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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fear Not, Earthlings: The 'radiopopper' Comes to Your Primitive Planet In Peace

Arizona wedding shooter Kevin King just may have invented the Strobist equivalent of the flux capacitor. The radiopopper wireless synch is said to bridge your Nikon CLS or Canon E-TTL and extends the range to up to 500 feet.

(More after the jump.)

Specs say it works in dumb mode, too, just like a Pocket Wizard or Poverty Wizard, even using the same, 1/8" miniplug. And you can always use the whole setup to go long-range manual, of course.

King said he expects the price to be in the Pocket Wizardish neighborhood. They are talking about it as if it is not just vaporware, either. Until I actually see it work, I am from Missouri on this one.

They say they are currently testing and awating FCC approval. Hoping to ship (from warehouses near Roswell, New Mexico, no doubt) in quantity in January of '08.

Kevin, if you are looking for Beta testers...
________________________

:: Spec Sheet :: (So good it borders on being synch porn. Right click to download.)
:: radiopopper Website ::

(Thanks for the tip, Andrew.)


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39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's waaaaay cool. I'm pleased, although I just dropped the better part of 800 bones on PW's about two months ago. If it's true, I'll be stoked and will upgrade quickly to a set and an SU-800 as well!

James
Friday Harbor

September 18, 2007 1:39 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Wow, looks pretty swell...though the "In-line with current market name brand radio slave units" part doesn't exactly raise my spirits. If anyone decides to upgrade, I'd gladly take your used PWs for a little less than "In-line with current market name brand radio slave units" though...

Kyle
www.kylebjordahl.com

September 18, 2007 2:03 AM  
Blogger Jason Lee said...

Holy Cow! This is awesome.

September 18, 2007 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Thiago Silva said...

I can't help but keep reading 'RadioPooper'. They surely could have come up with a better name...

September 18, 2007 2:15 AM  
Blogger J. Beckley said...

I actually am from Missouri so definitely I wanna see what happens with this. I know soon though Canon and Nikon will catch on and build units with radio ETTL, though probably a lot more expensive. Meanwhile this might work for a lot of people. I kind of enjoy learning manual though.

September 18, 2007 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

September 18, 2007 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I get the idea... but for those of us not in the US what exactly does "I am from Missouri on this one" mean?

September 18, 2007 3:53 AM  
Blogger tommyleong said...

would definitely be a killer product if it goes below PocketWizard prices. Bearing in mind, elinchrom has a cheaper alternative too.

but of course, none of them do ETTL

September 18, 2007 3:54 AM  
Blogger Anders said...

This sounds interesting, but I'll just point out some weaknesses:
This thing has smaller range than PW and cannot trigger the camera shutter.
How does it attach to the camera and how are settings done? With a Canon ST-E2 or on-camera master flash, you do all ratios there, so how do you select ratios/groups/channels with this thing in the hotshoe instead?

I actually ordered my PWs just two days ago. :-)
I would love radio synch built-in though.

September 18, 2007 4:09 AM  
Blogger banano said...

This really sounds awesome. Wonder if they're engaged in approving the radio signal compliances in the European Union as well. If not, we might just go the NATO interferences way again;)

September 18, 2007 4:36 AM  
Blogger Nicholaus Haskins said...

Man....thats what he's been working on!

September 18, 2007 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I'm from MA but live in Missouri, so I think "show me state" actually means "show me the way out of this state" lol

I jest, it's a lovely place :)

September 18, 2007 7:12 AM  
Blogger Tim Broyer said...

If it is real and works well than this guy is going to be rich.

September 18, 2007 7:21 AM  
Blogger tox said...

So, David...how is it that they neglected to ask you to be a beta tester?

;~))

Cheers! tox

September 18, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger BWard said...

This sounds like a great contribution that will offer more on-board control than pocket wizards. But - I am left with 2 reservations after switching FROM Nikon CLS to pocket wizards (admittedly after a short time).

1) The on-board TTL control is somewhat cumbersome w/ the menus that one has to scroll through to adjust flash output.

2) I feel more confident in my lighting knowledge by adjusting the power output manually on the flash.

That said, there are a couple of pros to the on-board control:

1) Controlling output via TTL neutralizes challenges(?) in manually controlling strobes of differing guide numbers on the same shoot (I use SB600s and one SB800, w/ a V285 on reserve).

2) Adjusting output on-board prevents running around to light stands and back.

3)Competition & alternatives are great things for consumers. What about a lower price point to entice buyers?

For now, I'm sticking w/ what I've bought and learning to use it inside & out. BUT this is really encouraging.

OT - The PhotoShelter conference in Atlanta was way cool - HIGHLY ENCOURAGE readers to attend - some very exciting things developing that are good for photographers and art buyers...but go to the conference for details. :)

September 18, 2007 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Geerling said...

As is the case with J. Beckley, I am also from Missouri, and I'd like to see the Radio Popper.

Perhaps it will be my reason to purchase a Nikon flash and leave my Vivitar 285 to do some backup work...

September 18, 2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger Misha said...

but we wont be able to control say group A & group B from the unit, so i guess the infrared system will have to stay for a bit longer :(

so to me it will only be good with one flash, not several, but its a step in the right direction!

September 18, 2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger Noah said...

Okay, so from what I understand of the E-TTL/CLS systems, they use a similar system to the Minolta wireless flash that uses bursts of light to control the communication between the main and slave flashes.

If the system can be used w/o having to open the flashes and using the built-in system of the flashes, doesn't that mean it has to translate the "control light signals" the main flash gives from light to a radio signal, travel over the airwaves to the receiver, and are translated back into light signals for the slave flash to understand.

My guess is that it works similar to the Radio Shack Wireless Remote Extender that translates an IR light signal into a radio signal, and the receiver emits the appropriate IR signal next to the device you are trying to control.

From this line of thinking, there would have to either have a photosensor that attaches to the main flash, (or just a cable connects right to the hot-shoe and can translate the E-TTL/CLS signals directly w/ the camera), and a receiver that has a small light emitter that would need to be attached near the optical sensor that the slave uses to receive the light signals normally.

Maybe this is why he uses the "Lick n' Stick" line - because you literally have to stick something on the slave flash to get it to receive the light signal the receiver emits.

It could probably handle allowing multiple A/B banks to be controlled, as well as "sharing" multiple sets to be setup and used on the same frequency. Since the E-TTL system already has it's own addressing system, and since the system (from guessing) is just retransmitting the light signal, the flashes would be set to ignore any light signal that isn't on their channel, so it would "play nice" with other flashes not on their channel.

Any thoughts? Am I anywhere close?

September 18, 2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

This sounds very sweet - I am looking forward to seeing if this can allow us D40 users without commander mode to trigger an SB600 / 800 off-camera with full TTL control. That would be awesome (and hopefully cheaper than getting an SB800 and a 600, or an SU800 trigger).

September 18, 2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger troyk said...

Like they said Missouri is the "Show me state". I live in Kansas and I'm only 5 minutes from Missouri. It's more like "Show me potholes."

September 18, 2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger Roberto Iza said...

Kind regards

September 18, 2007 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical. Have you ever seen a company announce an industry-changing product and then ask for financial help at the end of the press release? If it works I'll buy one, but do some research if you plan on investing.

September 18, 2007 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Johnny said...

Whooo Hoooo! Rock on Kevin!

This product is perfect for us PJ wedd shooters who don't have time to futz with manual controls in a fast changing environment.

September 18, 2007 12:50 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Radio TTL sounds very nice but an obvious deficiency of this system is the use of 2 CR2032 batteries....Give me double "A"s and then i'll 'consider' using radiopoppers, until then, long live pocketwizards! :-)

September 18, 2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not AA batteries??

September 18, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Gregg Zivney said...

His concept is certainly a reach in the right direction and one that many photographers might sacrifice small children to acquire....but something doesn't feel right.

TTL is Big Medicine and radio remote TTL is bigger still. This is not something that you are going to conquer at the kitchen table with a PC board, soldering iron and a pocket full of entrepreneurial coinage.
There is no mention of pat pending, patent or provisional patent and a quick search at the USPTO site produces nothing.
Any forward thinking soul would protect their hard work before making a public announcement.

The profit model for this kind of invention is not self manufacture and distribution. Rather, this is about licensing the idea to another company with the manufacturing know-how and distribution stream to allow an Arizona wedding photographer to live comfortably off the licensing fees and per unit royalties... and that's a good thing

Personally, I feel this announcement is more about creating interest and buzz so that an entrepreneur has a better chance of getting the attention of a generous venture capitalist... similar to hunting in a baited field.

September 18, 2007 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Tom Robbrecht said...

Looks like vapourware to me...

September 18, 2007 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A smart fish always inspects the bait carefully. Often there is a hook inside.

September 18, 2007 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm highly skeptical of this. 1) NO company should have any reason to hide their WHOIS info for their domain name registration, these guys are. I know I won't ever be buying anything from them directly until that is changed. Never buy anything from any company or website who hides contact information.

2) If this is such an earth shattering product and they've made it into creating a pre-prototype, then they've been working on this for awhile. Why have they only just registered their domain (9/11)?

So is it really this Kevin King guy or someone out to tarnish his name?

It would be way cool if this isn't vaporware a scam or some other evil scheme.

They do need to use AA over watch batteries though. That's one thing I hate about the ebay triggers and remote, they don't use AA batteries. I loath buying non-rechargeable, non-reusable batteries. I don't care if it makes a bulkier product. I want re-usability of my batteries instead of having to buy and toss over and over.

September 18, 2007 2:53 PM  
Anonymous fir3bird said...

Getting FCC approval is not a trivial matter. If they actually have working units to ship in Nov. 2007 they've been working on it for at least a year. I often wondered why someone like the Chinese Co. that manufactures the eBay slaves for Gadget Infinity didn't build something like this. It's trivial. Just convert the pulses to rf at the HotShoe end and convert back to IR at the flash end. Would work with any IR remote flash system.

September 18, 2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous R. J. said...

ditto on the name, "RadioPooper."

AA are a must.

About time Pocket Wizards get some friendly competition.

rj

kern-photo.com
kern photography
denver, co

September 18, 2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger test blogging said...

Just to clear up some Kevin King/domain/hiding stuff.

This really IS by Kevin King, I've known Kevin for a few years online and will show him this post so he can answer some of your other questions directly.

My best guess about "what normally happens" in these situations won't apply because Kevin's probably never BEEN in this situation. This is an issue he wanted solved and he decided to bang it out. Whether or not "in an evening at the kitchen table" or not, if it works, great!!

I agree on needing to see working product. I agree on AA batteries - but that's truly trivial. If Kevin gets this right, he'll make some serious bank. I hope he does.

~Matt

September 18, 2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

I truely hope this thing works, and works reliably. Not because I want to buy it. If it really does OEO as speculated, you'll need to buy it, AND a TTL controller for a very expensive solution. However it might put an end to the PW monopoly. I mean, all that reliability and quality is good stuff, but Motorola makes Walky-Talkies that transmit 2-way, continuous voice singals for 7 miles and sell for like $50. Not to mention 802.11g sends ~20mbps (information rate), quite reliably with all the error correction and auto re-trans. How can a thing that sends an ON/OFF pulse, 1 way, cost so much?

September 19, 2007 12:39 AM  
Blogger David said...

Leo-

Because we are willing to pay it.

-DH

:)

September 19, 2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Waldo said...

If people just stopped buying PWs you'd see the price plummet.

It's the same reason Apple dropped the price on the iPhone.

It's the same reason Adobe doesn't lower the price on Photoshop to $150. If you people would just stop paying the exorbitant price for PS, then I could afford to get it ;)

I still believe if Adobe would lower the price of PS to $150, they would end up making a lot more money as all these home users who dish out $100 for Elements, PaintShop Pro, PhotoImpact or even Microsoft's image editing solution would easily spend the extra $50 for PhotoShop over those lesser packages.

September 19, 2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

My friends in Redmond are saying: all we want to do is to offer you free web browser, which we spent zillions to develop. In return you hate us and we got sued; PW is charging monopoly price on a simple gadget, and you guys worship them. Life is unfair!

As for PS, they are worth the price, because obviously a lot of work went into it and nobody can match its feature/performance, even though they tried.

September 19, 2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't like the x-TTL stuff - too unpredictable, not an exact science.

Why can't they just come up with a scheme to remotely set the power of each slave unit from the master. That's all I need.

September 19, 2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

You can reomotely control manual levels via the IR TTL setups on Nikon (fer sure) and Canon (I think).

-DH

September 19, 2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the price and reliability that will make or break RadioPopper. If the price is close to Pocket Wizards then there's no contest at all, radio TTL or not. And these watch batteries do not help either.

October 05, 2007 6:01 PM  

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