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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    My AlienBees CyberSync officially unofficial review

    AlienBees CyberSync Review:
    http://alienbees.com/cybersync.html

    Price:
    Transmitter: $59.95
    Receiver: $69.95

    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.



    Build:
    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!

    Design:
    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.

    Performance!!!!:
    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***

    update: 9-17-09
    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.




    Pros:
    Almost 1/3 the cost of Pocket Wizard Plus IIs
    Reliable
    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

    Cons:
    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

    Conclusion:
    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.

    -Adam


    *CyberSync comes with 3 year limited warranty
    Last edited by adam75south; 07-29-2010 at 01:28 PM.
    40d | 5d mk II | 2.8/16 zenitar fisheye | 16-35L | 35L | sigma 1.4/50 | sigma 2.8/50 Macro | sigma 1.4/85 | 70-200L IS
    website
    disclaimer: posts are for personal entertainment only...not to be taken seriously...ever.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    8,163
    That's awesome. My experience is similar re:Skyports. I haven't touched the Poverty Wizards ever since.

    I like the AAs in the receiver...that's a nice touch. Elinchrom made the receivers run on an internal non-user replaceable battery.
    Ouch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
    Posts
    3,591
    Thanks a lot Adam. I'm on the verge of getting these so it's good to see a positive review. I'm also considering getting the Vivitar 285HV (or maybe the 283 or 285). Could you elaborate on how you connected the receiver to the Vivitar? Did you have to cut up some cables? I also read that Paul Buff was working on a little cover for the test button but I guess it's not done yet since you didn't mention it.

    I have the Cacuts V2s now but half the time they don't work at all or don't sync correctly. Very frustrating.
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

    Flickr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
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    3,591
    I have another question which you may or may not be able to answer...I have a Sigma 530 Super flash which can be triggered by other flashes. So, I was thinking that I only needed one receiver to trigger two flashes (as long as there's no one else around with a flash). Anyway, I was wondering if the Sigma was responding to another flash, and my shutter speed was already at the max sync speed would that cause dark banding (not sure what it's called)? Or does all that happen in such a small amount of time that it doesn't matter?
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

    Flickr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    thanks for the review adam. so many people have been eagerly awaiting these, good to see someone testing em out. can you post a photo with a reciever mounted to a flash pls.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    the 285hv is great outdoors but can be too strong inside. It only goes down to 1/16 power so keep that in mind. The 285hv has a proprietary sync connection so you won't find it easily. It comes with a vivitar to pc cable so yea I took that and soldered it to a radio shack bought mini mono cable. Works great too. If you aren't opposed to used flash take a look at the sb-26. It goes down to 1/64 power and has a built in pc sync so you won't have to make or buy a cable for it. It really is a pain to have to buy extra stuff. I either have to rig a mono connection to my 580ex or buy a $20-35 hot shoe to mono adapter.

    I use my sb-26 the same way with the optical slave. It happens instantly and won't give you a problem.

    Yea I'll get a pic up of the receiver. It'll be tomorrow at the earliest though.
    Last edited by adam75south; 09-19-2008 at 05:04 PM.
    40d | 5d mk II | 2.8/16 zenitar fisheye | 16-35L | 35L | sigma 1.4/50 | sigma 2.8/50 Macro | sigma 1.4/85 | 70-200L IS
    website
    disclaimer: posts are for personal entertainment only...not to be taken seriously...ever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    what made you choose the alienbees over radiopoppers btw ?
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The mitten state
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    Anybody try the MicroSync? I was thinking about those, but I don't think they are TTL
    UPS drivers should wear red and white like Santa!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    easy question rooz. Price. The radio poppers cost the same as pocket wizards. Maybe one day I can afford a system that much but not now. I don't have a need for ttl I meter everything and set up my own light ratios manually.

    I haven't checked out microsyncs I don't know anything about them.
    40d | 5d mk II | 2.8/16 zenitar fisheye | 16-35L | 35L | sigma 1.4/50 | sigma 2.8/50 Macro | sigma 1.4/85 | 70-200L IS
    website
    disclaimer: posts are for personal entertainment only...not to be taken seriously...ever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    that makes sense...i always thought they were significantly cheaper for some reason.
    these alienbees are compatible with TTL though right ?
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
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