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Posts Tagged ‘Photography Gear Equipment’

RadioPopper Review-By Andrew Collings

February 8th, 2011 No comments

The RadioPopper system allows the photographer to fine-tune the interplay between the existing light and the speedlights.

How the RadioPopper system works:

The RadioPoppers don’t add any functionality to the flashes. But they are essential to using the flash on location. This is because what the RadioPoppers do is to relay, via radio signals, the existing light-based (tiny quick pulses of strobe from the flash) communication system that the Canon flashes and cameras use.

RadioPopper system consists of a device that sits on top of the hot shoe-mounted Master flash and a separate unit that is mounted via an included plastic cradle to the Slave/remote flash(es). The Master flash fires a pre-flash each time you take a photograph and this pre-flash is the control signal to the other flashes. The RadioPopper system captures this preflash light/information, turns it into a radio signal, relays that signal to the RadioPopper receivers mounted to the slave flashes and these receivers then emit out that original master pulse into those slave flashes. The Canon slave flashes are tricked into thinking they received a pulse from the master flash. And it all happens as fast as 1/8000s. It seems like it wouldn’t work consistently. But it does.

Camera with RadioPopper sender unit. All my 580’s have the Honl speedstrap on them permanently as well as a tungsten gel. We built custom holding straps for the camera flash mounted sender.

Examples of our small strobe location lighting kit:

Left: Honl 1/4″ grid (hard light). Right: Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox (long-throw soft spot).

Left: Westcott 43″ Collapsible silver umbrella. We use this umbrella when we need maximum power. Right: Our setup for flare-oriented shooting during dancing.

Contents of our small strobe location lighting kit. I like the Manfrotto Nanostands for many lighting situations and it’s great that they fit right in the case! But we also bring 2 10′ heavy duty stands in a stand sling bag.

Example photographs shot with RadioPoppers and our small strobe system;

Being able to shoot TTL fill flash outdoors without worries of sync problems is great! So is shooting at high shutter speeds and wide apertures–here at 1.4 and 1/4000s !

Our experience with the RadioPopper system has been excellent. We have very rarely had any issues with the electronics. It really is like magic, especially when one uses the system with the 5DmkII and 1DmkIV and the 580exII flashes. When those items are used, you are able to control all your remote flashes with the menu system on the back of the camera. While it’s more complicated to turn the Master/Slave flash mode on and off than it is on the 580ex flash (the 580ex has a physical switch to do that right on the flash), it’s much easier to configure the settings with the 580exII. It’s great that it works so well, since one has virtually no understanding of why it isn’t working since it’s all wireless electronic hocus pocus.

Upgrading Photo Technology

January 11th, 2008 No comments

I’ve been working out some theories on the most practical way to upgrade technology. Cameras, computer hardware, and software technology move at an alarming rate. The question is: when does it make financial and practical sense to upgrade? There are considerations of implementation and cost involved. Here I will outline these considerations and my theories and strategies.
Moore’s Law describes a long-term trend in computer hardware where capacity of circuitry doubles every 24 months. These same principles can be applied to almost all technologies, though the timing is different for every technology and situation. Technology upgrade theory is all about cost, implementation, and gain. Developing a good strategy is dependent on the nature of the technology and that must be studied carefully.

Know the Technology and know the habits and schedules of the manufacturers of that technology.
Example #1 Adobe is on an 18Month upgrade cycle: they allow you to skip versions and still get upgrade pricing: and their upgrades are usually major.
Example #2 Nikon usually upgrades the flagship models six-nine months before the top prosumer models. The top of the line prosumer cameras usually have many of the desirable features of the Flagship model at 40% of the price. Nikon is notoriously slow in getting their announced cameras to market.
FYI: Nikon is making a major comeback; the D3X with the 14-24, WOW.
Example #3 Intel Processors are updated very often. The updates usually amount to only small gains (6-15%), but sometimes there is a major leap in the technology. These leaps usually require a new Motherboard with a new chipset. We are currently seeing a technology leap in processors that has captured my attention (probably ancient history by the time you read this). The Intel i7 processors and the X58 chipsets that are currently available on Windows will be coming to a Mac near you soon.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It This is very true if it does not interrupt a progression of upgrades, workflow, or resale.
Example #1: The new version of the software doesn’t help me, but the companies upgrade path requires progressive upgrades. It will save me money in the end to upgrade rather than buy a complete license in 18Months.
Example #2 I need to learn how to use this because I’ll need it eventually and I won’t have time to learn it on the spot.
Example #3 Mac computers hold their value through one upgrade cycle, but the resale value takes a huge drop after that. People remember the most recent model info, but have short memories and aren’t willing to pay much after that. An Apple employee taught me this principle of Apple hardware.
Example #4 I’m still running XP on a portable workstation. This is an 11 pound laptop with three hard drives. I tether it to a Canon 1DS Mark III or a Canon 5D on location using Adobe Lightroom. There were software and driver issues with Vista at the time I implemented this mobile workstation. Vista 64Bit could now be installed on this machine, but it works extremely well in its current configuration, so I’m not touching it. Actually, it’s one of the zippiest computers I own, which really helps on location. Also, XP is a solid and mature OS. Read more…

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