July 28, 2014, 05:33:04 PM

Author Topic: Lighting and triggering setup  (Read 1252 times)

daemorhedron

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Lighting and triggering setup
« on: April 16, 2014, 05:32:02 PM »
Now I know this will forge a lot of opinion and theorycraft, so let's keep this a nice friendly discussion. ;) Thanks in advance for reading and contributing!

Like many people, I feel I have reached the limits of what I can do with my current gear, lighting in particular. I can assure you that I am not suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, it really is time to upgrade. I've also done tons of reading and research, so much so that my head is pretty much spinning and I've been on the fence while I've saved up for a year to even make this happen.

I want to use a mix of continuous lighting, flashes and strobes. I believe that each have their own place and usage, so I do feel that not one particular solution will do, hence the need for all of them. To answer what I trust is your most pressing question: I largely do portraiture that I have been known to describe as 'Tim Burton on crack'. Bright colors, intense characters, the strange and unusual kind of thing. I shoot both indoors and outdoors, so mobility of equipment is somewhat important too.

I somewhat have my heart set on PCB Einsteins for strobes and ideally 600's for flashes (hopefully cheaper Yongnuo ones when they are finally out). I am open to suggestions otherwise, but also keen on the bowens mount for modifiers in general.

My main problem comes not just in triggering, but in remotely controlling power and doing so quickly. Right now, I use a Canon 90ex with optical triggering/remote power control or older YN-602 triggers (with no remote power control) and a whole lot of running around while doing my best impression of Mallory Archer saying 'hang on' repeatedly (props if you get that reference, heh).

To throw fuel on to this fire, I am considering switching camera systems from Canon to Sony.

Given all that info, I seek a unified triggering system that would somewhat be camera independent, device independent and allow for remote power control. Especially if I go with Einsteins and 600 flashes, (unless you mad geniuses have better ideas/suggestions) I am currently leaning towards:

Cyber Commander - would allow for remote control of the einsteins and should work Canon or Sony.

YN-E3-RT or YN-622-TX - AF Assist would be mad bonus, would allow for remote control of flashes and cover issues like HSS and ETTL support.

I love grouping and ratio control for power, and realize that the Einsteins would be on their own. I hate the thought of using two seperate systems, but it's definitely better than the running around and disrupting the flow/vibe of a shoot. Would love to hear ideas/suggestions for a more unified system though =)

And FYI, this is probably the closest that I've seen for what I'm trying to accomplish and is an interesting read.

http://www.nicknphoto.com/wedding-reception-lighting/

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Lighting and triggering setup
« on: April 16, 2014, 05:32:02 PM »

drjlo

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 02:31:29 PM »

To throw fuel on to this fire, I am considering switching camera systems from Canon to Sony.



From experience, I would advise against going Sony if you plan to make use of TTL in any combo. 

Currently, there is zero TTL wireless RF trigger system that works with the newer Sony shotshoe.
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52459151
 
Also, there is NO flagship-level Sony speedlite that functions correctly (i.e. not overheat). 
http://community.sony.com/t5/Alpha-SLT-DSLR-Cameras/HVL-F60M-Flash-Overheating-Unusable/td-p/139177

In addition, Sony's newer shotshoe is not exactly standard, even for non-TTL firing.  For example, my Yongnuo RF603 and Yongnuo 622c cannot be fired by Sony even in simple non-TTL trigger mode.  I believe RF602 should work, but I would double check that Cyber Commander works with Sony hotshoe.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 02:33:16 PM by drjlo »

Skirball

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 12:25:18 PM »
Given all that info, I seek a unified triggering system that would somewhat be camera independent, device independent and allow for remote power control. Especially if I go with Einsteins and 600 flashes,

If that's all you want why not just get some PW and be done with it.  You can keep using the flashes you're using now and add continuous lighting.  Going the 600 route certainly won't be unifying anything, other than your other 600s.

daemorhedron

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 02:17:19 PM »
From experience, I would advise against going Sony if you plan to make use of TTL in any combo. 

Fair enough. I did not expressly mention that TTL is really an icing on the cake thing, and didn't even think of it for Sony. I am certainly comfortable with manual, so long as I can remotely control power levels.


In addition, Sony's newer shotshoe is not exactly standard, even for non-TTL firing.  For example, my Yongnuo RF603 and Yongnuo 622c cannot be fired by Sony even in simple non-TTL trigger mode.  I believe RF602 should work, but I would double check that Cyber Commander works with Sony hotshoe.

I can confirm that RF602 worked for me with Sony A7 at the time. Very surprised to hear 603/622 does not work?! Bizarre.

daemorhedron

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 02:20:27 PM »
If that's all you want why not just get some PW and be done with it.  You can keep using the flashes you're using now and add continuous lighting.

Ok, which ones exactly? PW seem an obvious option but they seem to have an oddly mixed rep for something so absurdly expensive.

Going the 600 route certainly won't be unifying anything, other than your other 600s.

Yep that's really part of the problem. Seems that unification is a huge issue. I am wanting to add more lighting in general as I have four flashes total but they are two different generations. Taking this as an excuse to pretty much upgrade and unify them anyways.


mackguyver

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 02:24:22 PM »
Cool link and I've got some Einsteins with the PCB triggering and it's proven very simple and reliable.  You can buy the Pocketwizard modules and use those with the Pocketwizard transceivers on 600s or 580s, other other Canon flashes for a single unified system, but once you go to the Einsteins, I have a feeling you won't want to fool with speedlites unless you need something really portable or use it on your camera/flash bracket.  Monolights are so much more powerful and flexible than speedlites.  Also, the Einsteins can be used with any camera system.
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pwp

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 01:37:04 AM »
After wading through all sorts of lighting systems, then spending a dozen years with Profoto, a couple of years ago I sold of the lot and committed to PCB Einsteins. I have six heads, CyberSync triggers, a Cyber Commander and a raft of refreshingly inexpensive modifiers plus two Vagabond Mini Lithium batteries. Most of my work is on location and I cart these things around in cars, planes and trucks. So far they're 100% reliable, and I love the fact they're so light, compact and you can turn them right down to three or four w/s when you just want a wink of light. I'm not aware of any 600 w/s lights that can be powered down so low.

The Cyber Commander is very handy if you're doing precision multi light setups, but really not necessary if you're just shooting with a couple of lights. The GUI of the Cyber Commander has been designed by geeks. It's awful and needs a visit from Johnny Ive (Apple) to design a less confusing interface. I will say that although the Cyber Commander is hot-shoe mountable, it's a PITA and best kept separate, and the Einsteins triggered with the compact CyberSync hot-shoe trigger. Also, I tend to take the batteries out of the Cyber Commander when I'm not using it, it can easily bump on and stay on...flattening the batteries.

Einsteins? Go for it! You won't be disappointed and you'll appreciate the performance, the price and the deep expandability.

-pw

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 01:37:04 AM »

daemorhedron

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 03:03:03 PM »
Well my research has led me down interesting paths for sure.

Profoto B1 strobe - seems very impressive, but the price is almost insane. At $2k each, this will simply not be an option for me.

Canon 600 flash - getting good reviews, but again at $500 each, I remain unimpressed. The price somewhat improves when you realize that you don't really need triggers, but this pro is overturned by the fact that it means it cannot fully tie in with a system like Einsteins.

Godox AD180/AD360 - bare bulb is what I would love in a flash but these seem almost hillariously overpriced. I would rather just sacrifice my current flashes by doing my own bare bulb mod and power pack and not spend the money at all.

LED Light Cube - alright, NOW we are talking! This product looks extremely promising....on paper. I wish it was available, but sadly it's not so for now, even though it's completely ideal, it will have to wait. Triggers overall might still be an issue here.

Which leaves us with the beloved Einsteins. I know that they were king of their day, and in many ways still are, but I was hoping for something a smidge more advanced. Their LCD screen and lack of LED modelling light seems somewhat....'antiquated', but for the money and options this seems to still be the way to go for now.

I plan on building up some serious continuous lighting as a next step, probably just CFL softboxes. I am constantly amazed how much more I keep getting out of my current flashes, but I suspect my next step will be Einsteins! =)

Thanks everyone!



RLPhoto

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 07:40:56 AM »
I use 600rts + PCB Einsteins exclusively now. The 600rt on the hotshoe and the cyber commander on the sync socket. I hardly ever touch the lights except to move them around.

daemorhedron

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 06:47:02 PM »
It's a good setup to be sure, but so far I have opted for frankly extreme low budget with little regret. I picked up some used Norman ml400 for absurdly cheap thanks to Craigslist. I use my existing flashes, YN-568 II's which I might modify into bare bulb for fun.

For triggering, I use my Canon 90ex flash as either optical trigger for the strobes or as wireless master for flashes.

A bit clumsy, but let's me keep saving for 'real' gear for now as I am expecting big things soon. =)

skoobey

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2014, 05:04:13 PM »
About remotely controlling power... well I have Bowens system that uses a remote, and sometimes it's the power, angle, modifier, combo of these... so assistants are a MUST for location shooting, and you need to test the setup beforehand as well.

As for the triggering... Cable is the best, I was sick and tired of radio triggers working with one system or the other, light meter working with one or the other, so in the end... switched back to the good old wire and had 0 issues.

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Re: Lighting and triggering setup
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2014, 05:04:13 PM »