Sunday, April 4, 2010

What's in the Bag? CTR-301P Wireless Triggers (the backup plan)

As I've said before and will likely say again, if not several more times, if shooting professionally, you must have a backup for every piece of equipment. At this point I am using my old wireless triggers for backup. The CTR-301P is actually not a bad little system. So far it has been quite reliable. The range is a bit short, getting spotty beyond about 40 or 50 feet, but in real world use that has not been a problem.

The build quality and features do not compare with the RF-602, but the CTR-301P does do the job. As you can see in the photo above, the transmitter has an all plastic foot with a single point of contact for the hot shoe. Under the plastic foot, on each side are the other electrical connection points to the hot shoe. These are some kind of springy steel that seems to get the job done, but quality is just not the word for this product. You do get a metal foot for the receiver and it is reasonably well constructed in terms of the plastic case and hot shoe.

The receiver has a battery door so you can replace the CR2 battery when needed, which won't be very often. The transmitter must be taken apart with a jeweler's screwdriver to access it's 23A 12V battery.

The big weakness for this model is the 1/8” jack for connecting to a studio flash. This jack is the reason I ventured to find a replacement. While the hot shoe has been just fine, the connector they used for cabling to studio lights is pathetic. I have to wiggle the connector and get it just right before it will work. Bump the cable and it will mean jiggling again to make it start working.

The CTR-301P receiver sports a hot shoe for shoe mount flashes and can be screwed onto a standard mount. It is sturdy enough to hold a Vivitar 285HV, so I reckon it can hold just about any shoe mount flash.

The receivers low profile contributes to its strength and makes it work well for shooting into an umbrella with minimal impact on the flash aim.

It also features an optical slave, which makes it serve double duty and comes in handy when you want to use a portable flash as a kicker with studio lights. Note that the switch on the receiver has three positions. Center is off, “L” is for Light activated (optical slave), and “W” is for Wireless. The transmitter has a small test button and a buried LED that blinks red when the trigger is activated.

Anyway, that's about all there is to it. At the end of the day, it is a decent system for casual use or backup provided you can by connecting using only receiver's hot shoe.

Coming Next
We've just turned the corner and are coming down the home stretch for this series. Only a few more posts to go and the next post will be short.

Until then...

Click Here for the next posting in this series
"Spare Batteries"

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