Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Studio Lighting, Flash & Other (
-   -   Nikon D50, external flash (

stu26beech Sep 22, 2007 1:06 PM

I have only a very basic knowledge of cameras but need some input from the forum please.

My wife and I have a Nikon D50 which we're very happy with. She wants to use it to photograph clothing for her new website and we are wondering if it's possible to drive external indirect flash from this camera - if I am not using the right words, what I mean is to trigger the flash from the D50 for 2 or 3 flash units that are externally powered, set up around a picture area, using umbrellas for indirect lighting.

All help is appreciated.

thanks and regards

tjsnaps Sep 22, 2007 1:17 PM

Simple answer yes

You can do multible flash automaticly using nikon flash units
or you can use the pop up flash to trigger slave units in manual mode.
You can also buy an adapter that will allow you to use a standard sync cord but be ware of trigger voltage. if the flash has too high of a trigger voltage u can damage the camera. Nikon claims it can handle a pretty hight trigger voltage (compared to other cameras) but you still want to carefull not to over do it.

JimC Sep 22, 2007 1:32 PM

If you're using a third party flash system, be aware that most optical triggers will not work correctly if you use the built in flash to trigger them.

That's because the camera's built in flash will always use a metering preflash just before the mirror moves out of the way for the main flash.

So, the preflash will trigger your slaves, and the strobes you're trying to trigger won't provide any light to the exposure.

One way around it is to use a manual flash in the hotshoe (that way, you avoid the preflash).

Another way aorund it is to use slave triggers designed to ignore a preflash. Wein makes a "Digital Aware" slave trigger that is designed to ignore preflashs. They run $79.95 a 3 pack at B&H (or $34.95 each).

Wein Digital Peanut Slave Triggers

You could also use a radio trigger. The Pocket Wizard products are popular for that purpose.

You can find inexpensive radio triggers, too. But, results may vary with the flash system being triggered with some of the cheaper ones. One place that offers some very inexpensive triggers is

Edit... you can use the D50's built flash in manual power mode to avoid a pre-flash if desired for use with optical triggers. So, you would not need the type of optical triggers designed to ignore a preflash if you used one that way.

But, it doesn't look like it can function in "Commander" mode to trigger another Nikon Flash wirelessly.

JimC Sep 22, 2007 1:37 PM

Since your interests are more closely aligned to the type of issues that members run into with studio lighting (you are interested in triggering multiple external flashes using Umbrellas or similar light modifiers) I've moved this thread to our Studio Lighting, Flash and Other Forum

BTW, I see you just joined. So, welcome to the forums.

chris89 Sep 23, 2007 1:32 PM

Hey there,

I have the D50 as well and use it with 2 studio flashes both with softboxes.

If you want to sync through a cable, you'll need a Hama hot-shoe adapter, so you can put the pc-sync cable in it, and put it on your D50.

If you want to sync wireless theres 2 options:

With light (infrared or flash), there's optical sensors you can buy with sync cable things attached to them, they will react to normal flash light and infrared transmitters. (this method is only a good option if you trigger with a cable, and have only 1 connection. Use an optical slave trigger for the 2nd flash).

RF (radiofrequency) wireless. This is what i'm getting on tuesday, and i've heard only good things about it.
You can trigger all the flashes you want if you put recievers on them, completely wireless, and you don't have to point the emitter at the flashes so it's total freedom.
This possibly is the best way to go, but nothing wrong with a trigger cable :)

HughesInNC Sep 24, 2007 1:43 PM


Just curious as to what brand and model of wireless trigers you went with. Also, looking forward to your opinion on them.

I ask because I got an eBay special, and it was about $20, and it works like a charm. I see other retailers and online resellers selling the exact same item for $60 and up (and, it was purcahsed from a US firm, not from someone over seas). I only have one trigger; the remainder of my strobes sees the flash from the main strobe and fire.

Anyway, looking forward to your reply.

chris89 Sep 25, 2007 12:36 PM


I have Falcon Eyes RF triggers (not sure what the international name is though.. i think its a chinese brand).
They work without any batteries, they get the power from the power cord of the flashes (studio ones), but there's battery powered ones for general use as well.
I've tested them from 40 metres away and they still work, so i'm guessing they're alright :D 1/1000th sync speed. spent 100 euros for 2 recievers and 1 transmitter.

I'm curious what you got, 20$ sounds like a great deal!

HughesInNC Sep 26, 2007 6:29 PM

Here's a link to a very similar item on eBay:

My only "complaint" about the item is the range. It's range is only about 25 feet, but that's never been an issue for me.

chris89 Sep 27, 2007 2:22 AM

Nice! That's not a lot of money for RF triggering.

stu26beech Sep 30, 2007 11:11 AM


Thanks to everyone for their very helpful input. My wife and I are pursuing a home studio set up with 3 strobes, 1 diffused and two indirects.

The radio frequency option sounds very interesting and easy but I have another newbie question - I assume the transmitter fits on the hotshoe but how is it picked up by the strobes - does each strobe need a receiver?

Any guidance would be appreciated

thanks again

JimC Sep 30, 2007 6:34 PM

Sometimes they come in kits (transmitter plus one or more receivers) and sometimes you'll see them both sold separately. Make sure the ones you buy are designed to work with each other if you buy them separately (or a transmitter/receiver kit plus extra receivers).

HughesInNC Oct 1, 2007 8:58 AM


In my setup, only 1 strobe needs the wireless receiver. The other flashes fire when they sense that the main flash fires. So, I've got the wireless transmitter on my camera, and the receiver plugged into the "main light". When the main light fires, the other 2 strobes see the flash and fire as well.

stu26beech Oct 1, 2007 3:00 PM

Thank you again! I must say that this forum is one of the most helpful that I have ever experienced, and definitely my favourite photography site (and my only photography site).

One last one: we are considering continuous cool light instead of flashes as it has been recommended by one local UK retailer as being easier to set up and adjust to get the right settings for. We are completely agnostic other than we want to be able to take good quality photos with the least hassle.

So, does anyone think that continuous lighting has major disadvantages vs. flash? And if so, why?

Many thanks again.

chris89 Oct 2, 2007 6:00 AM

Power and color.
I'd stick with flash if i were you.

HughesInNC Oct 2, 2007 6:29 AM

I'll put in my opinion.

Continuous cool lights do have some advantages over strobes. The first being that you can see how the shadows will fall on the subject, and adjust the power accordingly to get the effect desired. I believe your D50 has the ability to over ride the automatic white balance; you'll need that if you're using cool lights. That, or a lot of post processing to adjust the color temperature. In my opinion, cool lights are easier to work with than strobes if you're a newbie. And, of course, you won't have to worry about wireless triggers or synch cords running everywhere either.

Of course, some will argue that strobes with modelling lights allow you to "see" what you're getting before you take the pictuer as well. My experience has been that's partially true; I've never gotten an exact correlation between modelling light level and strobe output level (Of course, all 3 of my strobes were less than $400 form eBay, so that's probably the reason). On the positive side, strobes will allow you, in my opinion, more flexibility and possibilities than cool lights.

Often, cost is a factor, and cool lights are often less expensive than strobes. You can always start off on cool lights and then move up to strobes if you want more.

stu26beech Oct 6, 2007 10:46 AM

Hi again

Well, we splashed for flash rather than continuous, and went for 3 lights, one softbox, two deflected. I am just trying this out to figure out how to get the camera to behave with these new lights.

The RF triggers really work nicely, many thanks for all of your excellent advice.


chris89 Oct 7, 2007 5:01 PM

Congratulations with your purchase :)
Best would be to shoot in full manual (except focussing). It's trial and error if you don't use a light meter, so pherhaps write some working exposures down on paper for future reference.

Don't forget to post a shot :) if you want of course.

peopleinmotion Nov 4, 2007 5:09 PM

I have a Nikon D 50 that I adore.
For the past day, 12 hours I have been trying to figure out how to trigger my slave properly timmed as in my old film days. Thought that it was me, every setting, every mode, all of the manuals on my D50. I went mental as my deadline approaches.
Then I went to the store and purchased an Digital Trigger, still it wouldn't work ??? This site answered it in 3 mins, without even posting.
You guys are Great !!!

I ended up using a small trigger light on top of the Nikon on it's lowest setting. As I belive that as with Radios I would loose a beautiful fill light all together, plus the addded weight. The Nikon SB usits are too pricy $ 550 for basicly one light ? My Vivitar 283 is equal to the task, and built to last, tuff.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:30 PM.