Cactus V4 Flash Triggers

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BobS, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. BobS

    BobS Guest

    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
    low cost.

    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.

    Bob S.
    BobS, Oct 1, 2009
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