting everything manually while minding your own 3-year-old? I have now. It’s a roller coaster.
3. There’s never enough flash power when bouncing. I’m not getting studio strobes, but I look back at the one time I shot with them and I appreciate them more now.
4. The vast majority of tutorials and discussions of advanced lighting techniques assume a cooperative subject, time and ability to setup lights or both. Most often I have neither.
I just broke back into the cheap wireless flash trigger world with the purchase of a kit identical but under a different brand to this four pack. I've had a few days to try them out, and the experience has been illuminating in regard to the relative advantages of Nikon AWS compared to really cheap radio for me.
The primary reason I decided to buy the triggers was to more economically expand beyond two wireless flashes and for that purpose, you can't argue with 23€ for a four pack. I already own non-wireless capable flashes, and it's gratifying to get them back in action. I was in minutes shooting with three flashes and the full manual experience, while fraught with trial and error, didn't take as long to adapt to as I thought. However, a couple sessions made it clear that a shortcoming of a totally dumb flash trigger is that the flash goes into sleep mode and the next time you take a shot, the flash wakes up but doesn't fire.
Upon loading them into the computer, more problems emerged.
Long story short, cheapie radio triggers can have a slight firing delay. In many circumstances this isn't an issue, unless you're trying to shoot at max flash sync speed like I was, at which point you can get a bit of shutter blackout at the edge of the frame. I found I got the problem at 1/250th but it mostly disappeared at 1/200th. Was not totally consistent even at the same shutter speed. A little googling turned up the suggestion of changing channels, which I did and I found one channel that seemed to nearly eliminate the blackout at 1/250th.
All that said, for 23€ I'm happy with what I got despite losing a number of shots to the learning process. I now have the option to field four wireless flashes for a very minimal investment, but I think I shall be switching between radio and Nikon AWS.
My experience with Nikon AWS was mostly pretty good, save for some failures to trigger (mostly my SB600) and a lot of exposure inconsistency and just plain underexposure when I bounced the flashes. The later was really the bigger problem, but I realized (slightly late) that there's nothing to stop me from shutting off iTTL and just manually adjusting flash power from the camera. I did that for the first time today, and found that since I was free of the sleeping flash problem, it was a much more suitable setup for chasing my kids around.
In conclusion, cheap radio triggers are a very good budget option for the budding photographer who wants to primarily do studio-type work, but it has serious shortcomings for candid photography. I don't know if higher end radio triggers are free of these issues.
Up until now, I’ve been relying on Nikon AWS for off camera flash and it’s been alright. I have an SB-600 and a Yongnuo 568ex II.
Recently been pondering if I went the wrong direction in insisting on buying this particular Yongnuo in order to keep using AWS. My last shoot didn’t go great basically because I was leaning on the automatic flash metering when what was required was some direct human decisions. Being able to change flash power from the camera hasn’t proven as useful as I thought.
While I could switch to manual flash and continue using AWS for triggering (which I am going to do in the meantime) for a few reasons I’m considering investing in some inexpensive radio triggers. They would solve some triggering issues I’ve had due to line of sight, open up some placement possibilities, give me access to another wireless speed light (have an SB-15) and also be compatible with my mostly benched M4/3 Olympus.
What do you think? Is it worth it? And are these too cheap or just about right?
Wasn’t sure what category to toss this in, but industry seemed as good as any.
Wondering if any of you are LinkedIn users and bill yourself as freelance photographers there? If so, how did you present yourself and your work?
I really have no mind right now to try to find gigs as a photographer, but I thought it’d be a good way for me to take stock of the stuff I’ve done that would count as “work,” which it turns out, is more than I thought. While it was only ever paid once, my photographic resume includes portraits, event coverage, one book cover (available on Amazon), and currently those promo photos for the pianist I keep showing here. I think it’d be good just for my confidence to organize and find a way to present myself positively as a photographer even if I just continue doing exactly what I’m doing.