confused about hotshoe

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by meghan_krevolin, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. I'm exploring the option of moving from continuous lighting to flash. I currently shoot with the Nikon D80 and have the SB600 although very soon I will be upgrading to the D300 and the SB800. I've been looking into alien bees lighting with the remote trigger. The little transmitter just fits conveniently into the hotshoe and all is done wireless. But, I don't want to lose my ability to use my SB on camera. Is there such a thing as a hotshoe splitter? Or does my SB600 have a way to transmit to the receiver on the lights? What about the SB800?
  2. The Alien Bees, like virtualy every strobe, has an optical slave sensor built-in. You can fire the AB lights with your pop-up flash if you needed to.
    Are you looking to use your Speedlight as a Master or fill?
  3. I don't want to use the optical slave sensor because it will fire every time someone uses a flash and I'm looking for a portable setup for weddings. Until now I've been using only the speedlight because it's all I could afford. But I'm finally in a position to get some decent equipment. And I'm looking to use my speedlight as a master.
  4. You may not want to use the iTTL controlled system in conjunction with a full manual studio type system . Depending on the situation I'd choose one or the other. Withthe D300 you should be able to connect the CyberSync or a Pocketwizard trigger to the camera via it's off camera flash (PC) connection via a short sync cord.
  5. Unfortunately D80 and SB-600 that you have now, none of them has any PC sync socket, so you cannot even try the CLS automated flashes simultaneously with the radio triggered non-automated flashes yet.
    "I will be upgrading to the D300 and the SB800" - both SB-800 and D300 have PC sync sockets, so you will have more sockets than you will need for any radio transmitter to connect there, e.g. Pocket Wizard, Syber Sync, or some from eBay.
  6. The short version of what I have to say is that I think you should streamline your plan to use one kind of triggering. Details about PC cords below. Thanks. J.
    If you get into using PC cord for part of your setup, that would probably do well with the Alien Bees. But I think it will do poorly with the wedding. I like using PC cords, but I don't have 500 people running around when I'm making a picture. You do.
    When the PC synch cord is plugged in to my ABR800, it disables the optical slave. It may have a similar function with the better-style remote. I still use the PC cords. Both of the hot shoe adapters that I bought recently had PC jacks built into them. But they are not what you want. So, buyer beware.
    Is there such a thing as a hot shoe splitter? Well, yes, but it doesn't have the features that you want. They won't make one that will route electricity simultaneously in a way that might mess things up. It'll be like, hot shoe up above, PC jack on the side. If there is a hot shoe below for electricity in, and a hot shoe above for electricity to flash, then using the PC jack will cut off the electricity to the hot shoe out to the flash.
    If the hot shoe adapter with PC is built to go on the camera's hot shoe, it will usually only send the signal to either the hot shoe on top or the PC jack on the side. I have another hot shoe adapter with a little optical slave in it; this one will fire the flash on the shoe and also send a signal down the PC cord; but it has no electrical fitting underneath; it is triggered by the optical slave. When you look at this in an ad, it will say, "fits hot shoe" or something like that; this does not necessarily mean that there is an electrical connection. This means that the base can fit into the hot shoe to hold the assembly in place.
    These objects will look like they will do what you are asking for, but when you hook them up, they will function as described above.
    If you get into using PC cords, you'll find that with the way the connectors go, it will not usually let you hook up the flashes in a way that might damage them. It's possible to factor in a splitter, but such a solution would be unwieldy and prone to disconnecting at the wrong time. Even if you could rig one up, I don't think it would cut it for pro weddings. I have a little splitter that I use, and I don't think it would be the right part for your tool kit.
    Even if you find a way to use a PC cord splitter to fire a flash while it is mounted atop your camera, and also that radio trigger thing; something is going to be flopping around. The PC cord connections rely on lateral tension, they are not load-bearing connectors. Sooner or later, something will get disconnected.
    I like using PC cords; but I have a feeling that it would be bad juju for your setup. It seems like things would go better if you didn't have to use all three levels of trigger technology (radio, optical and PC). With the stuff that goes wrong at weddings, wouldn't you be more comfortable with one kind of trigger in use at a time?
  7. There was one other way I thought of, but you're not going to want it, either. It would go like this: you would need a radio trigger with a PC jack for line in. Then, put a hot shoe adapter with PC jack on your camera's shoe. Run a PC cord from the adapter to the radio trigger. Mount your flash on the hot shoe adapter on the camera with an optical slave to trigger it. Make it the only optical slave in your setup. This way, when you squeeze the shutter button, the radio trigger will fire. When the radio receiver trips your other flashes, they will set off the optical slave on top of your camera.
    [You could use the optical trigger with hot shoe foot style, but that would mean physically stacking two hot shoe adapters on top of one another, with no electrical connection between them The PC jack hot shoe adapter below, and the optical slave hot shoe adapter above. This would be bad for leverage in mounting and fitting; but it would route the signal and trip the flash on top.]
    If someone else fires a flash and your shutter button is not depressed, the optical slave on top of your camera will fire, but aside from annoyance, it won't matter. You could always turn that one on and off or block the optical trigger if you needed to shut it down. The optical slave on top of your camera will only count for you and your pictures when your shutter is open.
    As you can see, that solution, too, is not good enough for a professional at a wedding. It would get the pictures you took strobed, but it doesn't provide you with the full control you should have when you are with your clients. Also, you would need a radio trigger that has PC jack line in, the $16 hot shoe adapter from a large online retailer, the other $16 optical slave hot shoe adapter, at least a short PC cord to run from the camera to the radio transmitter, and a bit of luck. It would work best in situations when your support strobes are set up in a curve so that there is some side action. That would increase the chances that your optical slave on top of the camera might see the others fire.
    Keep in mind that I have never, ever actually done this; I have only used the other parts besides the radio trigger. I wouldn't mind trying a landscape shot like that, but I really don't think it would meet your needs. And, if that flash is somehow part of the autofocus or other fancy functions in your camera, using it in the optical slave configuration would probably stop letting it be a part of those processes.
    As you can see, the full size radio trigger set with the nicer flashes would be better for a pro with a clientele. Good luck. J.
  8. You may use, thing like this:
    It has hot-shoe and synchro cable output.
  9. Keep in mind, PC cords have male and female ends. For the rigging above to work the PC jack for line in would need to accept a MALE PC fitting. The hot shoe adapters will require the FEMALE PC fitting to plug into them.
    Also, the shape of the plastic plugs themselves would have to clear any depressions in the body of the plastic chassis on any of the parts like the radio trigger. Sometimes companies build their PC jacks recessed into the housing; occasionally that plastic will obstruct an electrical connection that should otherwise fit. [I have such a situation with my old Sunpack 121C flash.]
  10. Victor, have you used that one? When I use one that looks like that it will send to either the PC jack or the hot shoe on top.
  11. I have a D80, an sb600, sb800, Metz 45cl-4,a 300w softbox and a wireless radio trigger. Originally I used the wireless trigger on the Metz, which optically fired the softbox. When I learned of the Nikon CLS system I thought this was so great and simple...but incorporating it into my system proved to confuse me. It took a lot of thought, searching on PhotoNet, and a store that was willing to let me take products home to try before I bought in order to get a set up that will allow for both the CLS system and a softbox/umbrella etc. How I overcame the optical slave problem was by putting the sb-800 on the hotshoe of my d80 and connect a pc cord from the sb-800 to the softbox to overide the optical slave on the softbox. The sb-800 can control itself and my sb-600 through the wireless CLS and still trigger the softbox by the pc cord. The nikon sc-29 cord will allow me to move the sb-800 off the camera for off-camera positioning while still maintaing control as noted above. Additional sb-600/800/900's are still controlled by the sb-800.
  12. Yes, David Love's way gives you best lighting for fast action setup, like in a dancing halls, sporting events, auditoriums, churches, reception halls, large conference rooms, etc.
    That is you get assured proper main subject exposure by the CLS system, and yet you get better ambient flash light level from non-CLS strong remote flashes triggered via radio means if placed strategically like bounced, difused, or side lighting, etc. and do not overpower the CLS system flashes in main area.

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