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05-31-2012, 06:12 AM   #1
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Lightning trigger w 200D

Hi all. I'm new to the forum, though I've been reading it for some time. Now I have an issue: I'm helping an atmospheric physicist friend who is a lightning specialist to get into lightning photography. We purchased a mint-condition 200D which is recommended for this task and an AEO Lightning Strike! Pro 3 lightning trigger. It sits atop the flash shoe and is connected by cable to the external shutter release socket. In theory, when the trigger senses a flash it closes the contact and triggers the shutter. The problem is that, although the trigger indicates that it has detected a flash (I'm using the flash from my K-r to simulate lightning, as per instructions), the 200D's shutter is not released. The manufacturer of the Lightning Strike! device is stumped. Does anyone out there in forumland know anything about this? Saludos, Rick

05-31-2012, 09:13 AM   #2
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sounds really cool...can't wait to hear more and see the outcome!!! amy
05-31-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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Wish I could help - fascinating!
05-31-2012, 10:12 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Just checking some points.
Is the camera set to manual focus? Needs to be.
I'd also be using manual mode with some basic settings.
This site may give you some tips you can use, Weather Photography: lightning, clouds, atmospheric optics & astronomy

05-31-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
Is the camera set to manual focus? Needs to be.
Not true - my K200d shutter will trigger when I have my flash trigger plugged in and I fire it off, be it AF or MF.
05-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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Have you tested the camera with a standard cable remote? As above make sure the camera is in Manual Focus (it doesnt HAVE to be, but it would make sense). Simply pre focus the shot before you start the trigger. There are a few settings in the menus which could cause it not to activate the shutter if nothing is found to be in focus. I cant remember the exact name atm, but I can check on my K200D tonight if you would like.
05-31-2012, 10:32 AM   #7
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If set to AF it has to be in focus to fire the shutter. Lightning does not last long enough to use AF.
Using say a 50mm lens in MF mode , set to infinity. The trigger device should work fine. I use a home built trigger on my 200D. And it requires MF focus and I use manual mode.
05-31-2012, 10:39 AM   #8
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wildlifephotog is on the right track, you need to either be set to manual focus or AF-C, so that the shutter will trip in AF-S you need focus confirmation to trip the shutter.

As a side note, I have played with a home made trigger which began life as a flash slave unit. (identical concept) and the problem I have is that although I can reliably trigger my camera with a flash, lightning is not anywhere near as bright as a flash unless you are really really close.

I am looking into a different approach, using the same output circuit, as a flash slave unit, but feeding it with the audio from an AM transistor radio earphone, when the radio is tuned into a dead part of the frequency band. The radio will be able to easily pick up the static, and open the shutter. Lightning is not an all or nothing event, there will be detectable discharges as the stepped leader finds its way in 50 foot increments between the ground and cloud. As the process starts, the trigger will open the shutter, and you just keep it open for a long period stopped down to min aperture and with min ISO and wait for the inevitable flash to follow.

05-31-2012, 05:57 PM   #9
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For night time lightning photography, a detector is not really needed, for daytime, sure.
As far as testing your detector, after getting all the camera settings correct, try a flint spark lighter instead of a flash unit. Something like this.Anchor Brand AB-3001 Anchor Single Flint Spark Lighter (1 EA) -

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 06-01-2012 at 04:33 PM.

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