blue sky

Initial requirements discussion

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blue sky

Postby Gordon » Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:01 pm

Just been thinking about what the feature set of this could / should be. Certainly simplicity is a great goal and we should also worry about getting something working before going crazy, but if we have an idea of the end feature set, that could change fundamentals, like what wireless protocol is appropriate or what IO is required. So I'd like to see some of the wackier ideas people have for this, beyond being a simple manual slave trigger. V1 doesn't need to have any of this, but it can be good to just let the imaginations run wild, without being critical straight away.

Is the aim just to clone PW/ cactus functionality ?

Clone the proposed/claimed radio popper functionality ?

Do something more flexible/ cheaper/ better/ radical ?

What would your ideal flash controller look like ?

Is this just a link between the camera and the flash, or could it be more than that ?

Can it control/ trigger the camera remotely ?

Is there a software interface, so that tethered operation could let you vary flash ratios from a laptop, or set up a variety of preset sequences that could be dialed in ?

Could the unit remember presets? Could it adjust presets for you based on measured lighting ?

Could the unit roll in some interval timer type of functionality to be more flexible remote trigger ?

If we create something with flexible software control a whole range of interesting possibilities open up. I'm curious what your 'ideal' unit would be able to do, above and beyond what's already out there or proposed. Now seems like the time to come up with the wild, wacky or weird and we can throw those out and narrow the scope later.
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Postby aalto » Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:32 pm

Like i posted on the requirements thread, my "dream" unit doesnt include one of the canon/nikon/etc flashes.

I mean, people are going head over heels over trying to figure out how to connect to all sorts of TTL standards. Or some just want cheaper PWs.


What i want is a Remote, wireless flash that can take a beating, get on with rain, have a built in umbrella hole, and remote adjustment. Frankly just a flash thats made to be off camera, not a flash thats made to be on-camera but with x thingamajigs connected, can be taken off and placed somewhere.

Please read my answer at the requirements thread with the nice illustration =) for more ideas.

regards, P
aalto
 
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Postby JonSenior » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:26 am

aalto: While such a device might be cool, the ability to control nearly any flash remotely (including power level) is far cooler. It's also something that can be kit built more easily, is more user extensible and doesn't forceably require complex tooling.

There would be nothing to stop you from building the final trigger into your flash, but I would be wary of a solution to the problem of naff eBay triggers and expensive PW's that involved building a custom flash unit. Sledgehammer and walnuts. Aside from the irritating Minolta foot on one of them, there is nothing wrong with the flashes I own. Why would I want to replace them? I just want to control them.
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Postby MQ » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:01 am

Take that flash out of the equation and I'm with aalto.

The thing needs to take a beating and should be somewhat
environment protected. I don't need any TTL or remote
power ratio setting.

In fact, remote power setting with proprietory systems
is one of the disadvantages some systems suffer from.
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem.
MQ
 
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Postby aalto » Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:04 pm

The design of nikon and canon (etc) flashes is lacking for the strobist approach. You need heaps of extra accessories that weigh down your bag just to get a connected to b and to working with c. What i really want to get rid of is all the wires going between the units, all the parts sticking out. Lets say you would make a flash, that way you could house the wireless bit as a replaceable item inside. You could make a system that would enable easy DIY attachments for controlling light (like a simple 77mm thread in front of the light, a couple of 1/4" threads on both sides, a hole to put your umbrell through and a built in adjustment for the angle.) Think what you could NOT carry with you after that. No Double PWs, no Umbrella swivel, no gaffers tape to attach that grid. You could use all the color correction filters made for 77mm thread, even though they are scraped almost beyond recognition, no more gels melting.

A built in backlight stand would be fairly easy to make, you could attach a handle if you wanted it, you could attach a quick plate for your regular tripod just as easily as you would on your camera, etc.

These are possibilities that are available if one would build a flash made to be off camera, in stead designed to be on camera and then taken off.

On a note: Why would somebody want a waterproof radio trigger, since none of the flashes sold today handles rain anyway (with the exeption of diving gear)? really want to carry that extra rain cover for your flash as well?

regards, P
aalto
 
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Postby aalto » Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:09 pm

JonSenior:

I have already built a radio trigger into my Metz flash. Just missing the power-ratio control.

As of complex machining, I really dont think that it needs to be too complex, thats just a question of how you design it. I personally would like a flash that would be round and about the same size as a standard lens, with the flash in one end and the on/off control and swivel in the other end, maybe an folding antenna.

regards, P
aalto
 
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Postby JonSenior » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:22 pm

aalto wrote:As of complex machining, I really dont think that it needs to be too complex, thats just a question of how you design it. I personally would like a flash that would be round and about the same size as a standard lens, with the flash in one end and the on/off control and swivel in the other end, maybe an folding antenna.


I personally like my flashes to be flat and stackable, and replaceable at any given moment from a local camera shop... or eBay.

Building a flash in addition to a radio trigger is another order of magnitude (or several) in terms of difficulty. Not least of all exposing the hobbiest builder to 300V capacitors. Your requirements are case-led. I'd like to see a capability-led project.

And lastly. If I upgrade my low GN Sunpak for a high power one, or buy a set of studio flashes, I'd like to be able to use the same units without having to take a screwdriver to my old flash.

Flexibility is key here.
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