I had been toying with the idea of a wireless flash setup since stumbling upon the Strobist blog and thumbing through their group on Flickr. I had briefly toyed with attaching my SB-600 external flash to a sync-cable [remember all those Daily Photos?], but quickly recognized the limitations of only being able to move the flash an arm’s length from the camera.
The idea of buying a set of Ebay Triggers crossed my mind, sure they’ve been reviewed as being unreliable, but at a fraction of the cost of Pocket Wizards do I really care? Taking photographs is just a hobby of mine, not a paid gig.
All of these thoughts about a wireless flash set-up were swirling in my mind when Cathy, her sister, and I were driving to Costco in Taichung. We passed a photography store on the way. I decided to stop in the store while Cathy and her sister began their shopping.
I asked the clerk if they had any light stands and shoot-through umbrellas. They had plenty of light stands but only softboxes instead of umbrellas. They did have an impressive kit which included a mighty large softbox but that was more money than I wanted to spend. Attached to the display however was the inexpensive radio receiver and transmitter pictured above. The Yinghe kit was only $990 NT [$30.37 US]. I impulsively bought the set and was on my way.
In Taipei I bought everything else I needed [a lightstand, mounting bracket, and umbrella] at Keystone Photo in Xinyi.
Back to the topic of the transmitter.. it slides onto the hotshoe or can be attached to a PC Cord and houses a single 12v battery. The channel can be switched on the underside of the unit and the battery can be changed by opening the unit using a small Phillips-head screwdriver.
The receiver can either be attached to the hotshoe of the flash or to the PC socket via an included PC cord. Unlike the transmitter, the receiver must be opened to switch the channel, but no screwdriver is needed. The receiver houses a single 3v battery [newer units on Ebay use two AAA batteries and the channel can be switched on the outside]. The bottom of the receiver has a threaded hole so it can be screwed onto standard tripods or light stands and can be tilted back and forth using the adjusting knob:
I stopped at a park on my way to work today to see how far away this set up would work:
You can get pretty far away from the receiver and still get a it to fire the flash. Two steps back from here and the receiver couldn’t catch the signal:
While walking back to tear everything down the flash misfired once. I read that switching the channels can help solve this problem, but I haven’t given that a try yet. If any of the upcoming experimental shots turn out good I’ll post them here. If none of them show up as Daily Photos you’ll know I’m still learning.