Custom Cables for High Speed Sync

I’ve been making my own custom camera cables for a while now, not that I don’t still buy some, but there are a few I want that don’t exist yet. When I was shooting with my high speed flash sync system I used to hold the camera in one hand and use the other hand to press the test button on the pocket wizard to shoot. Pretty awkward if you try it. So I made a trigger cable for the pocket wizard, if any of you have seen me shooting this year it’s the coiled gray cord going from my pocket to the camera. That one was really simple, I just soldered a tiny tactile momentary switch onto one end of a wire, and a 2.5mm mini plug on the other. It plugs into the Pocket Wizard and the switch velcros onto my camera body next to the normal shutter release. Voila, no more having to hold a pocket wizard in one hand to fire my camera. That was working well, but I was having another issue as well. When I used a standard pre-trigger cable between the camera and the Pocket Wizard receiver on the camera everything was fine except that the autofocus would always turn off after about 10 or 15 seconds. Not great if I was sitting around waiting for someone to come into my lens. I had worked around it by only turning the pre-trigger switch on right before I needed to shoot, but that was really cludgy, and more than once I either forgot or didn’t hit it fast enough and missed a shot. So I created a new cable…

Pocket Wizard Momentary Pre-Trigger Cable

This cable replaces the standard pre-trigger cable and instead of having an on off switch it has another small tactile momentary switch in the middle. It basically functions the same way as the standard cable, but it only turns the pre trigger on when you hold the button down. The cable is long enough to put the button near the front of my Nikon 70-200 VR11, and it works a lot like the autofocus button on the back of the camera. When I press the button the camera starts to autofocus, and then when I press the other trigger button the camera takes a photo, or rather the pocket wizard in my pocket sends a trigger signal to the Pocket Wizard Multimax’s controllling the SB800’s and the Pocket Wizard on my Nikon D3s or D700, which then takes a photo. The other benefit is that because the pre-trigger isn’t always on, the batteries should last a little longer. I still find it a lot easier to prefocus when using the high speed sync system, but for shooting races or events when I’m not exactly sure of the focus, this now seems to work fairly well. I’ll post some photos of it in action in the next week or two.

2 Comments

  1. So the cable was working perfectly for about 4 days, one button for autofocus on, and another for firing. And then the cable broke… I need to find a way to take all the stress out of the solder joints on the switch, once I get that dialed and working I’ll update the post with new info…

Comments are closed.