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PocketWizard FlexTT5 & MiniTT1, with Sekonic L-758DR

Fovea

Colombo, LK
3653 posts

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Fovea Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Sep 2002
Fri 10-Jun-11 07:11 PM

Compatibility of the Nikon dedicate PW radios (FlexTT5 & MiniTT1)
with Sekonic light meters with radio triggers seems to be a topic
both PW and Sekonic trying to avoid. Being two products of the same
company they can easily rectify this by coming out with a clear set
of instructions and capabilities. While using a light meter and
triggering via the light meter in CLS/TTL mode is fruitless, setting
the light output manually via an on camera commander like SB800/900
/SU800 or AC3 and triggering the whole lighting rig via the light
meter to take measurements would be super convenient.

With this in mind I browsed the web for hours and finally decided to
buy an RT-32 module for my Sekonic L-758D to convert it to a
L-758DR. I already had recently purchased set of Nikon compatible PW
radios (4 x Flex units and a Mini TT1)

After receiving RT-32 I sat down and played for some time to set up
the whole system and to find out answers to following questions.

My test set up
Nikon SB800 on a PW FlexTT5
Nikon SB600 on a PW FlexTT5
Nikon D300 with SU-800/SB800 attached via a Mini TT1/FlexTT5
Sekonic L-758DR
PocketWizard Utility to make changed to radio specs and channels.

The questions I had,
1. Can L-758 fire the speedlights on FlexTT5?
2. Can L-758 fire the speedlights on FlexTT5 while maintaining
the light output values specified via SU-800/SB800?
3. How to set up the PW radios and speedlights to be fired via
L-758DR while maintaining their maximum capabilities?

Here’s what I’ve found out.

1.Yes, L-758 could fire the SB800 on TT5 provided that,
a. The TT5 was preconfigured to receive the trigger
signal from L-758 via a standard channel. (Standard as opposed to a
Control TL channel)

b. The speedlight on TT5 was in a mode other than the
TTL mode i.e. M/AA/A.

This mode requires manual adjustment of speedlights, and renders the
master unit on top of on camera PW transmitter useless. (Just like
old PWs)


Those two point pretty much answer the second question…….

2. L-758DR cannot fire speedlights on remote TT5s while
maintaining the light output values specified via an on camera
commander.

Once the initial disappointment had faded, behaviour of this whole
rig made sense. But to be absolutely sure I retested the whole
thing, this time with a FlexTT5 between the camera and the
SU-800/SB800.

The rationale for changing the Mini with a TT5 was to make sure that
the transmitter attached to SU-800 had the RECEIVEING capabilities
to receive the firing signal from the Light meter. MiniTT1, being
just a transmitter didn’t have that capability built into it.

Results, as I anticipated were same as that for Mini!

Nikon master units (SU-800/SB800/SB900) are unable to trigger remote
speedlights without directly sitting on and communicating with a
compatible camera except in SU-4 mode. All PW transmitter radios
does, by sliding between a camera and a master unit, is transmitting
the signal via radio waves to a remote PW receivers to fire
speedlights attached to them according to the instruction sent by
the radio attached to the camera and the master unit.

Generation, calculation and relaying of this vital light output
information as far as I can perceive cannot happen without the
camera communicating with a master unit on top of it. This
communication, as I understand happens at the time of shutter
release; meaning, Nikon master unit functions (i.e. light output
information) cannot be generated by triggering via L-758DR, as
L-758DR signal does not activate the shutter release function.

Just to make sure that was the case (and for the fun of it) I changed
the standard receiving channel of the on camera FlexTT5 to match to
L-758DR, and matched the transmission channel of on Camera FlexTT5
to receiving FlexTT5’s receiving channel. These test were repeated
with on camera TT5 and receiver TT5 channels in standard and
controlTL modes, with hot shoe function enabled and disabled, with
same results.

So here are the conclusions…
1.Speedlights on Flex TT5s can be triggered via a compatible
Sekonic Light meters
2. Light output control modes (M,AA,A) via a compatible Nikon
master unit on a compatible Nikon camera CANNOT be activated by
triggering the setup with a Sekonic Light meter.

I don’t think this will ever be achieved without triggering the
shutter release. If Sekonic/PocketWizard can delve into the depth of
Nikons and find a way rectify this or at least to fire the shutter
via the light meter, I’m ready to pay for it.

Since PW FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 has two configuration settings, one can
be configured to work with the light meter and the other can be left
alone to control via a master unit.


How configure the PW FlexTT5 & MiniTT1 to work with light meter

In this example C1 is configured (left alone) to control light output
via a (SU800/SB800/900/AC3)
C2 configured to be fired via a compatible light meter.

1. Start with your light meter – select a channel to trigger
your radios (I’ve selected 32)
2. Now connect remote FlexTT5 to a computer running PW utility

Click on image to view larger version


3. Note configuration C1 is selected; in the lower Receive panel select ‘ControlTL for Receive Channel’ (this is the factory default
for C1, leave it alone)

4. Now Select Configuration C2

Click on image to view larger version



On the Receive panel deselect the “Use ControlTL for Receive Channel”
check box; this activates the lower drop down menu for using
standard channels and disables the using control channelTL channel
drop down menu.

5. Select the same channel you’ve selected on your light meter (32)
6. Leave alone other settings.
7. Now connect the Transmitter (MiniTT1 or FlexTT5) to your computer

Click on image to view larger version


Note configuration C1 is selected and the transmission channels match
the receiving channels of remote FlexTT5 you’ve already configured.

PW MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 radios send two signals at the same time, one in
control TL and another in standard to fire old PWs.

8. Now select configuration C2 on the transmitter

Click on image to view larger version


Leave the ControlTL Transmit priority at X-Sync selected if you want
the transmitter to send the ControlTL signal as well, or else
deselect it.

9. Select standard channel from the lower drop down menu to
match the channel of the remote receiver in C2 configuration (same
channel you selected in your light meter)
Now you are configured to use C1 with master Nikon controller and C2
to fire attached speedlights via the light meter.

To fire the attached flash via the light meter in C2 configuration speedlight needs to be set to M mode to control the light output
manually from the speedlight itself.

Hope this information will help those who had the same questions. As
for me I’m happy to have gained to ability fire the flash via the
light meter.

























Attachment#1 ( file)

Regards
Dinil


Struck by Light - Blog & Gallery
Visible Range - Commercial photography & digital imaging solutions

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