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02-26-2016, 01:22 AM   #1
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Off Camera Flash Issue with Wireless Trigger

Yesterday, for the first time I was using my Pentax K-3 with Hahnel CombI TF triggers and an older Contax TLA 30 flash on manual. Lens Sigma 105mm. I was doing head and shoulder shots. Camera set to X mode. Shutter speed 180 ISO 100. The system worked fine. However, it frustrated me that I only got about one shot in every two or three. On pressing the shutter release the flash would fire from the receiver trigger but the image would be blank. Wait about 2 seconds and fire again. This time the image would record perfectly. This pattern repeated itself throughout the session. Each time I waited for the flash to recycle fully. Blank shot, Captured shot. Sometimes two or three blank shots would intervene before the camera recorded.

Is this a sync problem? Or a Hahnel transmission problem (don't think so because the flash would fire)? Or some setting I have wrong.

02-26-2016, 06:51 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the triggers you're using, but some triggers have more delay than others and aren't capable of keeping up at max sync speed. Try setting your shutter speed to 1/125 and see if that results in improved reliability.
02-27-2016, 08:46 AM   #3
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Just to say that I was using the K3 default flash shutter speed of 180 which sets itself automatically whenever the X flash mode is invoked. My suspicion now is that it is not the sync speed is the issue because after all I got good usable shots linking wirelessly using the Hahnel unit to the Contax TLA 30. I believe that it has more to do with the Hahnel somehow going to 'sleep' between shots. Hence the pattern of one blank shot followed by a good shot.

Has anyone else experienced this with Hahnel wireless units on a K3?
02-27-2016, 01:37 PM   #4
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I'd still repeat the process at 1/125s.

If it's now fine, you know there's some sort of non-random lag in the receiver.

02-28-2016, 04:36 AM   #5
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OK, I get that but then my problem is the Hahnel Combo TF system only works when the transmitter detects a signal on the flash hot shoe. This means that the K-3 has to be in X mode which defaults the shutter speed to 1/180s. I am not aware that I can actually change this default shutter speed to something else in this mode. Or am I (hopefully) wrong?

Anybody else using a Hahnel Combo TF wireless system out there in Pentax land?
02-28-2016, 04:44 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by n17man Quote
. This means that the K-3 has to be in X mode
It does not.

And it can be 1/30 or 1/125s or whatever, as long as it's *below* 1/180s.
02-28-2016, 05:06 AM   #7
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Thanks. Back to the drawing board on this one. So, if I am understanding things correctly. I can have my off camera flash on manual (can't use P-TTL), set the Pentax K-3 to Tv mode (while controlling the aperture on the Sigma 105mm 2.8) and set the shutter speed to, say, 1/125s. That was my preferred option when beginning to use my system but it did not seem to work. I am now going back to revisit this set-up.

Thanks for the help on this.
02-28-2016, 09:11 AM   #8
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I have finally figured out what was happening. Nothing to do with the settings on the camera. I set up the system again today without the stress of the actual shoot and examined every link in the system chain: the Contax TLA 30, the Hahnel Combi TF transmitter/receiver system and the camera settings. The break in the chain that caused inconsistent operation was the CR 2032 battery in the Hahnel transmitter. Once I placed a fresh battery in the unit, it fired the flash consistently without interuption. A learning experience for me.

02-28-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by n17man Quote
The break in the chain that caused inconsistent operation was the CR 2032 battery in the Hahnel transmitter.

Glad to hear it worked out.
02-29-2016, 08:39 AM   #10
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Good Result with Hahnel Triggers

Now that I have sorted out what went wrong with my very first off camera shoot (failing battery in the transmitter) I can say that my overall experience was successful. I was doing head and shoulder shots with two lights, one a Contax TLA 30 on full power (manual) with a Lastolite EZY softball and a small studio flash light. Both on stands. I regulated the light solely by adjusting either the distance of the lights or the aperture ring on my Sigma 105mm set to auto. The triggers were the Hahnel Combi TF, a budget trigger system available in Europe (not sure about elsewhere), which although labelled Canon work just fine with Pentax.

The camera was my workhorse Pentax K-3 that continues to serve me well. At some point I will invest in a proper P-TTL flash unit. But for the moment my manual system using older flash units works just fine. Just that little bit more challenging to achieve optimum results. I have a real monster flash, an Agfatronic 630, which I hope to also trigger wirelessly one of these days! .

Sample photo from the shoot below.
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03-01-2016, 08:23 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by n17man Quote
Now that I have sorted out what went wrong with my very first off camera shoot (failing battery in the transmitter) I can say that my overall experience was successful. I was doing head and shoulder shots with two lights, one a Contax TLA 30 on full power (manual) with a Lastolite EZY softball and a small studio flash light. Both on stands. I regulated the light solely by adjusting either the distance of the lights or the aperture ring on my Sigma 105mm set to auto. The triggers were the Hahnel Combi TF, a budget trigger system available in Europe (not sure about elsewhere), which although labelled Canon work just fine with Pentax.

The camera was my workhorse Pentax K-3 that continues to serve me well. At some point I will invest in a proper P-TTL flash unit. But for the moment my manual system using older flash units works just fine. Just that little bit more challenging to achieve optimum results. I have a real monster flash, an Agfatronic 630, which I hope to also trigger wirelessly one of these days! .

Sample photo from the shoot below.
Not my cup of tea for portraiture but the high contrast key effect is well done .
Catch light are a little off, did you have the flashes to far apart.?
I usual go for clamshell for two flash head and shoulders as simple to setup and idiot proof (which is just as well fro me )

Think your running your WB a little hot though maybe my monitor
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