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Monday, September 26, 2011

Ojec-co H550 Transceiver

The H550 from Ojec-co is a new entry to the flash trigger market. The unit is a transceiver so that it can function both as a transmitter or a receiver. It operates on the 2.4Ghz frequency, and supports many functions like TTL pass through, wireless or wired shutter triggering, and high speed sync triggering. For power the H550 uses AAA batteries.

These units are offered as a set of two or as singles. The H550s ship with a stand that looks just like the one that ships with a Nikon SU900, a flash sync cable, a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter, and a set of AAA batteries. I am not sure what the main production line is going to ship with, but it will more than likely be along the same lines.

On the top of the unit you have the shoe mount, a set of four dip switches, trigger button, high speed sync status indicator, group indicator lights, group selection button and the status indicator light.

The left side of the transceiver has the power/function switch, camera shutter socket, flash socket, and a hole for a strap.

On the right side you are able to see the group indicator lights, the high speed sync status light and you have the High speed sync dial.

I have received a set of the Nikon transceivers and a single Canon transceiver from the first production run. Normally the first production run have some sort of issues. That is not from a design flaw but normally from the idiosyncrasies of manufacturing.

There are two different H550 units: Nikon and Canon. One great feature is the fact that you can use either model to trigger one another. The only difference between the Nikon and Canon units are the terminal connection on the shoes. If you are using them as just simple dumb triggers then it does not matter which units you have, they are interchangeable in this fashion. I think that is a pretty good feature.

Here is a list of the H550's specifications.

Radio frequency: 2.4GHZ
Signalling: Frequency Shift Keying (FSK)
Antenna: Built-in PCB Antenna
Controlling Distance: 150m
Channels: 16
Flash groups: 3 groups, 7 different group combinations
Normal triggering sync-speed: 1/250 second
High sync-speed: Up to highest shutter speed of camera - 1/8000 second
Continuous trigger frequency: >20 frames / second
Battery type: 2x AAA (2.4V~-3.2V)
Standby time: 200 hours
Camera shutter interface: Ø2.5mm
Studio flash interface: Ø 2.5mm
Lets look at the functions of the H550. As a trigger they work fantastic. I have not had a single misfire when I use them. The distance is rated at 150 meters. I have not gone out for an official test, but I have not had any issues with the function over distance.

The sixteen channels to choose from are more than enough to shoot in a large group of other photographers and not have any channel crossing problems.

There are three groups with seven different combinations to choose from. I do not shoot using groups so this function is lost on me.

In continuous shooting mode I found the receivers on my flash units to keep up with out any lag time.

One of the features that I like having is the ability to wake up sleeping flashes without it taking a frame

The high speed sync feature is a bit problematic at best. The theory is very simple: You connect the trigger to the camera hot shoe. You then connect the trigger to the camera via a shutter release cable. When you have everything connected you then change the function switch to camera and fire your shutter at a speed faster than it's sync speed. The H550 will then learn how to sync faster from your camera. As it turns out this really only works with Canon cameras and not Nikon. With Nikon's cameras you have to also set up another trigger as a remote shutter release. With this limitation the high speed sync option for Nikon's is not really practical and overall disappointing.

I do hope that this flaw with the Nikon high speed sync is something that can be corrected before the main production run of H550s are manufactured. Overall this is the only main feature that I am disappointed with. Other wise these are pretty good transceivers.

One feature that can be easily overlooked as a Nikon shooter is the TTL pass through. When you are shooting with Nikon cameras and flashes you have access to a very cool lighting system. The Nikon CLS is a fantastic control system and with triggers that support TTL pass through you are able to add even more options into the mix. I do like having the ability to remotely control my Nikon flashes via my Nikon SU800 and with the H550 in line between the camera and the SU800. I also have as many manual flashes in the mix. One scenario where this works very well in when you want to have fixed light sources in your environment like on your background. You then can use the SU800 to control your varying flashes where you might have to make adjustments like in key lights when you have multiple subjects.

On a physical critique the material is on the boarder of being too light weight. I put it right on the cusp. The hot shoe on the top of the unit has some good and some bad. The good is the fact that it has a hole for the locking pin on Nikon flashes. The bad is that the shoes are a bit on the loose side. If you have a Nikon SB600 mounted on top it is going to wiggle around to the point where I think it is either going to break off or the flash is going to fall. When you have a Nikon SB900 mounted on top it is far less loose, but still not the most stable mounting. Now, if you mount a Lumopro LP160 on the H550 it is pretty stable. Part of why the LP160 is more stable on the H550 is due to the weight and profile of the flash. The Lumopro LP160 weighs less than the Nikon SB900 and has a lower profile.

I like the triggers design and build. I am disappointed by the high speed sync problems with the Nikon cameras, but I am sure that is something that is going to be corrected. The Ojec-co H550 transceiver has a very capable TTL pass through trigger with room to grow. These units definitely have more going for them than they do against them. For Nikon shooters the ability to integrate the H550 into your CLS set up is great for versatility. If you are a Canon shooter then you will not have the high speed sync issues and so the H550 will look even more attractive.

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