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06-04-2016, 03:42 PM   #1
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Cactus V and Metz 44 AF-1

Hi,

I purchased a Cactus V Duo as I wanted to revive my VIvitar 2600 with my K3 but unfortunately the Vivitar doesn't not want to work with the Cactus. The flash definately works as it goes off on my SLR. As soon as you switch it on while on the Cactus, it stops charging. So do not buy a Cactus V if you want to use it with a Vivitar 2600.

In the end I purchased a Metz 44 AF-1 on ebay to keep budget low. After all, I will only occasionally use the flash. Is it worth keeping the Cactus V Duo now that I have a proper flash? I seems to understand that the flash is wireless so I install the flash offline on a tripod (so that it acts as a slave ...?) and fire it with the K3's onboard flash thanks to the P-TTL. Is my understanding correct? Me reading of this is that I don't need the Cactus V Duo anymore. Correct?

Cheers
Antonio

06-04-2016, 05:28 PM   #2
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The Cactus 5 is not listed as being compatible with the Metz 44 AF-1 on the Cactus web page. Cactus Wireless Trigger v5 | CACTUS Also, the Cactus V5 does not transmit TTL information.
06-05-2016, 12:16 AM   #3
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Yes, both Cactus V5 and V6 triggers are manual power control.

Antonio, set to 'wireless slave' mode then your Metz should work as you describe. You should choose whether you want the built-in flash to contribute to the illumination also ('master' mode) , or not to contribute (' control' mode) and set that on the camera. Remember that working like this in wireless P-TTL mode you control the flash exposure with Flash Compensation settings in stops, both on the camera and on the flash.

Check if your Vivitar has an 'optical slave' mode (often termed 'SL1 or SL2') .... This should allow the flash to be triggered optically by the flash from the camera or Metz, so long as it can 'see' the light from those flashes. Then you'll have a 2 slave set-up. The Vivitar will need it's power set manually.
06-05-2016, 02:53 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by geotux Quote
I purchased a Cactus V Duo as I wanted to revive my VIvitar 2600 with my K3 but unfortunately the Vivitar doesn't not want to work with the Cactus.
That's strange as the Cactus V5 is compatible with almost any flash out there.
The exception are very few flashes that require digital communication with the camera and flashes with reverse polarity (<- are also pretty rare).

Excuse the question but did you mount it the right way?

Do you see the green confirmation light on the receiver and the flash still does not fire?
Try the test button on the transmitting V5 (the one on the camera). If the green light on the receiver does not light up, there is some problem (e.g., not using compatible channels).

QuoteOriginally posted by geotux Quote
Me reading of this is that I don't need the Cactus V Duo anymore.
If you can work with optical triggering then indeed you won't need a radio trigger anymore.

A radio trigger can still be useful when optical triggering does not work or when you want to control which lights are being used from the camera position. The V5 has some poor man's group control, so you could use it to use flashes in isolation or all together. Both Metz and Vivitar should be supported by the V5. Can you try triggering the Metz to see whether there perhaps is a problem with the V5 or its configuration?

06-05-2016, 06:40 AM   #5
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+1 for comments and suggestions from Class A. The V5 should work with almost any strobe that is in manual mode. Check by pressing the firing button on the V5 to which the strobe is attached - green light should come on and strobe should fire. Make sure that the sliding button of the camera-mounted and flash-holding units are correctly set (forward for on-camera, backward for flash-holding). Press the test button of the on-camera V5 and watch for the green light to illuminate on the flash-holding unit (and flash should fire if activated). Keep a goodly distance between the sending and receiving V5 units. They may not function properly if they are too close together (the V6 is better in this regard).
06-05-2016, 02:38 PM   #6
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There is definitely a problem with the flash and Cactus V as as soon as you switch on the flash (while mounted on the cactus) you don't hear it loading (its dead!). You take it off, and you hear the flash charging until the red light come on for "Ready".

The other thing is that when pressing the button on the transmitter, you get the green light on the receiver only if the Vivitar is NOT mounted on the receiving unit. If you take the Vivitar off the receiving unit, and press the button on the transmitter, it flashes green on the receiver too. It's as if the Vivitar was short circuiting the Cactus or something.
06-05-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by geotux Quote
The other thing is that when pressing the button on the transmitter, you get the green light on the receiver only if the Vivitar is NOT mounted on the receiving unit. If you take the Vivitar off the receiving unit, and press the button on the transmitter, it flashes green on the receiver too. It's as if the Vivitar was short circuiting the Cactus or something.
Sounds like a case of reverse polarity.
06-05-2016, 04:58 PM   #8
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I need to apologize and make a correction. I have a Metz 44 and two Cactus V5 units. Setup: Metz in manual mode on one V5 which is set to receive, second V5 set to transmit. Push button on transmit unit, light illuminates on second unit, but Metz does not fire. Press test button on unit that has Metz in the shoe, light illuminates but Metz does not fire. Tried removing, replacing the Metz, twisting and pushing it this way and that, twisting down the lock collar and leaving the lock collar loose. No go - could not get the Metz 44 to fire on the V5.

06-05-2016, 11:47 PM   #9
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I suspect that you need to set the Metz to P-TTL mode ... At least that's how the V6's work with a profiled TTL flash.
06-06-2016, 01:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I suspect that you need to set the Metz to P-TTL mode ... At least that's how the V6's work with a profiled TTL flash.
The V6 indeed needs the flash to be in (P-) TTL mode for remote power control but the V5 is just a plain trigger so the simplest flash mode will do.

If anything the Metz may be configured to only respond to optical triggering, if that is possible.

If the Metz won't work with a V5 then it won't work on a Canon or Nikon camera either. Normally flashes can be triggered across brands (system-dedicated functions won't work of course) but there are a few flashes that are rather inflexible. They are really the exception, even if this thread may create a different impression.
06-06-2016, 02:13 AM   #11
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Thanks for that clarification . I wonder then if the Metz is set to wireless or slave modes? This might cause it to only respond to an optical signal ....

In general, should a flash being triggered by an attached V5 be set to it's normal on-camera mode? OP can you clarify exactly what modes the Metz is set to?
06-07-2016, 03:19 PM   #12
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Having just received and tried my Metz 44 AF-1 (99 on ebay) I can confirm that:

a) it doesn't work on the Cactus and I have a funny feeling that one of the Cactus units has died. It just turn on no matter what
b) I think it was a really bad idea to buy the Cactus V Duo in the first place for 82 (compare this with the above 99)

The Metz works beautifully with my K3, both in slave mode and P-TTL mounted on the camera. Worth every penny of the 99.
06-07-2016, 04:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by geotux Quote
I think it was a really bad idea to buy the Cactus V Duo in the first place for 82 (compare this with the above 99)
These should not have cost more than 52 plus shipping.

They are normally extremely reliable and very useful but nowadays I'd always go for V6 instead.
06-08-2016, 07:11 AM   #14
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So long as you're working with small distances outdoors, or indoors when the light can bounce around a bit and maintain line -of-sight, then our P-TTL 'wireless system works well and is very reliable.

There will always be situations though where radio signals will be a better fit ....I find I mostly use my Cactus RF60 plus V6 transmitter for my softbox, simply because I don't have to worry which way around the flash body is pointing and I don't have to try and position the softbox so I can see the flash on the back of it from the shooting position .... This can be helpful even when working very close when the sofbox body can obstruct.

However equally there are other times when even an off -camera flash can be more efficiently controlled with P-TTL automatic exposures.
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