Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s

I’ve been playing with options for triggering off camera flashes recently, trying to find an optimal solution that works with my x100s. I’m a big fan of off camera flash, having discovered Strobist back in ’09. David Hobby completely changed my attitude to using flash, making it way more fun than I ever thought possible.
I have a Nikon kit, with multiple SB 800 flash guns. It took me a while to find my comfort zone with the system, having been to a Joe McNally event and the Flashbus tour event. I won’t go into the TTL vs Manual debate, you have to find your own sweet spot. For me, I prefer manual with control. That is, I’m basically lazy. I watch Hobby running around adjusting his power outputs and feel exhausted. I prefer to dial the power up and down from behind the camera – much more relaxing. This is almost TTL, but without the uncertainty and frustration.

Fuji X100s with Cactus v6 & Nikon SB-26
With the Nikons, I can do it all without any triggers. I just use the pop up flash on the D800. This works until bright sun or a Westcott Apollo gets in the way. To get around that, I first invested in a Radiopopper system, but I didn’t enjoy that as it was TTL only. I then went to the Pocketwizard FlexTTL system when they finally brought it out for the Nikons. Perfect. I added the widget to control the power remotely and I was back in the sweet spot again.
Fast forward to 2013 and the X100s. Back to the dark ages (see, I do have a sense of humour). I can trigger my SB 800 flashes, but no control except running backwards and forwards. Line of sight only, no independent control. I’ve got a lot invested in those flashes and the Pocketwizards, so I really don’t fancy replacing any of it, particularly as the Fuji flash system is a bit weak.
First thing, I need to trigger inside a Westcott Apollo. I can use the PW’s, but I have to plug them into the computer to switch to manual trigger mode and that’s annoying. Would have been sweet if the AC3 would control the power, but it doesn’t. Time for some dirt cheap ($15) eBay triggers. I got a system from Ebay – noname brand ($15) that has two receivers and one transmitter.
Not bad, but no power control. That’s a pain with a gun inside the Apollos skirts. Still, better than nothing.
Then Cactus release their v6 transceiver triggers. The marketing hype is promising, with full manual power control, 4 groups and all sorts of interesting features, like the ability to control analog flashes. I have an old Nikon SB 26 from film days that could get a new lease of life if these triggers live up to the hype.
I was mildly concerned with the cash layout on these triggers. The very respected Mr. Hobby had a lousy Cactus experience a while back and won’t give ’em the time of day. Compared to PW’s, the Cv6 are inexpensive, but they aren’t eBay trigger cheap.
Still, I figured I’d give them a whirl. At the time of writing, the order has to come from Hong Kong, no US distributer. Placed the order for two, wait on delivery. After a surprisingly short wait, they arrived and I get to give them a go.
Too lazy to read the manual, I slap a couple of AA’s in, attach a SB 600 and turn ’em on. A few button presses later and I’m up and running. Spin the dial and watch the power setting wizz up and down! Attach to the x100 and away we go. Set the flash mode to External Flash and the control freak is back in business. This is good!

Fuji X100s with Cactus v6 - Top View


As you can from the fist picture in this post, I attached one to an old SB-26. This is an analog flash from the early 90’s, that I still have for my old F90x, if film makes a comeback. Setting this up on the trigger was easy, once I read the manual a few times. Instant control! I can go from 1/1 power to 1/64 power at the spin of the wheel.

Thinking about this, if I had several of these, I could mix and match flashes and control them all independently. I can use these seamlessly with my SB-600, 800 and 26, controlling the power and balancing the output from the camera position. I think you could mix Canon / Nikon / Fuji etc. and balance the power. You can do it the Strobist way, and David is probably as fast as I am using these, but then he’s good and I’m not. He can judge what to set a flash to by experience, I have to WAG it and use time inefficiently. I like these things.
The only downer is that these suckers are big! Because I have a soft release on the shutter button, it’s actually a bit tight for my finger to comfortable roll the shutter. If I wanted to use a remote cable release, it isn’t going to happen without adding a flash cord to get the trigger off camera. Not a big deal, I have an old SC-17 cord lying around somewhere that will suffice.

Fuji X100s with Cactus v6 side view
Still, initial impressions are good. The build quality is not PW, but it’s not bad. The switches and buttons are built down to a price, you can tell by the inconsistency in the feel between units, plus the “scraping” of the wheel on the case as it’s turned. However, the LCD panel is fine and the fit and finish is tight. There is a lot going for these, particularly if you have several old flashes you need to breath life into. But there are no pc sockets, so it’ll get complicated if you need those. They do have optical slaves as well, which can be set to ignore pre-flashes. There is also a delay mode so you can set up effectively rear curtain sync. I haven’t tried these features yet, so I don’t know how good they are. They also have an x-sync port to wirelessly trigger a camera, but again, I can’t comment on how well that feature works.

Fuji X100s with Cactus v6 rear view


At the end of the day, these are probably my favourite triggers. My PW setup is good. Very good. But I’m keeping that dedicated to my Nikon system. PW of any type, on an X100s, are just radio triggers and these offer more flexibility. No TTL, of course, but to be honest, I don’t like TTL much anyway.  They are a bit cumbersome, I wish they were half the size for portability. If (when) I add an X-Pro 1 to my arsenal, these will suit perfectly – especially as the X-Pro 1 doesn’t have a built in flash to use as an optical trigger. I hate wires between the camera and flash, so these will add some interesting abilities to that system.

Can I recommend them? Yes, wholeheartedly. I wish they were better built, and I doubt they will stand up to heavy pro use, but on a cost basis, they are an economical solution that is a step above a standard radio trigger, without the complexity of trying to TTL. Given the technial abilities that are integrated into these triggers, you have to be impressed and I believe they do live up to the hype.

BTW, I have no commercial link to the manufacturer – just a customer.

More to come……..



Creative Commons License
This work by Jason Pitcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at


  1. Thanks for your post!

    I’ll be looking forward to your further comments — I’m thinking about pulling the trigger (no pun intended) on a couple of these myself. Just FYI, Cactus also have a high-powered flash (the RF60) with built-in V6 triggers.

    I also have no affiliation with Cactus, but I’m real interested in building an easy-to-use solution for RF wireless flash that allows control from the camera, and won’t break the bank.

    • I have seen the RF60, but I already have a bunch of flashes. I’d prefer to use what I already have, given the investment. If I was starting from scratch, I’d absolutely look at the RF60 as an economical alternative, providing the cycle time, colour balance etc. met my needs. I find the Nikon flashes very consistent in that regard, and I already own them, of course.

      • No argument there, Jason. I have an SB-800 I’ve been using in SU-4 mode manual slave mode with my studio strobes for some time, even though I haven’t shot Nikon in almost 8 years, because the thing just works. I’ll certainly be using it for a long time to come. And, we’ve also got a Canon 580EX-II that my wife uses on here Canons.

        I was just putting it out there that the RF60 exists and should make a good “system” companion to the V6 triggers.

  2. Hi there .
    You can use PW with AC3 with SB 700 or SB900 and control the power of the flash from PW by pres the learn mode 5sec as simple as that,you do not need a computer
    I use it all the times

    • Thanks for the tip! I didn’t know this, probably because I was trying to use the PWs with the SB-26. Although I found I didn’t need to use the learn mode with the SB-600, the PW only works as a basic trigger on the SB-26, with no ability to control the power. I see another post coming with the x100s and the PW controllers with SB-600/800 flashes!

  3. Thanks Jason for posting about your initial experience! Do you mind if I share it on our website under the Review section?

    BTW, we do have US dealers (Adorama and MPEX) but they are just waiting for stocks to arrive.

    Thank you again and I look forward to your follow up post 🙂

  4. Rodney

    Have you experimented with the X100s and the V6’s with high speed sync? Cactus said they tested the V6 with the X100 (or 100s, cant remember) and they got 1/2000 sync speeds. But I am waiting for a real world test. I too have an SB800 and would love to see you test high speed sync with that particular flash. Thanks for the review.

    • I hadn’t seen that claim, can’t you send a link to it? I haven’t tired HHS with them yet, had the 3rd unit delivered last week so I can play with 2 light set ups. I’ll try HSS with them when I get a chance and update.

      • Rodney

        Argh, of course I cannot find where I read that. But the claim only mentioned that it was a Fuji and I suspected it was the X100(s) because of the leaf shutter. So when I emailed Cactus about which Fuji it was, Ray Chan replied that it was the X100. He wrote:

        Hello Rodney

        FYI, we tested V6 on Fujifilm X-100 for the max sync speed and achieved 1/2000s shutter speed. Different cameras may have different max sync speed.

        I hope this is helpful. Look forward to hearing you soon =)

        Best regards,
        Ray Chan
        Marketing Specialist, Customer Service

        Cactus® | Gadget Infinity
        Harvest One Limited
        9D On Shing Industrial Building
        2-16 Wo Liu Hang Road
        Fo Tan, Hong Kong

        • I can confirm the max sync of 1/2000th with the x100s. BUT! Only at f2.0 – f2.5. As soon as I adjust to f2.8, I lose sync. This is not HSS (I think) where the flash is pulsing through the shutter opening range, but true sync. At 1/1000th, all is good, with wireless flash sync from f2.0 to f16. I do not know if there is a range limitation to that – there shouldn’t be. This is still phenomenally good! I’m not an expert with HSS, but it seems to work fine with a couple of SB-800’s wide open at f2.0. If this meets your needs, you are in luck. Or, worse case, you drop a stop to 1/1000. Makes life tougher if you are trying to overpower noonday sun with a couple of SB-800’s, but you do have the built in ND filter to help.

          On the X-Pro1, all you can get is 1/125th, due to the focal plane shutter. Life is way more conventional.

          • Rodney

            Thanks for doing the test, I appreciate that. Even at 1/2000s it was wireless? I think I’m on my way to a X100s and some V6’s.

          • Yes, radio sync at 1/2000 @ f2.

  5. Jason,
    Amazing, thank you for your write up and testing… I am in the same boat you were in a few months back… trying to find the best way to sync my X100 at 1/1000th with off camera flash… and this may be the answer!

    So far I have been doing this optically… which is working well – although not 100% reliable on sunny days. But this allows me to get to 1/1000th f2 without any issues…

    I am curious though… when going to 1/2000th & f2.8, I too lose sync (optically!) and the flash output is not picked up in the exposure (purely ambient light only) – any idea why this is?

    I will try shooting at f2.5 1/2000th tonight and see if this works 🙂

    Amazing review though thanks again

    • Thanks for the kind words Nick. I don’t know why it works like it does. The manual does say that it won’t sync at f2 @ 1/2000, tho’. I think it has to do with the distance the leaf shutter has to travel in the available time or something.

  6. x100

    1/2000 is available at f/4 and smaller.
    It’s in the X100 manual.


  1. Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s - - […] I’ve been playing with options for triggering off camera flashes recently, trying to find an optimal solution that works…
  2. Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s - - […] I've been playing with options for triggering off camera flashes recently, trying to find an optimal solution that works…
  3. Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s | Jason Pitcher | Fuj... - […] I’ve been playing with options for triggering off camera flashes recently, trying to find an optimal solution that works…
  4. Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s | Jason Pitcher › By TOMEN - […] See on […]
  5. Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s | Jason Pitcher | Pho... - […] I’ve been playing with options for triggering off camera flashes recently, trying to find an optimal solution that works…
  6. miXed zone: "travel lite, travel smart, travel X", Iridient update, Zeiss 32 and 12 first impressions and more | Fuji RumorsFuji Rumors - […] Cactus V6 With Fuji X100s at jasonpitcher: “At the end of the day, these are probably my favourite triggers. My…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *