Flash triggering guide

Phottix Strato II receiver (sides)

So you want to trigger your flash, but don’t know what equipment to get?

There are many different ways of triggering your flashes, and the number of options can be overwhelming. What’s more, some triggers are better than others in certain situations, and some are just plain rubbish, but you can’t tell this from the price alone!

With the rate of new products being released, web pages which were once a good reference are now out of date. This guide aims to be up to date in comparing the merits of each triggering system. For an in-depth guide to using different types of triggers, have a look at this article by DPanswers. For German speakers there is an excellent Strobist Hardware FAQ here.

Radio triggers have many of the functions offered by optical triggering but with more reliable signal and longer range. Some of them also act as remotes for cameras. More advanced (and correspondingly more expensive) wireless remotes will give you radio TTL and remote control of your flash power settings.

So that you don’t waste your money buying dodgy cheap triggers, or underwhelming overpriced ones, we have made a comparison table with all the important specifications. If you think anything is missing or inaccurate, contact us and we’ll put it right. With this chart you can search for products of interest, sort by price, by feature and by brand name. The listed price is for a basic kit – usually a transmitter and receiver, or a pair of transceivers. Use the table at your own risk!

Key

  • Price: estimated cost of a basic kit, usually a box set or a pair of transceivers. May vary with time/location.
  • Hotshoe: is it natively compatible with speedlights? Otherwise you’ll need a cable.
  • TTL: can you use your off-camera flashes in TTL mode with these triggers?
  • Manual: is it possible to control the manual power levels of remote flashes via this trigger?
  • Fast Sync: can it synchronise above the camera’s X-sync?
    • = High Speed Sync or FP Sync with TTL speedlights
    • = fast manual sync or ‘HyperSync’ with studio flashes
  • Shutter: does the device also work as a wireless shutter release for a camera?
  • HV: is it safe to use the receivers with flashes that have a high sync voltage?

BrandPrice, USDHotshoeTTLManualHSSShutterHVRange, mFrequencyChannelsBatteriesLink
Aputure Trigmaster45.5
..
..
100433 MHz16AAAReview
Aputure Trigmaster 2.4G27.99
..
..
1202.4 GHz16AAAReview
Aputure Trigmaster Plus60
..
..
100433 MHz16AA
Aputure Trigmaster Plus 2.4G60
..
..
1202.4 GHz6AAAReview
Bowens Pulsar Transceiver229.98
..
100433 MHz4AAA
Bowens Pulsar Tx189.95
25433 MHz24CR2032
Cactus V2s32.95
..
10433 MHz4CR2
Cactus V439.95
..
..
30433 MHz16AAA
Cactus V559.95
..
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAAReview
Canon ST-E3 + 600EX-RT948
..
..
..
..
..
302.4 GHz3AA
ComTrig G43059.99
..
..
..
1502.4 GHz5AAAReview
ComTrig H550119.99
..
..
..
..
1502.4 GHz16AAAReview
CononMk 3G Two-Way93.34
..
..
..
1002.4 GHz32AAReview
eBay PT-04TM19.99
..
..
10433 MHz4AAA
Elinchrom Skyport180
..
..
1202.4 GHz8Li-ion
Fomex Dr. Ray249.6
..
..
3002.4 GHz16AAA
Fotodiox PocketWonder Elite69.95
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAAReview
Godox Reemix29.99
..
..
100433 MHz16AAAReview
Hahnel Combi TF89.95
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAA
Hahnel Tuff TTL160
..
..
..
2002.4 GHzAAReview
Interfit i SYNC 459.99
..
..
30433 MHz423A
iShoot PT-04 A24.99
..
30433 MHz4AAA
iShoot PT-04 B19.99
30433 MHz4AAA
iShoot PT-04 C24.99
..
30433 MHz4AAA
iShoot PT-04 CN14.99
..
..
30433 MHz4AAA
iShoot Sniper79.99
..
..
..
3002.4 GHz16AAReview
MeiKe MK-RC728.79
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAAReview
Ojecoco H-43057.6
..
..
..
1502.4 GHz5AAAReview
Ojecoco H-55090.24
..
..
..
..
1502.4 GHz16AAAReview
Paul C. Buff CyberSync159.9
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AA
Paul C. Buff CyberSync+180
..
..
..
452.4 GHz16AA
Phottix Aster52.07
..
..
30433 MHz4CR2
Phottix Atlas113
..
..
..
100433 MHz4AA
Phottix Odin350
..
..
..
..
..
1002.4 GHz4AA
Phottix Strato83
..
..
..
1002.4 GHz4AAAReview
Phottix Strato II Multi98
..
..
..
1502.4 GHz4AAAReview
Pixel Bishop120
..
2002.4 GHz7AAReview
Pixel King130
..
..
..
..
1002.4 GHz7AAReview
Pixel Knight180
..
..
..
..
652.4 GHz15CR2
Pixel Opas144
..
..
..
4002.4 GHz4AAReview
Pixel Pawn74
..
..
802.4 GHz16AAA
Pixel Rook90
..
..
2002.4 GHz4AAAReview
Pixel Soldier74
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAAReview
PocketWizard FlexTT5428
..
..
..
..
..
33433 MHz32AAReview
PocketWizard MultiMax295
..
..
500433 MHz32AA
PocketWizard Plus II338
..
..
500433 MHz4AA
PocketWizard Plus III278
..
..
500433 MHz32AA
Profoto Air Remote521
..
..
3002.4 GHz8AAA
Profoto Air Sync446
..
3002.4 GHz8AAA
RadioPopper JrX Basic139.95
..
530900 MHz16CR123A
RadioPopper JrX Studio159.95
..
..
530900 MHz16CR123A
RadioPopper PX498
..
..
..
530900 MHz16AAA
Seculine Twinlink149.99
..
1832.4 GHz16CR2032
SMDV FlashWave 2250
..
50433 MHz10AA
SMDV FlashWave 3149.99
..
..
..
1802.4 GHz16AAReview
Strobeam FSK 2.4G83.95
..
..
1002.4 GHz16Lithium
Tamrac MicroSync149.95
..
30433 MHz4CR2032
Tamrac MicroSync II129.95
..
60433 MHz16AA
Viltrox JY-241062.25
..
..
1002.4 GHz4AA
Yongnuo CTR-301P20
..
..
30433 MHz4CR2
Yongnuo RF-60230
..
..
1002.4 GHz15AAAReview
Yongnuo RF-60330
..
..
1002.4 GHz16AAA
Yongnuo YN-04 II28.99
..
..
30433 MHz4CR2
Yongnuo YN460-TX + YN460-RX365
..
..
..
2002.4 GHz7AA

 

Maximum sync speeds

The following figures are from my own tests using the Nikon D700 and Nikon D40. The latter has a hybrid electronic shutter that allows one to synchronise at faster speeds (up to 1/4000 second) than possible with a conventional focal-plane shutter. The D700 has a normal mechanical shutter with a maximum sync speed of 1/250 second.

David Selby
Based in the West Midlands, UK, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a statistics PhD student.
selbydavid.com