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Nikon D300, SB900 and Elinchrom EL- Skyport Universal Trigger ?

Sabin Flutur , Mar 26, 2010; 01:47 a.m.


I have a Nikon D300 and an SB900, I know you can use the SB900 as a remote flash off camera however you have to fire the pop up flash to activate it. I do not have much experience so I might have gone about it the wrong way. I have recently bought a strobist kit and experimented with some outdoor portraits. My dilemma is that while the SB900 works great it is when I try getting in close to the subject the pop up flash is creating to much light overexposing the subject. I was looking at purchasing a Elinchrom El Skyport Universal Trigger Set. I know these are mainly used with studio lights but I had a look on YouTube and I've seen other people using them successfully using a adaptor to fit them on an Nikon SB800. I am wondering if anybody here has used this remote trigger or if there is a better alternative? I am aware that there are a lot of more expensive (and probably better) products out there, power packs and other lighting equipment, however I am not making any money from my photos so I am trying to make the most of the equipment I currently have. Can anyone offer any suggestions, has anybody used the two (D300 and SB900) with a EL-Skyport Universal Trigger? Do you think the Skyport trigger is a good option, I have heard that the cheaper ebay alternatives tend to misfire? Has anybody had any major problems with EL-Skyport Triggers?

Thank you very much.


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Lilly W , Mar 26, 2010; 02:25 a.m.

Before investing in a wireless triggering set-up investigate the Nikon SG-3IR, which blocks visible light but permits the IR from the pop-up flash to work its' magic. Disregard the fact that the marketing material lists it as being compatible only with D70(s) and D200.

Jon Reisegg , Mar 26, 2010; 07:24 a.m.

I don't know the D300, but I assume it is quite similar to D90. Here you have to enter the flash group structure in the flash set up meny at the camera. You can also specify output power for the pop up flash or if it should fire at all.

Matt Laur , Mar 26, 2010; 07:35 a.m.

The SG-3IR will help with the tiny specular reflections and sometimes with subject blinking caused by the pre-exposure metering/control flashes from the pop-up ... but if the problem is that the pop-up is actually contributing the exposure in a way you don't like, just set the pop-up's power to '--' in the commander menu when you're configuring your rig with the SB-900 as a slave. That will take the pop-up's light out of the equation as far as the actual exposure goes.

Kent Staubus , Mar 26, 2010; 09:13 a.m.

I have used Skyports to trigger up to 8 Nikon flash from my D80 & D300. Works fine. Remember you must use manual mode on the flash. The Skyports work great, but there are two systems that are less money. I use the CyberSync system, available in the U.S. They are perfect. I've also heard very good things about the RF-602 triggers which are available on e Bay. If you are looking to save money and using them at usual portrait distance (under 100 meters) the RF-602 should be fine for you. Instead of buying expensive SB-900/800 flash, I have one SB-800 and eight SB-28. With manual mode, a flash is a flash.
Kent in SD

Phil Evans , Mar 26, 2010; 09:35 a.m.

I have used exactly this setup, well not exactly but close enough. I have used it with a d200 and a d700 along with an sb-600.

I have also tried the ebay ones. Frustrating is not a strong enough word.

The skyport works great. The only misfires I have had were user error. I would hightly recommend them. Kent is right that you have to use manual mode.
I think the idea of a good wireless trigger is the way to go here, it is a great tool for what you have already but also will allow you to add to your setup over time.

Mark L , Mar 26, 2010; 03:40 p.m.

Make sure your popup flash is set to '--' in the commander menu, this way it will only fire the weak pre flashes to communicate. SG-3IR is not needed, just tape some overexposed slide film over it which does exactly the same job.

I have no problems with popup flash contaminating the shot.

Gary Woodard , Mar 26, 2010; 04:09 p.m.

I do use Pocket Wizards when they are called for but I do not understand the mindset that disregards the technology of the Nikon camera/flash combinations. You are throwing away better than half of what you paid for when you bought the SB900 when you lock yourself into manual wireless triggering. Unless you are too far away for the CLS system to work it would be better to learn how to correctly use your equipment.
I frequently shoot close up with the SB800 using the pop up as commander and have no problem with the photograph being over exposed because of the pop up flash. I feel sure that the SB900 is capable of the same thing. It's your settings not your equipment.

Kent Staubus , Mar 26, 2010; 05:15 p.m.

CLS does not work for me most of the time. I do sometimes use it for quick portraits, but almost all of my shots involve multi flash up to 200 yards away, and often placed out of line-of-sight. I also use a mix of SB-28 and WL X3200 monolights. I need their power. For the price of one SB-900, I can buy three or four SB-28 or one used X3200 with ~20 times the power.

Kent in SD

Douglas Lee , Mar 26, 2010; 07:32 p.m.

Make sure your popup flash is set to '--' in the commander menu, this way it will only fire the weak pre flashes to communicate.

Actually, the pop-up fires during the exposure, even when set to "--". A fluke of the CLS system, so I have been told.

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