Camera Accessories

Review Of The Bolt VX-760 Wireless TTL Flash In 2023

These days, I often use Nikon speedlights, although the high-end versions are becoming quite an expenditure. In recent years, less priced TTL flashes have appeared on the market, which has piqued my interest. Yongnuo and Phottix have been producing very capable flashes at a fraction of the cost of Nikon and Canon’s products for some time. It’s not surprising that they’ve amassed devoted fans.
Bolt is another name in this category of inexpensive yet powerful products. Thanks to the staff at B&H Photo, I’ve recently started experimenting with some Bolt flash units and related accessories.

First, I’ll discuss the VX-760 and the FreeWave Captain radio trigger system, which are their top-of-the-line models. My particular model is the VX-760N, which is designed for Nikon cameras. The model number for the Canon is VX-760C, as you may have guessed.
The VX-760N is compatible with Nikon’s i-TTL metering, may be used as either a slave or master in a wireless configuration, and supports numerous channels and groups. It has an automatic and manual zoom range of 24 to 180mm with a power output of 1/1 to 1/128.

1. Controls

The controls on the rear of the flash will be familiar to anyone who has used a high-end flash unit produced within the past few years. This one reminds me of the interface on older Nikon cameras. A monochrome LCD panel displays information on the flash’s operation, including the mode (e.g. TTL or Manual), the zoom, the ISO and aperture settings, exposure compensation, and other important data.

Below the display are an on/off switch, five buttons, and a selection dial. The state of the charge is indicated by a green LED located in the upper-right corner of the device.

2. Using

The VX-760N supports optical triggering from the camera as either a slave or master. If you wish to use a radio signal that is stronger and more dependable, you will need to add a transmitter and a receiver.

I’ve been matching it with components from the Vello Freewave Captain kit. It is a relatively simple transmitter and receiver combination that has served me well. At $130 for a package containing both pieces, the price is really attractive.
It supports TTL, has built-in controls for adjusting the flash’s exposure compensation, and, if both your camera and flash support it, will work with high-speed sync up to 1/8000 of a second (the Bolt VX-760N does not support high-speed sync, but I tested it with a Nikon SB-5000 and it worked as advertised up to 1/8000). If you want to utilize the transmitter and receiver as a wireless remote shutter, it comes with a carrying bag for both components and sync wires.

With the Vello Freewave Captain, the exposure compensation can be adjusted straight from the transmitter, eliminating the need to access the back of the flash unit. I did not encounter any connection reliability concerns; the combo functioned as expected.

3. Powering

As the VX-760N is compatible with both external power and internal batteries, you have multiple options for powering it.

AA Batteries. Using four AA batteries to power the flash is the most straightforward option. Installation is straightforward; they just slide into a chamber on the side of the flash. There is no need to fiddle with screws or locks because the compartment’s door glides away.
Moreover, Bolt manufactures a portable power pack intended exclusively for their flashes. Specifically, it is the Cyclone PP-310. It offers significantly more power and faster recycling than AA batteries, with a 1-second recycling period and up to 500 full-power flashes (or thousands if you use the lower output typical of fill-flash TTL usage). So, it is a fantastic alternative for scenarios in which you anticipate employing the flash frequently while shooting on the move. Wedding photography is one example. There’s no reason you couldn’t attach the power pack to a light stand and utilize it in a studio scenario; however, consistent AC power and heavier-duty studio strobes would be a more normal and practical solution. if you’re attempting to limit the quantity of wires on the floor, if you’re utilizing a lightweight mobile studio, or if you’re mounting the flash in an inaccessible location.

4. Features

The VX-760N is compatible with Nikon’s i-TTL metering, may be used as either a slave or master in a wireless configuration, and supports numerous channels and groups. It offers automatic and manual zooming from 24 to 180mm and power throttling down to 1/128 power, just like the Nikon SB-5000.

In low-light conditions, the camera’s autofocus system is assisted with autofocus assist.

Several flash accessories currently include universal mounting. This is the case, for instance, with the Vello EF-GS flip-mounted gel set, a convenient and affordable choice for adding pre-cut gels to the mix. Using a Velcro strap that wraps over the flash head, this holder is compatible with the majority of full-size flash units. Instead, you could take the traditional approach and cut your own CTO gels. Any will function with this flash head, as its shape is typical.

All View

That is shockingly loud. When you initially switch it on, for instance, it emits a loud whine for a few seconds as it powers up and prepares itself. This is in addition to the feedback beeps that can be disabled in the settings. Moreover, zooming is audible.

There is no restriction on head tilt. The head tilts in 15-degree increments with clicks, but there is no lock to retain it in place at those degrees. To adjust the angle on the Nikon speedlights, for instance, you must press the unlock button on the side of the hinge. While the lack of such a lock is not a major issue, I’ve found it to be somewhat inconvenient when using moderately heavy modifiers like MagMod. With these worn, the head can move slightly due to the weight.

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