Sunday, January 17, 2010

RadioPoppers JrX: Short-term update

I've had 2 shoots with the RP JrX now and thus far not a single misfire. That's well over 1,000 frames without misfire. That's a better batting average than the Gadget Infinity Cactus V4 that I've been using.

A few things to note about the RP JrX though:
-The dials/knobs on the transmitter register minor changes but not miniscule changes in power levels. For example, if you move the dial 1mm or less, you will not perceive a change in the power levels. I checked this and watched the green light on the receiver flicker with each dial change greater than 1mm. I confirmed that if the green light flickers on the receiver when you turn the dial on the transmitter, then the "message" to change the power settings has been "received". It would seem that more than 1mm changes in the dial will register "real" changes but anything less does not.
-Getting used to dumping excess power. I noticed that I decreased power settings a lot without dumping the excess power. Then I'd wonder why the change in power was not realized in the frame. Having power controls at the fingertips requires that you also dump excess power from the transmitter when decreasing strobe power.
-There were seemingly instances where changes to the power levels on the dial of the RP JrX transmitter did not register on the modeling lamp and did not register on the frame (strobe output). I have been unable to confirm this and/or replicate this issue. I believe this might be a function of forgetting to dump excess power when power settings are changed. I will monitor this.
-There are seemingly no issues with the RP JrX and the modeling lamp on the AB800 when connected to a Vagabond II. I heard stories where the modeling lamp would flicker. This is not unusual and not particular to the RP JrX but instead a function of the AB800 drawing power from the Vagabond II. I will continue to monitor this as well.

So far so good. I'll keep an eye out for things and maybe write a long-term update on the RP JrX.


  1. I have been considering the AB800's and some modifiers. If you were starting over, what would you considering getting (power and number of strobes, umbrellas or softboxes, etc.), assuming that you were going to build into the eventual ideal setup? Also, any thoughts on the new PCB Einsteins?

  2. Hi Gregory,

    If I were starting over, I would probably not have purchased all my little strobes. I have 2 SB-600's, 3 SB-800's, and 1 SB-26 from the 1995 :)

    I like my AB800's a lot (can ya tell? LOL). I mean, I use them all the time. That said, maybe one day I might find myself wishing I had more power. I also think that there might be a day that I might wish for better light modifiers (i.e. those from the Profoto lineup). But for the money, you can't beat what AB gives you.

    I have thought about the Einsteins, but I don't know when they'll be out and now that I've switched "positions" and purchased the RP JrX instead of the CyberCommander, I don't foresee being stuck to AB and/or wanting the PCB Einsteins.

    To be honest, I've read the Einstein specs several times and I don't see what I'd benefit from it. Then again, I didn't understand the RP JrX system until I really read into it... but from what I can tell is that it's a more advanced AB800 but I couldn't tell you how it's more advanced. The truth is, the way that I manipulate my lighting, in such a low-tech and manual manner, I couldn't take advantage of such a great product. I'm not used to saving lighting ratios, schematics, and/or power levels. I guess at the end of the day, I'm just a chimp as David Hobby would say since I like "chimping" LOL.

    To come full circle start with the simple stuff and see where you go. Who knows, you might be better off with smaller strobes? What's your focus? People? Product? Landscape? Architecture? The subject will define the set of strobes and light modifiers etc. :) Even the style, e.g. fashion, glamour, portrait, headshot, editorial, print, web, etc. will influence your decision even if you're shooting people. :)

    Pick my brain though if you wish. I just hope I can tell you something I can't already infer from the blog! :) hahaha

  3. FYI, the modeling light flickering thing w/ the JrX Studio is only if you have a bee that is somewhat close to the border of the voltage spec and is sensitive to lower than 120V input...I had a B1600 that did that unless you powered it up just right...

  4. Thanks Ken, :) good to know! my bees sometimes flicker a little during recycling on the Vagabond but they're not on the Vagabond much at all!