Monday, 8 April 2013


This morning I was testing my Seagull SYK-5 optical flash trigger. I had tested it yesterday and found that it didn't work at all, and so had messaged the ebay seller to say it was faulty. The ebay seller responded asking me to test it on a different flash.

Since the SYK-4 optical trigger I have works on the flash, but the SYK-5 doesn't, I thought this would be a pointless exercise. (The SYK-4 is a dumb trigger, while the SYK-5 has a small dial to allow adjusting delay to account for the pre-flash when using a non-manual flash as the trigger light). But I decided I might as well do what they said anyway.

So I tested it on my SB-800, and after a few tries and fiddling with the dial and flash - redeye switch, I managed to get the flash triggered by my camera's pop-up flash. So it seemed that actually the flash it is used with does make a difference.

I tested it with my Vivitar 283 again, but it still didn't work. I tested it with my other Vivitar 283s as well. On one flash it did work, but only once. It seemed like that was just a fluke. I also tried it on my Sunpak 383 Super, but it didn't work with that flash either.

Then I had an idea, since the SYK-5 seemed to work okay, but presumably didn't pass enough voltage to trigger the Vivitar 283, why not connect the SYK-5 to a radio flash transmitter, and then the 283 to a radio flash receiver.

This worked in that the camera's pop-up flash would now trigger the flash. But it didn't work in as much as the pre-flash still seemed to be triggering the flash, and the flash output from the Vivtar 283 was not being recorded in the photo. I tried adjusting the delay (or is it strength of flash needed to trigger it?) dial on the SYK-5, but it was the same result at all settings.

So it seems that sadly there is no ultra-cheap way to use off-camera flash with a compact camera. I have now ordered a YN-460 II flash, which includes a built-in optical slave that can be set to ignore the pre-flash. This is a lot more expensive than an SYK-5 trigger, so I really hope it does work well.

Most of the rest of the day I was writing / taking photos for an article about how to mount filters on a reversed lens. I also had a meeting with Gary at 1.30pm that I had completely forgotten about, so by the time he had phoned to remind me and I'd got down there, I was half an hour late.

In the evening me, Billy, and Mauser watched Ghost Rider 2, which was even more maniacal than the first one. Nick Cage does lots of good faces while riding on a motorbike. Very funny.

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