Strobe/Sync cord question ...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Michael Stevens, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. I've just gotten a pair of Alien Bee strobes and two 48" Photoflex
    Multidomes and played with them this weekend. My SI submission
    ( was a result.

    While playing I had a problem. Since my niece was facing different
    directions at different times I would simply increase the power of one
    flash and decrease the other leaving the sync cord in the left strobe.

    I found that the exposure would not work unless I had my sync cord
    plugged into the MAIN light, that is the light with the more power.
    (the secondary light was set -2 stops to the first). If I fired one
    shot it was way underexposed but if I cranked off two quick ones (I
    forgot to turn the camera off 8fps) the second one was correctly

    Is this a "normal" thing? Not a huge deal since I've discovered it
    before having to be embarrased in front of a paying client.

    Michael Stevens, Nov 3, 2003
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  2. Michael Stevens

    Alan Browne Guest

    Very nice shot.
    Sounds strange. After two 'quick' shots the second exposure should be
    way under. They should both go off at the same time. I've had cases
    (last week) where an awkwardly placed strobe did not fire at all (the
    strobe was pointing up and the sensor at the back didn't detect the on
    camera or other strobe going off. The on camera was at 1/32 and
    pointing away, and the other strobe at half power) The fix was to move
    the sync cord to that strobe. (Not bees).

    So, be sure that both of your strobes *are* firing. If you have a wein
    slave and the right connector, plug that in and let the slave detector
    dangle where it will pick up the light from the other strobe better.

    If you don't have a slave, then add a bit of white paper reflector or
    tinfoil near the sensor for the uncorded strobe to help it gather light
    from the other strobe. eg, the sensor is usually pointing away from
    where the other strobe is illuminating, so it has a hard time detecting
    the other strobe, esp if the other is dialed down.
    Alan Browne, Nov 4, 2003
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  3. Michael Stevens

    columbotrek Guest

    When you decrease the power setting of your strobe you should pop it off
    once to remove the higher setting's charge. And as another poster
    mentioned, some times if the power for the master strobe is set to low,
    the slave may not fire. Rethink your settings or positions so you can
    use the master at a higher level or use some other means to positively
    signal the slave strobe to fire. Hint: the strobe uses IR to signal and
    gels are transparent to IR. A cheep o hot shoe flash and some unexposed
    but processes slide film will make a dandy IR pass filter. It will trip
    the strobes yet not add to the overall exposure. Maybe get some
    additional sync cords plus splitter and hard wire them.
    columbotrek, Nov 4, 2003
  4. Michael Stevens

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alien Bees auto-discharge if you set them to a lower setting.
    ( )
    Alan Browne, Nov 4, 2003
  5. Michael Stevens

    Matt Clara Guest

    It does take them a couple of seconds to do so, however.
    Matt Clara, Nov 4, 2003
  6. Ahhhhh ... now I see.

    The light was such that I had the KEY light set to about 1/8th and the
    FILL light as low as it would go to 1/32. That would explain why the
    KEY light didn't fire when I was hard wired into the FILL. It simply
    wasn't bright enough to trip the KEY light's slave sensor.

    That doesn't explain why on several occasions the second QUICK shot
    was properly exposed, though. Maybe those couple frames were just
    flukes ...


    Michael Stevens, Nov 6, 2003
  7. Something to remember but it happened a couple times so I don't think
    that was the problem.
    Michael Stevens, Nov 6, 2003
  8. Michael Stevens

    columbotrek Guest

    Maybe at the low setting you are in the range of maybe. Experiment.
    Place strobes and pop them off while adjusting the dial to see if you
    can find where it is reliable.
    columbotrek, Nov 6, 2003
  9. Michael Stevens

    Patrick L. Guest

    The larger units, perhaps, but my B400s dump the extra charge very quickly.

    Patrick L., Nov 7, 2003
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