Tue 27-Nov-12 11:01 AM | edited Tue 27-Nov-12 11:03 AM by gbowen
You haven't given any setup information, as in what locations you are shooting in where CLS failed. So far the only place it has failed me was shooting in a mall with a large open space. Line of sight was needed to make it work and I had to position my flashes (3) so they could see the commander. Sometimes the umbrella I was using blocked the sensor port on one of my speedlights.
PW is nice and I hope to have a good setup with them, but for now it's too expensive. Yes, the AC-3 is cheap, but at $200 per flash for the mini TTs, plus one for the camera, it gets pricey really quick. I suppose I could build up slowly, getting one at a time. But for now I don't need them in my small studio. CLS works very well for me and I like the control my SU-800 gives me.
I was trying to use it outside, in sunlight, and it seems like it was a #### shoot as to whether the flash would go off or not, and that was only from 20 feet away. Additionally, I was trying to use some fill behind my subjects, and the line of sight became an issue.
I have no doubt that in a small studio it would work fine.
Thanks. So the question for the group is.... I have the Mini and the Flex units now, as well as an SU800 that i'd just bought. Am I better off scrapping the SU800 and just using an AC3 to control the Flashes, or is there some advantage I don't know about in keeping the SU800.
I had SU800 for my SB 900's setting. but I sold to get AC3's due to the easy operations and low profile. For me, only reason for keeping SU 800 is to use Nikon Macro lighting setup. Otherwise, PW is the way to go if the $ is not the issue.
+1 for the AC-3. I got mine about 18 months ago and never looked back. Smaller, lighter, no batteries and simplier, faster, more intuitive controls. The only down side I can think of is that, as I recall, you get one more stop of adjustment using the SU800. I still have my SU800 for backup but am thinking of getting rid of it.
Yes you can use the pop-up flash, SB-700/800/900/910 but they all use visible light to carry the CLS AWS IR, Infra Red, control signals.
A couple of basic facts about CLS AWS control maybe in order. IR light is part of the light emitted by all light sources unless filtered out. The SU-800 has an IR pass through filter so only the IR signal is emitted from the SU-800. The SB-R200, SB-600/700/800/900/910 and older Nikon Speedlights have an IR pass through filter over the optical remote sensor within the Speedlight.
Although the exposure test and control signals are prior to the opening of the camera's shutter, pre-release. The trigger signal only occurs after the shutter has been opened and before it closes. This is part of the reason for the need for a flash sync speed by cameras.
At the lowest possible power the visible light trigger signal from the pop-up flash will be visible in the captured image. You can purchase the SG-3IR to block visible light from the pop-up or make an visible light blocking filter from filter gels for the SB-700/800/900/910.
The SU-800 in closeup mode has balance slider to adjust the output between group A and B.
Something to be aware of if purchasing or using the SG-31R.
After your recommendation I'm going to buy the SG-31R as it sounds like a simple and very useful item. However, reading reviews at B&H there is many who highly recommend it but have had problems removing it from the flash shoe. The locking detent pin often gets stuck on the flash shoe contacts and becomes very difficult to remove. The quick-fix is to remove the pin with needle-nose pliers.
It is currently " temporarily out of stock" so maybe the manufacture has taken notice and is working on a modification.
First, the SB-R200's are not compatible with Pocket Wizard Control TTL system since they don't have shoe so an AC-3 is useless with them. Second the SU-800 has Close up mode. Third, the SU-800 uses IF light unlike an SB-700, SB-800, SB-800, or SB-910 in Commander mode. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
I believe one difference may be control and amount of adjustment? I know the AC3 allows 3 stops each direction, where the SU-800 like using a SB-800/9x0 allows total range?
I've used the AC3 and love the ease of control and so far 3 up/down has been plenty for me. I have an old SB29s for macro i use in manual when i want some macro (not very often). Though i have thought about getting the R1C1 setup...
I'm very late to this discussion, but for future reference, I'll chime in. One negative to the AC3 is if you use a Sekonic light meter with the PW flash triggering. The light meter will not trigger the pocketwizard if you use the Mini/Flex with the AC3. With the SU-800, it triggers fine. Not the end of the world if you use the delay function, but if working on your own, you need the light meter on a stand or the model to hold it. The newest touchscreen meter, L-458DR I think, works with the AC3, but it's very new and not worth it to me to downgrade from the L-758DR. Good luck, and tell us of your experiences.
Mon 18-Feb-13 06:31 AM | edited Wed 20-Feb-13 06:16 AM by sl33py
>I'm very late to this discussion, but for future reference, >I'll chime in. One negative to the AC3 is if you use a Sekonic >light meter with the PW flash triggering. The light meter will >not trigger the pocketwizard if you use the Mini/Flex with the >AC3. With the SU-800, it triggers fine. Not the end of the >world if you use the delay function, but if working on your >own, you need the light meter on a stand or the model to hold >it. The newest touchscreen meter, L-458DR I think, works with >the AC3, but it's very new and not worth it to me to downgrade >from the L-758DR. Good luck, and tell us of your experiences.
I may be wrong, but have the AC3, and 758DR. I just upgraded the PW radio in my 758DR to trigger my TT5's. New model just came out a few months ago and now the 758DR/PW trigger the Control TL channels. A,B, or C groups. Tested w/ my own.
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably sell the SU-800 and replace it with a used SB-800 and keep the PWs. With that, you'd have a flash that can:
Operate as an on-camera CLS/AWL commander of your two SB600's with all the functionality of your current SU800
Operate as a third remote (in one of two remote groups) commanded by your camera's pop-up flash.
Operate as a third remote in your system if you choose to get another FlexTT1
Operate as a third remote in SU-4 mode while the SB-600s are commanded by the PW system (the SB800 would then be triggered by the flash from one of the SB600s...you'd have to keep your PW system in manual mode for this to work so that any preflashes didn't trigger it prematurely).
I am very happy with the MiniTT1/AC3 on my camera and three FlexTT5's for the strobes. I have AB's that I use with AC9's for studio shoots. I disable the the automatic trigger of the AB's from other strobes so that everything is controlled by the AC3 using two or three groups.
For other shoots outside the studio and for the portability, I use an SB910 and SB600 with the PW's. While I tested it just to show myself that it all works together in TTL, I still prefer to shoot in manual. Then I just adjust the levels on each group with the AC3.