Triggertrap Flash Dongle For Ultra-High Speed iPhoneography

Triggertrap Flash Dongle For Ultra-High Speed iPhoneography

Triggertrap has released a new dongle which lets you fire real camera flashes using your iPhone. This brings you into the realm of high-speed photography — the kind where people shoot bullets through balloons of water and capture the image.

Previously, Triggertrap was a remote that would let you fire your camera using your iPhone via various triggers (it was great for time-lapses or sound triggers, for example). The new gadget, called the Triggertrap Flash Adapter (apparently it took them weeks to come up with that name), will fire the flash direct. Why?

The video shows a demo of the difference between firing a camera with a Triggertrap and firing the flash direct. If you trigger the camera, then it has to send the signals through its own circuitry to open its shutter and fire the flash itself.

If you lock the shutter open and instead trigger the flash direct, then the delay is cut down to single-digit milliseconds, which brings you into the realm of high-end triggers.

The Flash Adapter itself is a cube with two hotshoe adapters and a hole for a jack so you can connect it to the Triggertrap itself and from there to your iPhone. The two shoes are there so you can pair two flashes on low power instead of using one to deliver a full pop. Lower powered flashes are shorter, so you can get even higher-sped captures.

This is pretty cool, if rather specialized. But you know what would be really cool? If you could do all this but take the pictures with the iPhone itself. I wouldn’t care so much about the high-speed aspect, but I would like to be able to use my strobes with my iPhone. €23, or $30.

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  • GurnBlanst0n

    It is not a dongle.

  • TonyK50

    Okay, I’ll try this again.

    The test is not fair because the test with the flash on the camera is using ETTL as seen by the pre-flash exposure measurement.

    For this test to be fair ETTL needs to be turned off. So I am declaring the test and the video “foul” based on the wrong test criteria being used. Any “photographer” knows ETTL takes time to measure and in situations where speed is king will pre-calculate the exposure and turn ETTL off.

  • MattKane

    Hi Tony,
    The bottleneck for the camera-mounted flash isn’t the flash or the ETTL, it’s the shutter lag of the camera. As you know, the flash won’t fire until the shutter is open. To put it in perspective, the absolute fastest shutter lag that we’ve measured on a DSLR is around 50 milliseconds, and a typical lag is more like 150ms. Adding to this, the old version of the app had a lag of around 60ms (which was down to the way audio buffering works on iOS). That’s far too slow for any kind of high-speed photography: a balloon burst takes less than 10ms. In contrast, the “lag” for a flash is in the microseconds (thousandths of a millisecond) or less, so for the purposes of high-speed photography it can be ignored. The improvements that we’ve announced are two-fold. First, lots of tuning of the low-level audio handling on iOS has reduced the app lag from 60ms to around 5ms. Secondly, switching to direct triggering of the flash eliminates the effects of shutter lag. This speeds it up by at least 50ms, and more like 150ms. That’s why we’re so excited by it! I’m sorry if we didn’t explain this well enough in the video.

    Matt, CTO Triggertrap

  • TonyK50

    Hello Matt,

    As I replied to you at DIYPhotography, I’ll also reply here.

    So there were 2 areas where the tests was not fair thus giving Triggertrap an unfair advantange?

    Why not reshoot the video, make the on-camera flash test equal to what Triggertrap Flash gets? In other words set the camera to the exact settings used for the Triggertrap Flash settings and then we can compare apples to apples. Then the only difference would be the flash being on the camera or the flash being off the camera. It would also be nice if the on-camera test used 2 flashes as per the video indicated using 2 flashes allowed for a faster flash cycle.

    Otherwise the testing is flawed and to me unusable.

  • TonyK50

    To my above comment at DIYPhotography, I removed the last paragraph and replaced it with this:

    I came up with a good analogy to better share my feelings. Say we were trying to determine which cooked better, gas or electric. We would change only the method of cooking when doing the tests. But what if we also changed the cookware when we moved from electric to gas. Now we have changed the test methodology and have voided our results. This is what I believe has happened with the testing here.

    For me, the test is invalid until Triggertrap levels the field and tests the on-camera flash like it tested the off-camera flash.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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