In this section of the User Guide we will get you up and running fast, so that you can enjoy your new unit. I will just pass over the basic function without too much detail.
Menik SW-400 Photography Studio Monolight, with 75 W Model Lamp
I am going to assume you have figured out how to plug in the power cord and turn the unit on. From here it is just a matter of a few adjustments using the control panel to be on your way to taking your first images with the Menik SW-400. Let your strobe or strobes set for a few minutes after you fire them up to allow everything to balance out. This will insure more consistent results from all the strobes.
After setting your strobes up in position to shoot you need to determine how much light output you are going to need from your flash. This is controlled using the power dial located on the middle right side of the control panel. Turn it to the right increases the power output of the strobe and to the left decreases it. Your Digital readout in the center should change accordingly from 2.0 to 6.0. Roughly a 5 stop adjustment range. Some earlier models, like the first one I bought have a readout from 1.0 to 6.0. Apparently there have been some software changes since they were first introduced.
One note, when your done shooting be sure to turn the power dial all the way down, and let the unit cool for a few minutes prior to shutting it off. This helps preserve the life of the flash tube and the electronics.
If you have the modeling light ( Free/Prop) indicator set with the second LED illuminated your modeling light will adjust in intensity according to the level of the flash tube. This can be helpful for setting up your shot in that it gives you a visual representation of what the light will look like when the strobes fire. The modeling light is only 75 watt, but indoors it does a nice job of illuminating the shoot area without overheating everyone. the first light is full on and when no lights are on the light is off.
On the left side of the control panel is the ‘test’ Button that is used to test fire the strobe manually. Pressing the button will test fire the strobe so that you can use a separate light meter to make sure your camera settings for the shot are correct. Make sure you wait 5 – 10 seconds between pressing the test button. Rapid firing can damage the flash tube.
You have your power set, your modeling light is where you want it, your ready to shoot right? Not Quite. We now have to figure out how to fire the strobe when you depress the shutter button on your camera. This is called Syncing, of which there are basically 3 ways to accomplish.
The first is physically hard wiring the strobe to your camera or camera mounted flash with a sync cord. Each Menik light comes with a sync cord and an 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter to allow it to be used on most devices. When your Depress the shutter button, it electrically sends a signal and fires the flash synchronously with our without the on camera flash according to how you have the camera set. With the cord for the most part you do not have to worry about sync times between your camera and the strobe being out of whack. When you press the shutter button the strobe fires. If you don’t have a flash with a sync port or a port on your camera you can pick up a really cheap mount hat goes on your hot-shoe to fire the strobe. I included a link to one at the end of the article.
Remote Flash or Strobe fired.
This strobe does not have actual wireless receiver capabilities built in. But it does have remote fire capability. The red optical sensor on top detects your camera, or other flash when they fire and triggers the Menik to activate the strobe. The unit can be triggered by any other flash device that is activated when you press your shutter button, as long as the light can travel unobstructed between the two devices.
In position 1 above the ‘Cell’ button the strobe is set to fire in synchronous mode with your camera flash. This is where you need to read up a bit on flash/strobe sync speeds.Your camera sets the limits here. This setting works from quite a distance too, as I have had good results from as far as 20′ away from my strobes. I haven’t tested the limits of this yet.
The last way is using a remote wireless trigger device, such as a PocketWizard®. These devices have a transmitter that either sets on top of your camera or can possibly be built into your camera. It then has a receiving unit that attaches to the Menik using the Sync cord socket. I am currently using a less known brand version from Cowboy Studio called the NPT-04. It is a much more affordable wireless trigger that I will be doing a review on sometime in the future.
Which one is best?
For me, the wireless is the best way. You don’t have the cords laying around, and you don’t have to worry about line of sight between devices. But the really nice thing is you can use all 3 of these at the same time. You receive the cord with the flash, so that is the cheapest place to start. Then as you get the funds, you can add a wireless trigger. I use a wireless to trigger the first two strobe and use the flash from those two to fire my third, until I get another receiver.
Go Shoot Some Photos Now!
This little quick start is just to get you going. I will go into more detail when I get the rest of the Menik SW-400 User guide articles written. Hopefully you will be taking pictures that give you the WOW factor using this little affordable strobe.
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