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Multiple on camera flash solution needed

ScottChapin

Powder Springs, US
8619 posts

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter Member
Sun 12-May-13 07:04 PM

I am trying to improve a setup from which I photograph high school marching bands on risers. The issues typically encountered are inclement weather, battery drain, and students swarming my equipment when they leave the risers.

My set up and issues are as follows:

1. Two light stands with Sunpak 120J flashes, PocketWizard Plus receivers, and Quantum Turbo SC batteries. The stands are 24 feet apart and get swarmed on occasion by departing students, hence the need for inexpensive flash units. The flash units fire a full power all the time, twice every 15 to 20 minutes. Even though they only fire 54 times per day, the batteries drain from keeping the capacitors charged.

2. One SB800 on camera with a PocketWizard PlusII Transceiver. This one does not use the battery power, since the flash goes to sleep between shots.

When the weather is poor, I have to scramble to cover it all up and weather proof it.

I want to use three speedlights on the camera tripod. This way, I could protect my equipment from swarming students and more easily weather proof it. I wouldn’t need external battery packs, because the speedlight batteries would easily provide 54 flashes.

I would like to hard wire the flashes and eliminate radios, because radios might not be reliable enough when they are so close together. More than likely all the flashes will be firing at full power, but not when I move in close on the occasional small band.

I am not familiar with TTL, as I never had multiple speedights in the days of TTL. I’m thinking that TTL cables and a pair of AS-10s will give me standard TTL auto exposure and the flash will sleep until the shutter is half way depressed. If so, I think this will suffice and possibly save on batteries, be easily protected from swarming students, and be quickly secured when rain threatens.

The only thing I fear is that three on board flash might get to hot when getting close to small groups despite auto exposure.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA

Nikonians Team Member

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