RADIOSTROBE – Dedicated Off Camera Speedlight System

RadioSTROBE

 

USA based photographer and electrical engineer Raman Evazians has set out to produce the worlds first speedlight system dedicated for off camera use, currently pitching the very ambitious RadioSTROBE on Kickstarter.

The RadioSTROBE basically combines a speedlight, with an 8 cell AA battery pack, and a TTL and HSS enabled radio receiver, all built into one compact and very convenient unit.

Moving away from the traditional on-camera swivel head speedlite design also allows a larger capacitor to be used, providing more power in a unit just one inch longer than a traditional speedlight.

A larger Xenon flash tube is also used allowing more pops before overheating. So the RadioSTROBE addresses all the limitations, of power, recycle speed, and overheating associated with current traditional speedlights.

And if all those advantages weren’t enough, the RadioSTROBE (unlike current speedlights) can also run off mains AC power as well. Even be powered by inexpensive 12 volt batteries, instead of requiring expensive dedicated high voltage external battery packs.

 

Radio_STROBE_a640

 

The RadioSTROBE system aims to be a very ambitious TTL and HSS compatible with Canon and Nikon systems (a separate dedicated transmitter is required for each system).

The lynqT-1 transmitter aims to provide a very tactile analogue style interface with can be easily adjusted by feel. No crazy Canon menus to deal with (no menus at all).

Four groups are provided, each of which can be turned on and off quickly, or switched from TTL to manual, so mixing groups is also possible. 1/3rd stop adjustments are provided.

 

RadioSTROBE

 

The lyteR-1 Speedlight is built into an easily stackable, and storable, solid rectangular case. With the flash head still fitting into regular speedlight modifiers and mounts.

A manual zoom head is adjustable though a slider tab on the top of the case, and 8 AA battery cells are housed inside the flash.

 

RadioSTROBE

 

The lyteR-1’s interface is again very simple and straightforward without any LCD screen as most regular speedlights offer. Power, groups, channels, and volume are all quickly accessed switches.

 

RadioSTROBE

 

Another feature of the lyteR-1 Speedlight, and large advantage over regular speedlights is the ability to run of mains AC power when desired as well, using a relatively small and inexpensive 12 volt adapter.

 

RadioSTROBE  lyteR-1

 

And inexpensive 12 volt sealed lead acid or gel batteries can be use to directly power the lyteR-1 Speedlight as well. High voltage battery packs are not required.

An external battery pack reduced recycle time from around 2 seconds with AA batteries, to around 1 second. As well as providing more shot without battery changes.

 

RadioSTROBE

 

A larger and higher rated Xenon flash tube allows for more pop before getting hot, allowing the lyteR-1 to provide more shots than a regular speedlite, addressing what is one of the biggest limitation of regular speedlights.

 

RadioSTROBE

 

And a larger capacitor than a regular speedlight provides 28 to 100% more energy (therefore more light).

 

RadioSTROBE

 

The RadioSTROBE lyteR-1 speedlight and lynqT-1 transmitter also offer a number of other technical features rarely seen before, like Hybrid Flash Durations, Soft Sync Switch Over, Time-Aligned Flash Bursts, and Range Extender Routine.

You can read more details on the many features of the RadioSTROBE on the Kickstarter campaign.

The RadioSTROBE system will be available in two radio frequencies to FCC and CE requirements. 916 MHz for the USA and Cannada, and 869 MHz versions for the UK and Europe.

 

 

 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

 

The RadioSTROBE lyteR-1 speedlight and lynqT-1 transmitter are available for pre-order on Kickstarter from $650 for the pair (saving $300 or the regular price).

Please note – Kickstarter is not a store, and there can be risks involved in backing projects.

 

RadioSTROBE – Kickstarter

RadioSTROBE – Website

 

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47 Comments
  1. Author
    Flash Havoc 4 years ago

    I should note, although I really like this project, and many people would know I have been trying to convince manufacturers to produce dedicated off camera flashes for years, the one possible oversight that would concern me is the lack of power slider directly on the flash as well.

    No display is one thing, though I would think there needs to be some power control option on the flash itself. It may be separate to the transmitter setting, or possibly cumulative etc, though surely it should be there in some form.

    Other things on the wish list would be any form of AF light on the transmitter, other than the flash modelling light.

    Another big one would be a global slider on the transmitter, to adjust all groups at once in their current ratios.

    And the biggest issue for wedding and event photographers is always going to be the method of combining a flash on camera. RadioSTROBE have to start somewhere, so this may be getting ahead of things, though wedding photographers would be a significant portion of the market interested in a system like this.

    • Paul H. 4 years ago

      All valid concerns. I think this attempt is a couple years late, technologically and economically speaking, if they really wanted to garner wide interest.

      I wonder how much their market research impacted design before launching this venture – or when their research stopped? More mature/efficient/powerful systems have existed for awhile now (e.g. Godox Witstro AD180/360, minus the TTL function – which Godox will probably bring to market soon). And more recent products like the Phottix Indra and Flashpoint Rovelight both have significant advantages too that make the Radiostrobe seem marginal.

      Radiostrobe is trying to isolate itself in comparison against the flagship Canon, Nikon flashguns, yet those overpriced, underpowered flashes aren’t the future of remote lighting (heck, they aren’t really even the ‘present’ aspect either). Innovative 3rd party systems in recent years have caused many serious shooters to look beyond their camera maker’s offerings. So what’s the big deal if the Radiostrobe has improved upon an SB910 + battery pack? Or that it is “dedicated” to off-camera lighting? There is no leap forward in any meaningful aspect of lighting for Nikon/Canon users here that I can detect, unless a built-in option for AC power or 8 AA batteries gets you excited.

      Another problem appears to be with the form factor of the Radiostrobe flash: so it mounts with a 1/4″ stud, but what of integration with other-than-umbrella type modifiers? How would someone use this with reflectors, dishes, or softboxes? They should know that a big part of remote lighting is the ability to efficiently and effectively shape light, and this usually requires a system to integrate with.

      Also, it appears to be only marginally more powerful than the high end flashes. For the price, it should be at least a full stop brighter to entice buyers. The AD180 is more than twice as powerful than OEM flashguns, and comes in kits with a fantastic battery for less than half the introductory price of the Radiostrobe (which won’t be delivered until next year).

      I’m looking for a competitive advantage here but cannot see anything compelling…

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 4 years ago

        Hi Paul,

        The flash head is a similar same size as a regular speedlights, so it can fit into brackets like the Godox or Phottix Bowen’s s-type mounts.

        Ideally they could eventual produce their own bracket to fit 2 or more of these into modifiers.

        Speedlightes are very efficient, even mounted in softboxes where they face the front diffuser, so a couple of regular speedlites can be surprisingly close to an AD360 etc in output when used in this way. And bare they can zoom easily for greater output at distances.

        The downfall of regular speedlights is still the flash tube overheating, though flashes like the Nissin MG8000 extreme have proven that can be overcome as well.

        So I personally think 2 speedlites built into the case of one, with a more resilient flash tube could be a very efficient unit for the size and weight. The RadioSTROBE does not appear to have quite double the capacitors at this stage, though its thinking along the same lines.

        This is just the type of unit I though Profoto would be announcing when they first teased the B1 “Off Camera Flash”. And now the B2 from most reports do not provide much more light than a regular speedlight, in a much less convenient package. Where the RadioSTROBE can be all self contained very compact.

        I can understand the Chinese companies do not understand the market demand for this type of unit (yet), or now it needs to be designed, though I’m dumbfounded that Prototo and PocketWizard etc have not done something like this years ago.

        They can always make larger strobes for the system later, but 2 speedlights condensed together is really the sweet spot for size to weight. And the traditional speedlite head gets the most efficiency out of the energy available.

        One speedlite has been the practical size / weight for on-camera flash, though for off camera 2 is really the sweet spot and ideal starting point. (That’s why I have been making dual flash brackets for quit e few years now instead). An all in one dual speedlite would be a much more convenient starting point though.

        My own personal designs have always been to have the battery pack removable though as well.

        I think if RadioSTROBE were a little more committed to showing a power output advantage (with guide number etc), and they addressed some of the issues noted above this could have a decent chance of getting up. As it is though $280,000 is a very ambitious target.

        Which is shame because someone with the skills to write TTL code needs to be making flashes. Maybe Raman could possibly collaborate with Alien Bees etc, as these companies really need products like this to stay relevant into the future.

  2. Peter A 4 years ago

    I call this the *retro* design — come to life!! The wishlist we all had 3-5 years ago with the 120J slider on that list.

    Unfortunately several years ago this project *could* have seen that it’s not price or feature competitive, but kept on going. Now we have the same features on the RP Jr2, Odin 2, etc., but as they point out they have sliders! So?? Is that worth $500 to you? Per Unit!!

    I do like the sliders! So I’ll wait a few years for Gen 2 or 3 which should look like an Indra with sliders. 🙂

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Pete,

      Yes the price is a tough ask in the current environment. Though price becomes less of an issue if they can prove a solid advantage in range and reliability etc over the Chinese gear.

      The difficult part is competing against systems available now like the Odin which have on-camera master units as well.

  3. Craig 4 years ago

    I like the design of the transmitter with the manual sliders and how the flash has a tripod thread built into the body. Other than that though, it doesn’t seem that appealing to me.

    My ideal light would be like a Godox V850 (love the compact li-ion battery!) with several tripod mounts, an integrated gel holder, and an umbrella holder attachment (similar to AD360). Pair it with a transmitter similar to this one but with an integrated AF assist lamp and that would be pretty great.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Craig,

      I think ideally it would be great if the battery pack clipped on, possibly to the rear of the unit. That way you could attach an AA pack or a lithium-ion pack etc.

      The V850 were a big step forward, and you have to give Godox credit for taking the lead there. Though I think it will be a long time before they take it to the next level the flashes like this could be.

      Again having a master on camera TTL flash for the Godox system will be difficult to compete with though.

      • Evgenij 4 years ago

        How much power does this lyteR-1’s flash?

  4. Peter A 4 years ago

    I”m sure all Shark Tank fans would love to see the look on their faces when Mr Wonderful asks “How am I going to make my money back?” i’m curious to know how much they had personally invested as they watched their competitive position getting weaker and weaker over the last few years. They must have had too much in to give it up.

    Even if this particular venture fails, as has been pointed out, they may have developed very marketable skills in the process. 🙂

    • Paul H. 4 years ago

      That’s funny, Peter. I can hear Kevin saying, “You’re dead to me!”

      This thread has plenty of valuable feedback to benefit whoever is trying to go to the next level (or get in the game with a winner; are you listening Buff Inc.?).

      • Evgenij 4 years ago

        It’s like heaven and earth, Paul always on top because he has the real thing
        All the rest – it’s nothing
        Let’s see when it will be the real test, and can say that it is disappointing
        Because, according to the advertising company it looks Dummy

  5. ellery 4 years ago

    Well for starters, there is no more large capacitor in the nikon sb800. I opened up my unit a week back just to satisfy the answer to that precise question – is there a large capcitor in a modern flash. A third party repair center had told me this. There are however small capacitors – some of them for high voltage – 600 volts. This step forward is roughly 3-5 year late. At this price point, there is no cost advantage to use this. On performance, ganging up flash units become a poor return on dollar vs performance once you go beyond 2 units. Example a SB800/900 is about 50-60 watts to get say 360 watts you need 6 to7 units . The cost even if you use say a young nou 560mkiv would be around $490 which means you could have just gotten a goddess ad360 instead. That avoids the mounting issues. There is nothing state as without view the video as to what the wattage of this is, I’d venture may twice to 2.5 time the power of an SB. Needs to put more on the table to make this look interesting.

  6. ellery 4 years ago

    There is that fallacy about a large tube having a high number of shots before it over heats. Speed light have enclosed tubes, which can not be air-cooled. That is one of the fundamental reason why it heats up so badly. A bigger tube should also generate more heat than a small tube; bigger burst of flash power. So I’d am skeptical about it claim on overheating

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi ellery,

      We have already seen with one example at least of the Godox V850 / V860 that a higher rated flash tube even of the same size can withstand more abuse.

      Godox had to use a different tube in the V850 for their H-mode HSS (which pulses the flash rapidly). When the V860C was initially released though for whatever reason they tried using the same tube as most regular Chinese speedlites, and those would blow with the first shot in H-mode.

      And no doubt the Nissin MG8000 use a higher rated tube as well. The venting is obviously helping again, though I’m guessing its likely a more expensive and higher rated tube that is making a difference as well.

      Though if the flash has a larger capacitor, it would likely need a higher rated tube just to break even again.

      • Evgenij 4 years ago

        I do not know what there is so much to say? It’s funny 🙂
        This is another deception as before with triggertrap resource. A very similar style 🙂
        As always, a lot of dust into the eyes of a lot of graphics, drawings and shit. But in fact, as in the past – empty ringing 🙂
        Still nothing, but let us money and we have something to give you, you also see how much we’ve written and as detailed in the empty space, we have to pay for it 🙂

        In order to be able to talk about something and if it is serious, it is necessary At least, specify the flash power 🙂
        We need to talk about what exactly is there any sense to this power and the hss for actual use, and much more. But there is nothing, there is a virtual description and drawings 🙂

        Everything is done very smart-ass to pump money from the weak brain:)

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Evgenij, Raman already has a working sample which a number of people have tried already.

          And to be fair I don’t think Triggertrap had any bad intentions either, though their situation was obviously a good lesson that there are risks involved in backing projects.

          If anyone was just setting out to take peoples money, then on-camera flash diffusers are a far far easier way to do that 😉

          • Craig 4 years ago

            I don’t usually correct people’s grammar or spelling, but I’ve noticed you use “their” when you meant “there” a number of times. Feel free to ignore this if you don’t care about it.

            • Author
              Flash Havoc 4 years ago

              Thanks Craig, yes I’m shocking with grammar and spelling etc. If it wasn’t for the auto correct software my writing would be frightening.

              You would think it would get better with practice, but no luck so far. I’ll have to do a where/were search and correct as well.

  7. Peter A 4 years ago

    Evgenij == Awesome phrasing!! There seems to be a lot of that around… 😉
    Everything is done very smart-ass to pump money from the weak brain:)

  8. ellery 4 years ago

    Grin I thought the design looked familiar. Anyone remember what the first pocket wizard looked like ? It is a lot like what this looks like… saw one once in the equipment locker of the stock photo library I worked for about 6 years back. Bossman was an early adopter of off camera flashes and the pocket wizard was hot shit when it came it out….. from some of workshop notes I found when cleaning out the store room.

  9. Adam Gasson 4 years ago

    Firstly I take my hat off to the guy – it’s pretty impressive to build your own system like this.

    But I think there are a few issues, firstly that I can’t seem to find a guide rating for the power anywhere. Saying ‘28% to 100% more energy’ means, AT BEST, it’s a stop more than a speedlite. So, AT BEST, it’s still a stop under a Godox Wistro AD-180 which is a lot cheaper, has HSS and, most importantly, is a bare bulb system.

    Which leads me on to my second major worry. The radioSTROBE is pitched as a studio solution but, like all speedlites, it fires the light out of the unit, whereas systems with a tube sitting proud of the unit, like a Godox Wistro, Profoto Acute etc, fills your modifier with light. It’s a limitation that even affects high end studio heads like the Profoto B1/D1.

    It seems to me like the radioSTROBE is trying to solve a whole load of problems that don’t really exist. The AF assist mode looks bizarre – like the same tool on a pop-up flash on an entry level DSLR.

    A few years ago, around the time RadioPopper first came on to the market and the choice was own brand or Metz, they would’ve changed off-camera flash. I just think it’s too late for a premium priced speedlite system now that the market is flooded with speedlite options.

  10. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi All,

    This is Raman from radioSTROBE.

    First, thanks to Flash Havoc for posting this, and for maintaining a surprisingly keen perspective about it.

    I’ve read all your comments and I appreciate them very much. I’ve been in your shoes on the consumer side, and now being on the design & manufacturing side, honest feedback is very valuable.

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve posted a youtube video to address some of the popular questions. It is here: http://goo.gl/mI8n6O

    Also, please check out the FAQ section at the bottom of the Kickstarter page. Some additional details are there.

    Regards,
    Raman

  11. Isaac 4 years ago

    Thus far, nothing really compelling that would entice me to move away from my current Godox AD-360 + V850 system.
    The follow up video, for example, only deals with conventional speedlight type flashes, but fails to even start to address the hybrid barebulb type flashes. In terms of raw power, availability, cost, and even light source (bare bulb vs recessed flash tube), the latter has the radioSTROBE beat right out the gate. (And yes, raw power is not just a spec, it is a usability issue: it determines how viable it is to use that flash in the daytime to balance the sun, the types and sizes of modifiers that can be used, and the distance that the modified light source can be from the subject.)
    The real problem, I suppose, is that as a new player in the market, the unique selling points need to be sufficient to motivate the costs, time and effort required for existing users to make the move. In this case, there is insufficient benefit in power, money saved/gained or even usability to motivate the change. Yes, there are some areas where radioSTROBE wins, such as the variety of power sources, the tactile (albeit bulky) controls, etc. But, I’m afraid, not enough to justify a transition.

  12. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Isaac,

    You bring up a couple different points.

    As I’m sure you are aware, there are speedlights, bare bulb flashes, and full size studio flash units. lyteR-1 is a speedlight and is designed to compete with other speedlights like the V850. But not bare bulb flashes like the AD360, or studio units like Alien Bees, etc. This is why I don’t address those types of units. Even if lyteR-1 cost $0, it would simply not be able to provide the light output of a device from a different class.

    radioSTROBE has been designed specifically to be neat and portable. For people on the go. And, super easy to use. In those respects, nothing compares to it, not even close. Unfortunately you have to try it to feel it for yourself I suppose.

    It’s interesting that you consider the tactile controls “bulky”. If they were much smaller I don’t think you would be able to use them without having to look at them… which was exactly what I have designed to avoid.

    Regarding price/cost. Understandably, radioSTROBE is constantly being pitted against the clone brands, which as you know cost a fraction of the originals. I own a few clone brands myself, and I’m very glad that us photographers have them as an option. However, they are not the same originals. I know, because I have taken many originals and clones apart, and see “drastic” differences. radioSTROBE is designed with the highest level of quality. All components inside are from top, reputable, manufacturers. A simple example , if you take a lyteR-1 (or Canon, or Nikon flash) apart you will see that the capacitor brand is Rubycon, not “radioSTROBE”. We don’t make our own components, we let the experts do that. Real components are guaranteed to provide an honest output for the life of the product, not just at the beginning when you test them with a light meter. This costs money! Making it in the USA costs quite a bit too 🙂

    “The real problem” as you mention is that radioSTROBE isn’t the right system for you. Especially if you need the power of a bare bulb flash. Nothing wrong with that ! No one said that there won’t be a bare bulb version in the future, or perhaps even a full studio flash unit!

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your input.

    Cheers,
    Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      Thanks for dropping in and responding to questions etc.

      And as others have said, congratulations for getting this far, as its no small achievement.

      With regards to maintaining a keen perspective, I have been banging on about these types of things for years, and that hasn’t really changed, as people are still dealing with many of the same limitations.

      If Canon were to release a dedicated off camera RT speedlite (900EX-RT) tomorrow, basically 2 speedlites combined into one, I have now doubt they would be flying off the shelves.

      Its not really all about power, its about a speedlite that is self contained, with twice the battery capacity, and over twice the speed and pops before overheating, when used at the same power levels as a regular speedlite.

      Though it doesn’t make sense to not have the extra capacitor then, for that extra stop of power when needed (for more limited use).

      I’ve been told countless times its too hard to make a bigger speedite, though that is just ridiculous, because I have no electronic skills at all and even I can still put the insides of 2 speedlites into one box and be 90% of the way there already. Any of the current flash manufacturer’s could make this much more compact and refined still.

      A lot of the pieces to make great gear are already out there, they are still just not being put together in the best combinations.

      Regarding the current RadioSTROBE design, unfortunately it looks like the market has already made a pretty clear decision there.

      The problem is (with the Canon system at least) that Canon have already now provided one of the best solutions for most people, providing a clean reliable on-camera flash transmitter option as well as the regular transmitter.

      Many wedding and even photographers struggled for a number of years with the PocketWizard and Quantum systems (which also have quite tactile transmitter units), and were greatly relieved when the Canon system became available.

      So you’ll have a monumental challenge expecting people to backtrack to another isolated bespoke style system, that doesn’t include or address the solutions Canon have already provided with the RT master flashes.

      So at this stage in the game, one way to offer a product that is much more likely to get crowd funded would be if possible to make the flash Canon RT compatible instead. And drop another capacitor in for that extra power when needed.

      Just concentrate on the flash as a complement to the current Canon RT system. Then once that is proven solid, a better transmitter (with a great AF light etc) could be added etc.

      A compact remote manual transmitter option for the mirrorless cameras would be in high demand as well

      Offering a full Canon and Nikon TTL system otherwise is incredibly ambitious. And once again many people have been through all this previously, with well experienced company’s like PocketWizard struggling to provide ongoing support for new camera models etc.

      That’s not to mention all the reliability / stability issues. People still complain about the Q-flash system now.

      So again expecting people to buy into another completely isolated and unproven system is a huge ask.

      If you really have the skills to reverse engineer these TTL systems though, you would hope there would be some existing US companies like PCB Inc etc, that would be very interested in what you can offer.

      If not there are Chinese companies fighting over people with these skills.

  13. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    Thanks for taking the time to write all that you did.

    I created radioSTROBE to address a problem that most people seem completely unaware of. Clearly, I have not been effective in communicating this problem, so people aren’t seeing the value in radioSTROBE.

    The problem being: Every system out there requires you to stop what you are doing, take your eyes off of the subject, make multiple gestures, just to adjust the flash power of your flash.

    In my opinion, this is ridiculous, and unacceptable. The “flash power” is the most relevant and basic control that we need over a flash. The control over this “flash power” should be at our immediate reach, no exceptions. Is the volume control on a stereo hidden under menus? No! There is a knob (or volume buttons) right at our fingertips. Same is true for TV remotes, and just about everything else.

    Even a smart phone, that has hundreds of customization options which are adjusted using the touch screen, still has physical buttons for volume control! Volume control is that important! Flash Power is the volume control in a Flash, and is equally important.

    I’ve always been puzzled why no manufacturer has corrected this basic, and perhaps even primal, shortcoming!?

    Except for a very few people who have written me and have expressed that they felt the same way, 99% of people don’t appear to have thought about it, or even recognize what radioSTROBE has corrected when they watch the radioSTROBE video.

    It’s almost like the days that everyone was just focused on how many megapixels a camera had. If your new camera announcement didn’t have the highest megapixels, no one cared or listened to what other merits your new camera had. It’s not the consumer’s fault of course. We (as I too am a consumer!) tend to focus on the facts that are constantly thrown at our face.

    We often don’t know what we’ve been missing until we see/touch/taste it ourselves. When people experience radioSTROBE, the benefits of the interface, the big “aha” moment, is never missed. It’s not because it’s colorful and fancy, but because it’s simple, natural, and intuitive. Instead of intimidating, it’s familiar.

    The magic happens after you’ve been shooting with it a while and suddenly realize, you’ve completely forgotten about it. Just like a turn signal in your car, you use it all the time but don’t actually remember using it.

    radioSTROBE changes (improves) your photography experience. You stay focused and immersed in your photography. It makes you better at what you do. No other system achieves this like radioSTROBE.

    Clearly I can ramble on, but if I haven’t been effective thus far I likely never will be. Perhaps you could spend a few minutes and re-watch the video and see if you notice this point more so this time. Or perhaps someday, a flash manufacturer will make a similar interface and you’ll get to experience it first hand. I hope so, as that is all I’ve ever been after.

    Yes, there are other benefits (many) to radioSTROBE. But in comparison to the main benefit, they don’t matter.

    I’m not going to leave your concerns un-addressed, so let’s get to them! Everything you asked is possible, but perhaps not exactly the way you picture them. Allow me to explain.

    Assuming we have created the space for a big capacitor and a big flash bulb, the 2 most limiting factors to performance are 1. Heat dissipation and 2. Power Supply (battery power).

    Let’s take a flash like a 600EX as an example:
    a-If we were to fit 2x the capacitor in it (assuming the flash bulb could handle it), it would create 2x the heat. So it would therefore overheat twice as fast.
    b-If we were to recycle it (back to the regular sized capacitor) twice as fast and therefore be able to fire it twice as fast, again we would overheat it twice as fast.
    c-If we were able to do both “a” and “b”, so 2x the capacitor and recycle 2x as fast, now we’re pushing 4x the energy through the flash bulb, and we would overheat 4x as fast. (Again, assuming the flash bulb doesn’t blow up!)

    Speedlights tend to have a sealed body as you know, and many of them like the 600EX are even weatherproofed. There is no ventilation. The only way for the heat to escape is for the plastic enclosure to heat up (then cool down over time). Maybe we can put a cooling fan (as many studio lights do), aluminum heat sinks, etc.. Surely, there are things we can try, but each will have it’s drawback too. This heat is what is limiting how much power we can push through in a “speedlight” sized unit.

    If you want a or b, then the flash will likely be about twice as big. If you want c, then about 4x as big. This is why the next level up are the bare bulb units. Since the bulb isn’t boxed up in an enclosure, it is wonderfully ventilated! So we can push more energy through it -> so we use bigger capacitors. We’re all happy now, right?

    Well, you still need to recycle those big capacitors!

    Good quality AA’s (like the eneloops) can continuously push about 4 Amps. Mind you, if you push them hard without a break they will get too hot and you’ll have to shut down and allow them cool. (Yes, real flash manufacturers including radioSTROBE monitor battery temp too).

    So once you get past a speedlight sized capacitor, say 50-80 Ws, you’ll want to look for a more powerful battery source. Quickly you find yourself with rather large batteries which are not practice for placing “inside” the unit, so you make an external battery pack with a cable that attaches to the flash unit. With just the 4 AA’s on board (or 8 in the case of a lyteR-1) we have reached the limit to how hard we can drive the batteries without damage. Speedlights have the capability to draw more than 4 AA’s can provide. This is why attaching external packs to hot-shoe flashes allows them to recycle faster.

    This all sounds too familiar I’m sure… like I’m describing a bare bulb flash. And I am! That is why they are the way they are.

    The thing is, Canon, Nikon, and other flash manufacturers are very skilled at what they do. If there was a way to give you 2x the power, in the same compact size, using only 4 AA’s and not overheat too quickly, they would’ve made it. And if they happen to find a way, they will make it.

    Until then, if you want 2x, 4x, etc. the output of a speedlight, then get a bare bulb flash. That’s exactly what they are for.

    If you want even more power then get a studio flash.

    If you want to know what off-camera flash should feel like, get a radioSTROBE 🙂 Then help me beat the other manufacturers over the head to fix their interface !

    Regarding your point on compatibility with Canon…

    I got quite excited when I heard about the Canon RF coming out. Then, when I saw this video I immediately realized that the interface was (in my opinion) unacceptable, because it had the same old problem. Fast forward to what he says at 5:25 and at 6:15 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCHYD01DFF0 to see what I mean.

    Personally, I’ve been very happy with the power of speedlights. In fact I just-about-never need to shoot them at full power. This is why the lyteR-1 is a speedlight sized unit. I’m not suggesting no one should need more power of course. I’m not going to tell another photographer how to perform their craft!

    My disappointment with the Canon RF system isn’t the flash, it is with the interface/transmitter. So if I were to make something compatible with Canon, it wouldn’t be to make the lyteR-1 compatible with the ST-E3-RT. Rather, it would be to make the lynqT-1 compatible with the 600EX-RT and not bother making the lyteR-1.

    Thanks for the comment about my “skills” regarding “TTL” 🙂 I appreciate that. Let me say (perhaps I’m the 1st to say this) that TTL was far from difficult to figure out in comparison to the other challenges in making radioSTROBE.

    For TTL to work, the demand is more on having “capable hardware” than on “cracking the code.” radioSTROBE’s hardware is brilliant in comparison to most systems (with respect to microcontroller computing speed/power). So TTL wasn’t a challenge in that respect. With great hardware in hand, it took only a few days to “crack the code” and a few more days to program the firmware. Of course, the marketing hype will try to convince you otherwise regarding TTL’s complexity.

    Hope I haven’t bored you too much. Thanks again for the feedback and your time.

    Cheers,
    Raman

    • Craig 4 years ago

      Hey Raman,
      Thanks for chiming in to respond to criticisms and questions here. I too agree with you that the other manufacturers have done a poor job of having the “volume adjustments” easily accessible. Your remote kind of reminds me of a better version of the Radio Popper JrX I used to use as well as the PocketWizard AC3 I used briefly. Despite really liking the ability to adjust power levels easily, I ended up abandoning those because not having an AF assist lamp or the ability to add a hotshoe flash to the camera (without a cludgy bracket and PC cord setup) wasn’t worth the added convenience.
      Unfortunately, your remote seems to have the same limitations as those. I think your system would be a lot more appealing if you came up with something that not only had easy volume adjustments but also had simple on camera light support and AF Assist. I find shooting dark wedding receptions without something to help my camera focus is pretty much a no-go. How would you propose shooting that kind of thing using your system, or would you say that’s one type of photography your system isn’t very good for?

      • Raman 4 years ago

        Hi Craig,

        Thank you as well! Let me attempt to address your questions. If I understand correctly there are 2. AF Assist, and On-Camera flash.

        -AF Assist:
        radioSTROBE does provide AF assist. It’s not the typical laser-like beam that you may be familiar with on-camera hot-shoe speedlights. Nor is it the old-school shower of flash bursts that you see with pop-up flashes. lynqT-1 communicates with the camera and only provides a low power flash at the camera’s request. Depending on the lens, the camera, and the lighting situation, this may by a single low power flash, or a whole shower of flashes. It’s entirely up to the camera though, radioSTROBE simply accommodates the request. The results are incredibly effective. You can autofocus and shoot in 100% darkness. No problem! As an FYI, even if a lyteR-1 is assigned to a group that happens to be switched “off” or it’s power set to “off”, that lyteR-1 will still participate in providing AF assistance. In off-camera situations there are a few advantages to providing AF assistance using standard light over the laser-like type. Standard light illuminates the whole subject. If indoors, the room as well. This allows you to set any focus point on the camera you like since everything in the scene is lit up. With a laser-like assistance in off-camera situation, you may not have any of those fine beams hitting the subject where you are planning to lock focus on. Anyway, the point it you have complete AF assist support with radioSTROBE, it is 100% automatic, and you can disable/enable it if you wish.

        Out of curiosity, did you not notice that radioSTROBE provides AF assist? It’s in the kickstarter video, kickstarter website, and the radioSTROBE website. I’m wondering if others have missed it too, and perhaps many other points/advantages too !?

        -On-Camera flash:
        As you know, there is only 1 hot-shoe spot on the camera, and the camera can only communicate with 1 device at a time. If you put a hot-shoe flash there, then there is no room for lynqT-1, and vice-versa (not rocket science, I know!). Others transmitters have provided a hot-shoe spot on top of them, so when the transmitter takes the spot on the camera, you can still place a hot-shoe flash on top of the transmitter. I didn’t choose to go this route for a couple of reasons (not that this is right or wrong, just a preference):
        a. Providing a hot-shoe spot on top and in front of the lynqT-1 would cause the sliders to be out of reach, on the opposite side of the hot shoe flash. This would undo the whole point of making a system that is easy to use! Not to mention the lynqT-1 would have to be longer too.
        b. Personally, I find the setups of a hot-shoe on top of a transmitter (which itself is on top of a camera) equally bulky as going the flash-bracket route. The former is also a much greater strain on the camera and transmitters structure and much more likely to damage/break upon impact. Besides, it is not unusual to use a flash-bracket even if you only have the 1 on-camera flash, especially the rotating variety so your portrait shots have a more pleasant shadow.

        One other option that was considered was to stand the lynqT-1 upright and provide a smaller flash on it’s front. So you would have an on-camera flash but not nearly as powerful as a full size 600EX for example. There are pros and cons to it. But I decided for maximizing the off-camera flash experience, so that is what I created.

        In a nutshell, if you shoot weddings and can (afford) to place a few lyteR-1’s in strategic places, you might find that you don’t need on-camera flash anymore. You can place a lyteR-1 in one corner (plug into A/C) and another in the opposite corner (plug into A/C), and perhaps have a third one on a light stand (battery powered) that you can move around easily. I know at over $500 each, that’s not asking little. With A/C power, combination of Manual and TTL, easily switching groups on/off, etc. radioSTROBE does provide you some options that you didn’t have before. It does warrant you to considering the possibility of making some small modification to how you shoot your weddings. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to carry the weight of an on-camera flash? And if you are a photographer who likes to shoot with 2 camera bodies, now you’ve saved the weight of 2 on-camera flashes on your shoulder. Just something to consider.

        Thanks again!
        Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      Thanks for that. I’m well aware of the issues around many of the current interfaces though, and I think most of the people considering your system would be as well. The problem is that is just one benefit (in some cases only a small benefit) teamed with a number of disadvantages to the system.

      The PocketWizard AC3 zone controller was designed to operate by feel as well, so this is no new news to people.

      I have been explaining to the manufacturers from many years ago not to follow the Canon system, because its far from ideal, and they could do much better on their own. And a number of the Chinese systems have done much better than Canon. Its only now that they are following the RT system closely that it actually makes sense to keep the interfaces similar.

      And many people do actually prefer an LCD interface like the YN560-TX which shows all the power groups and power levels clearly at once (over a tactile analogue dial / slider). So there are 2 schools of thought on this to start with.

      Regarding the flash power, yes I’ve heard it all before, but I know its more a lack of understanding of the market than technical ability that is stopping these things being produced. There is a company in the UK that actually combines multiple speedlites into one unit (so multiple flash tubes), and the Nissin MG8000 Extreme with vented head has shown just what it possible with a regular fresnel speedlite head.

      Canon has not even produced an alternative to the MG8000, so its nothing to do with “they would do it if they could”. They could make a menu-less tactile transmitter as well but they are not going to.

      People will just go on ganging a couple of speedlites together themselves though, as that is a very economical option at the moment. Manufacturers could provide a better purpose built unit though.

      Regarding TTL protocols, the concern is nothing to do with marketing hype. People waited 12 months to have their 1DX compatible with various systems, and there are many other current examples of bugs we are still waiting to have fixed with various flashes and triggers.

      An alternate transmitter for the Canon RT system would be nice. Though as mentioned it would need to have a good AF light.

      And if you could add a range advantage to the system, combined with an AF light, they would be very real practical advantages people would pay for, before even looking at the interface advantages.

      Lack of AF light an running out of range have been the main limitations people have had to deal with at times with the RT system. So people are looking for alternate solutions.

      So this could be a good option to get started.

      • Raman 4 years ago

        Hi Flash Havoc,

        Thanks for continuing this discussion.

        I’m familiar with the AC3. It does provide manual control. I much prefer linear over rotary because I can “feel” how far up/down I am with linear. With rotary, you guessed it, you have to look! But rotary is better than nothing. Although, when you add up the price of, say, an SB-910 + 2 transceivers + and AC3, it costs quite a bit and the results are far from “neat”. And you loose the hot-shoe spot for on-camera flash. Further, the SB-910 doesn’t have some of the advantages of the lyteR-1.

        Personally, I can look at a 15 band graphic equalizer and in an instant have a picture of what the levels are set at. Looking at 15 numbers on an LCD is far less telling, and takes far more time to absorb. It’s no wonder why audio recording studios, who have to contend with 100’s of controls, still use sliders. A slider might seem low-tech. But that’s precisely why our brain doesn’t have to work hard to work with it. For me, looking at 4 sliders is much easier to absorb than looking at 4 numbers on an LCD. I agree though, people have their preferences.

        That MG8000 is interesting. Unfortunately they don’t have enough details for me to get a good feel for it. It does say you can fire it longer before overheating. However, it doesn’t mention at what recycle time. Once every second? or once every 10 seconds? That is a world of difference. The output power doesn’t seem any different than 600EX, etc. either. I don’t doubt that a quartz bulb (which I of course considered) along with venting (which I mentioned in my reply to you earlier) should help the flash last longer before overheating. So thumbs up to Nissin for that! Oh, and is it still considered weatherproofed? (No, radioSTROBE isn’t weatherproofed either!). What I’m saying, is it “seems” better, but the provided details don’t allow me to determine how much closer the MG8000 is to what you described you wanted in an earlier post.

        Of course Canon “could” make an MG8000 equivalent. So can I, so can Yongnuo, etc. Also, quartz tubes cost a LOT. At least the ones from a real bulb manufacturer. I’m sure knock-offs are 1/10th the price. But if Canon (or I) put a quartz bulb in there, they will put a real one in there, and would have to charge you for it. Lastly, if the MG8000 isn’t weatherproofed, my guess is that would be a deal breaker for Canon to make an equivalent.

        I didn’t say that TTL was “easy”. I eluded that in comparison to other challenges, it was less difficult 🙂 As far as the hype, “does it do TTL?” was a popular question whenever people heard about my system. Even though these same folks often said they never use TTL, always shoot in manual! I would think to myself “so why did you ask?” It’s like the days where if a car had a “navigation” it was cool! Regardless if you use it or not. My experience is that TTL has tons of hype 🙂

        Regarding AF light, please see my response to Craig above.

        Regarding range advantage, radioSTROBE is rated further than Canon RF.

        My friends! The only thing that you give up with radioSTROBE is a “standard” on-camera flash, meaning, you have to use a flash-bracket for that.

        In just about every other way, you loose nothing (compared to a 600EX or SB-910), but you gain a bunch!
        -Easiest Control
        -Faster recycling
        -Longer battery life
        -Equivalent light output
        -A/C Adapter
        -AF Assist in nearly any situation
        -Longer radio range
        -Unlimited lights per group
        -2nd curtain sync (even on entry level “Rebel” cameras). Is it true that Canon RF doesn’t do 2nd curtain?
        -High-Speed Sync (even on older, pre 2012 Canon models, which apparently Canon’s own RF system can’t do!?)
        -TTL
        -Versatile, unlimited options for 12V external battery power.
        -For multi-photographers, no compromise on creativity when sharing lights.
        -Neat-est system. A light, and a transmitter. Done.

        If you compare it to clones, then yes, the additional thing you loose is money. But that is already true with the 600EX and SB-910.

        I promise you, if you and I together designed your dream system (within’ technological limitations of course), you would love it. But a 1000 people would be questioning why you didn’t do it another way (their way) instead. I speak from experience 🙂 To me, and hopefully a few others, radioSTROBE is the exact system that we always wanted. With a few extras even, like TTL (which I was never personally after). Clearly, my dream system isn’t your dream system. Similarly, yours won’t be everybody’s.

        Sure learning a lot though!

        Much thanks,
        Raman

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Hi Raman,

          I’ve been doing this for a number of years now, and my own personal products have been primarily dealing with exactly your main market, so I have a reasonable understanding of what people are needing and wanting, and will actually pay for in this area.

          My ideal system is one that addressed the limitations many other people are constantly discussing, not only based on my own ideals.

          Unfortunately you’re flogging a dead horse with the current offering because you don’t have an understanding of what peoples priorities are. I really don’t want to sound offensive, but your suggestions / solutions to Craig above regarding the AF light and on-camera flash for example are just crazy.

          Its a shame because you have obviously put a lot of work into this already, though from your responses its obvious you would be struggling on your own to even re-launch this again in a way that would be funded.

          That’s why I tried to politely suggest you may want to talk with some people already in the industry. Paul Buff was always complaining he could not get anyone with the right skills to develop gear. I’m not that familiar with US companies, though I know there are numerous small companies like Lumadyne etc that have been making manual strobes for years. And I would imagine the future will get tougher for them with more advancing Chinese gear constantly coming now.

          Don’t get me wrong though, I think you have done a great job of what you have done, its just that as others have said, this would have been popular 3 or 4 years ago.

          PocketWizard have taken a big hit since the Canon RT system was released as well. Anyone would need to very focused on where the opportunities are now to make this work.

  14. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    Thanks again for your input. Certainly, I take no offense to anything you have said. Without exception, every innovator that I look up to has been called crazy their whole life. That doesn’t bother me at all 🙂

    Photographers have a lot of choices available already, and these offerings continue to improve over time. I’m happy for all of us that this is the case.

    Because of this, I didn’t set out to create yet another product that was just like everything else, but just slightly better. I chose to create something that no one else seemed to. Profoto B1 is the only other “true” off-camera system out there. radioSTROBE is the only compact (speedlight sized) “true” off-camera system. You can piece together other studio gear to mimic the B1, and you can piece together other speedlight gear to mimic radioSTROBE. But at present, both the B1 and radioSTROBE are unique and best at what they do. Neither is cheap, neither is for everyone.

    I shouldn’t have fallen into the trap of telling you how to use it, or how you should perform your craft, so perhaps you can disregard those comments from earlier.

    I’ve created a tool, that is all. Just like Profoto created the B1. Maybe it isn’t the tool you wished I had created, and maybe it isn’t a useful for your shooting style, that is understandable. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful tool.

    Plain and simple, if you shoot off-camera speedlight, radioSTROBE delivers. If you need a different tool, then understandably, radioSTROBE is probably not an ideal fit for your application.

    Thanks again!
    Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      You mention the B1, though I think the Phottix Indra are currently closest on the money due to the full system Phottix offer.

      The Phottix system is another isolated one, though its pretty well established already, and becoming a very complete system. It will be harder to get another isolated system started now unless there is a very compelling reason.

      Anyway, I’m mainly just curious where you intend to go from here, its sounding like you have no intention of trying to take stock and re launch something revised?

  15. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    I mention the B1 because it is a self contained unit, including the battery. Even the B2 isn’t as “neat”. Of course neatness has it’s advantages/disadvantages.

    I have heard countless times that people are avoiding OCF altogether, just because it is both complicated and/or inconvenient. Just today, I heard this yet again. And I must say they are right!

    I wanted to create a system that fixed both of those problems. Both “Convenient,” and “Super easy” to use.
    https://goo.gl/di7sbg

    I have looked through many user manuals for all the different systems from the Canon RF, to the PaulCBuff Cyber Commander (I was one of the 1st to buy one!) and many others. These systems are very capable and useful in some way for sure. But they are just too much of a hassle to set up, to use, or both… In my opinion.

    In contrast, I have literally handed a lynqT-1 and a lyteR-1 to photographers and asked “any questions?”. Response “Nope, pretty self explanatory”. These are people who had never seen it before, never seen it on the web before, and never had me tell them how to use it or what it is even capable of. Nothing! And these photographers shot with it, had a great time, no problem. That was the litmus test.

    This is why the lyteR-1 was designed as a “neat” unit. And this is why the lynqT-1 is physical, tactile, intuitive, self-explanatory, etc.. Give up any of these features and it becomes just like everything else out there. radioSTROBE has solved a problem that no other system thus far has. Not even the B1.

    I was “hoping” to open OCF to a whole bunch of folks that have been avoiding it, and perhaps get those folks that have given up on OCF a new hope.

    There are likely many reasons that keep people from buying radioSTROBE. But if I had to list the major 2, I think:
    1) Price. Obviously if it was free, people would be all over it (I think!) So there is a price point that would make it attractive, even in its current form. What if lyteR-1 was $250, and lynqT-1 was $100, for example… It is not easy for folks to suddenly come up with $750 last minute for a kickstarter project, I understand that for sure.

    2) radioSTROBE isn’t an improvement in the areas that they were hoping for. Almost 100% of the inquiries have had to do with technical specs. And because lyteR-1 light output is essentially that of a speedlight, people don’t see any value.

    It seems that the people who are intimidated by OCF, and those who have tried and found it too much trouble, have given up on OCF. Instead of expressing their issues so that someone can solve them, and then looking to see if anyone has solved them, they have forever turned their back on it.

    I have met a few such people, and after trying radioSTROBE, it was a game changer for them. But these folks are hard to attract, because as soon as you utter the term “off-camera flash” (or just “flash”) they don’t even stick around to hear the rest of the sentence. Even those that do stick around to listen, and are delighted, wish it was much cheaper.

    To address your questions of “where do I intend to go from here”, I’m not sure just yet. Whatever I do, it will have to be something (a problem) no one else has addressed. I’m not interested in making something with just marginally better technical specs. Everybody else is working on that already.

    Whatever I produce has to be fundamentally different (and better) in some way. This is a big risk of course. When you present to people something that is fundamentally different than what they are familiar with, they are often not able to identify the benefits of what is being presented to them. Because they are tuned-in to look for what they are familiar with. It’s human nature to accept something familiar, and reject something different. Talk to Steve Jobs about such struggles. In contrast, it is much easier to grasp an improvement (in technical spec) in something they are already familiar with. Or match specs but offer it much cheaper, which is what the clones do. Clones try to copy as exact as possible because they don’t want to create any hurdles for the consumer with respect to familiarity. “We’re exactly the same, just cheaper” is an effective selling strategy.

    As it is, radioSTROBE meets the requirement of being fundamentally different. And the inquiries have proven the fact that most people don’t even notice the fundamental difference. It is obviously not something people are willing to pay for, at least not at the current quality/price.

    Every photographer has a wish list. But, the important question isn’t “what do photographers want”, it’s “what will photographers actually buy, if it came out”. Their “dream system” might not be offered at the “fantasy price” they were hoping for.

    Speaking of dreams… every manufacturer’s dream is to determine what is it that people will actually buy (at the price that it costs to manufacture). Making the product is a guaranteed winner at that point.

    Hypothetically speaking, I could work with a whole bunch of photographers, identify what product they want (which doesn’t currently exist) and would buy if it was created (again, at the price that it costs to manufacture). Then if I could get 1000 people to say they would buy it, then developing it would be a no-brainer.

    I can’t get 10 people to agree, let alone 1000 🙂

    Cheers,
    Raman

  16. Author
    Flash Havoc 4 years ago

    Hi Raman,

    I can tell you what is going to be huge. If and when Godox ever get their act together and get the TTL master interface into the Witstro AD180 and AD360.

    You could argue this is just a cheaper version of the Q-flash TTL system, 5 years later. The problem is the Q-flash system is relatively expensive, and still a bit clumsy for an expensive system.

    And I’ve said from the beginning the Witstro could be a lot more convenient with the option of being an all in one unit, with a removable head or battery option etc.

    There’s nothing wrong with bare bulb, but it needs the option of a very compact reflector for convenience as well.

    Obviously you can’t build a full system to cover the master on camera flash, so the best way to go about that would be to complement the Canon RT system with the flash and or transmitter to start with.

    If you get it right, that is a flash (and / or transmitter) people would fund.

    As I mentioned earlier, if Canon dropped a 300WS compact RT battery strobe tomorrow it would be absolutely huge!

    They may never do that though. (And even if they did it would still be a closed system. Which is another big selling point for alternatives at the moment with remote manual use on mirrorless etc cameras).

    Its not that people can’t see what you have done with the transmitter etc, its that the added limitations are much more of an issue / priority.

  17. Author
    Flash Havoc 4 years ago

    Another thing to consider, if coding is you’re strong point…

    If you can crack the Fuji or M4/3 TTL systems you would currently have the market to yourself, and likely have the RadioStrobe funded just a it is 🙂

  18. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    Being human, I’m having difficulty understanding exactly what it is you are looking for! I’m sure it’s clear to you, but I keep interpreting conflicting requests from you.

    For example:
    “If Canon dropped a 300WS compact RT battery strobe”

    A 300Ws strobe would be the size of any bare bulb flash. If that satisfies your definition of “compact” then great. If not, then “compact” needs to be removed from that sentence 🙂

    If you want it to be “neat” with the battery attached (as opposed to an external battery pack + cable), this single-unit flash would be rather large, because you have to fit that AD360 battery in there too. You can’t go with a smaller battery unless you give up something among: slower recycle speed, fewer # of flashes per charge, less light output.

    Lastly, if you wanted some form of small (perhaps integrated) reflector, now you’re essentially talking about a 300WS version of the B1 (which is 500Ws). If Canon made this device, it would likely be significantly more expensive than Quantum.

    So my confusion with your wish list is that you seem to want to fit a AD360, in less space. Am I misunderstanding you?

    I think I’m hearing you say that:
    1) You want an on-camera flash, and speedlight-like power is fine
    Plus
    2) You want off-camera flash, but with more power than a speedlight

    Since Yongnuo YN600EX-RT cost so little, how about you just place one on-camera. Then for each “off-camera light”, just combine 2 Yongnuo YN600EX-RT speedlights, or even 3 Yongnuo YN600EX-RT, as they would still cost less than 1 AD360.

    You’ll get your 2x or 3x power light output, TTL, etc. Does this not work for you in some way?

    The way I designed radioSTROBE is such that the lyteR-1 is not camera-brand dependent. And with the lynqT-1, only a portion of it is camera-brand dependent. The first lynqT-1 I made was for Canon. After the whole radioSTROBE system worked like I wanted, only then did I start looking into making a version for Nikon.

    So I bought some Nikon gear. It only took me a couple of days (yes, that is all) to investigate and draw up what it would take to make the Nikon version of lynqT-1. I had a prototype working a few days after that. Of course, tweaking firmware is an on-going process, but getting hardware compatibility is the enabler.
    Just some fun trivia…
    The communication complexity between Canon and Nikon:
    a) With respect to the code, is about equal (in my experience/opinion).
    b) With respect to the hardware, Canon is 2x to 3x more complex (even annoying)

    So with the Canon lynqT-1 done, creating Nikon was quite refreshing because it was far simpler with respect to hardware.

    I don’t imagine adding any other camera brand being terribly different.

    I’ve been contacted by the M4/3 shooters (as well as Sony shooters) saying similar things 🙂 Heck, if I can get 1000 people to “promise” to buy it, I would be quite inclined to make it 🙂

    Cheers,
    Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      Yes, now you are starting to get the picture 🙂

      Yes 2 or 3 speedlites ganged together works, but people want something more convenient, and that is why the Godox AD360 are very popular now.

      But even back when we were just trying to get anyone to resurrect the Sunpack 120J style flash, a lot of people had moved to speedlites, and although they would like a beefier light, they did not really want the delicate bare bulb units with large awkward reflectors etc again anyway.

      The flash needs to be self contained, sturdy and easily stackable etc.

      Here is a very basic photoshop mock up I did many years ago (unfortunately I don’t have computer rendering skills).

      The whole unit is sturdy and hassle free, even rubber coated like a cordless power tool. The battery pack clips off the back. And various reflectors and speedring mounts etc clip on the front.

      Godox have basically set the standard with the 300Ws flash, and yes they could build that into a much nicer compact block. They have already integrated the battery into the later model AR-400 ring light.

      So even a 300Ws unit (an AD360 repackaged) would not be too big or heavy. But this is where I mentioned the original speedlight fresnel head as well. Speedlites are very efficient, even used in the right way in a softbox 2 regular speedlites come close to the output of the AD360.

      So if Canon for example where to do this, having the ability to design and engineer complex zoom head speedlight, they could use the Nissin MG8000 Extreme style head to produce a unit less than 300WS, though getting close to similarly effective (and more versatile with the zoom head).

      So there are a few ways to go about this, as long as it achieves the same objectives. And being bare bulb is not the big or main objective it was for a while (though it would be nice to be able to remove the front lens and have that option with any of the flashes including speedlites).

      And you see your design is already heading down the same track, though people are not going to pay a premium unless you at least drop that extra stop of light in. As I tried to explain earlier using full power would only be for limited use, so you’re not doubling up batteries etc again (for a very compact unit like you have produced). Lithium-ion Sony compatible video batteries would be a good option to bring down size and weight over AA’s though as well.

      An AD360 style power unit is where the highest demand is though.

      I don’t want to confuse things further, but again if Canon where to do this, their best option would actually still be more of a traditional tilt swivel head speedlite like design, so it could actually be used on camera as well. So only capacitors in the flash body and an external battery pack.

      That battery pack could then clip to the front (of the speedlite like flash) for an all in one off camera flash.

      This is killing 2 birds with one stone, because many people would actually like a more powerful, more pops, faster recycle on camera flash option as well.

      Though this is not the type of unit I would expect a small operation to engineer, especially when there is really no need for it in a mainly off-camera unit. (It took Godox years just to get the AD360 etc together, an no doubt an awful lot of money).

      Though again at this stage I could see the current manufacturers more likely to be going down the traditional MG8000 speedlight style heads, than a Q-flash style unit for on-camera use as well.

  19. Author
    Flash Havoc 4 years ago

    You would still need to address the on-camera issue though, which as I mentioned for Canon at least RT compatibility would do that.

    Though if you can actually cater to M4/3 or Fuji, you could very likely appeal to enough off camera only users for these systems.

    The current brands will be tackling Sony next, so on that front you would have stiff competition again.

  20. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    Thanks for the mock ups. A lot easier to grasp that way.

    Let’s establish a starting point for speedlight power. Speedlights are typically in the 40Ws range.

    Let’s look at your drawing of the one that resembles 2x speedlights the most, so column 1, row 2. In that size (head, body, battery) I would expect light output capability of ~80Ws, no more than ~100Ws. It might be possible to keep recycle time reasonable at full power, maybe 3-4 seconds or so.

    If you want even more power, then I would go with a bulb that isn’t enclosed. So either top left (with reflector but no glass/fresnel), or top right (bare bulb). This would allow for a bigger bulb, and open to air would greatly slow down overheating. But if you do put a 300Ws bulb, now we need room for bigger capacitors. And if you want to be able to keep the recycle time low, bigger batteries too. Again, the B1 is 500Ws, so your 300Ws would be at least 60% as big. Probably more like 75% the size of a B1.

    I got a LOT of questions about modifier compatibility , even though I thought I had clarified that on the web. This just indicates how important modifier compatibility is to consumers. What I’m getting at is, it would probably be a good idea to make the body fit some sort of modifier. So make it round to find profoto modifiers, just for example. Of course, then it isn’t stack-able, is it !?

    The AR400 is indeed an all in one. But it is huge! It weighs 1.4kg. It’s over 3x the weight of a speedlight. It does prove that the AD360 could be make in one neat package, but also illustrates that it would be rather large. And if you want to enclose the flash, even larger.

    Let’s keep it simple, and let’s just consider creating a “super” speedlight, that is essentially the equivalent of two 600EX’s.

    If I were to make it in the USA (like lyteR-1) it would certainly be more expensive than the lyteR-1. lyteR-1 USA-version retails at $650. The “super” lyteR-1 USA-version would probably be $800. I could possibly move manufacturing to China (but still use top quality components) and say I was able to magically cut cost in 1/2… We’re still talking about the “super” lyteR-1 China-version cost of $400.

    Would you pay $400 for a 80-100 Ws “super” lyteR-1?
    When you can get 2 YN600EX-RT for $250.
    Or an AD360 with 3x the power for $450.

    The thing is, this “super” speedlight falls in sort of a no-mans land. It isn’t all “that powerful”, and it is no longer “that compact.” It wouldn’t have the profile of a hot-shoe flash, so those modifiers wouldn’t fit. And it isn’t cheap either. Maybe this is why no-one has built it yet?

    I wish there was a better way to collaborate between consumers and designers/manufacturers like me. Working as a giant team, we could move parameters and features around, provide price forecasts, and know ahead of time what people want and would pay for. Something like this: https://www.quirky.com/portfolio/electronics But it would have to be a lot more capable.

    On a separate note, we’ve been talking about Godox, but have you seen Neewer? Who is copying who 🙂

    Claims a GN of 60 on this one:
    http://www.neewer.com/imaging-products/flashes-speedlites/shoe-mount-flashes/90084193.html

    Perhaps you’ll like this too:
    http://www.neewer.com/imaging-products/flashes-speedlites/shoe-mount-flashes/10069617.html

    Ohhh. I’m starting to get a headache 🙂

    Cheers,
    Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      The AR400 is only large because its a ring flash. The existing AD360 built into one compact unit would be completely fine, and nothing huge like the B1.

      The mock up I did was roughly 2 speedlites, though the AD360 and Lithium-Ion battery pack will fit into a package not much larger.

      Yes a Bowen’s S-type mount definitely needs to be taken into consideration.

      I’m not suggesting anything radical or undoable on the flash hardware side of things. Though as I suggested previously, there are US companies that have a lot of experience building (manual) flash units already.

      By far the biggest hurdle has been the TTL and HSS side of things. Just about every third party system is still struggling with some aspects of this even after some years, so that part of this that doesn’t make any sense to me is when your talking about cracking the systems in a few days etc.

      If you really have these skills though, that is what I would be concentrating on (ie just the trigger system side of things) as that is where the value is.

      Develop a TTL radio trigger system for M4/3 or Fuji cameras and speedlites and you will be swamped with orders.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      I just weighed the AD360 and battery pack by the way and they are around 1500g complete.

      So just putting that existing gear into one housing without the tilt swivel head or foot and you likely be down to around 1200g without much struggle. I’d be surprised if it wouldn’t be able to get down around 1000g if purpose built, which is less than 2 regular speedlites with AA batteries.

      One day I might have to get a 3D printer and try and make some housings myself. I would like to repackage the AD360, as well as put 2 V850 / V860 into one housing.

      They would both be 2 pretty sweet units, and far closer to the compact “off camera flash” I have no doubt will eventually become fairly common place.

      Oh and sorry, Neewer are just a Chinese company that have existing products re-branded in their name. The sell the Godox flashes, as well as Triopo and a number of other brands.

      There are numerous companies that do a similar thing. You could include the B&H Photo and Adorama, Impact and FlashPoint, house brands in that.

  21. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    It’s funny, as you sound skeptical that radioSTROBE has HSS and TTL! Real photographers have used it, and their photos are on the web 🙂 It’s not just a proposed system, it really works 🙂

    As someone who has built an HSS system, I can tell you first hand that there are a number serious challenges in creating one. Not just a flash that can do HSS, but one that can do it well, consistently.

    I have taken many photos with my Canon gear in HSS mode (on-camera) without real issues. But, knowing where to look, I can find the weaknesses in Canon’s performance too. I haven’t tested knock-off brands to see how they perform under tough conditions, maybe they are equally capable, maybe not.

    What issues are you aware of in other HSS systems?

    For the record, HSS didn’t take a few days to crack. It took many tests, numerous explosions, and probably well over 1000 hours of development.

    Cracking the TTL code for Canon and Nikon wasn’t that difficult. Creating a system with the hardware, speed, and accuracy is the challenge. But because lynqT-1 and lyteR-1 were both created with top electronics from the start, TTL was just a firmware program update.

    Regarding M4/3 and Fuji, why do you suspect that companies like Yungnuo, Godox, Pixel, etc. are not building clones and wireless systems for them?

    FYI, you don’t have to have your own 3D printer to get 3D prints. There are online groups that can connect you to someone nearby who owns a 3D printer, and you can just pay them and get your prints quick and cheap. Check this out, or similar websites: http://www.makexyz.com/

    Alternatively, you can get parts from larger companies like:
    http://www.shapeways.com/

    Or even create your own online store, with essentially no equipment at all:
    https://www.ponoko.com/

    Cheers,
    Raman

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Raman,

      I wasn’t specifically referring to HSS issues. There are generally inconsistencies with ETTL exposures etc compared to the original systems, which tend to take a long time to refine. Just constantly testing this through a number of camera models is a huge task on its own.

      I’m not skeptical that you have TTL, its that there is a wide range of how successfully its been implemented. And most companies appear to struggle with this to some degree. As I mentioned, numerous things still need fixing and refinement with systems that have been available for quite a while.

      The existing companies have not ventured into M4/3 and Fuji because they are a long way down the ladder in terms of sales and market share, behind Canon, Nikon, and then Sony. Mirrorless itself is still only small compared to DSLR’s market share.

      And taking on another system is a very big investment and commitment. That’s the same reason many companies have not ventured into any TTL systems at all.

      With companies like PocketWizard this is all they do, and its still taken them a very long time to resolve some issues, and add new camera compatibility etc.

      And the more systems and products a company takes on, the less each one gets the attention they need. We’ve seen this over and over.

      Also the rumours are Canon may also have a large upgrade to the flash system coming with the 5D IV / 1DX II. Which is possibly going to be another big hurdle for third party system (as Canon aren’t just going to stand by and watch the current clones etc taking a large part of their market).

  22. Peter A 4 years ago

    FYI — radioSTROBE cancelled funding with a whopping $5407 / 2% collected! RIP

  23. Craig 4 years ago

    Hey Raman,
    Thanks for responding to my concerns about AF assist and the transmitter lacking a flash. While it’s true that every photographer has a wish list, you also have to remember many photographers have a dealbreaker list too (kind of like dating :P). No AF assist or poor AF assist is one of the things on my dealbreaker list. If the AF assist on your units work as good as you claim then that makes me go from having no interest in your units to them seem interesting, albeit still too expensive for me. The way you describe it though sounds like it works similar to my Canon 320EX flash. I really don’t like that pulsing flash style of AF assist, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

    I agree with you that camera manufacturers haven’t done a good job with making things simple and user friendly. I think that’s your biggest selling point. I don’t think your units are what I’m looking for, but I could see how it could appeal to photographers who are turned off by how fidgety most off camera flash systems are. That’s one of the things I really hated about my Radio Popper JrX setup, all the different pieces and cords that had to be cobbled together. Plus no AF assist!

    Best of luck to you.

    Flash Havoc,

    I think your modular flash design looks really cool. I love the idea of having an interchangeable battery that clips onto the back so if I wanted to keep it more compact I could use a smaller battery, a bigger battery when I expect to need more pops, or a corded battery when I want to have more weight near the bottom of the light stand. Also like what looks like a mounting mechanism on the front of the flash that could securely hold different mount adapters such as bowen. The bulk of the current speedlight to bowen adapters is a big turn off to me.

  24. Raman 4 years ago

    Hi Crag,

    The AF pulse behavior vary greatly depending on the Camera, lens, and the focus mode setting. It isn’t dictated by radioSTROBE, it is dictated by the camera, lens, and focus setting.

    The example of AF in the kickstarter video was using a Nikon D800 with a 70-200 lens, and the focus set to “Continuous”. This combination made the AF assist behavior look like a shower of flashes. It was the most “interesting” looking behavior of Autofocus Assist, so that’s the one we used for the kickstarter video. It appears that the “interesting” behavior is sending the wrong message to you, and perhaps others. There is too much detail to fit in a 6 minute video 🙂

    On a Canon 5D with a USM lens, set to “ONE SHOT”, you may only see 1 or 2 quick flashes before focus is locked and photo is taken.

    Many people are currently (or want to start) shooting off-camera flash using speedlights. radioSTROBE is for those folks. It is to make off-camera speedlight shooting infinitely more convenient and fun.

    radioSTROBE wasn’t meant to take the place for folks who are currently, or want to start, shooting off-camera with “bare bulb flashes”. Those folks may consider the profoto B2 perhaps !?

    radioSTROBE wasn’t meant to take the place for folks who are currently, or want to start, shooting off-camera with “full size studio units”. Those folks may consider the profoto B1 perhaps !?

    From your feedback, I agree that radioSTROBE isn’t what you are looking for. I really appreciate your feedback!

    Cheers,
    Raman

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