My AlienBees CyberSync officially unofficial review
AlienBees CyberSync Review:
This Monday I ordered my cybersyncs from www.alienbees.com . I got 1 transmitter and 1 receiver. Ordered it Monday morning and it came in Wednesday afternoon...so right away things are looking good.
The transmitter takes a lithium coin type battery with a battery life rated in excess of 1 year(update 9-17-09, my coin battery lasted exactly 8 months through heavy use). The receiver takes two AA batteries. Both the coin battery and the AAs are provided although I swapped out the panasonic AAs that came with the receiver in this picture.
The receiver takes a standard 3.5mm mono plug and the transmitter takes a 2.5mm mono plug for syncing to the camera and also has a hot shoe for mounting on camera.
Here is everything that comes with the kit:
The receiver comes with a pc to 3.5mm mono cord, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm mono cord, a 3.5mm mono to 1/4" mono adapter for studio strobes.
The transmitter comes with a 2.5mm mono to pc cord, made for using your camera's pc sync for firing the strobes leaving your on camera shoe mount available for a camera mounted flash(which gives you the ability to use ETTL on camera in conjunction with manual flash off camera).
Here is the transmitter mounted on my 30d.
My main concern was with build quality. Early reviews of the cybersync suggested poor build quality. I have to disagree for the most part. I'm not sure if I have a revised version of the original, but these look and feel very solid. The receiver is constructed of two main pieces and if you feel where they come together, they're just BARELY not lined up...but definitely nothing to keep anyone from buying it.
*update 2-27-09 the receivers have been dropped more times than i can count and they're still holding strong!
Overall, I love the size and form of the cybersyncs. They look soooo much more professional than my cactus v2s triggers with the homemade antenna. I have 1 complaint and two small complaints though. First, I would prefer a loop built on the receiver to run a lanyard through so that i could hang them from my light stands. I do NOT like velcro and would prefer not to use ties either. Second, the on/test button sticks out quite a bit and can easily be pushed inside a bag turning the receiver on for 1 hour before it automatically shuts off(I say small complaint since it takes AA batteries and you can just take the batteries out while transporting). My third small complaint has to do with excessive white writing on both the transmitter and receiver. I think they probably could have used gray for some of it so it wouldn't be quite as obnoxious.
I might have already given it away with the exclamation points, but I can't help it. These things are just tooooo awesome. Of course after using cactus triggers for months, it's just a huge relief to finally use something that works every time. On top of that, you get 16 working channels as opposed to 4 from the $180 pocket wizard plus II.
Test 1: Outdoor, I left the vivitar 285hv(rigged myself a vivitar to 3.5mm mono cable) on my truck and walked away firing every 20 feet or so. I walked until i could barely see my truck over a hill while i was standing next to a small forest of trees. At this point I would guess I was about 250ft from the flash....and still they fired 100%.
Test 2: Indoor, I placed the flash in the far corner of my single story brick house and fired it 100% no matter where I was inside the house..through walls as well.
Test 3: Indoor/Outdoor, I placed the flash inside my girlfriend's bedroom of her apartment and set my shutter to 1/250s to test max sync speed on the 30d. I fired off 10 shots from about 10ft away at 3fps and fired 100%...fully syncing every time. I also left the flash in her bedroom and walked outside about 200ft away and they continued to fire 100%.
Pictures of the indoor sync test...click picture for all pictures used in test and larger sizes.
Test 4: Outdoor: I placed the flash approx. 150ft away from me in the courtyard of my girlfriends apartment with two trees in between and buildings all around. Again, fired 10/10 times.
Picture of test 4...click picture for more pictures and larger sizes.
***maximum range was not tested***
cybersync shown with nintendo wii lanyard attached for hanging from equipment. i just hang this from a knob on my lightstand. also, as you can see, i've sorta gave up on rechargeable batteries. regular batteries are just cheap, easy, and more reliable for what we do.
Almost 1/3 the cost of Pocket Wizard Plus IIs
Syncs at 1/250s every time
400ft working range
Encrypted signal to minimize interference
Replaceable Batteries you can find almost anywhere
Smaller than a Pocket Wizard
Extremely quick shipping
You have to get creative with mounting the receiver(no longer an issue).
Obnoxious white writing on the black plastic
Easily turned on by accident w/ no off switch
Besides the few very VERY small complaints, I couldn't be happier. I finally have a professional looking wireless setup that works every time. It has everything I NEED along with a couple of added features. And best yet, it's a BARGAIN! I'll be ordering another couple of receivers first chance I get. We'll see if they keep working as well as they have so far, I'll keep everyone updated in the months to come.
*update 2-17-09 cybersyncs are still holding strong and still firing 100%, still wish i had a better way of mounting them.
*update 4-28-09 found a great way to mount them. bought a bunch of cheap nintendo wii lanyards from ebay. you can open the battery door, put the thin string from the lanyard inside, and shut the battery door.
*update 7-29-10 cybersyncs still firing 100%, i've replaced the battery in the transmitter once since i've owned them and it's probably about time i replace the battery again.
Thanks for reading. I hope this helps with anyone thinking of getting a wireless setup.
*CyberSync comes with 3 year limited warranty