I have a Nikon D800E and a flash commander SU800. I would like to use the SU800 to fire some Westcott studio stobes. The stobes in fact do fire with the shutter button on the D800, however the resulting picture is black. It seems like the SU800 is firing too soon, or with some sort of preflash causing the strobes to fire early. The shutter has not had time to even begin its journey. For the record, a simple wire coming from the camera output next to the 10-pin connector connected to the corresponding jack on the strobe will cause the strobe to fire correctly and produce a good picture.

Anybody have any thoughts on that problem, or tried it?


1 Answer 1


It sounds to me like your camera is set for TTL metering. The commander is sending off the initial signal which fires the strobes at full power, which happens something like 1/10th sec before the shutter opens.

Studio strobes are not capable of this - you will need to be in manual mode.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Camera is in Manual mode set at F9 and 1/160. However, your 1/10 second preflash fits the observed circumstances perfectly. I will set camera in Commander mode as well and try the SU800 again. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – owltech2
    Oct 12, 2013 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some of the PocketWizard kit like the Flex TT5 has I-TTL/CLS compatibility. Might be worth looking into if you want to control your strobes directly from the camera. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13, 2013 at 21:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JamesSnell - BUT normal strobes are a one-shot deal, they cannot do a metering flash for TTL at all - these are designed for iTTL speedlights. If you need to meter studio flashes you need a light meter. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14, 2013 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I bought 2 PocketWizards, and they work well. The plan was not to buy anything (2 PocketWizards=$200), since I already had the SU800. Thanks for your tips and suggestions. I think we can call this question answered. \$\endgroup\$
    – owltech2
    Oct 15, 2013 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great - its a shame you arent in the uk, id offer to buy the su800! As you consider this answered, could you mark it as such please? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2013 at 9:01

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