Shooting with the Radio Popper JrX System

Richard Charpentier Canon Cameras, Photography, Portrait Work, RLC Design Leave a Comment

Over the past few weeks I’ve definitely been shooting a ton of off camera flash.  Portrait photography for individuals, friends, couples, and families.  And through every shoot I’ve been employing my Radio Popper JrX wireless controllers.

Now, the JrX’s can’t do everything in the world.  Foremost, I can’t shoot high speed sync with the controllers.  Bottom line?  No faster than 1/250th of a second.  But in all honesty with the 5D Mark II what I’ve been truly finding is 1/200th of a second.  1/250th leaves a hint of the shutter and light drop off at the bottom of each frame.

Okay, working with 1/200th of a second in many lighting conditions.  Can you do it without high speed sync?

Shot at 2 p.m. in the Granite Dells. 1/200th of a second, f/7.1, ISO 50, at 30mm

Short answer.  Yes.

10:30 a.m. 1/200th, f/5.0, ISO 50. 1 Lastolite 24" EZY Box with a Canon 580EX II

Just about every shoot I’ve done in the past 2 weeks has been outdoor on location.  The old railroad bridge next to the Sam Hill Warehouse at 10 in the morning.  Around the downtown Prescott area at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m.  Harsh lighting conditions on some of the locations there.  The Whiskey Row Alleyway.  And the Granite Dells at 2 in the afternoon.  In all situations I was able to control ambient light and my Speedlites with the Radio Poppers.  Pretty nice!

10:30 a.m. 1/200th, f/5.0, ISO 50, 40mm. 1 softbox with the 580EXII

What I really like about the JrX wireless controllers is the power adjustment right on the transmitter.  3 dials allow access to 3 independent groups of flashes.  If I wanted to go nuts with a multi light setup and control power of each group (A, B, & C) I could.  Of course, in the case of most of my shoots I used only one light.  2 lights were broken out when I was shooting a big family and had to cover everyone.  In that instance both lights were on Group A and I didn’t do a multi-group setup.

Why the JrX’s?

Price.  Honestly that was my first consideration.  Last year I bought the JrX’s as I started into my off camera flash journey.  I looked into Pocket Wizards and other controllers.  And yes, some offered the power of high speed sync.  But the cost…..?  Eeek.

As I searched the web I found several demos comparing wireless controllers.  And the Radio Popper system seemed pretty cool.  Distance, power control, the poppers had it all.  Then I discovered the new JrX system.  The price point grabbed me.  And the size of the units appealed to me as well.  Comparing with other wireless controllers I felt the Poppers were my best bet.  And I’ll tell you, I don’t regret buying them.

The JrX transmitters and receivers have been extremely reliable.  I’m beyond impressed, and not being able to shoot high speed sync is okay with me.  After watching Zack Arias’ One Light DVD I realized I had more flexibility with the poppers.  See, Zack stayed away from high speed sync in the video.  He kept it under 1/250th of a second and created amazing images.  Seeing what he did I realized that not having wireless high speed sync didn’t mean I couldn’t control the light the way I wanted to.  Thanks Zack!  Still learning of course, but I have a lot more room to be creative with off camera lighting than I thought I did.

So, no wireless changes for me in the near future!  The Radio Popper JrX system works really well for me.

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