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Author Topic: Radio Popper anyone?  (Read 3349 times)

nemophoto

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Radio Popper anyone?
« on: March 22, 2011, 04:10:54 pm »

It's been years (like about 20-25) since I used any sort of on camera flash (i.e. -- Sunpak and the old Vivitar 283). I've had a hot-cold relationship with the Canon Speedlite 580EX II lately. Mostly, I've hated it since I've had trouble balancing it for micro-fill (often over flashes, even dialed down, and especially when set to "evaluatieve" metering -- averaging was a bit better). Lately, though, I've found it works well if I use it manually, usually around 1/4 or 1/8 power, and I love the hi-speed sync.

I've usually had an assistant holding the flash with a long coiled syn, but it's sometimes areal pain, especially because I want him closer for quicker recycle, and me a little further with a little longer lens.  Then I found Radio Popper, which supposedly is good to 1/1000 sec for hi-speed sync. It seems like a great idea, but at $500 for both transmitter and receiver, quite expensive. Anyone use it? Are thee other similar products out there?

Thanks, Nemo
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langier

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 05:28:33 pm »

The Radio Popper IMO, is a working and useable device for longer than 30-40 feet wireless TTL flash syncing. The Pocketwizard does a similar thing, but there's been a lot of growing pains in the past two years getting the bugs out with the RFI caused by the Canon flashes.

A great place to see what the Poppers do is on Dave Black's Workshop at the Ranch. He's shooting Nikon, but the Poppers will do the same thing with your Canon Speedlites.

If you are shooting flash in a tigher area, say within 15-30 feet, simply put your money into a second 580EX II flash or a couple of 430 EX II Speedlites and use your 580 as the master. It will take a bit of playing to figure out the wireless TTL capabilities of the system, but for close quarters, this is the way to go.

But if you need reach, then the Poppers and TT5 from Pocket Wizard are the way to go if you need TTL or simply the Pocketwizard Plus II radio slave if you just need to set the output of the flash and forget it.
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nemophoto

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 02:13:44 pm »

Thanks for your take on this. Though I use Pocket Wizards with my studio lights (both location and studio), I didn't realize the TT5 and TT1 were for use with the Speedlites. I hadn't really read much about them. However, after reading your post, I've spent the past hour reading specs and looking at videos. The Pocket Wizard is actually a better implementation than the Radio Popper, at least for my particular use. Thanks again.
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HarperPhotos

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 03:49:40 pm »

Hi,

I've just bought into the new Pocket Wizard MiniTTi and FlexTT5 system with my Nikon system. Combining it with the AC3 controller it is a fantastic system and very reliable.

I did a fashion shoot a few weeks ago on location in bright sun light and I could flash sync at any shutter speed wanted. It didnít skip a beat.

Simon
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 05:30:50 pm »

I bought into the PW TTL system as soon as it was released, using a mix of Canon speedlights. After about 18 months of various issues, it became a reliable and useful system. Being able to toss a speedlight on a stand and get reasonable TTL control in changing lighting conditions is great.

The AC3 controller is great, but be prepared to use reading glasses if you are a photographer of a certain age.
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nemophoto

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 05:45:18 pm »

It's nice to know that the Pocket Wizard worked well. I was reading further and it seems you can use certain studio/monolight strobes with the the TT5/TT1 line. I usually use a Vagabond and White Lightning or Alien Bee for micro-pops when a reflector is impractical. Using the Canon Speedlite worked well on my last shoot, but if I could get more power, faster recycle via the Vagabond, that's the way I'd go. If I read the Pocket Wizard specs and site correctly, you can use something called HyperSync (which seems like a variation of Hi-speed sync) to shoot at 1/1000, 1/2000, etc.

I was curious, have either of you had problems with the Canon e-TTL properly balancing output? I found I could only really get a decent micro-pop fill in manual at a 1/4 or an 1/8 power. In ETTL, it sucked and over flashed.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 07:38:52 pm »

Studio flash: You can cheat the sync a little bit. I can reliably get 1/400 with my Dynalites and my Norman battery strobes. There is a little banding (darkening of the edges) at 1/500, but it might not matter for outdoor fill flash in many cases. The PW triggers the strobe until a little early, so you get the tail of the output, so the power level is less, but it does work within its constraints.

Speaking of working well, it took a while for the TTL units to make me happy. I still can't really use them with my 580 EX II units, though the fabric flash condom sort of works. It's a real PITA to use, IMHO, but at least it was free. The 430 EX II speedlights are terrific.

TTL flash works about as well with the PW as without -- that is, your mileage may vary. I had a hard time early on, but I have learned to lean heavily on the in-camera flash exposure compensation and use the flash spot-meter in my 1D. I get reasonably consistent results now, with the occasional total blowout (100% flash), or weird exposure.

The AC3 controller allows control over three different zones, in either manual or TTL, with manual and exposure compensation set at the camera position. You can have any mix of manual and TTL flash units. It's pretty cool and seems to work pretty well.
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EdGoodfellow

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 07:47:17 am »

I'm a Nikon shooter (Canon will work similarly) and I use a Radio Popper Transmitter on my camera with a hotshoe adapter and SB-800 and SB-900 flashes with receivers mounted.  This allows my on-camera flash to control the two speedlites independently, since I have them set on separate groups.  With the limitations of TTL flash metering, sometimes I use TTL and sometimes I just set them to manual, depending on the shooting situation.  So far, they've never failed me and I've been using them since the PX system was released.  I've used them outdoors in direct sunlight with high shutter speeds and wide apertures and they do exactly as I want, every time (unless I screw something up, which can and does happen).

Ed
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nemophoto

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2011, 05:22:29 pm »

After much consideration, and all the great comments I received, I've ended up buying the Pocket Wizard TT%, TT1 and the AC9 for Alien Bees/White Lightnings. (I'm looking forward to also buying the version for the Einstein, which is currently toward the end of development.) So far, it seems promising, but I find it a little daunting with all the computer setups to control the units. Almost needlessly complex. I have a number of location shoots coming up for which I'm hoping to use the new PW's. Thanks for the input.
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Brian Carey

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Re: Radio Popper anyone?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 12:51:10 pm »

Would anyone know where to get best price on RadioPopper PX for Canon? After searching the internet it looks like direct from the RadioPopper website might be best.

Thanks
Brian Carey
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