In Search of the Perfect Trigger (Part 3)

Both the Sonia and the Nikon CLS are triggered by the light from the master flash. CLS is more sophisticated because it allows you to control the slave flashes' setting from the camera. However, both of them have the same drawback: the requirement of staying in the line-of-sight between master and slaves. This is especially a problem when shooting outdoor.

The cheapest and the easiest way to solve this problem is to use the sync cord or sync cable. Plug one end to the camera and plug the other to the flash and you are done. You can move around without worrying about the master flash is pointing to the sensor of the slave flash, as long as you are within the reach of the sync cord.

Here are the pros and cons of using sync cords:

  • Pros:

    • Cheap. A few dollars will get you one.
    • Reliable. As long the connectors are secured to the camera and the flash, you know for sure the flash will be triggered.

  • Cons:

    • Not scalable. You can only connect one flash to one camera using one cable. You can use an extra adapter to plug in more flashes but there is still a limit.
    • Limited distance. You can get a pretty long cable but you still have a very limited shooting distance. Also you may get tripped up by the cable while walking around.

I only use sync cord when I use a hand-held off camera flash. Quick and simple and I don't need to worry about my fingers are blocking the optical sensor. It is just not quite meet all the requirements for shotting in the studio.

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