30 December 2008

Off camera cord OC-E3 is your friend for wireless flash

It's Tuesday so I needed a photographer to feature, but in lieu of some photographer here's a tale of how even the simplest accessory can be your saviour in times of need.

The humble off camera cord OC-E3 sits on your hotshoe and connects the master flash to the camera. In fact the camera thinks the flash is on the hotshoe so you get all the control but now the flash is off camera and you can move it for better lighting. 

Just yesterday out on a shoot I was trying out some strobist techniques with a Speedlite 580EX II firing in to an umbrella high up on a lighting stand; nine or ten feet high up. The big problem was getting the flash in the umbrella to trigger reliably with the wireless from the on camera flash. Getting the on-camera flash on the end of the OC-E3 and in the hands of a VCA (voice controlled assistant) meant the assistant could hold the master and aim it at the high up Speedlite in the brolly and I could get on with the shooting. I was using the master flash only to trigger the slaved one in the brolly after all. The VCA let on later that he'd seen this kind of trick on Joe McNally's blog some weeks ago so a Nikon trick works on the Canon's too.

Some of you will think; that's a 60cm cable length only on that OC-E3, but remember you can daisy chain them together too for more reach. Another thing is that the older Off Camera Cord 2 also comes up on ebay a lot for little money and they work just as well. If you're handy with a soldering iron you can even remove the short 60cm curly cable and replace it with a longer length of ethernet patch cable. Off camera cord and wireless E-TTL lets me use high speed sync to kill the ambient a little easier than using a dumb trigger like an ebay trigger or pocket wizard.


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