Commlite ComTrig ‘ultra speed’ flash triggering system review

We test out a new set of Chinese radio triggers with an adjustable "HS Flash" high sync speed mode.

ComTrig H550 and G430

What’s in the box?

The ComTrig H550 is sold individually. Unboxing it you’ll find a single transceiver, a pair of AAA batteries, a 3.5mm flash sync cord and a tabletop flash stand.

ComTrig H550 unboxed

The G430 is not a transceiver system but instead has separate transmitter (G430-TX) and receiver (G430-RX) units. In the box are one of each, plus batteries and a sync cord.

ComTrig G430 unboxed

Something you might be surprised to find in a box of Chinese triggers is a warranty card. Commlite offer a 12-month guarantee against manufacturer defects, suggesting this might not be just another “pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap” brand.

Commlite warranty card

The instruction manuals are in Chinese and English. While everything is reasonably easy to understand it is not totally free of “Chinglish”. Nonetheless, the H550 and G430 are so intuitively easy to use for basic operation that you won’t need the instructions for much.

Basic operation & controls

ComTrig H550 transceivers

ComTrig G430 receiver and transmitter

The ComTrig H550 and G430 look quite similar. The main difference is a bulge in the side of the H550 that houses the HS Mode adjustment wheel. The H550 also uses Dip switches rather than LEDs to show which channel it’s on. Both ComTrigs use LEDs to indicate their wireless flash group settings. The large central button is used to test sync and set off remote cameras.

ComTrig H550 transceivers

ComTrig G430 receiver and transmitter

Each unit has standard 3.5mm ports whether you want to use it as a remote shutter release, sync it with a flash by cable, or use it as a wired camera remote.  Though you only get a flash sync cord in the box, shutter release cables and other kinds of cords are easy to come by.

ComTrig H550 transceivers

ComTrig G430 receiver and transmitter

Different operating modes are clearly indicated by pictures rather than words, making it easy to understand for some who doesn’t have English as a first language.

ComTrig H550 transceivers

ComTrig G430 receiver and transmitter

The hotshoe foot is metal with a thumb wheel and locking pin for absolute security on your camera. The G430 receiver has a coldshoe foot with a 1/4″ tripod socket so you can mount it on a light stand, umbrella bracket or ballhead. Though the H550 doesn’t have a tripod socket there is a tabletop adapter included in the box which does.

For a review of the ComTrig G430 in basic operation, consult our review of the Ojecoco H-430, which is identical. The ComTrig H550 is improved over our pre-production Ojecocos with various changes, including numeric labels on the HS Flash dial, making it easier to recall settings after having switched HS mode off.

High speed mode

To use the ComTrig in HS mode, you must have the H550 on your camera hotshoe with a cord connected to its shutter release port. By this trick, you can teach the H550 the parameters of your camera at a certain exposure setting. It will then work in HS mode with any adjustments possible via the control dial. Each time you change your shutter speed or camera body it’s advisable to have your H550 “learn” the parameters again for optimum results.

ComTrig H550 in HS mode on a Nikon D700

Note that if you are using a shutter speed below 1/250 sec then you don’t need the cable and can simply switch the HS Flash dial into the “Off” position. It will then work more or less just like the G430-TX.

ComTrig H550 in normal mode
ComTrig H550 in normal mode
ComTrig H550 in HS mode, level 4
ComTrig H550 in HS mode, level 4
ComTrig H550 in HS mode, level 8 (max)
ComTrig H550 in HS mode, level 8 (max)

With HS mode on, you can adjust your camera up to its maximum shutter speed, have your H550 learn its parameters and then twiddle the HS dial until you get the cleanest frame. The dial goes from “Off” through numbers 1 to 8 and then “On” (i.e. 9). There’s no hard and fast rule on which settings you should use when, as it depends on your camera, shutter speed, flash model and flash power setting.

Thankfully, these numbers mean that once you’ve found the perfect point, you can note it down to use again when you use the same lighting setup another time. The previous Ojecoco pre-production model, without any markings, left it to guesswork every time.

Next page: Example setup
Previous page: Introduction

David Selby
David is a keen photographer and has been editor of Lighting Rumours since 2010. When not writing about lighting, he works as a data scientist at the University of Manchester, UK.
selbydavid.com