Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dog Portraits strobist style in the North East

iShoot Sniper review, Jamie Emerson at Hairy Dog Photography, Pet and Lifestyle portraiture throughout the North East, tests a set of iShoot Pocket Wizard type radio controlled flash triggers.

About a month ago, Roger at UK Highland Photography was kind enought to send me a pair of iShoot Sniper radio controlled flash triggers for testing and review.  Although I plan to carry out a 'proper' review at a later date, I took them out with me today whilst walking Kasper the hairy dog.

It took me a while to figure out what the buttons do, and they are a bit fiddly for my sausage fingers, but once you work it out, they're actually very simple little units.  They look a LOT like Pocket Wizards.  When on the camera, they do look impressive and that's no bad thing!

For no particular reason, I took my Sigma 10-20mm lens (very wide angle).  With hindsight, perhaps not the best lens to test the triggers with, but hey-ho.

Just for fun, I tried the trigger off camera about 100 feet away, tucked behind a bush (photo above).  You can barely tell, but that's Kasper sitting in that pool of light.  The Sniper fired the flash flawlessly every single time, no hesitation, no failures. 

In the photo above, the flash was badly balanced with the daylight - the flash is very obvious and a harsh shadow is cast behind Kasper.  I quite like the effect though!  In the photo below, I just opened up the apperture by a couple of stops and powered the flash down, to give a slightly more natural portrait.  The shadow is still there, but would almost disappear if a brollie was used, and the flashgun was higher up.

The last photo is supposed to look as if Kasper has walked into a ray of sunshine!  The flash head was zoomed into the body to give a spotlight effect, also known as narrow flash.

So whilst this is by no means a scientific or exhaustive review, here's a quick summary;

Good Points;
  • They look good.  Damn good.  And that makes me look good, non?
  • They work. They just do.  Without any fuss, mis-fires or annoying beeping noises.
  • They have 15 channels, so uncle Bob won't be setting them off using his compact camera flash half a mile away.
  • They 'wake up' sleeping speedlights.  This is certainly true of my SB-800s and SB-600s.  This is a great feature - some of my other (cheaper) triggers don't do this.
Bad Points;
  • The hotshoe connectors are a very tight fit.  This isn't too bad on the strobe mounted unit, but I really have to wrench the unit to get it off the camera.  Scary tight and definitely needs addressing -I fear for my camera's delicate hotshoe.
  • The + and - signs in the battery case are tiny, barely visible in good light and would be a pain in the neck should the batteries need changing in bad light.
  • The instructions are on a par with Nikon's own - nonsensical at best.
So all in all, well put together triggers.  More to follow, once I've had the chance to use them some more!

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