Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cactus V4

I was very happy when I got the news about 3 weeks ago that I got a package. Then I was slightly disappointed when I found out that the package came from Hong-Kong. I expected it from the US. Then I was even more disappointed that the postman said that I have to pay 36 CHF for the customs and VAT. But then I did not worry about that for long, paid that, and seized the package!

I liked the boxing, they were pretty nice. The transmitter and receiver package contained the required batteries (not in the photo), a lot of cables, some manual and a small book with shots (not in the photo, because I forgot to put it there):

The receiver-only set contains the receiver only, plus one cable. This cable was a PC cable as far as I know, since it could drive my 580 EX II:

Close-up of the devices:

There is a button and the led on the transmitter, which is intended to test the receivers (and your ability for pressing a button on the transmitter). When the receiver is turned on and tuned to the same channel (there are 4 microswitches, which gives you 16 different channels), its led is flashing for the rhythm of your finger of the trasmitter button.

There is no switch on the transmitter, just on the receiver. The design department made a bad decision about the location of the switch: if a flash (at least my Canon 580 EX II) is mounted in the hot-shoe, you cannot access it. So when you care to preserve the batteries of the receiver for long, you either have to use the PC cable to connect the receiver to the flash, or you have to remove the flash after every session. I think I can live with that, since I almost always move, but tell me how much work it would take to put the switch in front of the receiver?

Another thing about the switch is that I always forget which one is the on, and which is the off position. I have to use the transmitter to test them always to make sure.

Besides these small problems, I could pretty easily use these devices, and I am very happy to have them. I'll post two more photos using them as triggers. I think they definitely worth their prize, if you don't need fancy TTL triggering, then it is a pretty cheap solution. They claim that the response time is between 1/1000 and 1/500 sec, which is pretty good in this category. If you don't need that sync speed, you probably can have an even cheaper solution (Ákos mentioned something for half prize).

Besides these triggers, I have one optical trigger also, so that if the battery set dies in one of them, I can probably use it as a backup trigger (I just have to make sure that that flash can see at least one of the others). Therefore I cannot say anything about the battery life yet, I did not overuse it in the last month, actually I am happy that I had some time to shoot with it a little bit.

Edit: I tag all posts with the cactusv4 tag, that has connection with the device (at least for a while until it is not interesting any more).