Customer Reviews: CowboyStudio NPT-04 4 Channel Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Receiver
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Style: NPT-04|Change
Price:$17.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on April 14, 2010
OK, 5 star rating. As many people have already said, they just work. Believe me, I wish a lot of things I buy `just worked'. LOL

I wanted to comment just to state the obvious... obvious to some, maybe not so obvious to others. But before ordering these I emailed Cowboy Studio's with a couple simple questions... then never got back to me. In fact, it was like I sent my email into space... don't expect this company to be on top of customer service via email. I suggest calling them, although, when I DID call them I got an answering machine (yes, like... and answering machine). I bought these triggers anyway... so I figured I'd answer my own questions in case others had the same questions.

Q1.) Do they work only if they can clearly see each other (ie. line of sight) or will they work if the flash is hidden somewhere, like in a softbox or just around a corner somewhere?
A1.) They indeed do NOT need to `see' each other. My first test I had the flash in my kitchen, then I walked 3 rooms away behind my fireplace. Not only was I 3 rooms away, but in between were the standard walls made of plaster as well as a brick wall from the fire place. Yup... it fired perfectly. Next, I put my flash inside one of my wife's leather pocketbook's. I figured if it would fire inside a closed leather pocketbook, it would have no trouble inside a cloth softbox. Indeed, the flash fired perfectly.

Q2.) Does it work like TTL... or... can I at least adjust the flash power from the back of the camera?
A2.) No and no. However, if you set your flash to M, you can adjust the power this way. If you set your flash to 1/2 in M mode, it'll fire at 1/2 power. If you set it to 1/4 in M mode, it'll fire at 1/4 power.... you get the point. If you have the flash on any setting other than M, it will still fire, but it'll fire at full power. So at first I had my flash setup as a slave to fire from the camera's commander mode. With these triggers on the camera, it fires the flash, but only at full power. I then set my flash to TTL mode. Again, the triggers fired the flash, but only at full power. Now, I read somewhere that these triggers only fire the flash at full power... this isn't true... you have to set the flash to Manual and adjust the flash power from the flash itself. I didn't realize this at first... and it wasn't written anywhere since these triggers come with instructions in Chinese (at least it looks like it's written in Chinese, I don't know).

Q3.) Do I have to change any settings in the camera in order for these triggers to recognize and work.
A3.) Nope. Literally, just slide the thing on your hotshoe... that's it. In fact, it doesn't matter what setting your camera is set to. Same goes with the flash.

Summary: The range CAN be obstructed and the flash will still fire. Set your flash to manual mode and adjust the flash power from the flash itself. That's it.
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on July 4, 2010
Wireless triggers come in two types, the super cheap generic ones and the crazy expensive PocketWizards. These trigger/receivers are excellent and work great. They are much better than the cheap ones I've tried and so far just as good as the PocketWizards I've tried.

Range is not a big issue for me, I've not hit the limit of these Cowboy Studio ones. Honestly, if you exceed the range on these you better be finding a bigger light source than the Speedlight your probably trying to trigger. The wireless is pretty robust as well, I triggered strobes with these through two walls with no problem.

The build quality is better than the generic guys but maybe a hair less than the PocketWizards. Doesn't matter though you can buy yourself about 10 of these for the price of two PocketWizards. So break them, loose them, blow 'em up or whatever and never worry about it. They're built well enough to not give you false pops too. So far I've had exactly one misfire, and that was because of the transmitter not being screwed down tight into my cameras hot shoe. Great performance from these so far.

No TTL support, but I shoot Nikon and none of the high end brands support real iTTL either. This may be a bigger issue for Canon guys who can find radio ETTL options on the high end stuff. Manual flash is not a big deal and being wireless means that these are most likely going to be on stationary light sources anyhow.

The sync speed on these is pretty great, cheap generics don't sync very high usually. My old generics wouldn't sync higher than 1/180, these are fine at 1/200th, bringing them on par with the PocketWizard who is suppose to sync at 1/250th but never does.

The extra PC sync port on the receivers is a plus and lets me use them on my strobes and not just my speedlights. Even though I wish PC sync would die a horrible death, it is a good port on here that fits snuggly with the cord. The on and off switch is also great as the super low end generic radios I've previously used just stayed on and ate up batteries. The transmitter has a 1/8th inch jack too, this allows you to hook it up via the included cable to your camera's PC port and leaves your camera's hot shoe free for an on-camera manual flash.

My one real complaint about these is that the receivers use AAA batteries. They really should use AA like all my other equipment. Not a big deal but still, one more pack of batteries to carry around. On the other hand, the transmitter seems to not require any batteries and that's great.

If you're on the fence about these, jump on over and get them, they work great. Grab a couple extra receivers while you're at it and have all of your lights wireless. These will work just as well as PocketWizards in 95% of your shoots. So unless you shoot rodeos, sports or anything else that requires you to have lights setup at the top of stadiums buy these instead of the PocketWizards and use the money you saved on a nice Circular Polarizer, UV or ND filter.
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on January 4, 2012
I freaked out at first when I saw the PC sync cable that comes with this set. I don't have a PC sync cable port for any of my gear. But I tried it out anyway and it works great anyway. You do not need to use the PC sync cable at all if you don't want to.

Basically you stick the transmitter into the camera hotshoe and attach the receiver onto the flash. Then power up the flash and use it in Manual mode to set the strength (e.g., 1/4 strength). Make sure batteries are fully charged and inserted (transmitter will light up if charged, if not, replace the 23A 12V inside; the receivers use 2 AAA batteries each), and that the transmitter and receiver are on the same channel.

Take a test shot. If it's too bright or dark, adjust exposure compensation/flash compensation and/or flash strength until it's just right. Then you can fire away without having to re-adjust!

I bought this set in case one of the receivers breaks; that way I don't have to order another receiver at extra cost.

Way cheaper than many alternatives like Pocket Wizard.... yeah you don't get TTL with this, but frankly even with TTL you may have to make manual adjustments anyway.
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on December 4, 2011
First let me say that the delivery was 2 days earlier then I expected. Next, you're a sucker if you buy any other triggers and are not a pro.

It arrived in a nice looking box and was well protected.
First thing I did was bought batteries to test them out. You do not need a flash to test them out, but I recommend you do to no be miss led. For example; I pressed the test button on the trigger and a little red light on the receiver indicates that it received a signal. Now I did this right when I put my fresh batteries in. It did show some miss firing on one, but, when I tested it with my flash (SB900)it never missed fired not one time. It appears to me that the light doesn't pop each time you press the trigger button. However when the flash is on the receiver, it has worked every time.
I Tested it with 2 walls(about 30 feet straight line)between the flash and camera and not one time has it miss fired. I took about 70+ shots so far. Not bad for day one. I do expect them to miss fire but so far the stats are great.
As for the build, It has metal hot shoe mount and metal screw mount. The tightener is plastic and the shoe is plastic. You don't need to tighten the trigger at all. It fits snug.

Update. I got my other flash last week and both receivers still hasn't miss fired.
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on April 7, 2010
I just received the wireless flash trigger today. Did some test shots and it worked brilliantly. I will do more extensive testing this weekend.

Simple directions for first time wireless trigger users:
*Camera Flash mode must be set to manual
*Flash (sb600/800/900) must also be set to manual mode

'Also if you are in between shots and find that the flash does not fire I think it's because it goes into a standby mode. I simple press the test button on the transmitter and fire away.
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on November 3, 2011
I took a lighting class and these units were recommended to the students. I picked them up along with a couple of YN560 speedlights. Coupled with my D7000 they work very well both indoors and out. I haven't yet found any problems with interference. I have not used them at any extreme range so cannot say how well they would work at large distances but then with a speedlight you would be unlikely to be in that situation anyway. I recommend these units to anyone considering using off-camera strobe/flash.
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on July 14, 2012
So I have had these for a few weeks. I use them with two YN-560s and a canon XSi. Out of the box they didn't fire my flashes. So I did some research and found that you have to remove the transmitter's battery (and replace it) to make it work. Strangest thing ever, the receiver would indicate that the shutter had gone off (Red LED on receiver) but the flash would not fire. After power cycling the transmitter it worked great.

I thought that could have been a one time thing but its not. I have to do this every time I don't use the transmitter for more than a day. So i hacked it and put a little switch inline. Now I just turn it on and works. The flash fires 95% of the time.

The build quality it what you expect at this price range. What scares me the most is the plastic male shoe on the receivers. I have these connecting my flashes to my flash mounts 7 feet in the air. A scary place for these plastic shoes to fail...

For the price I got these at I can't complain but I also can't love them.
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on September 15, 2012
I've been using this on my Canon 5DMKII for a couple months now. I've had zero problems with this unit.

Recycle time: It works every time I press the shutter. Meaning no misfires. So far.
NOTE: Of course the recycle speed of your flash is going to be a factor in that. If your flash recycles fast then you can shoot fast. It keeps up if your flash can. If you try it on continuous and it skips a beat, it is most likely telling your flash to fire, the flash just isn't keeping up is all.

Ease of use: It doesn't get any simpler.
1)Insert batteries into receiver(s)
2)Attach transmitter to camera
3)Attach receiver(s) to flash(es)
4)Turn on receiver(s)
5)Make sure all units are on the same channel (1&1 1&2 2&1 or 2&2)

Distance: I can't say how far they'll go through walls. Walls vary. But out in the open I get approximately a good 135ft (41meters). They say it's only 30 meters, which is about 98ft. So expect a little more than what they say :)

Build: Well, it's cheap plastic. It's been through some bumps and what-not. I can be pretty abusive to my equipment. Yet I try to be nice to it considering it's just cheap plastic. But sometimes things happen. So far so good.

Batteries: Receivers: AAA's. Does NOT come with. Just in case you were assuming it would. 2 per receiver (4 total). Transmitter has a built in battery. Which I found to be a little odd. It is easily accessed via the SMALL phillips screw on the bottom. 23A 12V. Radio Shack will have it if needed.

Notes for proper use:

1) MAKE SURE the batteries are installed in the receivers properly. Simple things can make you frustrated when your brand new product doesn't work. I've seen many comments on this not working so they returned it, without saying they tried messing with the battery positions. Just give it a chance.

2) REMEMBER: It is still a cheap product. But give it a chance. Problem solve it if it isn't working straight out of the box.

3) DO NOT FORGET: the battery in the TRANSMITTER is replaceable. If it doesn't transmit (the little red light will light up if it does) then go ahead and replace that battery. If after that it doesn't work, THEN send it back for a replacement. Trust me on this. It's a GREAT product!
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on April 14, 2010
If you are seeking a reliable and inexpensive Hot Shoe Flash Receiver this is the product for you! I rarely review products, but I had to give CowboyStudio props for selling a great product at a great price (other receivers will cost 2-4 times the cost than this). I paired my Olympus EP1 with several off camera flashes (FL-14, which came with the camera and the FL-50, which I bought later) and I could not be happier with the results. I have gotten no miss-fires since I've bought it. I am by no means a professional photographer, but I hope to be soon. This product is a must if you'd like to "play" with flash photography on a low budget. I would recommend this product to anyone.
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on October 2, 2012
You always have to take reviews with a grain of salt, and so when you see something this inexpensive (compared to the industry standard), you have to suspect the near 5 star rating. With that said, these triggers have worked really well for me.

I also purchased a set of PIXEL KING E-TTL II Wireless Flash Trigger for CANON for use with my Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, but since the majority of the time I shoot strobist style, I just needed a manual trigger. Not being a professional, I didn't want to spend the $300 it would cost for a set of PW, so I saw the price on this Cowboy Studio set and thought that I should at least give them a try. Worst case scenario, they don't work and I send them back to Amazon. Plus I'm only out less than $30.

After receiving the set, I gave them a try without anything attached, just to see if everything appeared to trigger- and yes, both receivers worked and lit up when I pressed the transmitter. Next I did the same test, this time with the transmitter on top of my camera, and again, everything worked. Finally, I attached two YONGNUO Flash Unit Speedlite YN-560 II to the receivers, set up a simple shot, and everything again worked perfectly. I was able to achieve sync speed on my Canon with this set and the 560s, and with each shot, both flashes fired without a hitch.

Fast forward about 6 months, I now own 2 triggers and 5 receivers (I like redundancy, especially in "cheaper" pieces of equipment), and everything has worked out just fine. Occasionally I get a receiver that doesn't fire in a shot, but it's back in business the next time I press the shutter. I've never had to do the battery "hard reset" that some have mentioned. It has just simply worked. The one thing you really have to be careful of, because the power and channel selector switches are tiny and close to each other, is to make sure you don't change the wireless channel on the receiver when you power it on/off. I have done this many times, and I don't have huge fingers.

So, if I'm so glowing about the product, why the 4 star review? Mainly for 2 reasons. First, the cold shoe on the receivers is plastic. While I haven't had one break on me so far, I would be VERY wary about mounting an expensive flash on this. I would hate for a plastic cold shoe on a sub $30 product to cause your $200-$500 flash to break. Next, the batter doors are not very secure, and come loose fairly easily. I have gaffer's tape on mine. What makes this problem worse is that they slide off from the bottom, so not even gravity is helping to hold them in. I guess I see why they did this- so you could replace the batteries while a flash was mounted on them- but either way the battery door is just too loose.

Overall, it's a great product for the price. Apparently there are some copies out there that aren't as good- and for those, I'd just suggest sending them back until you get one that works correctly. A pain? Yes. Worth it for the extremely affordable price? Definitely.
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