I thought I’d write a brief review of these wireless radio triggers as I couldn’t find a lot of info online about them other that the details on the Calumet website. 6 months ago I decided I needed some way of wirelessly triggering flash heads and flashguns both indoors and outdoors. Pocket wizards always seem to be recommended but at around £180 per unit it would cost roughly £500 to buy three! I’d need one for the camera and two if I wanted to use two Nikon speedlights. At the same time cheap ebay triggers were around £30-40 for what i’d need but being made cheaply in China I’d read a lot about them being unreliable and having poor range. At the time I bought some Calumet 4 Channel LED Radio triggers, the same as the one in the photo below. At £70 for the set in the photo plus another £45 for a second receiver they seemed fairly good value at the time.
Having used them quite a bit though in the 6months I had them I did notice a few problems. One was that when connected to my Bowens flash heads they would occasionally fire the flash randomly, once every 15mins or so. They seemed to be affected quite badly at times by interference too, I used them in Belfast a few times and again they would fire of the Nikon speedlights randomly. It was so bad on one occasion I had to turn the trigger off completely and use Nikon’s CLS system instead. Finally they wouldn’t let me sync the flash at anything higher than 1/125th of a second when the D700 can sync at 1/250th, it’s a shame this wasn’t mentioned on the packaging as I might not have bought them then. I also found out online that they had been discontinued meaning that I couldn’t buy any more receivers if I needed them. In the end they gave up about a week ago. They just stopped syncing with the camera at all. I tried new batteries, various shutter speeds but nothing seemed to work. It seemed that they were firing the flash just slightly after the shutter had closed meaning the light from the flash never got recorded in the image. I found the receipts and took them back to Calumet Belfast who I have to say were very helpful, they offered to swap them for brand new ones but with the limited sync speed and the problems I’d had I asked for a refund instead. This was fine with them but they suggested I tried these new Calumet Pro Series triggers instead.
I was able to swap the old units for a new Calumet Pro Series Transmitter and two recievers, infact the new ones are quite a bit cheap even though they feel a lot more solid and have better specs. Having used them on a few jobs now I can say they work really well. They seem to sync cleanly at 1/250th and I haven’t had any problems with interference so far. Build wise they seem a lot better than the old Calumet triggers which were fairly crude in their construction. The newer units are around the same size but seem to be made from nicer textured plastic with a metal hotshoe foot. In terms of specs they have a 100m range although I’ve not tested this as I’d rarely have them that far away. The main benefit besides the full 1/250th sync is the fact that they come with a hotshoe foot on the bottom and a hotshoe on top. You can now just mount the Speedlight/flashgun directly on top of the receiver, doing away with the need for cables and adaptors, especially for flashguns that have no PC port such as the Nikon SB600 (photo below on SB800). They do however come with a box full of cables for every possibility which is good, you can see the cables in the photo below.
I haven’t really used these for anything other than triggering flash heads but they can also be used as a wireless remote for your camera as well. They came with three different kinds of Nikon cables for connecting to your camera so they could be used a remote release too. The little grey button on top of the transmitter can be half pressed to activate Autofocus and then fully pressed to fire the camera.
So far they’ve worked really very and I’ve been very impressed by their performance considering they aren’t the most expensive radio triggers on the market. I’ll continue to use these for a while yet to see how they work and then maybe add a few more receivers as I need them. I’ve added a few more photos below just to show the connectivity and different sides.