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Old Jun 12, 2011, 5:41 PM   #1
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Default Help needed with strobe lights...

I thought I had made a good deal on some studio lights but, now I'm beginning to wonder.
I have two sets of Norman Lights and have the same problem with both sets.
One is the P2000D power pack the other is the 800M. When I tried hooking them up with a sync cord (the same way I do with my Novatron's) I couldn't get my camera to trigger the flash. So I got a Wein micro slave to try. The camera will now trigger the flash heads but... there must be a sync problem because the photos come out way under exposed. I'm getting better exposure with no flash at the same settings.
Anybody have any suggestions?
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Old Jun 12, 2011, 7:53 PM   #2
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Hi GW,

I know nothing about studio lights, so take what I say worth a grain of salt. . .

I do know that pc synch cords can be fussy about contacts, and sometimes the contacts within the sockets get bent a little and don't make secure contact with the plugs, so sometimes some very slight judicious bending can cure problems by restoring contact.

Beyond that, I'm assuming that the you're using the Wein Micro Slave as an optical trigger. If you're using the popup flash as the source to trigger the slave, then unless you're using a fully manual lens, the popup is firing in P-TTL mode, and is probably triggering the slave with the preflash, so the strobes are firing before the shutter opens.

If this is the case, you have three alternatives.

1. Only used totally manual lenses which will force the popup into manual mode and will fire it at full power only in synch with the shutter actuation.

2. Use a non-P-TTL external flash on the hotshoe to trigger the slave.
Replace the Micro Slave with a "Digital" slave trigger that will fire on the second flash, ignoring the first.

3. Use a non-P-TTL external flash on the hotshoe to trigger the Wein. This can be a very cheap solution, but you need to check trigger voltage on the flash to make sure it won't fry your camera. Pentax made quite a few very compact TTL and Auto flash units that would be suitable for the job, and their trigger voltages wouldn't be a problem. . . AF 200T, AF 200S, AF 160S. . .

If you don't want this flash to contribute to the exposure, you can block it with exposed, developed film (the totally black leader you get on a roll of film). If you don't have any, try contacting a photo finisher, especially one that does Medium Format film. They'd probably give you some for free. The exposed film blocks visible light, but allows IR to pass, and that's usually what triggers optical slaves. There might also be some sources of IR pass material -- my Metz 15 MS1 comes with a spring clip that fits over the popup and blocks it from contributing to the exposure with the remote TTL macro flash.

B&H lists the Wein Digital Slaves triggers as no longer available, but Calumet seems to have the monoplug version in stock -- it's pretty pricey though. . .

http://www.calumetphoto.com/eng/prod...onoplug/cg2101

B&H does list the Speedotron with a hotshoe in stock, and it's reasonably priced. You can get a hotshoe to PC adaptor if you need a synch cord to fire the strobes.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...e_Trigger.html

Radio triggers might be another solution. I've read about some inexpensive Chinese systems that seem to work pretty well.

Don't know if any of this is any help, and excuse me if I've misunderstood your problem -- as I said, I've no experience with studio lighting. . .

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; Jun 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM.
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Old Jun 12, 2011, 8:56 PM   #3
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Goldwinger,

Yeah. I don't know much about studio lights.

Have you tried using a really slow shutter speed to see if the flash contributes to the capture that way? If it does, then it sounds like a sync problem. You could play around with dimmer ambient light and a slower shutter speed?

I don't know if any of the different sync timing ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_synchronization -- ie. M vs. F vs. X ) comes into play with this scenario.

Take care,
Glen
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 3:48 PM   #4
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Hey, Scott & Glen,
Thanks for the suggestions.
At this time, I'm sure its not the sync cord. I've tried three different ones with the same results and it works on my Novatrons just fine.

I'm going to try a couple things and then I'll get back here to let you know how it turns out.
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Old Jun 13, 2011, 6:06 PM   #5
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G'day GW

My immediate suspicion is the Wein trigger ... presuming it to be an optical trigger, it responds only to the 1st flash is sees [from whatever source] - and if that is your on-camera metering-pre-flash, then it's been & gone before the exposure-flash is fired [I have this problem with my film-camera triggers]

IF - your trigger can be set a) to 'slave' [as well as 'normal] and b) to 1st flash or 2nd flash or 3rd flash, then you will be in a better position to get the other flashes to sync with the shutter

The slaves [when you're in e-TTL mode] need to respond to a double-flash [pre-flash then exposure-flash] OR a triple-flash [pre-flash then red-eye-flash then exposure-flash]

I suggest a simple test - point the slave-flash guns toward the camera and fire off a series of shots - if it is in sync with the shutter, you will see the flash firing in your picture

Hope this helps a bit...
Regards, Phil
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 12:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post

At this time, I'm sure its not the sync cord. I've tried three different ones with the same results and it works on my Novatrons just fine.
Hi GW,

Actually, I was thinking that it might be the pc socket on the flash unit that the cord plugs into. . .

Scott
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 7:13 PM   #7
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Well, I got things going.
First, I discovered that with the micro slave, I had to set the shutter speed to 1/90th second to get full sync. At 1/125th I'd get about half the frame exposed starting from the top down. At 1/180th I would see only a small fraction of the frame exposed at the very top of the frame. Really weird. Anyway, on a hunch while I was out at the camera store, I went ahead and picked up a 4 channel radio trigger set up and hooked it up and everything works as it should.
I still don't understand why the other options wouldn't work but, I'm happy with the way its working now. Whew, these 2000 w/s lights are bright!!!
Thanks guys for the suggestions.

Cheers,
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 6:40 AM   #8
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G'day GW

The flash exposure you describe as 'being weird' is perfectly normal when flashing via a focal plane shutter ~ the first blind opens and a moment later the second blind chases it to close the exposure

As you [probably/maybe] have forgotten with the sync issue dominating your thought process ~ every slr has a focal plane shutter, & each camera has its own shutter-sync speed, usually around 1/100sec that is automatically set when you use on-camera flash or connect a dedicated flash to the hot shoe. However, when using another flash system, the eTTL sync is disturbed, thus the need for you to set the correct sync speed

If the flash fires and the shutter is not 100% open, you will only get a partial exposure - the area of sensor 'hidden' by the half-open shutter cannot see the flash, thus it remains black

Regards, phil
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 9:11 AM   #9
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G'day back at you Phil.
What you say is correct, only the sync speed for the Pentax is 1/180th and the camera won't send a trigger at any higher shutter speed unless you are using the high speed sync (like on my AF560) So, I understand partly what's happening, I just don't understand why I only have half the sync speed when using the micro slave and 1/180th when using the radio trigger? I guess it really doesn't matter now that I have the wireless trigger, I'm just naturally curious.
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Old Jun 16, 2011, 4:56 PM   #10
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Okay GW

if / when you find the answer, it would be interesting to find more .... :-)

Regards, Phil
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