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Old Oct 6, 2010, 8:59 PM   #1
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Browsing through listings on eBay last week I stunbled across a deal on a Britek PS-200 strobe with extra accessories such as a snoot, honeycomb, barn doors, etc. The price was just too good to pass up.
The guy that had it used it twice and put it up and never used it again. It looks bran new so I choose to believe him. Anyway, I'm curious to know, does anyone know how do utilize the slave feature on this unit? Other than my AF540, slave flash is Greek to me. I appreciate any help.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 9:20 PM   #2
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GW, I know that all my flashes that have a slave feature have SL as an option on one of the switches.

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Old Oct 6, 2010, 9:58 PM   #3
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Hey Tom,
This is what my unit looks like from the back.




The first switch turns on the flash, the second one turns on the modeling light and the red switch controls the half/full power. I don't really get it, I'm just a little slow I guess.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 10:09 PM   #4
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Good luck GW. I have absolutely no idea how to use that thing, but I'll bet you'll make very good use of it once you get it figured out.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 12:41 AM   #5
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GW, Reading down the page where I found your image I see:

This unit can be activated by the PC Cord (included, of course), the Test Button, or the Slave Sensor (which means that any other flash, even your camera's little built-in flash, can automatically fire this unit by it's light alone, so you don't even need to use a sync (PC) cord unless you want to). BTW, a "PC Cord" (Push Contact), also called a "Sync Cord" is a wire that connects the strobe to your camera, and fires the strobe when you press the camera's shutter button.

It seems from the text that you don't have to do anything other than fire some sort of flash and the sensor on the rear will then set off your flash.

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Old Oct 7, 2010, 8:38 AM   #6
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I found a site that sells strobes that has some useful info (links below for the PS-200). It appears that once this unit powers on it is automatically ready to receive either a signal from a sync cord or a flash, there doesn't appear to be any setting that needs to be set.

With the strobes I sell, many of them are master/slave units (PS-200s, BB-50s, BB-100s, PS-300s, HS-500s, etc., etc.), which means that you can either use a sync cord (also caller a "PC" cord) with them,
or no sync cord at all (the AS-66 Mini-Strobe, for example, is an illustration of a slave only unit). But whether they're master/slaves or slaves only, ALL the strobes I sell have slave sensors built-in. Here's how it works: if you turn on the strobes, and wait until the "Ready" lights light up, then they're ready to rock (i.e., ready to fire as soon as they get the signal from you). Now, the "signal" you'll send to the strobes is EITHER a pulse from the sync cord (if your camera has a sync terminal, and you choose to use it), OR the flash from any other flash/strobe unit.

http://myphotohome.com/tech1.html#work
http://myphotohome.com/e/tec2.html

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Old Oct 7, 2010, 9:25 AM   #7
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One thing to watch out for is that the optical slave feature of most strobes is not designed to ignore a metering pre-flash.

So, if you use a modern camera manufacturer's Auto type [designed for digital] flash as a trigger, the strobes may fire with it's metering pre-flash versus the main flash, which means the strobes would not contribute anything to the exposure (since they'd fire with the pre-flash before the shutter is open to take the photo ).

There are a number of ways around that problem.

For example, you can use optical triggers designed to ignore metering pre-flashes (instead of the strobes' built in slave functions). Wein makes some.

Or, you can use a manual flash on the camera as a trigger (so that you don't have any metering pre-flash).

Some camera manufacturer's flashes support manual power settings to prevent pre-flashes. But, you can find lots of inexpensive manual type flashes at a lower price.

Or, just use a PC Sync Port connection with one of the strobes. Then, you would not have a metering pre-flash, and the other strobes would fire when it sees the strobe that's connected to the camera fire. You could also use a radio trigger with one of the strobes. Then, when it fires, the optical sensors on the other strobes would see it and fire.

The main problem would come in if you were trying to use a digital camera manufacturer's flash (either built in or shoe mounted) as a trigger, as most will always use a metering pre-flash unless the flash has manual power settings available, causing slaves to trigger too soon (unless the slave is specifically designed to ignore metering pre-flashes).
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 10:07 AM   #8
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Hi GW,

JimC is most likely correct about the slave sensor firing on the preflash. This would happen if you were using an "A" capable of AF lens and either your popup flash or your AF 540 in P-TTL mode (which is automatically the default, and you can't change it).

You'd need a "digital" optical slave sensor that has a PC cord socket and a setting that will allow it to ignore the preflash in order to use your popup or the 540 to trigger this unit.

To use the supplied slave sensor, you'd need either a manual flash or an Auto Thyristor (non P-TTL flash).

Another option would be to fire the Britek with a radio trigger.

The Britek would be a manual flash in either case, but at 120 watts, it's not very bright, so you might be able to use it relatively easily, even with P-TTL, using negative flash comp and/or negative Ev comp to get the P-TTL flash to underexpose a bit to compensate.

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Old Oct 7, 2010, 10:29 AM   #9
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Just setting your camera to manual exposure will prevent the pre-flash, and let you use the unit as slave. You are most likely going to need an ambient light meter to get the exposure right, or an awful lot of patience.

BTW, the power rating on strobes is usually given in W/s and is a measure of the energy (joules) of the flash. 120 W/s for a time of 1/1000s gives a lighting equivalent of 1200 watts. Not too dim.

Have fun with the gear. Should be fun getting over the learning curve.

brian
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 1:38 PM   #10
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OK. boy, do I feel dumb!
The flash works fine in both Xsync and slave mode. I just didn't understand how the slave mode worked. That, plus I was expecting what I assumed was a ready light for the slave, is actually the slave sensor and it doesn't light up when ready, like I thought it did. (hey, there was no instructions with this thing) Anyway, thanks to you guys, I've been able to figure things out. BTW, so far, I'm pretty impressed!

Thanks again, guys!
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