flash Tag

You might be forgiven for thinking that wireless triggers are simple things. So they are, when all you wish to do is tell a circuit to close at a distance from the camera. You put a transmitter on the hot shoe of the camera, a receiver under the speedlight out in the distance, and fire away. As long as the things are plugged in correctly and the AA batteries are fresh, it works every time. When you start to go TTL, however, and start to introduce different models of different maker's flashes, the whole thing becomes as complex as a spider's web. Here's a collage of images from the different trigger systems here in the shop on just one day. Beware that not all triggers made are shown - you have miles to go in this forest before you can sleep...

Ever see a Speed Graphic or Crown Graphic press camera - or any of the other US or British cameras of the 40's and 50's? Note that every one of them seems to have two things in common - a big silver handle flash on one side of the camera and Jimmy Olsen behind it. Golly Superman! The big silver handle contained as many " D " cells as they could cram in as a way of providing enough electricity to fire the big press flash bulbs. It could also provide synchronising ports for cables and a button to trigger a solenoid on the shutter. Whatever you were doing with the other hand - focusing the camera, pulling a dark slide, or fighting crime, the handle gave you a massive grip on the massive camera. The users decided which side they wanted to hang on to about evenly - the handles could be slung either left or right. Even when the smaller Leica-style rangefinders moved in for some press work, there were big handle flashes to let you keep it all in...

I am amused these days when every product or service I see is preceded by the letter "i " in lower case. It is put there to suggest that the object is considered to be intelligent. I'm prepared to believe this, but would like to point out to the manufacturers that this does no good at all when the purchaser 's name starts with " D " for dumb. My first name is Dick...

A lot of manufacturers say that they are dedicated to the small world of macro photography - and they point to one lens in their range with that word on the barrel. Or to a small flower symbol somewhere in their digital menu. Mount the lens or press the icon and all will be tiny and in perfect focus...

The term " Strobist " was all the rage a few years back - it was applied to people who use small electronic flash units to light their field work. It started out small, then got quite complex as different manufacturers came out with systems of accessories designed to aid it. Frankly, it did the normal thing in photography - like Topsy, it just growed. From a simple website and idea, it got bigger with workshops, seminars, experts, accessories, contests, etc. The amount of gear that you were encouraged to take to cut down on the amount of gear you take with you became enormous. I bought into a system that now sits and sets. And then I just went back to a good old electronic flash unit made by the manufacturer of the camera I use. If you're able to afford the more expensive small systems you may still be on a climb - the newest portable strobes are far and away better than trying to do anything with tiny flash units. You'll be able to make complex lighting setups as...

I admire people who can coordinate multiple lighting setups in the field. And there's a lot of gear on the market with which they can do this these days - many flash makers have TTL and manual wireless triggers and controllers that talk to each other over various distances. The ultimate goal of a control inside the camera to do this - matched to multiple flash units  - is not as common. Most makers seem to devolve this duty to a separate box on the hot shoe. This unit - the Viper - is available for Nikon, Sony, and Canon right now. The unit will do a number of channels and three groups at over 100 Mtr range. It will accommodate and pass through a flash on the hot shoe of the transmitting unit - an important help when you have several outboard flashes but want a central fill. It will also connect to many studio lights so you can make multiple use of it in your system. And hurray!...