For years I have been using off camera flash, no matter what camera I happened to own at the time. It produces beautiful lighting when used properly and helps you avoid that flat, “deer in the headlights” look with your images. David Hobby (Strobist), Zack Arias and Joe McNally (just to name a few) use off camera lighting all of the time (I know, I’ve seen them in action) and if you want to improve your flash photography, I recommend you do too.
I find myself using my X-Pro1 all of the time (and soon, the upcoming X-E1) and I have continued to use off camera flash. I had an unfortunate incident with my old Pocket Wizards (which were extremely reliable) which I used to trigger my remote speedlights and wanted to replace them – ideally with something smaller to match the compact size of the X-Pro1.
At first, I found some “el-cheapo” radio triggers on eBay. A number of people I know swear by them so I thought I would give them a try. They were quite small, however, I found them to be unreliable. They always seemed to stop working when I was at a client site (why, I do not know) and the transmitter gave up the ghost after a month of use. Perhaps I was unlucky and received a bad set, however, the last thing I want when doing paid client work is having equipment that I cannot rely on.
I was speaking to Billy of the Fuji Guys who showed me a tiny radio transmitter/receiver pair which he used with his X-Pro1:
I found out from him that he was using the FlashWave III radio transmitter (on the camera above) and receiver (to the right of the camera) – they are often re-branded under the name “Impact PowerSync 16” but they are exactly the same units. After using these with my X-Pro1 for the past two months, I am extremely happy with them. They are inexpensive, reliable, lightweight and best of all, they are small relative to my camera.
Above is the transmitter (Amazon – B&H Photo) that slides right into the camera’s hotshoe. I was shocked by how small and light it is. It supports 16 channels that are selectable via small DIP switches and uses a 3V lithium battery (a CR2450 which is included and lasts for months – replacements are inexpensive) to power it. It has LEDs to indicate power and status.
Again, there are four DIP switches to set the channel plus there are power and status LEDs on this unit. It is powered by two AA batteries (included) which last a long time (I am still using my original set). You can place your speedlight into the built in hotshoe or connect the PC sync port to the flash using the included cable. On the bottom of the receiver, there is a 1/4 20 mount so you can attach it directly to a light stand. The lanyard that is included also has a small tool attached to it that allows you to easily change the DIP switches on the unit. Nice touch.
I have had no issue triggering my external speedlights from 200 feet away and the manufacturer states the range is up to 600 feet. That should cover most photographer’s needs. Also, if you plan to purchase a transmitter and receiver pair at the same time, you can purchase them as a set (Amazon – B&H Photo) and save yourself a little money.
As you can tell, I wholeheartedly recommend this wireless flash/remote triggering system and use it all of time – not just for my X-Pro1, but for my other camera systems. They just happen to be really small and work well with the X-Pro1 – plus they are extremely reliable (and good value for the price).
So, if you want to use a speedlight with your X-Pro1 system, get it off of the camera to improve your images. Reliable radio receivers/transmitters and a little practise go a long way in making your flash photography better.
Here are a few examples of off camera lighting:
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