I love my Interfit EX150 Mark II studio strobe kit and I’d happily sing its praises to any budding studio photographer, but I was getting steadily more frustrated with my amateur setup. I’ve been using a PC sync cable to connect my camera to one of my EX150 strobes, and the second strobe is using it’s inbuilt light sensor to fire when it senses the light from the first strobe.
This setup is far from ideal, as the PC sync cord often gets tangled and pulled out of the camera. It’s also a problem if there is too much ambient light in the room, as the light sensor on the second EX150 doesn’t sense the first flash and the second strobe doesn’t fire.
So I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and get myself a set of remote flash triggers. After a quick look through www.WarehouseExpress.com I ended up browsing the cheap Chinese imports on eBay.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of eBay these days. Second-hand camera equipment often sells for close to shop prices and I’ve even seen people bid more for a battered old lens than they could have bought a brand new one for. It’s a shame more people don’t check www.camerapricebuster.com before they bid, they could save themselves a lot of trouble and get themselves a 12 month warranty to boot.
But ebay comes into its own with sellers based in the far-east, shipping cheap Chinese electronics directly to your door. It’s worth noting that eBay isn’t the only option, there’s also www.dealextreme.com and www.focalprice.com.
I decided on the Yongnuo RF-602 wireless triggers, they can act as remote flash triggers for studio strobes, and they also have hot shoe mounts for remotely triggering camera flash units, and it can act as a remote shutter release as well. Sounds good yeah? Wait, it gets even better, I found a transmitter and four receivers for £57.25 including p&p… what a deal!
The kit arrived 10 days later, I’ve never paid duty when ordering from China but I don’t know whether I’ve just been lucky or if it’s common practice not to pay import tax on small items. If you know any more, please tell all.
The package included four RF-602RX receivers and one RF-602TX transmitter, there were also eight AAA batteries, one CR2 lithium battery for the transmitter, four cables (receiver to 3.5mm jack) and four 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapters. I also bought an extra cable to allow me to connect a receiver or transmitter to my 7Ds remote terminal.
So far so good. I’ve received everything in one piece and it feels well made and solid, so it’s time I stopped messing around and tried them out.
I decided to shoot a self portrait of myself posing as Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry (don’t ask…), so I had an RF-602RX plugged into each Strobe using the supplied 3.5mm cables and an RF-602RX connected to my Canon 7D via the remote contol terminal.
When I pressed the trigger on the RF-602TX both flashes fired and the camera took the picture, but when I checked the picture it was just black… The flashes had fired before the camera took the shot!
Hmmm, so the flashes fire straight away as soon as the trigger is pressed, but there is a delay before the camera takes the shot.
I double checked all auto settings were disabled on my camera, like auto-focus and red-eye reduction, I even checked if my camera needed a firmware update to reduce the delay but nothing made any difference, the camera always released the shutter after the flashes had fired.
I decided to try a different configuration, so I plugged the transmitter into the camera’s hot shoe. When the camera’s shutter button is pressed the camera sends a signal to the transmitter and in turn that triggers the wireless receivers and they fire the flashes. This setup worked perfectly and the flashes fired as the shutter was released.
So now I knew that they did actually work, just not when remotely firing the flashes and releasing the camera’s shutter at the same time. This was a little disapointing, but I could live with it seeing as I’d paid so little for them.
I already owned an old wireless shutter release, so I plugged this into the camera while the RF-602TX transmitter was still in the camera’s hot shoe mount. When I fired my old wireless shutter release the flashes and the camera fired at the same time. Sweet… Self portraits ahoy!
Okay, this solution may be a bit clunky, I know the RF-602 kit shouldn’t need a second wireless shutter release, but as long as I have a work around I’m happy. Just be aware that this may not be the wireless trigger for you if you specifically need to remotely fire flashes and the camera at the same time.
If anyone has any experience with this particular setup using a different camera then please post your results. Maybe it’s just the 7D that has this lag issue, or maybe it’s the RF-602 at fault.
UPDATE : Thanks to some advice over at photocamel.com I’ve found that this is not an issue with these triggers in particular, it is a general issue with all wireless triggers.
If you need to remotely trigger a camera and flashes at the same time it is normal practice to use two transmitters. One transmitter to act as a wireless shutter trigger for the camera, and another transmitter in the camera hot shoe acting as a trigger for the external flashes (remember to change the two sets of transmitters and receivers to different channels).
The hot shoe mount on the RF-602RX also works well, it triggered my Canon 580EX MarkII and my Sunpak flashs without any problems.
Other than the stated flaw, I’m really happy with my RF-602 kit and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a wireless trigger.