Monday, July 26, 2010

Canon 7D and it's Wireless Flash Trigger

This recent trip to Singapore has been more than just a simple work trip for me. The past seven days have been like an introduction to my internship with Mark Teo Photography / Afterdark Facility, with on job training as Mark will get me to do the whole “Wax on, Wax off” stuff. The best way to learn is to be doing the task itself! As the saying goes, “Knowledge is Power” and with photography (and basically everything else in life), knowing is winning half the battle. A key lesson that I’ve learned on this trip is lighting and it has opened my chinky eyes to the fact that I could have done so much more with my previous shoots if I was equipped with the knowledge I have now.
If you are a new (up and coming) photographer like I am, and you are saving up to get more gears to add to your collection, you would really appreciate how useful and versatile the speedlites (external flash) are to light up your shoot. And one of the best methods to ensure that you have a fruss free shoot is by using Pocketwizards. The radio transmitter and transceivers will ensure that your speedlights will fire everytime you click on the trigger. Now unfortunately, the Pocketwizards are kinda costly, and it will definitely set you back a few hundred bucks.  

As a temporary solution, the built in wireless flash trigger featured in the Canon EOS 7D will save you that few hundred bucks as now, you wont need the Pocketwizards to trigger your speedlites, cause your 7D will do the job for you. Apart from triggering, you are able to remotely control the strength of the speedlights directly from the body of the 7D. No more running to and from the speedlites to adjust the power as you shoot.
In the 7D menu itself, you are able to individually control the separate speedlites that you are using.

The only slight drawback that we experienced was a shorter range compared to the Pocketwizards, and you have to constantly be aware of the line of sight. Here are the gears that we used for our test shots: 
2 Canon EOS 7D, 2x 430EXII Speedlite, 1x 580EXII Speedlite, Canon 28 – 70mm F2.8, Canon 70 – 200mm F2.8

As we only had one light stand at the time of the tests, we had to resort to placing the speedlites on any surface we could find around our subject. One was placed on a bin behind the bike to separate it from the shadows. One was held by Mark and myself to bring out our model, Ying Quan’s face, and one was on the light stand to light up his bike. 

Here are some of the shots that I took during the tests.
 The really handsome looking scrambler

 The really handsome looking scrambler with it's owner

This was the setup for the shot. One speedlite on the left to seperate the bike and Ying Quan from the shadows, one speedlite on the light stand to light the right side of the bike, and Mark's holding one to bring Ying Quan's face back up.   

Click here to read more about the test that we did from Mark's point of view on Afterdark Facility. 
Credits to shoeless Mark for the other photos in the post and for his willingness to part with his knowledge. 


  1. Hahahahah cool in air action hahah

  2. While the Pocket Wizards are the definitive standard in off-flash photography, there is a recent release by Phottix called the Atlas. It looks exactly like the PWs, is half the price and nearly as good as the PWs. In fact, the Atlas is compatible with the PWs. For other people such as me, we also use a "different" version of the PWs, namely the Poverty Wizards. They're cheap S$60 ebay triggers that come with a trigger and 2 receivers. Range isn't fantastic (at only 15m), but I modified mine to work up to 100m.

  3. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)


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