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Firing Your Studio Strobe Wirelessly

Besides avoiding the potential for broken glass (well, broken everything actually), there’s another thing using a wireless flash setup gives you—freedom. You’re no longer tied (well, actually tethered) to your strobe. You’re free to move around the studio, completely untethered, unencumbered, unfettered (insert your own “un” word here), without being on a leash (so to speak). Now, many current models of studio strobes have built-in receivers and come with triggers that let you fire the light wirelessly from your camera, but if you have a strobe that doesn’t have this, then you’ll need two of these wireless devices—one sits on the top of your camera (in your camera’s hot shoe) and transmits the wireless signal to the other wireless unit, which plugs into the sync input on your strobe. What I love about them is you just plug them in, turn them on, and they do their thing. There’s no real configuring or messing around for this simple setup. Now when you press your shutter button, it instantly fires your strobe, even if it’s across the room (even way across the room). The most popular wireless units are from a company called PocketWizard, and their PocketWizard PlusX is a small, thin, lightweight model of simplicity that is incredibly reliable and very well made. They go for around $85 each (and you need two of them, so $170 for the set. They also make more expensive units with more features and stuff, but at this point, you don’t need ‘em). If you want a cheaper alternative, go with the Cactus Flash Transceiver V5 Duo. They’re a bargain at around $75 for a set of two (so, $37.50 each), and they actually work really well. Perhaps they’re not quite as rock-solid as the PocketWizard, and they may not have the 300+ foot range of a PocketWizard, but they’re pretty darn reliable and about $95 cheaper.

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