4 Differences between an IR and RF Wireless Flash Trigger

For professional photographers, the wireless trigger is a very useful gadget to enhance their projects. There are two main systems of wireless flash triggering, the Radio Frequency (RF) and the InfraRed (IR) options. Of course, there are pros and cons for each of them, so a photographer needs to know which one is suitable for his own needs.

1. Indoors or Outdoors

The most essential difference is whether you practice indoor or outdoor photography. When shooting outside, you should probably choose the RF flash trigger, as no direct line of sight is needed. With IR, you may have problems when triggering outside, as the signal may be degraded by bright lights or sunlight. IR is perfect for indoors photography though.

2. Pricing

On the one hand, IR systems can be cheaper, which explains some of its worse characteristics. On the other hand, its setup is quick and easy, but it is expensive compared to a purely manual flash setup. However, the RF trigger can be more expensive than the IR one, depending on the rigs.

3. Light-Metering

An IR flash trigger will not need metering, because it can be controlled from the camera. In comparison, the RF trigger needs a light meter, otherwise it cannot set up each strobe group accurately.

4. Trigger Distance

While the trigger distance is limited in IR systems, the RF flash trigger does not have limitations and offers more space for creativity and reliable triggering. However, an advantage of the IR trigger is that it has no overheads for radio triggers.