Hahnel Combi TF remote trigger review
We review the Hahnel Combi TF remote trigger, a budget, but reliable radio trigger
If you’re serious about shooting images with off-camera flash, then a set of radio triggers is a must. Cables can be fiddly and infrared triggers are only truly accurate if they are in line of sight – not ideal if you have positioned a flash behind the subject. The most versatile solution is to use a radio trigger set, comprised of a transmitter and receiver, to fire your off-camera flash set-up.
It used to be that reliable radio triggers were expensive. Over the past year, we've been using the Hahnel Combi TF on the majority of shoots involving off-camera flash.
At only £60, we think it's a steal. However, it should be noted that the Hahnel lacks TTL control, so you will need to set your off-camera flashguns to manual.
With versions available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, the Hahnel kit includes a transmitter and a receiver, with extra receivers available (should you have more than one flashgun) for around £30. The kit is small and compact and the receiver works off two AAA batteries, while the transmitter uses a CR2032 lithium battery. Despite numerous shoots, we're still using the original battery, so we don't expect you'll need to replace it in a hurry!
The transmitter unit slides on to your DSLR’s hotshoe and when you hold your shutter button halfway, a green LED lights to tell you that it has achieved connection with the receiver. The receiver is a little bigger and attaches to your flashgun’s hotshoe mount – although it’s worth pointing out that the ‘wheel-lock’ mechanism is a little slack and needs to be properly tightened to ensure a secure connection.
The Hahnel is supplied with a lead that can be used to link the receiver to the camera’s remote release socket. However, the lead to connect the receiver to the sync socket of a studioflash head, so it can be used for cordless studioflash control is an optional extra (at around £8). With this in place, the camera can be mounted on a tripod and triggered remotely by the receiver – this may sound fiddly, but is incredibly easy to use in the field.
The Hahnel’s greatest strength is its reliability and range. Quite simply, it works every time, never failing to trigger the flash. The maximum range is quoted by the manufacturer as 100 metres and while we have never had the need to use them over this distance, we have used them regularly at ranges up to 20 metres with no problems at all.
The Hahnel Combi TF offers four channels, so you shouldn't have problems using it in range with other remotes. In short, there is a huge amount to like about these affordable triggers – they’re light compact, easy to use, reliable and excellent value for money. The only negative points are the lack of TTL control and the slightly loose locking wheel.