A layman’s guide to wireless flash triggers

A layman's guide to wireless flash triggers

What is a wireless flash trigger good for? There are lots of things to think about when using off-camera flash, but using a wireless flash trigger can make the process much simpler. In our latest Layman’s Guide we answer all the common questions beginner photographers have about wireless flash triggers.

A layman's guide to wireless flash triggers

What are wireless flash triggers?

These kits typically contain a wireless RF (radio frequency) transmitter and a separate receiver. This enables a flashgun to be triggered remotely, when it’s not mounted in the camera’s hotshoe.

How do wireless flash triggers work?

In basic operation, most wireless trigger kits work over a range of at least 10m, but the maximum range can be 100m or more. The transmitter mounts into the camera’s hotshoe; the flashgun mounts to the receiver via its own, separate hotshoe.

In some cases, transceivers are used instead of transmitters and receivers. This gives the added bonus of remote firing of the camera, although an additional cable may be required, which runs from the hotshoe-mounted transceiver on the camera to its remote control socket.

Who makes wireless flash triggers?

Popular makes and models include the Hähnel Combi TF, Interfit Strobies, Phottix Strato, PocketWizard, SMDV Flash Wave III and the Yongnuo RF-603N, with prices ranging from £30 to £300.

Although many are tailored for specific makes of camera, most don’t enable TTL flash metering. Exceptions are various models of PocketWizard, and the new Hähnel Tuff TTL (pictured here) which costs about £100 and is available in Canon or Nikon options.

What is a wireless flash trigger?

When should I use wireless flash triggers?

They’re ideal any time you want to use the flashgun off-camera. For example, holding the flashgun high up and to one side in portraiture gives a much more natural and flattering lighting effect. Many current SLRs enable remote triggering for flashguns by using the built-in pop-up flash as a master controller.

However, this requires a small amount of light from the pop-up flash to be present in images, which may be undesirable. Operating range is also comparatively limited when using the pop-up flash as a master.

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