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From: BobS on 1 Oct 2009 01:34
Thought some may like to hear about the new Cactus V4 wireless flash
trigger system from Gadget Infinity. URL for your viewing pleasure...
I've been doing a shoot of several Ferrari's documenting repairs for a
client and taking some shots for myself naturally. I've set up 3 CFL
lights with diffusers to do most of the lighting but as things
progress, I discovered that those lights on stands are simply getting
in the way at this point. Need to try using off camera flash. That
reduces the stands to only one or a hand-held flash - eliminating power
and synch cords while allowing me more flexibility.
The optical triggers I have work fine in most cases (line of sight) but
taking shots of an engine on a stand while a mechanic is working around
it posed some problems and my line of sight was blocked in a lot of the
shots. Time to try wireless...
Of course I would like to have the Pocket Wizards but a bit pricey and
overkill for this project. I've read some forums and seen YouTube
video's about the Cactus V2's and the mod's plus the reliability
problems - misfires, no-fires, and how if two receivers are next to
each other, they would self-trigger. Not very reliable but certainly
Somewhere I read that the new version 4 was available but only from the
factory in Hong Kong. Couldn't find any stateside sources that were
showing them in-stock at the time. So I ordered them directly from the
link above and also asked about the one video I saw on YouTube that was
a review of the version 4. That video showed the receiver units close
to each other and would trigger on their own.
Since I want to mount two SunPak 383's on a common bar about 6" apart
behind a umbrella as a main light - that was a concern. An email to
Gadget Infinity asking the questions I was concerned with resulted in
an almost immediate response. That problem has been solved and as long
as I have at least 6" between the receivers, I should not have a
Okay - ordered the transmitter / receiver set, plus an additional
receiver. Figured it would take 15 days to get here via the Hong Kong
mail and our own speedy USPS. Surprise... 5 days from Hong Kong to the
east coast (upstate NY).
While these are low cost, they are not junk. Simple in design and
small. They have a 433MHz antenna on the transmitter now and they have
switched batteries for the receivers from a CR123 as used in the V2's
to two AAA batteries. The transmitter battery is a L1028/23A, 12v
battery which sell for about a $1 or less.
Warranty is for 1 year - hopefully they will last that long.
My testing to date has been relatively simple and I've only tested to a
range of about 30' so far. It's been raining here the past 4 days so I
haven't tested them outdoors. My main concern was about the receivers
being close together and causing misfires or self triggering. I have
the receivers with the SunPak 383's mounted sitting side-by-side with a
distance of about 2" between them and have made numerous (to many to
count) test shots without a single misfire or false triggering.
Not a single problem out of probably a hundred or so activations. I
separated them by about 6" which is the mounting distance on the bar
they will be attached to on my stand and made another batch of test
activations. Not a single problem noted - not even one failure. I've
done so many test firings that my fresh AA batteries in the flash units
are up to about a 10 sec recycle time on 1/16th power setting.
The next test was simply moving them to the farthest point I could in
my basement where all the testing has been done. I have my computer
systems here (server and two work stations, a wireless router, print
server, firewall and fluorescent overhead lights along with 5 flat
panel monitors all turned on. Lot's of electrical noise bouncing
Set the receivers right in the middle of all this other electronic
equipment and every trigger activation worked from about 30'. Have to
admit, they are exceeding my expectations.
The real test will be over at the repair shop where I'm shooting. Lot's
of electrical noise there from test equipment, electric motors,
overhead lighting and engine electrical systems that spill all over the
First impressions are excellent. I was expecting maybe at best a 90%
reliability factor but so far it's been 100%. My work certainly is not
critical or dependent on getting every shot - so I don't need the
expensive spread and as long as these work this solid in the ranges I'm
working at (under 30') then I'm certainly satisfied for now.
Should I have any problems with them, I'll do a follow-up post.
Cost and specs are available on their site.