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02-15-2013, 06:04 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Capturing Decisive Moments with Laser Precision A Review of the Cactus LV5 (beta)

I have been invited to be a beta tester for the new Cactus LV5 Laser Triggers.

I meant to entitle my report "Capturing Decisive Moments with Laser Precision – A Review of the Cactus LV5 (beta)" but the PF review templates do not appear to support such a long title well.

Please check out my "Review of the beta units".

If you have any questions, please post them here; I'll try to answer them.


Last edited by Class A; 02-21-2013 at 05:13 PM.
02-15-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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Nice review (or is that a preview, since they are beta?). I appreciate that Cactus is no longer changing the frequency on their various triggers, so the LV5 works with the V5 units!

I also liked that you showed both triggering the shutter and triggering flash units with photographs! Very helpful to understand the possibilities.
02-15-2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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In the review I mention a DIY option to modify the tilting mechanism. I created another thread for the DIY modification description in order to separate the discussion about this potential tweak from general questions and answers.
02-15-2013, 08:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Nice review (or is that a preview, since they are beta?).
I guess you could call it a "preview". I'm not sure because it is not a full preview of the production units which I haven't been able to check yet. It surely is a review of the beta units.

I'm hoping to be able to soon follow up on the few (but important) extra features of the production units compared to the beta units.

N.B., the production units should become available around 20 February.

QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
I also liked that you showed both triggering the shutter and triggering flash units with photographs! Very helpful to understand the possibilities.
Thanks!

Feel free to "like" this thread, if you liked the review.

02-15-2013, 08:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the write up, I'll have my own one up shortly. I was under the impression Cactus intended to change the tilt mechanism slightly so that you would be able to set any angle, though the demo set they just sent me did not include this change. Being Chinese New Year I've not asked them about this yet but will do so on Monday.

Have you asked Cactus if this change will be implemented soon? I've been impressed as to how many other changes they have managed to incorporate in a very short time.
02-15-2013, 10:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
Thanks for the write up, I'll have my own one up shortly.
Looking forward to reading it.

QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
I was under the impression Cactus intended to change the tilt mechanism slightly so that you would be able to set any angle, though the demo set they just sent me did not include this change.
No, they just added a metal washer to make it easier to tighten the mechanism. They never intended to make it stepless.

One could argue that the discrete angles help in achieving the same (complementary) angles on both units but in practice I personally found that I needed stepless adjustments.

QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
I've been impressed as to how many other changes they have managed to incorporate in a very short time.
Yes, it was great to have such impact as beta testers.
02-16-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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What a great review! Very concise and easy to understand.

I did see one grammatical error - on the "The Laser" page, 2nd paragraph, it reads "as mention...." where I think you want to say "as mentioned...."

This is quite an exciting new product - I really like doing catch-in-focus work so this device will take that to another level. The only thing that bothers me is they don't come with their own stands like the V5 triggers. But the fact that you can use them as a remote camera trigger is a big plus.

Thanks for posting the review - I'm in for a set once they become available. Will you be updating this thread when they are ready to ship?
02-16-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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@Class A - I quite like the solidity of the stepped tilt, all you have to do to get alignment spot on is move the receiver a few cm back and forth. I find this less fiddly than getting the angle spot on. As you've described its easy to convert them to stepless if thats what you prefer, that is a simple and easily reversed modification.

@Stormtech - Most users will have a pair of V5s in which case they'll already have a nice set of stands for the LV5s. I think the problem with including stands is that they wouldn't fit into the current box design. Both V5s and LV5s have 1/4" threaded sockets and coldshoe (aka hotshoe) mounts as well so attaching them to just about any photographic stand, tripod or bracket is easy.

Cactus are back from Chinese New Year on Monday so I expect the LV5s will be on sale very soon. I can't wait to get our first full shipment - I'm sure our customers will love them!

My review is here : Image Melbourne : * Cactus LV5 Review & How To Guide - setup instructions

Feel free to ask any questions

02-16-2013, 10:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
What a great review! Very concise and easy to understand.
Thanks heaps for your kind words!
Much appreciated.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I did see one grammatical error - on the "The Laser" page, 2nd paragraph, it reads "as mention...." where I think you want to say "as mentioned...."
Thanks a lot, I fixed it.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
This is quite an exciting new product - I really like doing catch-in-focus work so this device will take that to another level.
I trust you'll have a lot of fun with these.

Beware of shutter lag, though. If you really depend on an exposure to occur practically at the same time something happens, you pretty much depend on a flash creating the exposure. The only reliable alternatives involving directly releasing the camera, are
  • the speed of the object is slow enough for shutter lag not to matter, or
  • the speed of the object is always the same, so that you can account for it by aiming at the spot where it will be when the camera is opening the shutter.
Even though the 0.092s shutter lag of a prefocused K-5 for example, are not a lot, a person walking with 5km/h will move 12.8cm in that time. For very shallow DOF shots, that could be a problem. But if a person moves slowly, catch in focus should work.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
The only thing that bothers me is they don't come with their own stands like the V5 triggers.
Yes, you can get cheap plastic flash stands for very little money, but I feel they should have been included.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
But the fact that you can use them as a remote camera trigger is a big plus.
Yes, I like that a lot myself.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Will you be updating this thread when they are ready to ship?
Yes, no problem.
02-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
@Class A - I quite like the solidity of the stepped tilt, all you have to do to get alignment spot on is move the receiver a few cm back and forth.
Often it is not really practical to move the units. I have modified my units and much prefer the experience. You don't lose the ability to adjust by changing the distance, but the "too high or too low" problem just disappears.

QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
will have a pair of V5s in which case they'll already have a nice set of stands for the LV5s.
I did use the V5 stands but only because I recently acquired light stands, I don't miss them for my flashes.

QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
I think the problem with including stands is that they wouldn't fit into the current box design.
Aren't you putting the cart before the horse here?
Surely it would have been possible to design a box that can include the stands.
Also, there is spare space in the box so only the inside would need revising to fit the stands in.

QuoteOriginally posted by leok Quote
Both V5s and LV5s have 1/4" threaded sockets and coldshoe (aka hotshoe) mounts as well so attaching them to just about any photographic stand, tripod or bracket is easy.
Yes. If you have the latter...

Last edited by Class A; 02-17-2013 at 12:29 PM.
02-17-2013, 06:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Beware of shutter lag, though. If you really depend on an exposure to occur practically at the same time something happens, you pretty much depend on a flash creating the exposure. The only reliable alternatives involving directly releasing the camera, are
  • the speed of the object is slow enough for shutter lag not to matter, or
  • the speed of the object is always the same, so that you can account for it by aiming at the spot where it will be when the camera is opening the shutter.
Even though the 0.092s shutter lag of a prefocused K-5 for example, are not a lot, a person walking with 5km/h will move 12.8cm in that time. For very shallow DOF shots, that could be a problem. But if a person moves slowly, catch in focus should work.
I think it is workable for a lot of situations especially if you work with the delay function I am thinking. A bit of trial and error for the initial setup but that is fine. Without going back and reading through the review again, I think I do remember you saying that the finished product would have the delay function?

I am looking forward to trying all sorts of indoor studio type setups with flash (I do have a pair of V5 triggers), but one of my main interests is trying these with our Hummingbirds this summer. Catch-in-focus has worked well for these and other birds but it will be a lot of fun working with these laser triggers also.
02-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Without going back and reading through the review again, I think I do remember you saying that the finished product would have the delay function?
Yes, it has.

You can set 16 different delay values from 0-400ms.
02-19-2013, 12:33 PM   #13
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The price has just been announced: US$89.95.
02-25-2013, 06:41 AM   #14
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Any word of public availability? I took a look on their site and don't see it listed yet.
02-25-2013, 05:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Any word of public availability? I took a look on their site and don't see it listed yet.
The first batch of LV5s should be available directly from the manufacturer pretty soon. As with Gadget Infinity's previous releases this first batch won't be available from retailers. GI will monitor feedback from the 1st batch to make sure there aren't any niggles before making them available via other sellers.
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