The Ojecoco H-430 are the result of a collaboration between long time UK based strobist Cotswold Photo, and Chinese companies Ojecoco and Commlite.
Ojecoco are a relatively new company and their first product the H-550 trigger stood out as something pretty unique and innovative, an inexpensive trigger with a manual high speed sync (hypersync) timing dial. Unfortunately the 550 didn’t work out quite as well as we were hoping (some more on the 550 below) but this review will focus on the H-430 which is a completely new and from my experience much improved design.
The H-430 were designed to offer an improved alternative to the standard budget strobist triggers, the YongNuo RF-602/3, without adding too much to the price tag. And they have done pretty good job. They are unashamedly built to a price, but the build quality is completely reasonable and I don’t think you can get the same features for the price anywhere else at this stage.
Refinements (over the RF-602) –
- Locking Ring & locking Pin on the Transmitter & Receiver (fairly good ones)
- Good simple accessible Power, Channel & Group switches
- Pass Through Hotshoe on Transmitter allows on camera flash with full TTL functions
- 3 Groups with great simple On Off switches on the Transmitter
- High Sync speed over 1/250th (around 1/1200th + with electronic shutters)
- 300v trigger voltage
- Standard 2.5mm miniphone plug sync ports
- Standard AAA batteries all-round
Other Features –
- Wireless (& wired) shutter release functions
- Flash wake-up function
- Hotshoe and PC cord flash triggering
- 2.4 GHz Frequency
- 100+ meter range
- Compatible with H-550 triggers allowing shutter and flash release with one Transmitter unit.
TTL Pass Through Hotshoe
This is likely the most significant extra feature over the basic refinements. It allows a flash to be mounted on top of the transmitter on the camera, and be used in full TTL (or manual) while the off-camera slave receivers and flashes are fired in manual. But it also allows an ST-E2 like device or similar to be mounted just as a focus assist light, which you can’t do with non TTL pass though shoes like the RF-603 and Cactus V5 etc.
My take on Pass Though Hotshoes – These are a very welcome feature, but they can also put a lot of stress and wear on a trigger that would otherwise have lasted a long time without any issues. Its a tough ask for any trigger to withstand the extra stress of a heavy flash on camera, and any movement between the camera, trigger, and flash, can quickly compound into more movement if your constantly swivelling the flash head. This in turn can result in reliability issues with the TTL pins not contacting properly and eventually reliability issues in the trigger itself.
The H-430 pass through shoe is reasonably solid without too much movement, but if your even considering seriously using a flash on camera regularly I would go straight for the Phottix Strato II as they have set the standard for a solid tight fitting connection. But even those will only tolerate so much abuse, and the same goes with PocketWizards etc.
For occasional on camera use The H-430 pass through can be really handy to have available. Even if its just for some occasional low light focus assist light use.
The other option is a flash mounted on an on-camera flash bracket (attached via a TTL off-camera shoe cord to the transmitter) which also puts very little stress on the transmitter. So a flash on camera / bracket can be used safely for longer term wedding and event style use if needed. Also as mentioned a focus assist light like the ST-E2 is no stress either.
So the TTL pass through shoe in general is still a really welcome feature.
The H-430 have good hotshoes on the receivers which means you can go completely cordless with most speedlights. That’s a great convenience that even the new PocketWizard Plus III still don’t offer.
This is also particularly helpful with flash units like the Nikon Sb-600/700 and Canon 430exII which don’t have a sync port to connect to directly via a sync cord at all. Those would require an extra hotshoe adapter otherwise.
This is another area where the original RF-602 have never been the greatest, and the later/current version RF-603 are even slower. This mainly just means you will likely start seeing shutter curtain in the image if you use the cameras maximum x-sync speed (1/250th etc). So often you have to stay at 1/200th or less to be sure of a clean frame without shutter curtain.
The H-430 in comparison are FAST. The Canon Pixel Soldiers shown below are one of the fastest I’ve used and the the H-430 are a little faster again. So you see a little less shutter than shown with the Pixels below. (this is with an 1.6x crop camera with 1/250th x-sync).
This extra shutter speed can allow you to even push to 1/400th etc if the subject is not in the area of the shutter curtain. That can be a big help if you’re trying to get a sharper freeze in motion (in bright ambient light) or when underexposing against the sun. If using an Einstein strobe for example, that 2/3rds of a stop extra is like 2/3rds of an extra Einstein flash (over the one unit).
The other thing is with cameras with electronic shutter (like the Nikon D40, D70, or Canon G12 etc) you can expect much better results as well. Rf-602 would be around 1/600th to 1/800th max, while these would often do 1/1200th plus.
Switches – Sockets
The switches feel fairly solid, simple and accessible. Channels are great, simply scroll though the LED lights. Groups are the same, scrolling groups is not ideal but its fast enough and does the job. (5 Channels and 3 groups).
Sockets are standard 2.5mm audio. Standard 3.5mm headphone socket would have been better for the sync cord port, I’m not sure why they did not do that but its one area the Cactus V5 for example have a small advantage.
The H-430 are made to a price but they are still completely reasonable. If I hadn’t already experienced some issue with the H-550 build quality I wouldn’t have though twice about it. If you like nice gear head straight for the Stratos II’s, but if your trying to get the most out of a budget the H-430 do the job fine.
Battery doors – This is probably one area that is a regular reminder of the level of build quality. You really have to snap these open and shut hard!, but once I was used to how to do that it was no issue.
Other ways they have saved money are by making the transmitter and receiver case the same unit, just using a different foot screwed onto each. The packaging is super simple (which is cool) and they don’t come with many cords (if any) or batteries or printed manual. But again if you’re trying to do this on a budget those things often don’t matter.
I’ve not experienced any misfires, and just a few random fires which I think I have narrowed down to the test fire button on the transmitter. Just taping that button is enough to set it off, but that’s no problem at all now that I know what it is.
Long term reliability remains to be seen offcourse, but the user reports have been good so far. Its obvious just from the sync speeds these have some solid electronics inside.
The H-430 come in Canon and Nikon versions but this is mainly for the flash wake up feature and TTL pass through hotshoe. You can still use Canon on Nikon cameras and vice versa, but the flash wake up and TTL pass through would be lost. For Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Fujifilm cameras the Nikon version is recommended.
Most speedlites and studio strobes with a trigger voltage of 300v or less can be used.
Backward / Forward Compatibility
The H-430 are compatible with the previously mentioned H-550. At this point I’m not sure of the advantage of paying extra for the 550, other than you can use one H-550 transmitter on the camera to fire flashes as well as being a remote wireless shutter release at the same time. (Using 430’s only to fire shutter and flashes would require two H-430 transmitter units).
This also shows Ojecoco are conscious of the importance of backward and forward compatibility, and their next trigger in the works (an I-phone app style controlled trigger) could be a very interesting addition to the current units.
The H-550 where Ojecoco’s first triggers, a more advanced transceiver version of the 430 with a very unique high speed sync (hypersync) manual timing adjustment dial. Unfortunately the first versions we tried needed some refinement with regards to build quality and the hypersync feature was unstable (although it showed a lot of promise).
But the current version II (atleast the Canon verisons we tested) have still not proven functional enough in our experience with regards to the high speed sync feature, which jumps around considerably with the timing setting from one shot to the next. That’s a pity because it could be a really useful tool and a unique feature in an inexpensive trigger.
The H-550 case will also lift up at the rear seam it you push forward on the flash. That may not be an issue as a receiver but I personally wouldn’t use that for flash on camera (pass through).
Have the H-430 provided a good improved alternative to the RF-602/3 worth paying the extra price (aprox. $60 a set vs $30) ?… Absolutely. There’s countless new inexpensive triggers released every week now and most do very little to improve on the original RF-602 (if even as good). Its really no surprise with the involvement of a long time strobist in the development these would tick most of the right boxes. The 602 are still close to half the price though so they won’t exactly be obsolete just yet.
Would I trade in the Strato II to save a few dollars?… not quite. The Strato are already well priced for what they offer in quality and function compared to PocketWiazrds. The price is not likely to get much lower without making compromises, and I really hope they wouldn’t do that as the price is already very reasonable. But for someone starting out trying the most they can out of minimum dollars the 430 offer a great option.
It will also be very interesting to see what Ojecoco have in store next, the 430 are pretty conventional but Ojecoco are keen to offer some very unique alternatives in the future, and at low prices.
Thanks to Ojecoco and Trevor from Cotswold Photo for sample units for testing. Ojecoco themselves have always been very helpful and quick to answer customer service questions.
- Radio frequency: 2.4GHZ
- Signal type: Frequency Shift Keying (FSK)
- Antenna: Built-in PCB Antenna
- Control Distance: 150m (subject to environmental limitations)
- channels: 5
- Flash groups: 3 groups; 7 different group combinations
- Normal maximum triggering sync-speed: 1/320 second (camera dependent)
- H-550TRX maximum HSS triggering sync-speed: 1/8000 second (camera dependent)
- Battery Type: 2 x AAA (2.4V~3.2V)
- Standby time: H-430TX 100 days, H-430RX/H-550TRX 200 hours
- Camera shutter port, Studio flash (H-430RX/H-550TRX)/ECP (H-430TX) ports:Ø2.5mm
- Safe Port Voltage: 3.3V to camera (H-430TX/H-550TRX), 300V from flash (H-430RX/H-550TRX)
- Minimum latency: H-430 400µs, H-550 480µs
- Body Dimensions (LxWxH): 84*42*38mm (H-430), 78*46*38mm (H-550)
- Net Weight (without batteries or cables): H-430TX: 52gm, H-430RX: 46gm, H-550TRX: 55gm
- Working Temperature:-15°C~65°C
- Storage Temperature: -30°C~85°C
Manual download here – www.cotswoldphoto.co.uk/media/H-430-English-Manual.pdf
Price and Availability
The H-430 are available from Cotswold Photo on ebay
Also available as the Commlite Comtrig G430 from Amazon.