Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quantum TRIO

I was recently given the opportunity to try out the new Quantum Qflash TRIO and Qflash PILOT Command Unit from Quantum Instruments. The Qflash TRIO is really interesting, it's a shoe mounted flash that combines a Qflash head with built-in "FreeXwire" TTL radio and QTTL adapter for digital cameras. I used the Qflash PILOT to control the TRIO remotely, I liken it to the Nikon CLS system on steroids. The Qflash TRIO and PILOT is designed for specific camera systems, ie. Nikon or Canon.

As most of you know, I'm a Nikon shooter and a firm believer in the Nikon CLS system. I love the technology that allows the photographer to control their flash system remotely for their camera position. The TRIO and PILOT combo is design with that in mind.

Quantum Instruments has designed their system to work similar to the CLS system except for one important difference. The signal for the PILOT command unit sends a radio signal rather than an Infrared signal. The Radio signal that is emitted from the PILOT command unit allows you to control the Qflash TRIO at a distance of 500 feet. You can control and synchronize any number of remote Qflashes in Manual, Auto, Auto-fill, TTL and even High Speed Sync to boot.

Another interesting feature is that the TRIO comes with a USB port and cable, allowing the user
future upgrades that can be downloaded to the flash.

The Qflash TRIO next to my SB-800 is a bit larger for sure. My own testing showed me that the TRIO is twice as powerful the SB-800. The TRIO has a removable reflector, allowing for a true bare bulb flash application as well as the ability to put on additional reflectors and other light modifiers on.

This is not the first time using Quantum products for me. I have an old Qflash Model T that's still firing away after so many years, in-destructible! Because the Qflash TRIO and my Model T use the same reflector system, I am able to use my QF63B Telephoto Reflector and Grid sets on the TRIO.

The Telephoto Reflector shown above, is a highly polished 8 1/2" reflector that throws an 18 degree beam at great lengths. The reflector comes with a spacer which must be installed to achieve the tele-effect of the beam of light. Using the spacer will increase the light output by as much as 2 stops or a standard Qflash reflector.

My grid set for my older Model T Qflash fits on the TRIO as well. I keep my grids and cut gels in a small plastic container I found at my local market.
You'll need an external battery to power the strobe. I've been using the Quantum Turbo SC to power the flash. The Turbo SC is very small and powerful battery, it's lightweight at only 15 oz. and it provides up to 225 full power Qflash shots or 400 shoe mount flash shots like that of the TRIO & SB-800's. Now that's a whole lot a power is a small package! With recycle times of about 1 second for a full power blast, in my mind, the Trubo SC is the way to go.

Hey, just a quick reminder. I'll be in Philadelphia, PA conducting a Mentor Series Trek October 30th - Nov. 1st. For more info, visit the Mentor Series Web Site.

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