More than you want to know about the Radio Popper JrX Studio System

Richard Charpentier Gear Review, Photography, Portrait Work, RLC Design 1 Comment

Over the past few months I’ve popped up a little here and there about the Radio Popper JrX’s.  But not enough to really cover everything.  So today it’s time to really tell you all about my experience with Poppers.  About time, eh?

First off, the off camera flash learning binge that I started on over a year ago led me to find a reasonably priced solution for wireless control of my strobes.  When I first started into this I was using 2 430EXII’s and one 580EXII.  Yup, I am a Canon guy.  Recently I’ve added an Alien Bee 800.  The poppers control them all.

Not shooting TTL

My first disappointment with the JrX’s was the fact that I couldn’t do TTL.  And everywhere I read I found that TTL was it.  My first thought was I might be putting myself at a disadvantage.  But after using the Poppers for well over a year I can tell you, no disadvantage at all.

Months ago I got my hands on Zack Arias “One Light DVD”.  Talk about a great instructional DVD.  It’s been one of the most valuable things I’ve gotten to learn more about flash.  And you know what?  The whole video worked without TTL.  Zack hung out in manual mode and kept everything under 1/200th of a second.  He produced some pretty cool images for his examples, and there was no high speed sync or TTL used.  It struck me watching the videos from Zack that I was more than fine with the JrX’s.  Actually, I’d made exactly the right purchase for my purposes.

So, no disappointment there after all.

It’s all about control

Here’s what I totally love about the JrX’s.  Control.  See, I purchased the JrX Studio transmitters and receivers.  I’ve got 2 transmitters (one for the 5D Mark II, one for the 40D), and 3 receivers.  I actually need a 4th receiver now, but I’ll wait a little while.  More often than not I’m only using one light (learned on Zack’s DVD), and when I’m using more than one the three seem to be sufficient.

With the transmitters and receivers, combined with the Canon RPCube I can actually control the output of all my Canon flashes with a simple turn of the dial.  I don’t have to stop shooting to change flash output!  Pretty slick.  What’s even better is that the same receivers I use for my Canon Speedlites also works on my new Alien Bee 800.  Not only can I trigger the Alien Bee, I can actually control it’s output as well from the Popper!  The day I received the Bee I spent a good bit of time dialing the modeling light up and down for giggles.  I am easily entertained you know!


What I’ve been producing with off camera flash demonstrates beyond any question in my own mind, the Radio Popper JrX’s are all about results.  You don’t need TTL to create cool lighting for portrait work.  You can in fact go manual, and with a little knowledge, produce exactly what you’re looking for.

Nick shot in studio. 580EXII main light with softbox, Alien Bee illuminating background. Both controlled with the Poppers


Nick in same studio setting. Used a Honl grid on the 580EX. Running about 1/4 power to achieve the black background.

580 & 430 EX's with softboxes triggered by JrX's. Late morning (11 a.m.), shooting 1/200th f/5.0 Didn't need no TTL 🙂


Lastolite EZYBox 24" with 580EXII triggered by popper. 4:30 in the afternoon shooting 1/200th f/5.6 at about half power

Shot on Route 66. 580EXII with 24" Lastolite EZyBox. 1/125th f/8.0 ISO 100


I think it’s pretty safe to say that not using TTL and High Speed sync doesn’t mean you can’t shoot what you want.  Hit that manual mode and get to work!

If you can’t tell, I’m beyond being a satisfied Radio Popper user.  Maybe someday I’ll upgrade to their gear that allows TTL (the PX system I believe), but for the time being I think I’m pretty well set with the JrX system!  Are you new to off camera flash and looking to find a reasonable wireless solution?  If so, I can’t recommend Radio Poppers enough.  And no, not paid or sponsored by them, just a super happy customer!

Comments 1

  1. We have a competing product called Pocket Wizard that works great (never tried Radio Popper so I can’t compare). We just upgraded PW to their TTL system (which can also be used on manual). This lets us control the remote flashes with a +/- ttl exposure factor on a per flash basis. Very cool, not cheap 🙁

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