Quick and dirty radiopopper mod for Canon strobes (that won’t void your warranty!)

I love my radiopoppers. They are just super-awesome and make doing off camera strobe work sooo much easier. The only problem is that (by virtue of design) they are rather clumsy to use – you have to position the bead in front of the sensor, have some way of holding it there (tape? ugh…) and then affix the actual receiver body so that it won’t jiggle the bead off the sensor etc…

I’ve been playing around with a few different mods to affix the popper without drilling holes in the case or covering my flash with tape/velcro. So far this is the best I’ve come up with. It works extremely well, allows you to attach the popper super quickly and securely, and is dead easy to do (no actual “modding” of the unit required.) The one compormise is that it involves putting a little velcro on the flash body, but there is even a workaorund for that 🙂

So without further ado:
you will need the exact same materials described in my DIY snoot/bouncecard

  • velcro wrap (the kind that is hooked on one side and looped on the other (so it can stick to itself, often used for wrapping computer cables)
  • a small piece of self-adhesive velcro (loop side, this will form the mount points for the
  • “Foamies” craft foam (thin sheets of flexible foam, available at craft/art stores (pearl etc..))  If possible get the sheets that are self adhesive on one side, which allows you to skip the next ingredient 🙂
  • glue (optional, if you didn’t get the self-sticky foamies)

the procedure is simple.  Cut a strip of velcro wrap long enough to reach halfway around your flash body, with a little extra.   Take 2 small pieces of the self-adhesive velcro, and mount them on each side of the flash, these are the “mounting points” for the popper/strap.  Cut 3 pieces of foam with an x-acto, the width of the velcro strap, and long enough to go across/cover the IR sensor.   On one of the pieces of foam, cut a “channel” about the width of the radiopopper bead, splitting it in two.  Now stack the 3 pieces together and glue (with the “channel” piece on top obviously).  Hot glue works well for this, or if you got the self-adhesive foamies that will work too.   Once done the whole assembley should look like this.

And that’s basically all there is to it!  Now simply slap the body of the Popper on the still exposed loop side of the velcro, and loop the fiber optic over placing the bead in the channel.  Position the whole shebang on top of the sensor on the flash, and attach the loose ends of the strap to the velcro mount points on the side of the flash body.  The channel in the foam hold the bead securely in place, while the thickness provies a “cushion” that makes a flat/secure surface for the popper body to mount on.  I find that this is a very stable/secure method of mounting the poppers – once on I don’t have to worry about the bead coming loose or the body flopping around.  (I cut the fiber optic in half to make it “neater” but you dont have to)

a few caveats:

  1. because of the position of the IR sensor this will really only work for Canon strobes (nikon has the sensor on the side of the body, not the front).   I use it on a canon 580exII and a 550ex – it may work on others or not depending on the location of the sensor, as always YMMV.
  2. when mounting the poppers this way, make sure you rotate the flash head around 180deg.  (pointing “backwards” from it’s normal orientation)  The RadioPopper folks have pointed out that the electromagnetic pulse from the front of the flash head can damage the RP units if it is in direct proximity – as long as you turn it around it should be fine.

Hope that helps all you RadioPopper folks out there.  I’ve been very happy with this mounting system so far!

the 15 second DIY adjustable snoot!

So I’ve done the cardboard snoot thing.  It’s cheap.  It works.  but I find they don’t last too long trashing around in a camera bag.   I really like the idea of a flexible snoot like the Honl speedsnoot, so I figured I’d try to make my own…

A quick trip down to Perl (art supply store) yielded the required materials.  2 9″x12″ sheets of “foamies” craft foam (it’s a thin, neoprene like foam material – flexible yet rigid enough to hold it’s shape) one white, one black and 4′ of velcro “wrap” (the velcro that has hooks on one side and loops on the other, so it can stick to itself if you wrap it around something)  The neat thing about the foamies sheets is that you can get them either plain or with one side covered in adhesive.   I opted for a plain black and an adhesive-backed white sheet.

total cost for materials: about $5 (the velcro was $3 and I think the foamies sheets were .59 each)

Once at home, I simply peeled the backing off the white adhesive side, and laid the black sheet on top.  Pressing firmly secured the 2 together.  They can bend and flex together without wrinkling or buckling.

I then cut 2 velcro wraps long enough to wrap around the flash head and secure it tightly.

TaDa!  instant snoot – total time to construct: about 15-30 seconds 🙂

the best part about this snoot is that it is adjustable.  For a normal throw, wrap it into a cylinder shape, and secure each end with a wrap.   If you want a tighter throw, wrap it into a cone shape.  You can get a very tight dot of light this way.

Another added benifit is that it can be used as a bounce card – simple wrap one end around the flash head pointing up, and leave the other end free.  presto bounce card.

For five dollars and a minute of work, this is something that will have a permanent place in my camera bag!