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Radiopopper‘s JrX promises 128:1 manual flash output adjustment with wireless triggering. For most professional and semi-pro photographers on location, that’s a big deal, especially over long distances and through wooden walls.

There’s just one catch – the JrX needs a trigger adaptor called an RPCube to work with Nikon or Canon TTL strobes. Radiopopper told everyone RPCubes would be ready in 6-8 weeks – and that was last August. So far, still no RPCubes.

But it turns out you can make your own – at least for Nikon strobes.

I wasn’t sure just how compatible my old Metz 32MZ-3 / SCA3402 strobe was with Nikon’s flash protocol. Turns out it’s very compatible – my own DIY Nikon RPCube works fine with my 32MZ-3 / SCA3402.

I was a Nikon user, but sold everything Nikon when I switched to Canon in 2003 – except the Metz 32MZ-3 / SCA3402 and an old Nikon SU-4 TTL optical slave. I also had an SCA3501 base for TTL with my Leica M film cameras, another reason to keep the 32MZ-3.

But the SCA3501’s TTL mode doesn’t work with the M8, and the 32MZ-3’s single manual power level isn’t very useful.

The JrX changes everything. It works with the M8, or any camera with a hot shoe.

Variable manual power with old TTL strobes and Leica M8

To get variable manual power, be sure to switch the 32MZ-3’s mode to TTL to allow output control from the JrX transmitter. The JrX gives 1/1 – 1/128 power variability to any compatible flash. The 32MZ-3 has just one power level in manual mode, so that’s a big deal – it’s like getting new features from a firmware upgrade.

With my old Wein Safe-Sync underneath the JrX transmitter, it mounts on my flat-topped Leica M8.

So I have wireless sync and variable manual power with a compact Metz strobe and an M8. It’s the strobist’s ultimate light-weight setup.

Technical Notes –
TTL = Through The Lens, a camera’s ability to control flash output with through-the-lens exposure metering. It appeared on Nikon flashes and cameras in the late 1980s. I can still remember the late Galen Rowell’s description of it in his Outdoor Photographer column “The New Fill Shooters”. That column appears in Rowell’s book Galen Rowell’s Inner Game Of Outdoor Photography, pp. 98-102.