Cactus LV5 Laser Trigger Review Pt 2

April 21, 2013  •  1 Comment




So I've had a little time to play with the triggers and I think I have got a feel for them now. Whilst I have been using them inside my small studio (or 'shed' to give it its proper title) I get the impression that these would be far better suited to outdoors activities, especially wildlife, and I am looking forward to testing this theory out when the weather gets a little warmer. I'm especially looking forward to trying to capture insects in flight and have already started to formulate how best to do this. That's not to say the LV5 can't be used inside they clearly can. As can be seen by the water drop photographs I've included; water drops are quite easily captured with the LV5. A little more demanding was capturing high speed events such as a balloon being popped with a pellet fired from an airgun. With a little patience it is possible to get the shot and replicate it in order to refine the method.




The following images are more for proof that this was possible rather than trying to gain good images.

My very basic set up for capturing a balloon pop:

Set up 1

  Set up 2


And the result. The balloon was clearly caught in mid-pop and the pellet can be seen just to the left. I used the 'Delay' mode on the LV5 and the delay was set to 4ms to trigger a single flash gun that was connected via a cable to the LV5 at 1/128 power. It's worth pointing out that I do not think it was the pellet that broke the beam that triggered the flash, but the gaseous discharge from my CO2 powered gun. However the image was captured and that was good enough for me. Could I do the same shot by getting the pellet to trigger the flash? The simple answer is I do not know and to be honest I wasn't going to spend time trying to prove or disprove it. There are easier methods to achieve this type of shot, a sound sensor (cheap alternative) or some triggers such as the Camera Axe have a projectile sensor but these do not come cheap.




There are one or two functions of the LV5 that I haven't had the opportunity to try yet but the one that interests me very much is the 'Escape' mode. In this mode a the LV5 triggers a camera/flash when the laser beam is detected by the sensor rather than when it is broken. Again this could be perfect for wildlife shots, perhaps leaving an item of food in an area with lots of movement and when the food is taken your camera will be triggered. Strangely I could only find a very small section about this in the manual but I feel it could be an extremely useful facility to have. I'm not aware of any other trigger that has this function (I'm now prepared to be inundated with links to other triggers that do this!). Another innovation is the inclusion of the RF function that can trigger your camera wirelessly with the inclusion of an optional V5 RX unit. I suspect that both of these ideas will catch on to other triggers coming on the market as it is such a good idea and kudos must go to the  inventors of the LV5 for that.


LV5_Dial There are many good things about the LV5 but there are also one or two annoying parts. The on/off button on the top of the unit are very touch sensitive and the units are prone to being switched on/off accidentally, especially when trying to find optimal positions for shooting.  A switch would be better in this location and the dial that sets delay times for the triggers is very small and the numbers on the dial are very difficult to read. When adjusting the timings for the pellet shot I often found my self having to pick the LV5 up to adjust the dial and then having to go through the process of alignment again, and when adjusting the dial, I  sometimes turned the unit off in error.

[RANt] One problem that appears to be on every trigger I've looked at as the infernal inclusion of red/green/orange LED lights. I have very poor colour vision in these areas so just for once it would be good if a blue light could be included. Not the fault of Cactus I know but just thought I'd put it out there.[/RANT]



In summary I think that the LV5 are a worthwhile inclusion to your kit but I do not recommend them for very high speed shots with small projectiles such as pellets and bullets. They are fine for such things as water drop photography and for other slower moving objects. Where I feel these triggers will excel is in the genre of wildlife photography where the triggers are located in a stationary position and left to do the job. I hope to post further proof of this in the not too distant future when I attempt some flying insect photography, so watch this space. 

The price for the LV5 at the time of writing was a very reasonable £60 available from Gadget Infinity

I have no affiliation to Gadget Infinity or Cactus Imaging






Thanks for your review. I found shots like the bursting balloon were easier to set up if you triggered via the object being impacted rather than the projectile, but its really cool to know both options will work.

Here is one of my water balloon bursting shots :
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