Author Topic: Triggering flashes wirelessly: use any hotshoe flash to tigger any other flash!  (Read 32850 times)

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Offline fother

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One of the gripes I've noticed here and on other forums from time to time with the Sony flash system (and the minolta flash system before it) is that you need to use the built-in flash to trigger other flash units wirelessly. The HVL-58 unit can also be used to trigger some flashes (if I recall correctly - haven't had the spare cash to get one yet).

I was mucking around taking taking some shots with the Twin Macro Flash and with the Ring Flash - doing comparisons etc, and setting up a shot for a poster on my baby's bedroom wall. The set up I had was a bit dark at the back (it's meant to be like a blue sky), and I wanted to add another light behind the subject, but there wasn't room for a continuous light. I had a small reflective table from my macro studio to provide a black relective surface, and a blue backdrop - but the backdrop was too dark, even with a pair of lamps  on it:



I wanted to use a 5600 under the table to light the backdrop, but to trigger it wirelessly. I was thinking this was a problem, when I thought of the Hot Shoe Slave Flash Trigger for Sony / Konica Minolta flashes I'd bought from Gadget Infinity last year.



I was putting the flash (lying on it's back) under a small table for macro stuff, and there was no line of sight between the camera/ring flash I had mounted and the flash unit or GI slave trigger, but it worked all the same:



It seems to work just about anywhere - any flash will trigger it, any time



Now, maybe I'm just very slow off the mark and everyone else worked this out ages ago, but I was pleased to find a workaround to allow me to use any hot show flash to trigger any remote flash!

Gadget infinity sell the slave triggers for US$15.95  (€ 11.76) on their website, or they may even be cheaper through their ebay store (that's where I got mine).

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 12:15:25 PM by fother »

Offline fother

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I wrote that, and then though 'ANY flash with any flash' - so went and used the ring flash to trigger the twin flash wirelessly (and the twin flash has not wireless mode - it's intended to only be used ON the hot shoe :D





Offline tpe

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Brilliant post fother, saw the title and thought what about a background flash for macro and lo and behold there it was. A couple of questions. Presumably the background flash is triggered by the slave cell and was set to manual? Was the flash that you used to trigger also set to manual? If it is set to preflash ttl does the preflash trigger the slave cell? Can you get the 5600 to flash in other modes than manual? Ideally it would be great to have all the flashes working in preflash ttl in which case the slave module must have a 4 connection pass through, in which case the adaptor with slave cell from gadget infinity is better than some of the other ones. I will try and rewire my one again and see if i can get the same thing going, unfortunatly it does not have a photo sensitive trigger but perhaps I can rig something with a synch lead or similar.

Many thanks

tim

Offline fother

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Great points Tim - I realised while I was watching Tv just now that I hadn't mentioned those points.

I had the 5600 remote on wireless mode. I also tried it on Manual and TTL - worked fine on Manual, but pre-fired on TTL. (only the pre-fire, not the correctly timed flash)
I had the twin flash remote on Manual mode - no good on TTL. No wireless mode to use :)

But I had the ring flash (on board) on TTL mode. Probably should have switched it over -  guess if the on board unit is on manual, the remote unit could be on TTL, but I didn't test this (tomorrow maybe - gptta redo the rubber duckies shot anyway - my wife asked if I could have them all in focus, rather than the narrow dof I habitually used ;))

By the way Tim, I was trying using the Sony twin flash with the Minolta MFC 1000 controller - the one that work for either the twin flash or the ring flash (unlike the newer Sony controller) - functioning was exactly the same, no other changes except the ring flash socket being removed.

Offline steve

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 Hi fother
Where in england can i get one of these. I have a 5600 and an old 5400 flash thats been in the cupboard for ages.Reckon it would be great for lighting backgrounds to get rid of shadows.

  Regards steve

Offline chappo1

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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Hi fother
Where in england can i get one of these. I have a 5600 and an old 5400 flash thats been in the cupboard for ages.Reckon it would be great for lighting backgrounds to get rid of shadows.

  Regards steve

You can get them from Ebay.  Just search for 'Optical Slave Sony' and for around £9 you'll have one delivered from HK.
e.g. Ebay Item: 120348875282

I can confirm that the optical slaves work on the 5400HS fine as I now have a 54 as a third flash (and use these triggers).  The key (as fother pointed out), is to make sure you don't use pre-flash - as these 'communication flashes' before the main flash trigger the optical slaves.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 11:21:32 AM by Simon [aka springtide] »
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Offline steve

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Simon
I presume if i set A700 to manual and dial down on board flash to trigger slaves i will not get a pre flash from camera??? I will be using flashes in manual.Just fired on camera flash in manual and and it doesnt look to have a pre-flash? Sorry if this is a bit basic.

  Regards Steve

Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Simon
I presume if i set A700 to manual and dial down on board flash to trigger slaves i will not get a pre flash from camera??? I will be using flashes in manual.Just fired on camera flash in manual and and it doesn't look to have a pre-flash? Sorry if this is a bit basic.

  Regards Steve

That is correct.  Set the pop-up to manual exposure and the pop up doesn't do pre-flash.  Think you can get away way with turning the power down and it still firing, alternatively - just use something like tinfoil to direct the flash away from the subject.

The 101 guide (Gear) on the Strobist.com is well worth reading.  102 (techniques) is also a great resource.
The Strobist is also fantastic at explaining how to make home made lighting mods (snoots, grids etc) out of cardboard and plastic straws for hotshoe flash.  Sounds very Blue Peter, but they do work.
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Offline fother

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Following up on this - here are some shots of the setup, to give an idea how it was constructed.
I wanted the blue background to look lighter, but an even,diffused light. Implying a sky sort of thing.









Final shot is here.

Offline chappo1

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Thanks for posting this. It is good to get ideas from how other folks set up. 
Must be a bummer though with the fridge broken, having to drink the chardonnay warm or have to carry it out from the house!
john
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Offline Stef.

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You might also for further explanation look at this thread where I have given a lengthy explanation about how to use different sort of flashes in a similar way Fother had done:

http://www.dynaxdigital.com/index.php/topic,7573.45.html

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Offline MikeO

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Great info on triggering flashes wirelessly. I think I'm going to have to get a few of those gadgets.

And while this might not be the right place to mention this, the 5600 HSD can be used as a controller on the Maxxum 7 (used to do it myself) and I believe a few other of the film series. Not sure about the Maxxum 9.

For the alphas the HVL-58 can be used as a controller depending on the flashes used and the body (A700 and A900 only I believe). The HVL-58 can be used to trigger Minolta 5600 and 3600 HSD flashes, but only on the A900.

There was a good table on the web showing the compatibility between the Sony and Minolta flashes and bodies, but I can't find it now. If interested when I find it again I'll post it here (and bookmark it.)
Sony A700, KM 7D, Maxxum 7, KM 28-75 2.8 D, 17-35 2.8-4 D, Minolta 24-105 3.5-4.5 D, 50 1.4, 35-70 4, beercan, 75-300 4.5-5.6, 500 Reflex, Promaster Spectrum 7 2X converter, 5600 HSD, 3600 HSD (x3)

Offline fother

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What you said about use of controllers on various models is spot on. I guess what I wanted to illustrate is that you can go beyond the confines of the system (as you've outlines) and use any flash as a trigger, and use any flash as a slave. Minolta/Sony never designed the macro flashed (twin flash, ring flash/ring light) to be used off-shoe - they have no built in wireless mode. But they can be readily used with simple optical slaves that are widely and cheaply available :)

There was a good table on the web showing the compatibility between the Sony and Minolta flashes and bodies, but I can't find it now. If interested when I find it again I'll post it here (and bookmark it.)

It's on the Sony Europe site:
- Flash compatibility
- Accessories compatibility
- Lens compatibility
- Flash accessories -> Flash compatibility
- Flash accessories -> camera compatibility

Offline MikeO

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It's always good to have many options. It's even better to know they exist. I had no clue about that neat little gadget for instance, but it's worth buying a few.

BTW, here's the link to the table I found:

http://www.mhohner.de/sony-minolta/flashcomp_setups.php
Sony A700, KM 7D, Maxxum 7, KM 28-75 2.8 D, 17-35 2.8-4 D, Minolta 24-105 3.5-4.5 D, 50 1.4, 35-70 4, beercan, 75-300 4.5-5.6, 500 Reflex, Promaster Spectrum 7 2X converter, 5600 HSD, 3600 HSD (x3)