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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How To Trigger Minolta/Sony Flashes Wirelessly via Paul Buff's CyberSyncs

Despite my Google searches, I found nothing on how to trigger the Sony Alpha flashes without having to use the [great but limited] built in infrared system. I did some thought and figured theoretically this set up I conjured up will work and gladly it DOES! Read on for full instructions!

All you need to shoot wirelessly without Sony's built in infrared system: (Left to Right): Minolta 5600 flash strobe, Paul Buff's CyberSync Transmitter, Seagull SC-6 Flash Hotshoe Adapter, Industrial Strength Velcro, Paul Buff's CyberSync Receiver [CSRB+], eBay Sony Hotshoe adapter, Mini-plug to PC Sync cord [included with Cybersync receiver].

Paul Buff's CyberSync Transmitter ($59.95)

eBay Sony Hotshoe adapter ($10+). They're cheap so I bought two which the spare is in my bag just in case.

Seagull SC-6 Flash Hotshoe Adapter ($10+). Just like above, I bought two for a spare.

Shot of the Sony flash to standard hotshoe adapter.

Paul Buff's CyberSync Receiver [CSRB+] ($89.95)

Mini plug to PC Sync cord [included with CSRB+]

Industrial Strength Velcro ($6)

Minolta 5600(d) Flash [aka Sony's 56] ($350+)

First, attach the flash hotshoe to standard hotshoe adapter to flash unit.

Attach the transmitter to the sony hotshoe adapter and then finally on top of the camera. Looks monstrous I know but hey it works!

Rear view of its epic proportions.

Cybersync receiver attached to side of Minolta 5600 with the velcro. Sync cord attached.

Forgot to add in the picture of "All You Need": a hotshoe swivel with umbrella attachment adapter ($15). Here is the unit pictured with the hotshoe mount tightened and almost ready to go!

Attached to my Manfrotto monopod and will be handled by my assistant to use reliable wireless photos with the Sony Alpha flash system.

Rear view. Note: the PC sync cord going into the adapter [to the flash] is very loose so I attach a a piece of Gaffer's tape to secure it. May look a bit tacky but it does its job very well].

Frontal view: You can see that I can put an umbrella if I'd like to diffuse the light when shooting wireless portraits. Totally flexible as you can now you attach any light modifiers [I have a Stofen Omnibounce that I plan to use if doing "bare bulb"].

The latest shots using this set up: DJ Zita [San Francico] at Poleng Lounge. Flash set up held by my girlfriend on camera right.

Another shot done with intentional flare using the set up.

Pros:
  • More reliable than using the built in infrared system [using the pop up flash as trigger]
  • Distance of flash to camera is only limited by the CyberSync [can easily get a loooong range]
  • No hiccups: fires at will without any misfires
  • Still cheaper than a Pocket Wizard set up [you still have to add a custom wire to be made to fit the Sony flash which costs roughly $60!+!]
  • Entire set up: roughly $170 [still less than the price of ONE Pocket Wizard!]
Cons:
  • No TTL so you're gonna have to [learn how to] shoot manually!
  • That's all I can think of for now =)
Hope this helps to all you Sony Alpha users and let us all join the strobist gang! Enjoy!

6 comments:

robert said...

I Appreciate your chronicling of this Sony strobe set up. There needs to be more discussions about the Sony System until it becomes more standardized like those of Nikon and Canon.
Best,
robert

JJ Casas (jcasasphotography.com) said...

thanks robert for the comment! I agree, when I came up with this and posted it on dpreview.com, I thought it was fairly new but it seemed no one was as excited as I was. haha

I'll be posting new pics with this set up soon since I had a photoshoot today.

Thanks for taking a look.

Dave said...

A somewhat simpler method: http://www.flashzebra.com/products/0141/index.shtml?

JJ Casas (jcasasphotography.com) said...

thanks Dave!!! I really wished I've seen this before but it's so hard to find sony/minolta stuff out in the web despite google!!

I think someone mentioned this as well at dpreview.com when i mentioned this in the forums.

i will bookmark this and definitely if my set up fails i'll grab theses. my set up though is still cheaper haha but this looks fail-proof as well.

thanks again for the head's up!

Molly Clark said...

It's firing just fine with my master flash, but slave flashes aren't firing at all. Any idea how to solve this?

Molly Clark said...

Hi JJ,
Thank you! If you can help me solve this problem I will give you a discount on our toppers! :)

Well the problem I am having is a little different. I shooting with a Sony a77, I have a master flash and two slaves. I purchased the Paul C Buff setup last year for some weddings, didn't get them running correctly so continued with infrared firing.

I have all of the accessories I need to make it work, and it DOES for master, but the 2 slaves are not. Should my camera be set to anyhing specific? What should my slaves and master be set to?

I'd like to get this working correctly before succombing to pocket wizard, as I'm assuming that it may just be a faulty setup from Paul C Buff.

Thanks again'