Can you mix these flash systems? Of course! Keep reading to learn how.
At some point you may find yourself with a combination of flashes from different systems, or with flashes that have integrated radio receivers, while others don’t have receivers. What can you do to trigger all of them at the same time, to use off-camera flash?
This is exactly my current scenario, with two legacy flashes that I used to use with my Canon cameras, and my new flash system from Godox. My legacy flashes are Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1s, without any radio triggering capabilities, while my new flashes use their own radio system, receiving control signals from a dedicated X1T transmitter.
How can I mix these two systems? I found three different approaches, but I could only test two of them.
I conducted these tests and other experiments, in a shoot I did with a model named Frida. She’s fairly new to modeling, but we had a good time shooting, she has a great attitude and is open to learn more, so I think you’ll see more of her on the blog and videos.
Let’s get to the approaches to fire these flashes.
The first approach that I tried was to set two Godox TT685s close to the camera, at left and right of the model, pointing at her. These flashes are in radio slave mode. I then added two Metz 52 AF-1s, behind and left/right of the model, pointing at each other. These flashes were actually mounted on Radiopopper Nano receivers.
The camera was a Fujifilm X-E3 in a traditional studio flash configuration, at ISO 100, f/2.8 and 1/180 sec (max sync speed), with the X1T transmitter on the hotshoe. I then added the Radiopopper Nano transmitter to the X1T hotshoe and fired.
Everything worked smoothly, with all four flashes firing without a problem.
Of course, mixing transmitters can be tricky, specially if both use the same radio band, in which case none of the flashes may fire, or only some of them.
That’s why I tested a second approach.
One transmitter + Optical Slave
My second approach was to remove the Radiopopper Nano transmitter and receivers, and set the Metz flashes on optical slave mode. Again, everything worked.
Both of these approaches require that, if you need to change the Metz flashes configuration in power settings or zoom, you need to walk up to them and change the settings there. This may be fine in many circumstances, but I think it breaks the rhythm of the shoot. That’s why I want to try another approach.
One transmitter + Two receivers
One other way to fire all four flashes would be to mount the Metz flashes on Godox X1R-C receivers. This would add the radio receiver capabilities to them, and you would be able to control everything from the X1T transmitter. Unfortunately, I don’t have these receivers, so I wasn’t able to test. However, I’ll do my best to get my hands on those receivers, test and post an update.
Of course, these are only three ways to mix different brands or systems of flashes but there may be more. How do you mix flash brands? Please, share your technique in the comments section.