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Choosing the Best Wireless Flash Trigger for Off Camera Lighting

Lensrentals puts common flash triggers through the ringer
wirless trigger

Wireless flash triggers are an essential tool for photographers wanting to use off camera lighting. In recent years the availability of wireless flash triggers boasting special features has increased rapidly. Finding the best flash trigger for you can be a bit of an overwhelming prospect. Our friends at Lensrentals put together an extensive guide testing a number of units currently available on the market. 

What is a wireless trigger? 

A wireless trigger attaches to the hotshoe of your camera and when you press the shutter button it will send a signal to whatever strobe you are using and fire the strobe as the shutter opens. Wireless triggers come in pairs: a transmitter (which is what attaches to the hotshoe) and a receiver (which is what attaches to the light. Certain brands of strobe lights feature built-in receivers, which means you only need a transmitter connected to the top of your camera to fire them. Within a wireless trigger you will find a number of frequencies and channels to control exactly how the strobe might be fired. 

Frequencies vs. channels: 

Frequencies and channels are helpful for controlling multiple strobe lights. The frequency refers to the radio band that the trigger is operating on, while channels allow you to group your lights individually. If you have a setup that include multiple lights you will want them all to be on the same frequency, but if you want them to fire at different powers you will want to divide them into individual groups. 

“If you have two background lights firing on a roll of seamless, with the intent of getting a solid color, you might want to group these two lights into a single channel – channel or group 3. The main light on your subject might be on group or channel 1, and your rim light might be on channel or group 2,” Zach Sutton, of Lensrentals, explains. 


Depending on the brand of wireless trigger that you are using there might be additional features. Some common ones are front and rear curtain sync, TTL functionality, high-speed sync, multi-camera support and multi-unit support. 

What’s best? 

So what wireless transmitter is best? Ultimately, best depends a lot on what you are shooting and what your budget might be. Sutton ended up eleven different wireless triggers for their reliability and distance capabilities, seeing how some of the most popular brands stacked up against each other. Check out his blog post to see the results. 

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