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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Does anybody use a Lumedyne Tinycycler?
Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 10:49 PM on 05.25.06
->> I have the Canon CP-E3, but I find that it doesn't recycle quite fast enough. I've used a Quantum Turbo and it was too heavy (32 oz.), although I was very impressed with its refresh rate. Lumedyne makes something similar called the "Tinycycler" which has an advertised refresh rate similar to the Quantum, but weighs less (18 oz.) and is smaller. The maximum number of flashes is lower, but I don't need high capacity, just the ability to quickly bang off 3-4 shots at a time. Also, you can't connect 2 flashes to the Tinycycler, which you can with the Quantum Turbo, but I don't need that feature. It costs $340, which includes the cord for the flash. Cost is not a main concern, I just want a fast refresh rate in a small package. Does anybody here have experience with the Tinycycler, or has heard anything good or bad about it? I can't seem to find any user reviews of it anywhere.
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Kent Miller, Photographer
Peekskill | NY | USA | Posted: 11:44 PM on 05.25.06
->> Avi, You need to speak to the battery guy. Alan Jacobs. This guy is the man for battery power. Tell him kent sent you!
http://www.aljacobs.com/THE%20BLACK%20BOX.htm
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 12:17 AM on 05.26.06
->> Kent, thanks for the link. I haven't read through the whole thing yet (I'll get to it tomorrow), but right off the bat I see that this thing weighs 2.7 lbs. I'm specifically looking for something lighter than than the Quantum Turbo, which weighs 2.0 lbs. I'd like the speed of the Turbo (or close to it), but don't need its large capacity. The Tinycycler looks perfect on paper, but I'm hesitant to buy it without a recommendation or two.
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Neil Turner, Photographer
London | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 2:51 AM on 05.26.06
->> I have the Tiny Cycler and I really like it. It hasn't let me down in two years that I've had it and the belt clip and D ring combination make hanging it off of a belt, over a shoulder or off of a lighting stand really easy.

My one complaint is that the basic battery doesn't come with a charger! You have to factor that extra (and not small) cost into your purchase. I am a big Lumedyne user anyway, so I already had three chargers and so it wasn't an issue for me.

Lots of press photographers here in the UK use the various Lumedyne cyclers and the Tiny Cycler is very popular. I also have a Quantum Turbo which never comes out of the car boot unless I'm desperate!

Neil.
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Ron Scheffler, Photographer
Hamilton (Toronto area) | Ontario | Canada | Posted: 2:53 AM on 05.26.06
->> I use a Tinycycler having come from other Lumedyne cyclers such as the Mini and MiniMegacycler.

I've had it now for just over a year and am very happy with it. I bought it for the compact size and have yet to be disappointed by its performance.

Using Canon 550EX flashes, I rarely find I need to wait for it. If you are typically discharging the flash at or near full power, then the Tinycycer may not be able to keep up for rapid shooting. However, I rarely ever find myself in that situation and have been able to use it for entire weddings if working at middle apertures and fairly close to the subject. In fact it outlasts my other cyclers (though those are getting quite old and probably need new batteries).

Where it may not be fast enough is with larger units. I also use the Sunpak 120J units and find the Tinycycler takes about twice as long to recharge one of those. Since I use them more often in light modifiers, they're usually set at or near full power.

Lumedyne may be a relatively unknown product outside the wedding/portrait studio area, but in the 15 or so years I've been using their cyclers, I've never had one fail. They aren't fancy with lots of indicator lights, but they work. If you want to use two flashes from one battery, Paramount makes a Y splitter cable for that very purpose. Of course, recycle times will be doubled if you're using the cycler to run two units that will be discharged at the same time.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 11:56 AM on 05.26.06
->> Neil and Ron, thanks for all the info.

A few questions: Do you think I'll notice a refresh rate performance improvement over the CP-E3 (Canon's 8-AA battery pack) that I already own?

Neil, since you have both the Tinycycler and Quantum Turbo, how would you say their refresh rates compare? On paper it looks like they're about the same, with the Turbo having only a higher capacity.

Last question: B&H sells a Lumedyne rapid charger for about the same price as the trickle charger. Will using the trickle charger make the battery last longer over the years compared to using the rapid charger? The kit B&H sells if you want to buy everything at once (power pack, cord, and charger) comes with only the trickle charger.
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Ron Scheffler, Photographer
Hamilton (Toronto area) | Ontario | Canada | Posted: 1:08 AM on 05.28.06
->> I'm not familiar with the Canon CP-E3, but I suspect it's more along the lines of a Quantum Battery 1 design which only gives more capacity rather than faster recycle times (meaning, it would never be faster than using 4 brand new AA batteries). The Tinycycler is a HV (high voltage) battery pack and gives you considerably faster full power recycling than you'd ever get from AA batteries (or a QB1). I'd go for the Tinycycler, plus you can use it with a lot of other flash units other than Canon.

You could submit your last question directly to the folks at Lumedyne:
http://lumedyne.com/index2.html
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 05.28.06
->> Avi,
I bought the tinycycler last year and I love it. After using various Quantums and the Jackrabbit, the Tinycycler is better performance wise and so much lighter.
If you want to meet in NYC and see how it works, pop me an email and we can meet so you can see how fast it recycles. When I am shooting red carpet events, I bang off A LOT of frames at one time and with fresh AA's in your flash, it will not let you down. It also seems to be the pack that most of the red carpet shooters are using these days.I have gone several days without recharging it and it still worked fine. As fas as I am concerned, it is the best pack that has been made.

Debbie
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 9:12 AM on 05.28.06
->> PS-the charger only costs $16. Get the slow charger-it is recommended over the faster one which is probably more money anyway. When my Tinycycler is really low, it takes 3-5 hours to fully charge.

DLR
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 2:12 PM on 05.28.06
->> The CP-E3 actually does greatly reduce the recycle time, but I can only get a couple full blasts in a row before having to wait a few seconds for another one. It's still much better than the 4-5 seconds between full blasts with a bare flash. I bought it because I thought it was all I needed, but you know how it goes when you try to save a few bucks, you end up buying the more expensive product later on anyway.

Thank you everyone for your feedback. It seems much better than the Turbo on paper for my needs and I just wanted to make sure it was a good buy. I'll pick one up later this week!
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Robert Catto, Photographer
Wellington | NZ | New Zealand | Posted: 6:31 PM on 05.28.06
->> This sounds like the kind of thing I'm looking for as well, but one question - can it be attached to the camera (at the tripod mount), or is the TinyCycler a belt pack only?

Thanks,
R
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 7:32 PM on 05.28.06
->> Robert,
the TinyCycler can be attached via belt clip and a shoulder strap-it can't be atatched to th ecamera by the tripod mount.

Debbie
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 11:24 AM on 05.30.06
->> Well, I bought a Tinycycler and tested its speed vs. my CP-E3 using a 580EX manually set to full power. Starting a stopwatch from the first blast and stopping it after it had recycled from the 5th blast, these were the results (note that I had custom function 7 set to 1 so it would only draw power from the packs, not the internal batteries):

Tinycycler: 8.5 seconds
CP-E3: 10 seconds

Needless to say, I'm somewhat disappointed that I don't get much improvement from the more expensive (and slightly heavier) Tinycycler. This isn't a scientific test, of course, but they appear to be about the same. Maybe the Tinycycler shows a greater improvement with lower powered blasts, or can maintain its recycle time better when the battery is lower, but I don't want to damage the flash (or give myself a seizure), so that's it for now.

I'd be curious to know how the Turbo (or any other kind of power pack) compares, so if anyone would like to try it out and provide the results, that would be helpful to me and readers who are in the market for a power pack. Remember to set your flash CF to 7-1, and start the stopwatch as you fire the first full-power blast, continue to fire as soon as the red light on the flash indicates that it's refreshed from the previous blast, and stop the timer after it has refreshed from the 5th blast.
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Neil Turner, Photographer
London | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 12:13 PM on 05.30.06
->> Don't understand those times. I just repeated your test and my time was under three seconds using a Tinycycler.

Neil
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 12:43 PM on 05.30.06
->> Neil,

You were able to get 5 blasts (plus the refresh time on the last blast) at full 1/1 power with the 580EX (CF 7 set to 1) in under 3 seconds with a Tinycycler?
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Ron Scheffler, Photographer
Hamilton (Toronto area) | Ontario | Canada | Posted: 4:50 PM on 05.30.06
->> Where I think you'll see an advantage with the Tinycycler is at the end of a long session where it will still give you the same recycle times vs. possibly longer times with the Canon unit. Not having the Canon unit, I can't comment if it manages to keep recycling time consistent over a long period.
The Tinycycler has impressed me the most with how long it holds up, which I think I already mentioned. It has lasted through full day weddings spanning thousands of frames (though not all with flash).

If you can keep flash output at half power or lower, recycling times should not be a significant concern but I suppose it depends on the kind of shooting you do.

If you ever acquire HV compatible flash units other than from Canon, you'll likely be able to use the Tinycycler with those as well.

If you really, really need the fastest recycling time, then look at the HV ULTRAMEGACYCLER, but for an on camera flash like the 550/580 the Tinycycler will be fine most of the time. If you're almost always shooting at full power, consider changing your shooting style a bit. Not only will it improve recycling times but it will also prolong the life of the flash unit.
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Avi Gerver, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 5:42 PM on 05.30.06
->> My only concern is that there are situations where I've noticed that the CP-E3 doesn't refresh fast enuogh, and I was hoping for a big improvement from the Tinycycler, but you're right in that there will probably be a bigger difference towards the end of a shoot. I guess it's more that I'm surprised that the CP-E3 could refresh so fast more than I'm disappointed in the Tinycycler.

While I don't usually use the flash near full power, a couple situations where I do come to mind: In a very large room with a white ceiling where I can get away with bouncing off the ceiling, but barely. I remember one conference I shot where I was able to do that, but I had to manually set the flash to full 1/1 power. The results were very natural-looking, but it probably wasn't all that good for the health of the flash.

The other situation where I use a lot of flash power (although probably not 1/1) is fill flash outdoors in bright light. The 1/250th max sync speed is part of the reason I'm forced to use the flash at ISO 100 @ f16 sometimes.

Yeah, I saw the Ultramegacycler, but it was too heavy and I figured that using the flash that rapidly would probably damage the flash.
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Thread Title: Does anybody use a Lumedyne Tinycycler?
Thread Started By: Avi Gerver
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