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02-04-2016, 04:45 AM   #1
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Cheapest, easiest, simplest way to use a remote flash?

If I wanted to place a remote flash somewhere in a scene and trigger it to go off when I tripped the shutter on my K-50, what would be the cheapest, easiest, most simple way of doing this? I have a Vivitar Thrystor that I'm considering. I DO NOT plan on having the built-in flash on the camera to go off at the same time.


I'm dumb as a post when it comes to ANYTHING to do with flash... so, that's why I asked about the "simple" part.


Thanks for any information you can offer.

02-04-2016, 05:46 AM   #2
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there are a number of inexpensive radio triggers under $35.00 that would work.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 02-04-2016 at 06:47 AM.
02-04-2016, 06:30 AM   #3
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I bought the combo package of a Cactus V6 and a Cactus RF60 from Adorama and the pair work amazingly well...., plus I can put almost any flash I want on the V6 and the RF60 on the camera and it will trigger the V6...
02-04-2016, 07:23 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Go on EBAY and search "remote flash trigger." There are Chinese made units that come with a transmitter and one, or two, or three, or four receivers. With a transmitter & one receiver the price is around $10. I have a two receiver set and it's been 100% reliable. It should work out to at least 30m (100 feet) although I've not tried it that far. I use mine primarly to do away with a cord when doing macro in the field. The receiving unit is small enough I can pop the strobe into a cargo-pant pocket without removing it. The transmitter is even smaller. Search through for a while. Some ship direct from China, but other, identical units ship from American importers so they may be delivered more quickly. The big stores (B&H, Adorama) do not seem to be offering these very inexpensive units at present. One brand (there are several) is Wansen. A place in Allen, Texas sells them as "unbranded generic." THEY WORK!

02-04-2016, 12:22 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Go on EBAY and search "remote flash trigger." There are Chinese made units that come with a transmitter and one, or two, or three, or four receivers. With a transmitter & one receiver the price is around $10. I have a two receiver set and it's been 100% reliable. It should work out to at least 30m (100 feet) although I've not tried it that far. I use mine primarly to do away with a cord when doing macro in the field. The receiving unit is small enough I can pop the strobe into a cargo-pant pocket without removing it. The transmitter is even smaller. Search through for a while. Some ship direct from China, but other, identical units ship from American importers so they may be delivered more quickly. The big stores (B&H, Adorama) do not seem to be offering these very inexpensive units at present. One brand (there are several) is Wansen. A place in Allen, Texas sells them as "unbranded generic." THEY WORK!
I use those ebay contraptions (1tx+ 1 or 2 or 3Rx) every day. They do seem to work very well.
02-04-2016, 01:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Go on EBAY and search "remote flash trigger." There are Chinese made units that come with a transmitter and one, or two, or three, or four receivers. With a transmitter & one receiver the price is around $10. I have a two receiver set and it's been 100% reliable. It should work out to at least 30m (100 feet) although I've not tried it that far. I use mine primarly to do away with a cord when doing macro in the field. The receiving unit is small enough I can pop the strobe into a cargo-pant pocket without removing it. The transmitter is even smaller. Search through for a while. Some ship direct from China, but other, identical units ship from American importers so they may be delivered more quickly. The big stores (B&H, Adorama) do not seem to be offering these very inexpensive units at present. One brand (there are several) is Wansen. A place in Allen, Texas sells them as "unbranded generic." THEY WORK!

Thanks for the info. I found the outfit in Texas that has free shipping and I think the equipment is just what I want/need. Does this look like what you were talking about? 4 Channel Wireless Remote Flash Trigger for External Speelight with 2 Receiver | eBay


If I understand this correctly, the transmitter slips onto the hot shoe of the camera, then the remote flash unit "plugs" into the receiver? I should be able to use two separate remotes since I have two receivers, correct? If so, I be in bidness!
02-04-2016, 01:13 PM   #7
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Yes. Those appear to be identical to the units I have. Yes, you can operate two flash units simultaneously. The stobe slips into the hotshoe of the receiver which has a standard 1/4 X 20 tripod thread socket on the bottom, the little transmitter fits into the hot shoe of your camera. Remember to turn on the receivers, the transmitter is always on (no battery drain except when it triggers a flash). The transmitter has a test-fire button on the top to make sure the flash is properly seated on the hot shoe, OR to trigger the flash if you are using a flash meter to determine exposure. The receivers also have a PC socket on the side so in theory you could trigger two banks of two flash units each if you have some way to mount two strobes on a stand or tripod.

PLEASE NOTE IN CASE THERE WAS ANY DOUBT. These are strictly manual flash, no wireless PTTL control. So far as I know, no aftermarket wireless flash trigger offers Pentax wireless PTTL flash exposure control. YOU MUST DETERMINE EXPOSURE MANUALLY.
02-04-2016, 02:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
So far as I know, no aftermarket wireless flash trigger offers Pentax wireless PTTL flash exposure control..
Both Acon and Aokatec are Pttl/hss pttl compatible wireless radios.

02-04-2016, 03:49 PM   #9
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i got a cactus V5 pair from a us seller
02-06-2016, 06:48 AM   #10
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The cheapest, easiest, simplest way is probably to use your onboard flash to optically trigger a remote flash using something like this: FlashZebra.com: Optical Slave Flash Trigger with Female PC Sync Connector — Sonia Brand (Item #0003). If your flash doesn't have a PC port you would also need one of these:FlashZebra.com: PC to Flash Hotshoe Adapter (Item #0065).

But optical triggering has a few shortcomings, most significantly it requires line of sight, and may not work at all if the ambient light is too bright. Using radio triggers is a better solution. Cheap radio triggers used to have reliability issues, but I don't think that's as big an issue these days. I use Alien Bee Cybersync triggers. Not cheap, but IMO reasonably priced and very reliable. Not fancy, either, they're dumb triggers, no ttl, no remote power control, no group control, they just send a signal to fire the flash. Perhaps most important is Paul C Buff's reputation for customer service, which you likely won't get with a lot of cheaper triggers.
02-06-2016, 07:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
The cheapest, easiest, simplest way is probably to use your onboard flash to optically trigger a remote flash using something like this: FlashZebra.com: Optical Slave Flash Trigger with Female PC Sync Connector — Sonia Brand (Item #0003). If your flash doesn't have a PC port you would also need one of these:FlashZebra.com: PC to Flash Hotshoe Adapter (Item #0065).

But optical triggering has a few shortcomings, most significantly it requires line of sight, and may not work at all if the ambient light is too bright.
Optical triggering also doesn't mix well with the preflashes of p-TTL. Some optical triggers will have built in delay mode but the ones linked here don't. You'd also need a second flash with manual controls that you can trigger from the camera or a built in flash with manual controls, a hot shoe flash with a swivel/tilt option being ideal as the OP's plan seemed to have no contribution from a flash at the camera's position.

These little optical slave triggers are an inexpensive way to add more flashes to a manual off camera setup though. Once you have one set of radio triggers, you can use one of these little peanuts of every extra flash (with the same drawbacks as before of course).
02-06-2016, 07:16 AM   #12
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Way back, before any radio triggers were available*, I tried using optical triggers for second-flash off-camera lighting while doing field macro. An exercise in futility, as the ambient outdoor light made them inoperable. However, they were useful and reliable in a studio setting, provided it wasn't on a table top near a very bright incandescent bulb. Still have several, the best made by Wien.

*No, there were not dinosaurs still about, and color TV had been invented.
02-06-2016, 08:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
The cheapest, easiest, simplest way is probably to use your onboard flash to optically trigger a remote flash using something like this: FlashZebra.com: Optical Slave Flash Trigger with Female PC Sync Connector — Sonia Brand (Item #0003). If your flash doesn't have a PC port you would also need one of these:FlashZebra.com: PC to Flash Hotshoe Adapter (Item #0065).

But optical triggering has a few shortcomings, most significantly it requires line of sight, and may not work at all if the ambient light is too bright. Using radio triggers is a better solution. Cheap radio triggers used to have reliability issues, but I don't think that's as big an issue these days. I use Alien Bee Cybersync triggers. Not cheap, but IMO reasonably priced and very reliable. Not fancy, either, they're dumb triggers, no ttl, no remote power control, no group control, they just send a signal to fire the flash. Perhaps most important is Paul C Buff's reputation for customer service, which you likely won't get with a lot of cheaper triggers.

I problem is, I do NOT want the on-board flash going off when I trip the shutter, so I'm afraid the optical trigger won't work. Thanks for the input, just the same. I appreciate it. I've had a few projects floating around in my head for the past year or so. I have a friend who has a gorgeous older ('97) Corvette (Fire Engine Red!) that I'd like to try some night time photography with a couple of remote flash units scattered around. Just an experiment and just for fun.

---------- Post added 02-06-16 at 08:13 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Way back, before any radio triggers were available*, I tried using optical triggers for second-flash off-camera lighting while doing field macro. An exercise in futility, as the ambient outdoor light made them inoperable. However, they were useful and reliable in a studio setting, provided it wasn't on a table top near a very bright incandescent bulb. Still have several, the best made by Wien.

*No, there were not dinosaurs still about, and color TV had been invented.

We must be close to the same age, 'cause I had the same set-up! It worked, but like you said, it had it's foibles. I gave my set-up to my nephew several years ago.
02-06-2016, 10:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Optical triggering also doesn't mix well with the preflashes of p-TTL. Some optical triggers will have built in delay mode but the ones linked here don't. You'd also need a second flash with manual controls that you can trigger from the camera or a built in flash with manual controls, a hot shoe flash with a swivel/tilt option being ideal as the OP's plan seemed to have no contribution from a flash at the camera's position.

These little optical slave triggers are an inexpensive way to add more flashes to a manual off camera setup though. Once you have one set of radio triggers, you can use one of these little peanuts of every extra flash (with the same drawbacks as before of course).
The K-3 onboard flash has a manual mode, so pre-flash is not an issue, but you're right, it is an issue for cameras that don't have this feature.

---------- Post added 02-06-16 at 12:22 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
I problem is, I do NOT want the on-board flash going off when I trip the shutter, so I'm afraid the optical trigger won't work.
I realize it's not a solution for you, but it could be for other people reading this thread.
02-06-2016, 10:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
I have a friend who has a gorgeous older ('97) Corvette (Fire Engine Red!) that I'd like to try some night time photography with a couple of remote flash units scattered around. Just an experiment and just for fun.
"Light painting" with your strobes (or flashlights) is another option in the dark. Camera on a tripod, long exposure, wear dark clothing, trip the shutter then run around using the "manual test" button on the flash to put light where you want it.

QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
The K-3 onboard flash has a manual mode, so pre-flash is not an issue, but you're right, it is an issue for cameras that don't have this feature.
As do the K-S1 and K-S2, he has none of these in his sig. But I'd agree the optical units are one of the easiest syncing methods when they apply.
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