How to use Nikon CLS + PocketWizards?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by studio460, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. I have the following:
    x1 Nikon SU-800
    x3 Nikon SB-800
    x4 Nikon SB-600
    x1 PocketWizard TT1
    x3 PocketWizard TT5
    x4 AC monolights.
    Say I want to fire a single AC monolight (e.g., Dynalite Uni400 Jr.) using a PocketWizard TT5 transceiver connected to the Dynalite, plus fire either an SU-800, or SB-800 as a CLS commander, using that to fire the other four SB-600s via CLS. How would I do it? Is it even possible? (i.e., would firing the Dynalight interfere with the CLS commands?). The only thing I can think of is to find a Nikon TTL 'Y' cable, if one even exists. Any ideas?
     
  2. Won't work. Either you go all optical CLS and use no monolights or you go all radio CLS with the PWs using ControlTL in which case you can fire the monolights as well.
    For options no 2 you might want to look into adding an AC3 controller for fast & easy TTL control.
     
  3. Pete said:
    Won't work. Either you go all optical CLS and use no monolights or you go all radio CLS with the PWs using ControlTL in which case you can fire the monolights as well.
    Yeah . . . it was kind of looking like it was gonna go that way. Thanks for your reply!
    For options no 2 you might want to look into adding an AC3 controller for fast & easy TTL control.
    Since the SU-800 exactly duplicates the functions of the AC3 (when placed in the TT1's hot-shoe), I decided to use that instead of an AC3, mainly to also benefit from the AF-assist when needed (although, the AC3's rotary controls are faster to operate than the SU-800's multiple-button presses).
     
  4. Ralph, I thought of another solution for you that's convoluted but might work.
    That is to set your PWs to "dumb" basic trigger mode, hook a PW transmitter up to the pc sync connector on your camera body.
    Trigger your Nikon strobes with optical CLS thru the SU800 and trigger the monolights with radio over pc sync using the PWs.
    I'm not sure if the pc sync on the camera body is still active when you have a CLS commander in the hotshoe. If you have a regular TTL flash in the hotshoe without being a CLS commander it will work though.
    BTW, you are kind of pushing the envelope with that many flash units. I have about the same with 9 Nikon speedlights and 3 monolights but I'm all manual, no TTL, which of course will work with all cameras and strobes. With CLS you're limited to your three groups so you can't set the power individually.
     
  5. I have seven White Lightning X3200 and eight Nikon SB-25 that I use. The iTTL system doesn't have enough range for me, so I use ten CyberSync triggers and two or three PW-2 to jump the signal across long distances if needed. I light up big stuff.
    Kent in SD
     
  6. Pete said:
    That is to set your PWs to "dumb" basic trigger mode, hook a PW transmitter up to the pc sync connector on your camera body.
    Check! That was the next thing I was going to try (but, was kinda hoping someone here already did!). I'll set it up next weekend (or, sooner), and let everyone know how it worked (or, didn't!). Thanks again for your input!
     
  7. Kent said:
    . . . I light up big stuff.
    To say the least! Are you the one who shoots commercial aircraft here?
     
  8. Pete said:
    That is to set your PWs to "dumb" basic trigger mode, hook a PW transmitter up to the pc sync connector on your camera body.
    Check! That was the next thing I was going to try (but, was kinda hoping someone here already did!). I'll set it up next weekend (or, sooner), and let everyone know how it worked (or, didn't!). Thanks again for your input!​
    Well, it worked in the past but I'm not sure about the D800 which I think you have.
    IMHO, since you have TTL capable PWs it's kinda defeats the purpose running optical CLS at all. Wouldn't it be better to have a few more radio triggers?
    You do know that you can trigger your monolights with for instance PW Plus 3s? You can also use Y-leads to connect several strobes nearby to one trigger. I use regular Y connectors for headphones for that.
     
  9. Raph, I can answer one part of the puzzle. The P-C sync socket always fires with the main flash - i.e. it ignores any pre-flashes and synchs with the shutter.
    Therefore it's perfectly possible to have a monolight (or monolights) firing from the P-C socket independently of anything that's happening with CLS or i-TTL. However, since the monolights will take no part in any pre-flash i-TTL metering, the overall exposure may well be too bright because of this. Fully manual control of everything will of course be entirely possible, with CLS or AC3 control over the power settings of the speedlights.
    IMO i-TTL automation of exposure is grossly overrated anyway for multi-lamp setups. It doesn't take much brainpower to work out your lighting ratios and set an appropriate exposure manually.
     
  10. Thanks for all your input, guys! I don't need TTL control over my Speedlights since I typically have them on manual in multi-light set-ups--I just wanted an easy way to trigger them for certain applications, and I thought I might also be able to benefit from CLS' remote power control. I suppose I could just buy a pile of cheap $10 optical triggers for all of my Speedlights to solve the problem. I just thought it would be cool to somehow use the remote-triggering capability already built-in to my SB-800s/SB-600s.
    To clarify, the objective is simply:
    1. Fire (typically) a single AC monolight, ideally, wirelessly.
    2. Fire multiple Speedlights wirelessly in non-TTL, manual-power mode using CLS-triggering.
    The most likely possible solution, as Pete and Joe suggested, is to simply try hard-wiring a PC cable or TT5 from my D3s' or D800E's sync socket to fire the monolight, with the SU-800 also in the camera's hot-shoe, and see if that works. If hard-wired, the AC monolight would typically be near camera as the key light anyway (the Speedlights would typically be used to light certain background elements in an interior location; e.g., lighting interiors + model).
     

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