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Getting monolights and speed lights to trigger simultaneously

tinaravitztinaravitz Member
edited March 2012 in flash & lighting
I wonder if you can help me with a problem I have. When on the road, I am trying to get my speed lights to coordinate with an Elinchrom monolight. Although I can trigger my monolight with a Skyport, that set up would not trigger my speed lights. So I thought I could get my speed lights to trigger my monolight via an optical slave on the monolight. The problem is that, although both the speed lights and the monolight appear to be flashing simultaneously, the photo is dark. I am triggering my remote speed lights via a commander function in my Nikon D90 or via a commander speed light on top of the camera. I understand that the infrared communication between my commander and slave speed lights may use imperceptible pre-flashes that might be setting off my monolight too soon. Is this my problem? If so, how do I solve it?

Also, my camera's pop up flash emits light even though the D90 commander mode has the built-in flash set at --. I can keep the pop up light from going off if groups A and B are also set at --, but then I can't get the remotes to flash. I understand from Nikon that the flash I am seeing is the pre-flash referred to above and does not contribute to the overall exposure of the image. Is that correct? Do I need a small piece of equipment to flag that pop up light? Is there any other work around if, in fact, the built-in light is not just a pre-flash?

Thanks for your help.


  • StockersStockers Member
    edited March 2012
    The only way I have found to do this is trigger the speedlights with a radio trigger with the speed lights set to manual but this will need two triggers or a link of some kind. This should then trigger the monolight. Using the commander mode on the D90 I think then uses the preflash which fires the monolight prematurely even with the built in flash set to --.
  • Nikon cls uses perceptibal pre flashes to comunicate with each othe right before the exposure which in turn trips the optical slave of ur strobe,

    when i want to trigger my alien bees wirlessly while also using CLS for an off camera flash i use a splitter hotshoe ttl cord made my pearstone, it basically gives my camera an extra hotshoe, so i put my transmitter in one shoe and a speedlight set to master in the other
  • Stockers you didn't mention what kind of speed lights your using. If there Nikon put them in SU4 mode, set them manually and trigger them either with the radio on your mono light or set your on camera flash to manual at low power and trigger all the lights. With everything set to manual there should be no preflash.
  • I have had the same problem specifically with sb 900 and a new Elinchrom bx 500 not synching
    I even called elinchrom in switzerland I will get back to you with my findings in a few days as I am busy returning from vacation
    Was the unit you used also the bx 500. ?.?

  • Thanks, everyone.

    Naftoli -- so you use an on-camera speedlight as your master and a radio to trigger your Aline Bees. Do you ever have any sync problems?

    Rlemish -- My Elinchroms are D-Lite monolights.

    The Nikon guy at B&H Photo told me yesterday that I could use my Skyport radio to trigger the Elinchrom monolight and add a $20 hot shoe device to each speed light that would trigger them as optical slaves. See http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=dot+line+optical+slave&N=0&InitialSearch=yes. The reviews are a bit underwhelming, though. Has anyone tried this kind of method?
  • tinaravitz,
    Nikon flashes have a built in otical slave. Set the flash to SU4 mode. Try this before you buy something that does the same thing.
  • Tina, Yes thats correct,no problems so far, since the D90 doesnt have a pc sync port u have to buy this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/690796-REG/Pearstone_OCD_U3_Universal_Duo_TTL_Off_Camera.html to connect ur transmitter and speedlight simultaneously
  • bobh665bobh665 Member
    edited March 2012
    Why don't you just use the pc sync port on your flash assuming its a Nikon speedlight? I find it much easier to remove my transmitter and speedlight from my camera as a unit when I need to and you don't need any other adapters.
  • Bob,
    yup its a Nikon speedlight sb910 problem is if i plug my transmitter into its pc socket it disables the flash for some reason and it only fires my strobes which have recievers, i called nikon and paulbuff it seems like its a problem with alien bees/cybersync transmitters that u cant connect them via an sb910s sync port
  • Naftoli,
    Interesting, I use SB800's and SB900's with Quantum and Radiopopper radios. Never had a problem. Just curious have you tried setting your 910 to master using the 910's pc sync?
  • yes when i plug the transmitters pc cord into the sb910 socket it works only for one picture, after that only my radio triggered strobes fire and not the sb910, i called up paul buff and they said they had the same issue when they tested it with sb800 and they havent tested the sb910 and theres nothing they can do about it
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