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.