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Archive 2013 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..
  
 
monie2078
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


I've been a member here of Fred Miranda for about three years, and the collective wealth of knowledge from all the pros here is as awe inspiring as it is intimidating... Now that I find myself in such a stuck, frustrating position, I can think of no one better to ask than you guys... Please help.

So last year, I finally took the leap into OCL and started saving to buy some ABs. I initially was going to buy 2 B800s, but I decided on the B400s right now.. (budget is a bit tight, and I'm buying Cybersyncs as well).. I figure I can sell them and pay the difference when I'm ready for the 800s. Okay.. so based on that, would you guys mind helping me with the following questions please? I've been pondering them all week, and I'm just tired, stressed, and even more confused. I think I analyze way too much, and I've boxed myself into a corner where I'm stuck with tunnel vision. I am in desperate need of outside perspective.

1. Will the cybersync recievers be able to work with all of my flashes? (Besides the 2 B400s that I'll be buying, I also have 2 Nikon SB28s, and one Canon 430 EX II. I mostly use the SB28s for all my OCL, and keep the 430 EX for on camera use.) So, I'm wondering if the Cybersyncs would be able to trigger all of these..?

2. Based on the flashes I just listed above, how many triggers would you recommend I get? I was thinking 2 or 3.. what are your thoughts on this? I'm worried about buying too much and not using them. I want to be able to utilize what I get.. I guess the way to approach would be to consider the setups I have in mind.. High key aside, say I put up a background, and want to take some portraits of my kids.. from everything I've been reading, I'll need at least three lights... Can I ask/beg you to please share some knowledge here? Give some input?

3. Now, I initially was going to get the Cybersync Transmitter, but I was told that would be a bad idea, and it would be best to go with the Cyber commander. What do you guys think? Also, would you guys recommend the AC or battery powered transmitter/receivers? Since I'm not buying a Vagabond mini right now (I figure I can just plug them in, since I'll be using them indoors mostly), I've been thinking that the battery operated versions would be the ones? But I haven't used any of these before, so I don't know if I'm overlooking something or the other..

4. Finally, modifiers.. What would you recommend? And how many? I know the bigger the modifier, the softer the light.. and with portraits, we want to use soft light.. I however don't want to spend all/most of my money on modifiers, so your expert knowledge is needed and appreciated please. I was contemplating an Octobox and a softbox.. and maybe a beauty dish, but I thought I'd ask anyway...

Again, I apologize for the long list of questions, and do appreciate your help and patience...

Thank you all so much !

Monie.



Feb 06, 2013 at 03:49 PM
kenyee
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


1. Get the CSRB+ and they'll fire external flashes that have a PC sync port (or you can buy a hotshoe w/ a PC sync port to plug the flash into)

2. 2 CSRB+ for your B400's and 1-2 for your speedlights. Most of the common setups are 3 lights, but you can do a lot with a single light and reflector too. High key obviously needs 2 more and more space which is more difficult to find in a home studio.
Get the battery powered ones and they'll work for your B400 and speedlights.
If you never plan to get Einsteins, you also may want to look at Radiopopper JrX Studios since they'll remote control your ABs and speedlights.

3. If you get a Cyber Commander, you should get a CST to put on top of your camera too. The CC is bulky to leave on your hotshoe (I've done it though).

4. Depends on what you like to light...in a small studio, you'll have problem keeping light off stuff. You could just get a few from PCB and return the ones you don't like...they have a no questions asked 60 day return policy.





Feb 06, 2013 at 04:46 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


monie2078 wrote:
Okay, if budget is tight I'd reasonably get the AB400s and a 64" PLM soft-silver plus front diffusor.

1. Will the cybersync recievers be able to work with all of my flashes? (Besides the 2 B400s that I'll be buying, I also have 2 Nikon SB28s, and one Canon 430 EX II. I mostly use the SB28s for all my OCL, and keep the 430 EX for on camera use.) So, I'm wondering if the Cybersyncs would be able to trigger all of these..?

...........No practical way to trigger the battery flashes with the Cybersync.

2. Based on the flashes I just
...Show more


Edited on Feb 06, 2013 at 05:15 PM · View previous versions



Feb 06, 2013 at 05:09 PM
monie2078
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


Thank you so very much, Kenyee!

Do you think the CST would work just fine? I'm going to be using everything in a small, home studio, so manually changing the settings shouldn't be too hard for me.. It seems like the Cyber Commander offers a lot of options that I probably won't take advantage of, so I'm very hesitant about it..

I've read the specs on both the CSRB and CSRB+, and I still don't understand the differences.. at all. I already own the PC sync cords + hotshoe.. does that impact anything at all..?

Finally.. when you said "In a small studio, you'll have a problem keeping light off stuff".. would you mind just elaborating a little on that please?

Thank you again for your response; I was really worried no one would answer..




Feb 06, 2013 at 05:11 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


A few thoughts ...

As to the couple of B800's, the B400 (1X or 2X) + Einstein might be worth considering (either now or future). Having a B400 for hair, etc. isn't going to require a B800 in many instances, so you aren't compelled to trade out unnecessarily if you've still got enough "pop" in at least one of your lights to be key or contend with "light eating" applications (i.e. bounce/modifiers/distance). But, the extra $50 for a stop of light @ B800 is certainly worth consideration.

Working primarily indoors, don't forget that you can slave trigger your PCB lights off your 430 EX II (optically). Granted this won't allow you to adjust your PCB lights from camera position, but neither will the Cybersync Transmitter. I use my B400 (et al) to shoot interiors, with a PC cord (old school, I know) to the light nearest my camera and fire my other strobes (non-PCB) via their built in optical slave. This includes having lights positioned behind or under furniture, and even in an adjacent room. I can also use my 550EX to trigger them (optically) as well, when I want to skip the cord. I've been shooting without a transmitter ... well, all my life.

I mention that not to suggest that you shouldn't get a transmitter / receiver ... I really should lose the PC cord myself and will be doing so soon. Rather to suggest that you may not need to outfit each and every light (overwhelming you now) with a radio receiver to get started. Also, to point out that until you are wanting to control each light's output from the camera position (CC required), one transmitter & one receiver may be all that you need to get started ... harnessing the built in optical slave of the PCB's. In that regard, the money not spent on several receivers and the CC, can be put toward the B400 (1X or 2X) + Einstein strategy or modifiers.

Lots of ways to skin this cat ... just wondering if you have been bitten by the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) that can afflict us all at times.

Plenty of others will have good ideas for consideration as well ... take a breath, and think what is that you really need. Yeah, it gets tricky sometimes thinking about present purchases vs. future needs and "what if's".

+1 @ JrX on the radar if you're going to work toward a mixture of AB's & speedlights. So far, I'm still getting along with built-in optical slave well enough for my needs.

Figure out what part of a PC cord / optical slave ... WON'T WORK ... for you, and that should give you some idea of what direction you may want to go for your firing strategies.

HTH ... GL




Feb 06, 2013 at 05:46 PM
 

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kenyee
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


monie2078 wrote:
I've read the specs on both the CSRB and CSRB+, and I still don't understand the differences.. at all. I already own the PC sync cords + hotshoe.. does that impact anything at all..?
Finally.. when you said "In a small studio, you'll have a problem keeping light off stuff".. would you mind just elaborating a little on that please?


CSRB+ is so you can meter a speedlight separately w/ the CyberCommander. Price diff is negligible, so it's just something to get to keep your options open. And ditto what Rusty said about indoor studios. You really only need the number of CSRB's as the max# of speedlights you ever plan to use that don't have optical triggers. Connect the CSRB to a speedlight or AB and let everything else fire on optical triggers.

As far as keeping light off in a small studio, photos are light+shadow. If you're using a large modifier in a small space, light will bounce around and fill everything so you won't have much shadow. It's great if you're doing one light setups, but not if you ever want to try dramatic lighting. I love shadows myself so I tend to grid everything



Feb 06, 2013 at 08:32 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


Long term the AB800s would be the better choice. I bought mine in 2004 and haven't regretted it because the 800s operate in the middle of the power band most of the time with a reserve of power when I move them back, use them outdoors or attach my largest modifier.

I trigger my four lights with the wired remote and one pair old style of Pocket Wizards. That involves 25' phone style extension cords with RJ-11 phone jacks (which come with the $100 wired remote) but it allows me to adjust power on all four lights - key, fill, hair and background - from camera position with a few test shots vs. running back and forth with a meter then to lights to adjust power.

As for the speedlights long term? I shot with pairs of Vivitars (263 then 285HV) for over 30 years with a Wein Peanut optical slave trigger before getting my 20D and then switched to a pair of 580ex (one on bracket, one on a stand). I started shooting around others that triggered my optical slave and could have gone with 3 PW units but for a bit more I went with the Canon flashes because they offered the same manual control (with remote setting from master flash), ETTL which is more convenient for "run and gun" shooting, and high speed sync which allows me to shoot at 2.8 or wider with my lens to blur distracting backgrounds. Did it make sense to spend $800 to replace what already worked? I questioned it at the time but in retrospect am glad I did because it make shooting simpler logistically and allowed me to capture many shots I would have missed.

I'm in the minority but I've never found it necessary to use radio triggers with the Canon flashes, The coded optical prevents others from triggering the slave and I have few if any triggering my slave flash optically because my master is a 580ex on bracket with diffuser which illuminated any slave in front and in back if there is enough bounced light.

In your place with the SB-28s and 430ex I'd look long term and sell the obsolete SB-28 while there's still some market value for them and then go with a used 550ex or 580ex for a Canon based speedlight system. Keep in mind that with ABs you won't need to turn the speedlights into studio lighting.

I recommend that because every mixed combination of gear I've used over the years was a PITA logistically compared to getting a matched set. I started with three AB800s thinking I could used a Vivitar as a hair light but it was a PITA to change it's power and could only be controlled in full stops so I bought the 4th.

Yes I know you want to do everything now, but there's also something to be said for learning to use one flash before adding another and complicating understanding the cause and effect of what each does. For example if you start with one speedlight and a bracket you'd be amazed at how many situations is ideal for, such as shooting flattering candid outdoors. But if you start with two you'd never realize that.

Take a look at my web site tutorials at http://photo.nova.org I wrote them for guys like you wondering what to buy first or next. What I find works might not work for you but should give you food for thought and alternatives to consider.



Feb 07, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Brooke Meyer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


It's more important you get shooting, manually setting lights and learning lighting ratios. All you need to do is trigger them. You can do that for about $25 plus a few bucks for an adapter cable from PCB. BTW, the PCB 64" soft silver with diffusers are great for full length portraits.

1. I started with a couple of Pentax 540 hot shoe flashes used on camera (with the black foamy thing) for events.

2. Bought some NPT-04 Triggers & Receivers from Cowboy Studios for off camera use. About $40 for two sets.
Receivers have a hot shoe mount & PC connection. Umbrella mount or tripod. Worked great for Santa Claus gig with shoot thru umbrella.

3. Got a pair of Morris Softboxes with their GREAT mounting brackets & Speedring (about $65 each). Added a Photoflex Medium Softbox. Great outdoor rig on tripod for portrait sessions. Use with flashes a lot, Senior & Engagement sessions. Have rubber banded two flashes together for more output when needed. $56 Yongnou 560 would work fine.

4. Bought a pair of 64" PCB Soft Silver PLMs with Diffuser Socks for studio use. I shoot a lot of dance. Was using with homemade bracket, two Pentax flashes in one, a Yongnou 560 in the other. 2:1 ratio worked okay for full length dancer shots.

5. Picked up a pair of like new AB800's from KEH.com. Bought the PC adapter cables from PCB, use same Triggers & Receivers. Now have a bag full, 4 Receivers & 3 triggers. Throw away cheap. Usually, firing into umbrellas, only need 1 Receiver, 2nd AB fires optically. I could fire both AB's & all 3 flashes. Same trigger. Keep good batteries and they work fine. Shot a Jazz Workshop recently, AB's powered down recycled quick, gave me shooting rate flashes can't

I do shoot manual exposure & use flash meter. Don't over think this, make photographs.

Here's the down side. Last summer, I got to looking at classic tungsten Fresnel lighting. Recent got my kit put together from a used movie lighting reseller. Shot my first portrait sessions and now, if I have the time and the right client, it's all I want to use.




Feb 07, 2013 at 05:19 AM
visualist
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Stuck, Frustrated, Disheartened.. Please Help..


In my small Studio i've used optical triggers for my SB's and never had a missfire. Though outdoors is a different story.



Feb 07, 2013 at 01:50 PM





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