LATEST FEATURE: On Assignment: Ben Lurye

Monday, September 01, 2014

Choosing Triggers

This is pretty simple and straightforward advice. First, start with a wire. Yep, a simple sync cable.

It is cheap and reliable, and a great backup to have for when your wireless triggers decide to go all hinky on you. Which they sometimes will. Because, radio.

If you chose your flash wisely, you'll not be locked into expensive, proprietary PC-based cords. I live in a one-eighth-inch sync ecosystem and could not be happier with it. As such, my current favorite universal camera-to-flash cord is this little 16-foot baby from FlashZebra.com. I wish everything in my life was this simple.

Next, promise me this: that you will never again buy a flash without a good built-in slave. Every flash I have recommended to you has one. Don't be without it. That makes triggering multiple units much easier, whether you have wires or radios or whatever. Just makes too much sense. Friends don't let friends buy flashes without built-in slaves.
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For wireless triggers, you can date or you can marry. If you just want to date, there is a new flavor-of-the-week appearing near constantly. They'll be cheap, but they'll likely not be long-term compatible with other triggers of the same brand.

I tend to look at remotes as a long-term investment that I can safely add to over time as needed. Seriously, I have been using the same brand of triggers since the early 1990s. And by choosing wisely then, all of my triggers can work well together even though they were purchased over a span of 20 years.



For those reasons I use PocketWizard. And because I am a manual shooter and am not chained to TTL, I can go with the simplest (but still rock-solid) PocketWizard triggers. So I recommend without reservation the ~$100 PocketWizard PlusX transceivers.

Why: They are super reliable, simple to operate, run on AAs (huge thing if you have ever been left scrounging for batts in the wild) have ten channels, are auto-sensing receiver/transmitters, have a hard-shell-enclosed antenna, and have wonderful range. (More detail, here.)

PocketWizard make a wide variety of increasingly complex and capable triggers. But if my son or daughter were starting out as a young pro photographer, the PlusX is what I'd buy them. I have owned nearly every model of PW trigger, and these are by far my favorite. For 90% of PW shooters, these will be the best choice.


NEXT: Light Stands



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