How to Not Get Burned By Buying The Wrong Wireless Flash Controller
I totally 100% recommend getting a real RF wireless controller for your off-camera flash. It will change your whole experience (for the better). However, I hear from a lot of folks who got burned by buying a controller that from the description seems like it would work with their existing flash, but then they find out (after hours of frustration) that it doesn’t work, and will never work.
So, here’s a quick look at how to avoid this whole mess so you wind up with the right controller.
Note: I don’t recommend getting just a wireless trigger. Those only fire your flash wirelessly. Get a controller — one where you can change the power of your flash, or turn it on/off right from your camera (it’s sits on top of your camera, in the hot-shoe mount).
OK, here’s where people get burned:
OK, so let’s say you’ve got a Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight (Flash). You find this Yongnuo manual flash trigger for $39 on B&H Photo (great price by the way — I have one of these and it works amazingly well), and it says it’s for Nikon cameras. You’ve got a Nikon camera, so you buy, and when you try it, it doesn’t work with your SB-5000 flash. That’s because it’s actually for Nikon owners who have a Yongnuo flash — not Nikon owners who have a Nikon flash. You have to have a Yongnuo flash to go with this Yongnuo wireless controller, but of course it’s important to buy the version that matches your camera brand (which in this example, is Nikon), so yes — you need the version of his controller “for Nikon.”
So, what are your options?
You have at least three:
Option 1: If you shoot Nikon, buy a Nikon brand transmitter, like the SU-800 seen above (or if you’re a Canon shooter like me, you’d get the ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter, which is about $30 more than the Nikon version, or if you’re s Sony shooter then the Sony FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander, which is about $100 more). They are designed to work perfectly with your same-brand, and they work like a charm.
Option 2: Find a third-party transmitter that actually will fire your Nikon, Canon or Sony brand flash, like the Godox XproC TTL for Canon shown above (it’s the same price for the Nikon, Canon [shown above] or Sony — $69, which is a great price. The reviews are somewhat mixed with some folks saying it works perfectly and some saying they can’t even get it to fire their Godox brand flash, but I didn’t see any that said it wouldn’t fire their Nikon or Canon or Sony flash, so it may be a problem with Godox flashes, rather than their transmitter. These Godox’s are really popular, with B&H show them as the #1 top-seller in the category for all three top brands of cameras.
Option 3: Go with a PocketWizard TT6 Transceiver for Canon or a Flex TT5 for Nikon. It’s more expensive than the Godox, but less expensive than the Canon or Nikon brand transmitters, but you need TWO of them (one to sit on your hot shoe mount on your camera, and the other to go under the flash itself on your light stand). This is defiantly a pro-level solution as PocketWizard is the gold standard for wireless remotes, but so is buying the name brand transmitter that matches your name brand flash, and that might save you a few bucks since you only need to buy one. But yet, it is an option.
There are other options out there, too, but I wanted to at least give you these three popular options in hopes that you wind up with a solution that works for your camera and your particular flash unit.
Important: Before you actually buy a wireless controller, look on B&H Photo’s page to make certain that whichever brand of controller you get, will work with your camera, and your flash. They list which models each is compatible with, so make sure you check that list before you hit the buy button.
Hope you found that helpful. Here’s wishing you a great day, and a safe, healthy weekend.