In case of a professional working with studio flash, the radio trigger provides a greater working distance than a sync cable in triggering the flash. It also eliminates the possibility of tripping on the sync cable.
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
Hahnel Combi TF system consists of a remote control and a receiver. Both these are made from good quality engineering plastic, and the design has a thorough professional touch. The remote control unit has a button on top and an LED indicator at the front. It also has a contact plate with necessary contacts to attach to a standard accessory shoe. The receiver on the other hand, has a plastic foot to attach to a standard accessory shoe, sans the contacts. The standard accessory shoe on top enables it to be attached to a flashgun. It is connected to the camera or studio flash unit using either USB or sync cable, and it has a button to choose the mode
The Hahnel Combi TF can be used to trigger a D-SLR, flashgun, or studio flash unit. There are four models to suit Canon, Nikon, Olympus, or Panasonic. To control a D-SLR, attach the receiver to the accessory shoe and connect it to the camera using one of the supplied cables. The receiver has a switch on the right hand side with three marked positions—Power Off, Power On I, and Power On II. If your camera and the Combi TF model are the same, you can use the Power On I mode, but if the camera and the device are of different brands, then you need to use the Power On II mode. The remote control has a switch at the left hand side, which has two positions—one for normal shooting functions and the other for shutter release with a 4sec delay. The shutter release button is on top of the remote control. Half-pressing the button will activate AF and a full press will trigger the shutter release. If the AF is working correctly, both the LEDs will emit a green light. A successful shutter operation is indicated by red light. For continuous shooting or bulb function, first set the function on the camera and then press and hold the button for two seconds and this will initiate the shooting. A second full press of the button will trip the shutter or stop the process.
To trigger a camera-mountable flash, attach the remote control to your camera’s accessory shoe and the flashgun to the receiver’s accessory shoe. Be sure to mount the receiver on a firm support such as a tripod or the flashgun’s supporting foot (available with some brands of flashguns). Note that the flash will work only in Manual mode since the remote control transmitter does not transmit TTL signal from the camera. Set the required flash intensity. Switch on the camera, flashgun and the receiver. If the LEDs emit a green light, the connection is established and the device is ready to trigger the flashgun when the shutter is released. Similarly for triggering a studio strobe unit, attach the receiver to the strobe using the appropriate cable.
If at any point of time, the status LEDs fail to confirm a working connection, check the channel setting of the devices. To set a channel for communication, each device is provided with a set of four tiny switches inside the respective battery chambers. Set any combination of the switches by moving them to different positions. You can choose any combination of these switches. Technically, these can be combined in 16 different ways, which means the devices have 16 unique channels available for communicating with each other. Remember to set the same combination on both the remote control and the receiver.
The Hahnel Combi TF remote control unit is powered by a CR2032 button-type Lithium battery (supplied) while the received uses two AAA alkaline batteries (supplied). The devices operates at FSK 2.4GHz frequency, which is license-free worldwide. It is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic brands.
The Hahnel Combi TF is fairly easy to use, though it does not have a comprehensive user manual. We did not have any trouble in attaching the devices on camera or flash units. The combination worked as intended. The button and the switches were easy to operate and the channel selection was effortless.
The Hahnel Combi TF worked as expected. We used the device to trigger a camera and a flashgun. As the model was made for Nikon, we used a Nikon D700 and a Nikon SB 900 flashgun. Both worked perfectly. AF, bulb mode and continuous shooting worked well.
Hahnel claims an operating distance of 100m. We checked the operations at a maximum of about 20m, and also checked the combination with the remote control pointed in different directions and behind obstacles. To our surprise, the Combi TF worked perfectly even under these conditions.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Hahnel Combi TF retails internationally at an average price of US $100, which translates into approximately Rs.4500. This is good value for money for this radio trigger.
+ 16 communication channels
+ 100m range
+ Supports multiple flash units
– No detailed user manual
– No TTL flash control
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 18/20
Value for Money 8/10
Grand Total 85/100
Hahnel Combi TF is a very useful accessory to trigger cameras and flashguns. By using multiple receivers, you can control many flash units simultaneously from a single camera. At an average price of under Rs.5000, this is certainly a Best Buy.