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10-13-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
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Question about off camera flash

This will sound ridiculous to people that know the answer, but I do not. I recently purchased a used Metz 48 and it came with a dedicated hotshoe flash cord in the box (freebie bonus). I get that it would allow me to put the flash on a stand off the camera (not very far though!). However, since it has wireless capability wouldn't I be able to trigger it off camera anyway with the built in flash, or is there a deeper purpose that I'm not aware of. Multi-flash setups are not in my wheelhouse at all at this point, but I would like to learn more.

10-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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Wireless triggering is usually the comfortable way and allows more distance/positions.
Flash cords is always a good backup and is considered more reliable except for the (PC-)contacts. It can also enable faster flash sync times with leaf shutters(but cameras with this are rare).

Does your flash cord have multiple contacts? Or does it have 2 (for example similar to audio connectors or one outer and one inner contact)
The cables with 2 contacts are normal. They only transport an On/Off Signal. Wireless sync can often transmit more data.

Last edited by delegopa; 10-13-2013 at 01:39 PM.
10-13-2013, 01:50 PM - 1 Like   #3
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2 Flashy?

Hello wowarning, welcome to the forum!
I can think of at least one situation where the sync cord is useful, but there's probably others.
You may not want or need the on-camera flash for a certain lighting setup. Just the off-camera flash(es?).
I shoot macro with a fill flash sometimes, but use an "L" bracket to move the hot-shoe flash off to the side. In this case, I don't want the built-in flash to fire, just the big flash, with a softbox diffuser. I've got my lighting worked out for that light source and the ambient light, in various ratios.
Here's how the rig looks; In the last photo, the hubcap on the model car is roughly 1/4" diameter, 6-1/2mm,
Hope this helps!
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10-13-2013, 08:00 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Sometimes when you put your flash certain places, the wireless eye cant "see" the onboard flash to trigger. The cord (or a radio trigger) is the answer. Also, if you want to do off camera high speed sync, you have to use a cord (except maybe with the new K3). Finally, if you set the onboard flash to Controller mode, it doesn't add a lot of light to a shot, but it does add some. If you really really need no light coming from the camera, again use the cord (usually a problem with reflections).

10-14-2013, 05:13 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Original Poster
Thank you all for enlightening me!! Great answers - I particularly love the pictures of your setup Ron. That is the exact type of cable and that seems like the perfect use for it. Is there any advantage to moving the flash off-axis when photographing people, or do you only use it for macro work? It never occured to me about off camera high speed sync either. Thanks again for the help everyone.
10-14-2013, 06:09 PM   #6
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Moving The Light

Well, the L bracket is a much-beloved accessory by wedding photographers, so I'm guessing it helps with red-eye. Although my bracket doesn't raise the height much (if any), it does move it slightly away from the lens axis, which is good.
Yes, I use it for portraits, group shots, balancing high-contrast scenes like a subject in shade with sunlight around or behind them, and pretty much anything requiring flash. I virtually never use the onboard flash. Too weak, hard to diffuse, bounce or soften the light, eats battery power like popcorn and almost guarantees red-eye. I still get the occasional 'vampire' look with the outboard flash/diffuser, but most times it's eliminated. LR takes care of the rest!
The best reason for using the bracket with a hot-shoe flash is that it balances better. With the flash mounted on the hotshoe, the camera is way top-heavy and all the weight is centered. But you're trying to support it (mainly) from the right handgrip. Gets tiring in a short time. With the bracket, you support the weight evenly from both sides and can use either hand for adjustments to the camera or lens.
Thanks for the kind comments, now if I would just clean my messy workbench!
10-15-2013, 08:32 AM   #7
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You also might want to look at the Radiopopper JrX depending on how you shoot. If you're not doing events, setting power levels manually is enough...

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