The synchronizer for the camera is an integral part of studio shooting, without it, pulsed light will not be able to work at the right time. But it will come in handy even outside the photo room — for example, if you want to get interesting light from an on-camera flash, place pulsed light around a location, or shoot a report and don’t want to hit the light “on the forehead”. The synchronizer gives the light sources a signal that you press the camera button and they need to fire.
We talk about the types of synchronizers and how to connect a camera and a flash with each other using this device.
What are the synchronizers for the camera
The oldest type of synchronizers. It is a cable, one of the ends of which is put on the hot shoe of the camera (the connector on the top of the camera), and the other is attached to one or more flashes (depending on the model of the sync cord).
There are models of sync cords in which the connection to the camera occurs through a sync contact — a special connector that is usually located somewhere on the side of the camera. In this case, you can control the flash not only in TTL mode (flash power is calculated automatically using the exposure meter in the camera), but also in manual mode (you can set the flash power yourself). But keep in mind that not all cameras have such a connector.
It turns out that there will always be a wire between the camera and the flash, connecting them and transmitting a signal to the lighting device that you pressed the shutter button. The length of the cord determines how far the flash can be carried. Sync cords are suitable for both on-camera flashes and studio equipment.
Advantages of sync cords:
+ Batteries are not required for power supply;
+ the signal is transmitted through the cable, which increases the reliability of synchronization;
+ ease of setup. Just connect the cord to the flash and connect the cable to the camera;
+ price. For example, a five-meter Falcon Eyes SC6350 sync cable will cost less than 500 rubles.
Cons of sync cords:
— the flash and the camera are physically connected, which limits the range of the cord length;
— how many flashes can be connected to the camera depends on the number of connectors on the cord;
— an additional cable that will interfere and constantly remind you of yourself.
They are also called IR synchronizers, IR transmitters. These are wireless triggers that, when the camera shutter is released, send an infrared signal to the flashes that they need to fire. To do this, the flash must have a light trap. As a rule, even older flash models support IR sync. With the help of such a device, you can make any number of flashes work.
The infrared synchronizer is mounted on the hot shoe of the camera. In order for a specific flash to receive a signal from a specific synchronizer (you never know if you are a reporter who works in tandem with another photographer), you need to set it to light trap mode.
The radius of the IR synchronizer is about ten meters. This is more than if you shoot through a sync cable, but many times less than a radio synchronizer is capable of delivering.
Advantages of infrared synchronizers:
+ remote work from the camera without extra wires;
+ “ignites” any number of flashes;
+ synchronizes flashes of any models, regardless of manufacturer.
Cons of infrared synchronizers:
— signal transmission in line of sight, the range is limited by the light signal that the synchronizer gives;
— the light signal that the synchronizer gives cannot be blocked, flashes must “see” it in order to “catch” it;
— bright sunlight can interrupt the light signal of the IR synchronizer, and the flashes will not see it;
— budget models are rather flimsy in design, made of plastic and resemble fragile and cheap Chinese toys.
The most modern way to synchronize. Radio synchronizers consist of two parts: a signal transmitter or transmitter that is attached to the camera, and a receiver or receiver that is mounted on the flash. This is equally true for both on-camera and studio flashes. The only difference is that sometimes studio flashes need an additional wire to attach the receiver to.
More modern flash models may have a receiver built in by default. This is convenient if the flash and synchronizer are from the same manufacturer. For example, a Profoto radio trigger may not work with Hensel, and so on. However, manufacturers are gradually solving this problem by releasing universal synchronizers.
In order for the flash to read the radio synchronizer commands, one channel must be set on both devices so that they are “on the same wavelength”. Depending on the model of the synchronizer and the flash of the channels, there may be four, six and even eight channels. For example, the Yongnuo RF-603 II C1 synchronizer has 16 channels, and the range is up to 100 meters.
Advantages of radio synchronizers:
+ works regardless of the environment, bright sunlight;
+ range is higher than sync cords and IR synchronizers;
+ some models allow you to remotely control the flash output.
Cons of radio synchronizers:
— powered by batteries or batteries, the charge of which must be monitored, take additional power sources;
— can be triggered by other devices operating at a similar frequency. For example, from a car alarm.
How to set synchronizers to work with flash
— If you use a sync cable, then no settings are needed — just connect the flash and the camera.
— To connect an IR synchronizer and an external flash, you need to put the latter in S1 light trap mode (read our guide on setting up an on-camera flash) so that it catches the signal supplied by the synchronizer.
— In order for the radio synchronizer to control lighting devices, you need to put the receiver and transmitter on the same frequency (channel). Channel numbers can be either in the form of levers on older and budget synchronizer models, or hidden in the settings on the synchronizer screen. For example, Godox XPro‑C E‑TTL II.