Calumet's LiteLink Radio Remote Trigger System
A Handy Way To Shoot Without Wires
Like most pros, I adopted a strictly wireless approach years ago. I shoot with IR remotes to trigger my Wein slave eyes, and also with the fabulous PocketWizard Plus system. While the IR method is cheap, easy, and fairly reliable, the radio system gives me 100 percent reliability. Even so I almost always use the IR transmitters, because of their tiny size and amazing battery life.
Imagine my surprise when Calumet's Stephen Freedman showed me the brand-new LiteLink radio system recently. Calumet has always been good at finding just the right solution to the problem, and while most radio remotes have a ton of great features and are dead-reliable, they're not nearly as small and convenient as a small IR transmitter. The LiteLink looks for all the world just like a small IR transmitter, perfect for popping into a hot shoe.
Like the full-featured PocketWizard MultiMAX system, and Quantum's awesome FreeWire setup, each LiteLink is a transceiver. Flip the switch and it's either a receiver or a transmitter. Certainly handy, and this turns a four LiteLink system into a really versatile kit. Use one in your camera's hot shoe to trigger your strobes, another strapped to your tripod to trigger your camera, another on your main strobe to trigger it, and hold the last unit in your hand to trigger the camera. Since there are four individual channels and an "All" setting, it's easy to decide which units do what.
If your needs are triggering strobes in crowded locations, or triggering your camera in venues where other photographers are around, forget about the LiteLinks. They all share a universal frequency. This is great because it makes every LiteLink compatible with every other LiteLink, but means that you can't isolate your LiteLinks from other photographers' units. For studio shooting, however, they're just perfect.
Each LiteLink unit uses a pair of AAA batteries, and Calumet claims a healthy 200 hour battery life. You'll need it if you're like me and accidentally leave the units on the night before the shoot! Each LiteLink comes with a nice complement of connecting hardware. A PC to mini plug connection makes it easy to use your camera's PC connection to trigger the transmitter, and the mini to 1/4" connector now makes it a breeze to flip a unit into "receive" mode and fire a studio flash pack. A small metal shoe unit and a clever bungee cord makes it simple to hang a LiteLink from any camera, flash unit, or light stand.
If you own a digital camera like
the Nikon D100 or D70 or the Canon 10D and 300D, you will really love the LiteLinks.
Their low-voltage operation is entirely safe for modern digital camera electronics,
and ensure that your hot-shot Speedotron pack won't blow the guts out
of your new digital SLR.
LiteLinks claim a working range of 300 ft, which is plenty for studio work. I used them to trigger a pair of Balcar packs located at least a football field away in a corporate interior, and every single frame shot that day proved that the LiteLinks are ready for prime time.
Calumet has done a great job stripping down the modern radio remote into the most studio and wallet friendly configuration. While the LiteLinks lack the multiple channels and backward compatibility of the PocketWizard line, they're very small, very fairly priced (Calumet sells a pair of LiteLinks for $299), and they work like a charm. Going wireless is no longer a complicated or expensive proposition. If your needs are simple--firing your flash packs, triggering your camera, and you're not in environments where there is any chance of interference from other shooters--then the LiteLinks may be perfect for you.
For more information, visit Calumet Photographic's website at: www.calumetphoto.com.
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