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Using external flash triggers

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Aniseedvan, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    This probably sounds like an odd question, but are the OMD cameras reliable in firing external flashes using triggers?

    I ask this as my current ep3 was a disaster with my Elinchrom trigger - would rarely fire at all.

    I'd like to be able to have a smaller camera usable in my little mobile studio set up (Lastolite hilite, 4x elinchrom D-lites) alongside my D700, as well as out in all weathers at football matches with my son.

    The em1 with the grip and lens cash back is looking a tempting offer at the moment (I got my D700 when there was a free grip offer quite a few years ago!).
     
  2. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    I have had no issues with the Yuganno 602 series on EPM2, G3, G1, EPL1 and EP1 and they cost very little off the auction site, I have no reason to believe they would not work on an OMD, but people have had issues with the next generation of triggers from the same maker.
     
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  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The Broncolor and Cactus ones both seem to work well, I've had problems with other makes not connecting with the side of the hot shoe. The hotshoe conforms to the original standard when flashes were not thyristor controlled and thus the full voltage went through the contacts on the flash. Given this rather than having the foot of the shoe be the contact (as basically all cheaper triggers have now) they used a contact between the bottom slide in plate and the flash (where the little arms of the flash shoe go in, there's a contact on the side inside the groove). Technically this is the contact which must be connected with the center pin of the flash to fire it manually, however when new most Olympuss' have a thin layer of hard paint on the bottom part of the flash shoe preventing contact and only the edge is bare metal - after a few uses it's normally scraped off enough to reliably trigger however some units don't manage to make good contact and fail to trigger every time.

    If you're brave enough to scratch some paint that no one will ever see, get a small file or screwdriver and roughen up the underside of the claw on the hotshoe so that slightly more metal is showing rather than paint (if you mount something with a metal shoe a few dozen times it will basically do the same by wearing the paint off). I have no idea what impact this will have on official units, however as far as I'm aware anything which complies with the 4/3 standard doesn't use a metal hotshoe plate as a contact, they all use the side pin.
     
  4. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    A few very VERY rough pictures of what I'm talking about.

    Standard hotshoe on a E-5, the E-M1 etc are largely unchanged however they do have more of a pronounced laser engraved area to encourage good contact.
    PA141071.

    Metz AF-58 mark 1, conforms to the original 4/3 standard.
    PA141083.

    Nissan i40, it clones the standard and imitates it well however doesn't exactly conform. See those little plastic nubs between the plate and the body? once those wear down the contact may become unreliable (I'm unsure, in theory the pins should push up enough... although they might not, I don't know.).
    PA141090.

    Different system based somewhat along the same lines as the 4/3 standard.
    PA141088.

    Cactus V5, if you don't screw the locking nut down hard to wedge the trigger to the body it can be unreliable (although it's more likely to just fall off the body...). If this was a non thyristor flash unit brushing your hand against the bottom (and thus shorting the two pins) would give you the shock of your life... if it didn't kill you. Having had it happen to me I can attest to the fact that your body turns to jello, limbs flail... and whatever touched it will be numb for some time.
    PA141094.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    Thanks -I've got the Elinchrom sky ports, which are the same as your cactus trigger.
     
  6. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The other one you can do with the OMD is double up and use both the PC sync socket and the shoe, since it has the port (assuming you don't mind the little cable running to the port from the audio jack...).

    I can't be stuffed stuffing around with PC sync sockets though, constantly having to bend/crush/reshape the connector to make contact... they're so badly made, I prefer something that works =)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    I'm used to that - had the same issue with the first skyport and my D700. I got a second one with the newer set of D-lites and there's a threaded connection which seems to be more stable.

    I agree it looks rubbish and can be prone to getting in the way - even on a big camera. But at least I know it's an option I can use.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. specialagenttuna

    specialagenttuna Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Apr 19, 2013
  9. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
    I use YN622Cs, Pocket Wizards, and YN602s for triggering, all of them work. I really wish someone would try using the new YN622C-TX or YN-E3-RT on OMD cameras to see if we can get remote triggering with manual control of groups. What I would really like is the Canon 600EX-RTs made by Olympus so we can have full radio wireless control with TTL and ratios.
     
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I've used Olympus wireless system (FL-LM2, FL-600R, FL-50R), Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs, Cyber Syncs, and Quantum qFlash system without issue, other than having to make what ever device is in the hot shoe is pushed in all of the way.
     
  11. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    When using triggers, did you make sure to set the camera to the lightning bolt (forced fire or fill flash) so that it fires EVERY shot?

    I've gone to several workshops over the summer and I've used a half-dozen different triggers, and never had a situation where it didn't fire (except when going to quickly but that was the fault of the cheap trigger rather than the camera; after turning the trigger off and back on it worked again).
     
  12. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The PC sync and hot shoe (without a flash recognized by camera, with a flash the camera can see it's different) will ignore any setting (off, red eye, manual power control) other than slow sync (2nd curtain sync) which causes both connectors to trigger at the rear curtain closing while in "dumb" mode (greyed out).

    If your camera doesn't short the contacts when the option is set to off and greyed out when a picture is taken then something has gone wrong somewhere in the chain, it should trigger. Furthermore even if you push the camera past sync speed it should still trigger the flash and cause banding, the logic is something like...

    Normal:
    First shutter fully travelled -> trigger flash.

    2nd curtain:
    Has the first shutter fully travelled? -> is the second shutter moving? -> fire flash.

    Note: The 2nd curtain mode in theory should trigger the flash when the second curtain starts to close, however the logic is coded for use below sync speed as it cannot be used with FP mode. As such it has a logic check to make sure the shutter is fully open and then triggers the check to see if the second curtain is moving (not exactly the same as triggering when it starts to move). If it were to be coded in a way that it triggered when the shutter started to close (even if the first was still partly closed) then you could use it to "hyper sync" or whatever the trademark is on the pocketwizard setup and thus somewhat bypass the shutter speed limitation.
     
  13. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I was sticking to the OP's E-P3 since it doesn't have a PC socket, and neither do most of the OM-D models.
     
  14. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Afaik the only exceptions to the logic I posted above are the E-3 and E-620 (there may be others, however I am currently unaware of them), the hot shoe should still function despite the flash setting being set to "off".
     
  15. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    Confess I didn't realise I had to set that to force the flash? I often found restarting the camera once or twice would make it work, then it would just stop again. It wasn't reliable enough to be able to take on a shoot as a nice close up option with the 45mm on. Given my very occasional paid work is families with young children, there is no time to be fiddling with gear!

    I'll try and set up my lights over this coming weekend and try out the new camera.

    Thanks for all the responses.
     
  16. TRCPhoto

    TRCPhoto Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Dec 13, 2014
    Princeton, NJ
    Could not agree more!

    I used to use PW Mini and FLEXs with an Einstein and 3 580EXIIs and a bottle of advil for all the headaches! I sold them all when the 600EXRTs came out. Flawless, simple communication... praise be! When I started migrating to Olympus I picked up a few FL-600Rs hoping their wireless connectivity would come close, but damn the line of site sucks!

    I thought to grab some FL-50s and Cactus radio triggers to compliment the 600Rs, but the issue of portable power is important and at the time I didn't search enough to discover there was a power pack... anyway, long story longer I just bought 2 Cactus V6s and an IC12 LED Light Cube with the idea that if all works well I'll get another few V6s and another Light Cube and use the pass through TTL for the on camera flash for quick fills, but mainly use the light cubes for off camera light.

    Well day two of ownership and all is not well. Despite Cactus' claim they would work with pretty much any system with a hot shoe and specifically naming Olympus and Panasonic, I can't trigger the cube remotely. I can get a test blast and one initial trigger from shutter release, then nothing. For ****s and giggles I put the transmitter on my 5DmkII and it worked flawlessly right off the bat. To make matters worse, I thought it might be a firmware issue and went to Cactus for the update and strangely they only offer a Windows based updater. Very frustrating.

    Anyone else have issues with Cactus working with an OMD-E1?
     
  17. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    JoJo
    Me. I finally gave up. The folks that sold me three Cactus triggers just told me it was MY problem. Just because I am old does not mean I have forgotten everything I have learned. I am staying with Cybersync.
     
  18. TRCPhoto

    TRCPhoto Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Dec 13, 2014
    Princeton, NJ
    JoJo, did you try reaching out to the Cactus people? Are you only triggering PCB strobes with the cybersync, or other third party lights?
     
  19. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    JoJo

    I bought three Cactus units (two to use on the job and one for a backup). I was trying to fire two Photogenic 320B monolights. Very intermittent firing! I did talk with the folks at Cactus. They stated they had no reports of problems.....that was the first lie. I suggested I wanted a refund or replacements that work consistently. Long story short, the damn things are sitting on my junk table in the studio....a half day of income down the drain. Every company has problems but some of us are old fashioned and try to correct the problems.
     
  20. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Aug 16, 2012
    Sunshine Coast, Qld Australia
    Maria
    I have 4 of the Yongnou YN560III flashes and the TX560 commander.
    This doesn't offer TTL but it is all radio controlled from the camera in up to 6 groups.
    I initially purchased 4 flashes and had to return one for a replacement as it was faulty but have not had any problems since.
    Worth a look at if you don't need TTL