CLS Commander Options

aquarian_lightaquarian_light Posts: 135Member
edited April 2013 in Nikon Flashes
I've just recently had a photoshoot with a fitness instructor and a punching bag. She wanted action portraits... everything was going fine and well, I've got my YN565EX set to wireless TTL and my pop-y-up-y flash set to commander mode. I had the very unfortunate realization at this point in time that the onboard flash is terrible. even at 1/128th power the recycle time is nearly a full second, making it hard to get good action shots. So for the shoot I ended up having to take my fill light of the stand on put it on the camera to trigger my key light on another stand so I could get my full 5fps of her going at the punching bag.
So short of the $300 sb700 for a commander, and since the YN's don't work as a commander (when I put the yn on my camera had to switch gears and just set everything manually.) are there any less expensive alternatives for wireless TTL? I'm not a big fan of radio triggers since the whole having to buy one for each flash thing... ya know. I like just turning on the flash and go... no fiddling with radio channels or callibrating receivers blah blah... so I went and looks at a little cheap-o flash, the sb-400... but alas it can't do the commander mode pre-flashes. bummer. What other options are there than I may not have found?
D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5


  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    If you don't need TTL then you don't need to buy a radio for each flash. I usually just radio the main flash, and use optical slaves for the rest. All my speedlights and studio packs have built-in optical slaves, but you can buy 3rd party add-ons relatively inexpensively.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I guess I am confused about the 5 FPS....what flash unit will produce full power and recycle at 5 FPS?
    Msmoto, mod
  • aquarian_lightaquarian_light Posts: 135Member
    I didn't say full power :O lol the flash will do 5 FPS as 1/4 power and below. Which is what I tend to use in studio situations anyway. But I do use TTL when time is an issue. When I have a few hours to tweak and play with the lights, sure I'll do all manual. But when I have an hour to get three poses of two outfits for a fashion blog, I need TTL just to speed things up. And when like I mentioned above I need the speed, the pop up flash is deathly slow. In normal situations when there's plenty of time between my shots because I'm directing the model it's no big deal, but sometimes I need a TTL commander that can keep up with 5PFS. So far all I've been able to find is the nikon $300+ flashes, and ATM I havn't got that kind of money.
    D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    The least expensive ways I know of are the SB-700 or the SU-800 if we are talking about new products (not second hand SB-600 etc). I don't know if any third party speed light can act as a commander, all I've seen are just slaves.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,442Moderator
    I see sets of 4 radio poppers with transmitters on eBay for like $50 - I know that makes changes to set up clunky, but manual is your only option (that I can think of). Unless your off camera flash is nearby, then you could use a cord.
    Always learning.
  • aquarian_lightaquarian_light Posts: 135Member
    It seems as though the only way to get that setup without breaking the bank is just keeping it manual. Bummer. Too bad that TTL is so expensive, it's just a pre-flash and a bit of programming. Unless I'm grossly misunderstanding the way TTL works.
    D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5
  • RenardRichie13RenardRichie13 Posts: 51Member
    I have three pocket wizards flex tt5 and i can concur the expense. (skip the stupid mini tt1 it has a different battery) tt5 is a transceiver it can receive and transmit. Just keep this in mind when you want to upgrade.

    Now unto your question: Radio trigger is by far the best accurate way to do this outside of the commander mode.

    That package is 200 dollars one transmitter and two receivers. You can control two flash independently. Granted you probably don't need that since you're describing 1 flash off camera so

    This is two flash triggers. I usually during wedding reception control the other flash using the flash mounted on top of pocket wizard flex tt5 in master mode and i can control the output on the OTHER flash that way as well. When it is up to 2 flash off camera i pop in the ac zone controller and control it that way.
    What i'm trying to say is. This should work no different. If you have 1 flash. That radio trigger will trigger that flash (off camera). for the output i guess you can control with the onboard camera flash compensation.

    If you decided to have two flash. set the first off camera flash first turn it on (normal mode) then turn on the reciever then turn on the 2nd flash (on camera mounted on that unit) as a master. make sure everything on the right channel and voila. at $124 couldn't go wrong.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    SU-800 is what I use or a SB-900. The SB-700 falls short in the commander mode in some way - maybe number of remote set-ups? I can never remember - All I just remember when I looked hard into it, the 700 fell too short or rather it was worth the extra $ for a used Sb-900 or a Sb 910. I use it with a Phottix Strato II with a radio wireless as the Strato II has a "Pass-through" design allowing the SU-800 to still work as a commander.

    The other thing you can look into is a Phottix Odin which is like the SU-800 but with radio wireless. I keep that one in the back of my mind if the need arises or once I have everything else I need first to get. I have a hard time justifying pocket wizards at this time since I do believe/hope that Nikon will build radio wireless into their flashes in the next update.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
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