Review: CyberSync CST & CSRB


My CyberSync Review has been a long time coming and I’m now finally posting it. The reason I waited so long is due to the fact that I wanted to throughly test them out prior to posting a review. If you’re interested in my initial testing and opinion then check out this post. Now on to the review.

The models I purchased were the CyberSync CST Transmitter and CSRB Receiver. The CST will cost you $60 and the CSRB is $70. You purchase them directly from the manufacturer, Paul C. Buff, Inc. I would have to say they are the best priced, pro-quality wireless flash triggers available. Of course, this is just my opinion.

Performance

I’m starting with this area because the CyberSyncs perform VERY, VERY well. Great range and super reliability. I tested these outside at approximately 300 feet, line-of-sight, and they fired every time. I put a flash upstairs with the CSRB attached via the included 1/8″ to PC Sync cable and it fired from downstairs in my family room, my garage (with the door to the house closed), and even outside my front door (with the door closed as well). So it’s safe to say that if you need to trigger flash upstairs and around corners, the CyberSyncs will easily comply.

I’ve fired them over 500 times and I have yet to have a single misfire. That’s right. NO MISFIRES. I’m using the batteries that came with the units and I have not replaced them.

Design & Durability

These little babies seem to be very well-built. The battery compartments are easy to access, which is very nice. The CST battery door slides out to reveal a CR2450 battery. You can find them at any Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Walgreens, or other similar store. The CSRB accepts two AA batteries and the battery door simply clicks into place much like the battery compartment door on most remote controls.

The antenna is in a fixed position on both units, which leaves no room for flexibility. If you were working in a tight space and struck the antenna on something solid they are more likely to break. I’m not a big fan of this, but if lacking a flexible antenna keeps the price down I’m all for it.

I don’t like that there isn’t a way to switch the CST and CSRB on and off. The CST isn’t really an issue because the amount of power consumed during a depression of the “Test” button is very minimal. The CSRB says on for one hour once the “Test” button is depressed or the unit is triggered by the transmitter. Accidental depressions in your camera bag are highly likely and will thus significantly reduce battery life. To counter this I simply reverse the polarity on one of the batteries and then place the cover back on. This prevents electricity flow and therefore won’t drain the batteries. Then all I have to do is flip that same battery back over before I start shooting. I think of it as my On/Off switch. Sure it’s a little clunky, but I’d rather do that than worry about batteries.

The transmitter fits very snugly into the hot shoe on my D90. I feel that it’s very secure even though it’s lacking a locking mechanism. Even if you bump it around it’s not going to come off. You’ll break it first.

I accidently dropped drop-tested one of my receivers from about 4 feet up onto a concrete floor. Everything stayed intact and worked just fine. I wouldn’t recommend doing this often, but if you happen to drop the unit you can feel pretty secure that you can pick it up and it will work.

Summary

What I like:

  • Cost-effective
  • Reliable
  • Durable
  • Low-profile
  • 16 Selectable channels
  • User-friendly
  • Uses regular batteries

What I don’t like:

  • No flexible antenna
  • No on/off switch

Overall I think the CyberSyncs are just as good better than the PocketWizard Plus IIs. Those PWs only offer you four channels and with the CyberSyncs you get 16, which means less chance of interference from other photographers. Also, you can buy a CST transmitter and (2) CSRB receivers for the price of one PocketWizard Plus II. That’s huge for photographers on a budget! If you’re a manual off-camera flash guy like me, then you will love the CyberSyncs for their price, performance, and durability. I would have no issues using these units out on a paying gig (and I have) because I know they will stand up to what I’ll put them through and I am 100% confident they will work.

For more information on the CyberSync units, check them out here.


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13 thoughts on “Review: CyberSync CST & CSRB

  1. I’m putting in a purchase of these and some flashes this weekend. I’m about to venture into the strobist world. Thanks for the review and info.

  2. Does the D90 sync above 1/250th with the Cybersyncs?? High speed sync is what I need on a D90 and I am looking for the right wireless trigger solution.

    Thanks fof the review,

    J

  3. Unfortunately it does not. The D90’s Max. Flash Sync Speed is 1/200th of a second. In order to use high-speed sync, you would need to an SB600, SB800, or SB900 speedlight so that you can use Auto FP. Since using Nikon’s Creative Lighting System limits us because of line-of-sight issues, then a solution like Radio Poppers would give you the range you need. However, you’ll have to have deep pockets to go that route.

    Hope that helps,

    Stephen

  4. Thanks Steven, that helps. I may look into the Radio Poppers since most of my shooting is in the high shutter speed range.

    J

  5. stephen:
    would this cst and csrb to compatable with my canon 40d and canon speedlite 580EXII? is there a light diffusion system you would recommend for indoor portrait work?

    thanks for your help

    william

    • Hey William,

      Yes, the CST and CSRB are 100% compatible with your 40D.

      For light diffusion, I would recommend the Lastolite Ezybox 24″ x 24″ softbox or the Westscott Apollo 28″ x 28″ softbox.

      All the best,

      Stephen

  6. Is the Cybersync CST transmitter and the CSR+ or CSRB+ compatible with Canon EOS Rebel T1i? I am gettting into using flash strobe lighting for portraits. Can you recommend other wireless transmitter/receivers that will work with my camera?

  7. Hi, Great review. I use the CyberSync CST and CSRB as well and I have a question. When I’m using them, if I wait more than about 1-1/2 minutes between shots, the next attempt at a picture doesn’t fire the flash. I have to remember to hit the ‘test’ button after a long delay so that it’s ready for the next photo.

    Have you noticed the same behavior, or is it just me?

  8. stephen:
    would this cst and csrb to compatable with my Nikon D7000 and Nikon speedlite SB 910? is there a light diffusion system you would recommend for indoor portrait work?

    thanks for your help

    Min Than

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