New to pack and head systems

fullofpaintfullofpaint Registered Users Posts: 103 Major grins
edited November 23, 2014 in Accessories
So I was given an older Speedotron pack and head kit, and I'm a little out of my depth on some of this.

I have a safesync so it'll work with my 5D, but I'd prefer to trigger the pack wirelessly. What kind of adapter do I need for it to work with a Pocket Wizard?

Can I use other brands of heads with this pack down the road? I have a soft box and some other light mod gear from my video kit, but these heads don't take speed rings, so kind of stuck.

My heads don't have a mount for any umbrellas, but all the adapters I look at are meant for shoe-mounted flashes, I can't find any with a stud at the end, am I just missing them?
Canon 5DMk2, Canon 40D
16-35 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L, 24-105 4.0L


  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,541 moderator
    edited November 23, 2014
    I never owned an older Speedotron pack, but I used other photographer's units.

    Yes, the Speedothron speedrings and their mount systems are proprietary. I believe that some manufacturers make adapters so that you can use their speedring accessories on Speedotron heads. For instance:

    IMO, Photoflex make very nice and inexpensive speedmount accessories and they also make a few Speedotron adapters to mate to their system. I would start with them first. Just contact them with your Speedotron Pack model number and I bet they can direct you accordingly:

    [email protected]

    For umbrellas which use a center stem, I believe that the following umbrella adapter should work. Just don't use the bottom stem of the adapter, add the adapter to the top of your light stand, then add the pack head to the top of the umbrella adapter (using the supplied upper stem).:

    The umbrella stem fits the hole in the middle of the adapter and then you tighten the thumbscrew to keep the umbrella stem from moving.

    The adapter does put the umbrella a fair bit off-center , but the alternative is to find a similar flash modifier which mounts using the speedring system of the pack flash head. (An octobox, for instance.)
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,541 moderator
    edited November 23, 2014
    Forgot to mention, back when I used pack lights it was with film equipment; 135 format, medium format and large format. We used corded connections since radio flash trigger/slave sets really weren't developed and reliable yet.

    Polarity of the connector wasn't a problem then, since the flash was triggered via mechanical contacts in the shutter mechanisms of the cameras or their lenses. Polarity may be a problem with these pack units and the Pocket Wizard with the SafeSync in-between (which I agree you need to keep in the connection because the trigger voltage and/or charge sump voltage coming from pack lights can be very high.)

    I'm not saying that it will be a problem, but if it is you may wish to consider an adapter cord which inverts the polarity of the cord from the pack unit.

    Modern monolights are a much better solution for a number of reasons, so I recommend not investing too much into making the pack system to get it to work. Investing in a modern monolight system and radio trigger/slave set to match is IMO a much better way to go.
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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