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Tamrac MicroSync Review

Tamrac MicroSync Review - Matt Grayson never stops reviewing stuff but is always tethered to a flash unit. The Tamrac MicroSync will allow him to work tirelessly, wirelessly.

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Category : Studio Lighting Accessories
Product : Tamrac MicroSync
Price : £135
Rating :
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Best known for their range of bags, Tamrac also have the MicroSync wireless trigger system in their arsenal.

Tamrac Microsync: Specifications
Transmitter:

  • Batteries/life: CR2032/2-3years
  • Plugs: Hotshoe
  • Ports: Sub-mini phono input 2.5mm
  • Size: 27x51x11mm
  • Weight: 15g
  • System requirements: Universal hotshoe
  • Range: 100ft
  • Max. sync speed: 1/180sec (focal plane), 1/350sec (leaf shutter)
  • Channels: 4
  • Frequency: 433MHz

Receiver:

  • Batteries/life: Aax2/1 year
  • Plugs: Mono plug or household plus
  • Ports: Sub-mini phono input 2.5mm
  • Size: 35x111x22mm
  • Weight: 100g
  • System requirements: Powerpack or monolight with sync voltage less than 60 volts
  • Range: 100ft
  • Max. sync speed: 1/180sec (focal plane), 1/350sec (leaf shutter)
  • Channels: 4
  • Frequency: 433MHz

The Pocket Wizard Plus II at around £170 (transceiver only) has a 1600ft range, similar 4 channels and takes 2xAA batteries.

Tamrac MicroSync
The transmitter has a good build quality and 100ft range.

Tamrac Microsync: Features
Hailed as the smallest wireless trigger available, the Microsync is certainly a diminutive set up. Designed as a solution for studio photographers who just can't get along with bulky remote triggers, it certainly lives up to its name.

Two small metal plates partially encompass a plastic body which has an LED at the end for signalling use. A test button which also doubles up as a camera trigger is on the right side of the transmitter.

The receiver is another matter. It's as though a wireless trigger and receiver has some universal law that says they must collectively have a certain mass. Instead of two equal sized units, Microsync have displaced this mass into the receiver giving it plus size proportions.

The good thing is that once it's plugged into the strobe, no-one cares because you're not carrying it with you. The smallest unit is the one sat on top of your camera and it certainly does make a difference.

If you're in a situation where other Microsync users are in the vicinity, you can change the channel to make sure you don't get any conflict between units and they don't keep setting off your lights. Here's the great part, to adjust the channel, you have to stick a paper clip down the channel select opening and the LED will blink at you a corresponding amount of times to confirm the channel it's set to. A small, numbered switch that can be moved with your fingernail would be tricky but would also look a lot more professional.

You can also use the Microsync to remotely fire your DSLR by plugging a firing cord into the cameras remote socket and attaching the other end to the receiver. The receiver can then be stuck to your tripod using the Velcro provided.

Tamrac Microsync: Performance
It works very well and as soon as you plug it into your strobe it's ready to go. As I said earlier, once you've plugged the receiver into the strobe it doesn't matter how big it is, but if you're on location it's just another bulky item to pack.

Tamrac MicroSync
Meanwhile the receiver is huge in comparison and gets in the way of some operations.

In a studio set up, the 100ft range won't be an issue but can cause problems when out in the field.

One interesting feature of the Microsync is the way it uses power. The small lithium battery is normally found in a watch or powering the date & time in a camera these days and performing low maintenance tasks such as that require hardly any power meaning the battery lasts for years. In order to prolong the life, the Microsync will switch itself into standby until the shutter release is pressed. It then activates, triggers the flash heads and powers back down until it's needed again. Because this is all done at the speed of electrical currents, it still won't miss a shot. What it does mean is that the power consumption is incredibly low and Tamrac say that the transmitter will last 2-3years without a need to change the battery.

I used Bowens Espirit lights for the test and I found that the receiver had a tendency to get in the way of some operations when I was making changes to the lights. It wasn't a huge problem but the built-in slave doesn't get in the way.

Tamrac Microsync: Verdict
It has good build quality and reasonable performance. I think the range could be better but for studio work it's fine. I don't like having to stick a paper clip down it to change the channels but maybe that's a psychological problem from my school days playing with plug sockets.

The build quality is certainly better than the Pocket Wizards if online reviews are anything to go by.

If you need a remote trigger that can take a pounding and won't weigh you down or get in the way then take a look at this one.

Tamrac Microsync: Plus points
Small transmitter
Good build quality
Cheaper than some other makes
Great low power consumption

Tamrac Microsync: Minus points
Low range
Only four channels
Change channels with a paper clip

FEATURES

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL

The Tamrac MicroSync costs around £134.99 from Warehouse Express. Take a look here: Tamrac MicroSync.

 

 

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Comments


croberts 10 2.2k 8 Ireland
20 Nov 2008 10:48PM

Quote: The build quality is certainly better than the Pocket Wizards if online reviews are anything to go by.

if online reviews are anything to go by? you never used PW's then?

what a ridiculous statement on a quality website. Sometimes the reviews here, really are pants. Sad

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MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
27 Nov 2008 12:20AM
Really?
During my photographic career, I either used in built slave and the interfit trigger or a sync cord.
You can't possibly expect me to have used every single piece of equipment available in the photographic industry.

Thanks for your feedback.
croberts 10 2.2k 8 Ireland
27 Nov 2008 6:21PM

Quote: You can't possibly expect me to have used every single piece of equipment available in the photographic industry

of course not! Perhaps you should just refrain from making statements about equipment that you havent actually used or compared.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
28 Nov 2008 11:50AM
Ah, I see where the problem lay. It wasn't meant as a direct comparison although I can see how you got that idea.
The reviews I saw about the Pocket Wizard complained about the plastic material used in its construction. The Microsync is metal so makes sense that it's a better build.

We make the same assumptions about cameras without a second thought.
croberts 10 2.2k 8 Ireland
28 Nov 2008 10:56PM

Quote: We make the same assumptions about cameras without a second thought.

aye, but not in reviews, unless you had actually compared them.

Otherwise how can we trust in anything else you say in a review? if, as you say, you make assumptions.

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