April 24, 2014, 03:58:37 AM

Author Topic: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup  (Read 8020 times)

privatebydesign

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2013, 12:42:58 AM »
Ah the damn internet! I wasn't clear, I meant trigger a remote control from the PC socket, not run a cable all the way to the Einstein. This leaves the hotshoe free for the ST-E3-RT/600EX-RT and even a Cyber Commander giving full remote control of the Einsteins can be used via the PC socket.

This modern cable buisness does make me laugh a little, we worked with full length PC cords for decades and are almost fanatical about wireless flash, and then we tether! Just a side observation.

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2013, 12:42:58 AM »

privatebydesign

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 10:16:39 AM »
I only had the PW setup for a week or so, I borrowed it all from a friend to evaluate. I used it with 550EX's so didn't suffer the extreme interference issues so many have with the 580EX II but I found it far from reliable, I couldn't tell you what firmware version it was running but to me it was so inelegant, cludgy and unreliable I never considered buying into the system after using it. It might seem easy and straightforwards to switch things on in a set order, but in the heat of the moment whilst unpacking gear quickly at an event that isn't forefront in my mind, and forget unfamiliar or inexperienced second shooters/assistants , getting misfires and diagnosing and correcting them took too long to sort out too. USB updates, settings via computer, unreliable connections, test firing, etc etc, it just didn't work for me. I hated the need to program in so many preferences via computer too.

The only really cool bit to me was the AC3, now that was so simple and intuitive I wish the guy who designed that part of the system had done the rest of it! That is the only part of the PW system I'd miss to any degree. But the intrinsic limitations of the AC3, the +3/-3 stops over your pre-programmed base point and "only" three groups are negated with the Canon RT system where you have full range control and five groups. There is no doubt as more people use three groups the ones who stand out will be using five more creatively.

The RT system in comparison is fantastic, after really shaking down the PW system and realising it wasn't for me the only other ETTL capable radio system I was interested in was the Phottix Odin. Now that is a really nice piece of kit too, very similar to the Nikon SU800 only radio, very intuitive, good screen angle and excellent feature set that surpasses the Canon feature set, particularly for pre 2012 bodies. But what I wanted, reliability, simplicity, elegance, and most event/reception shooters ideal, one flash on the shoe in ETTL and others doted around to raise the ambient in M, this is one area where the RT system shines, on post 2012 cameras it really is a dream setup and I have used it on 5D MkIII's like that. But I primarily shoot with pre 2012 bodies and although the functionality drops a bit I am still 100% satisfied with my setup. Basically if you have good batteries and turned it on and select slave mode the remotes work. No drama. No special order or test firings. No crossed fingers. It just works.

The range is much greater than Canon suggest too, I don't know why the rating is so low but when I got mine I tested it and was outside firing flashes that were inside my house from 150' away through walls. I haven't noticed a difference in range between the ST-E3-RT and the 600EX-RT as Masters. So my experience with the RT's is that it is 100% reliable at any practical distance I have imagined using. The PW might have a theoretical advantage in range, though many reviews suggest otherwise particularly with the 580EX II, but the RT works every single time at any distance I might need.

So the only real concern you might have is the interface, there is no getting round it, it isn't as fast as the AC3, but it is no slouch and depending on how you use a camera will make flash adjustments work better and faster for some than others. For instance in the above reception scenario I shoot with the camera in M mode with the remotes in M and on camera in ETTL, if I want to lighten or darken the ambient/remotes I just adjust aperture, this doesn't affect the ETTL illuminated subject as they are being metered separately. If I want to adjust the subject exposure I can do that without moving my eye from the viewfinder via the FEC button. So you can have a lot of control without touching the flash setup, I end up with De facto separate control of subject and ambient/remote flashes vie aperture control and FEC all without moving my eye from the viewfinder, don't forget FEC does not affect M flash power, only the ETTL strobes. But other situations can dictate completely different work methods.

If you want to switch off individual Groups then you do need to go into the flash menu but the 600 is so much better than any previous Canon flash for menu controls, indeed it is so good I am happy to play with P:Fn and C:Fn on the fly just for the sake of it. One tiny feature I like that Nikon has had for a long time, adjustable coverage priority, this can be used to nice effect over and above the head zoom function.

Maybe the best thing for you to do would be to either rent some, or buy them from a no quibble return outlet, and give them a real shakedown, but do give the interface a little time, there are so many different ways to work the system I'd be surprised if you couldn't find something that you liked, there is a learning curve but nothing intimidating (and nothing like the PW Flex system), and even after using mine extensively for months I am still finding nuances and applications I hadn't thought of before.

But biggest asset of all? Complete peace of mind in total reliability.
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RLPhoto

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 11:07:05 AM »
The 600RT system is slick, easy to use and very reliable from some rental's I've used. I really really like the 600-rt's if your willing to sacrifice $$$$ and Second Curtain sync off camera.

I never liked PW's TTL setups. Complex arrangements, Issues with 580II's, and Generally I shoot manual 90% of the time. That's why I still use El cheapo Cowboy triggers until I just replace all my speed-lites with 600's, but that has to wait until I sell off my ancient strobes for einsteins.
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unfocused

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 12:11:08 PM »
Sorry to hijack this thread, but I've got a question that I'm hoping Private or someone else with experience can answer for me.

After bitching for months about Canon's failure to release a receiver that can be used with the 580 EXII, I broke down this weekend, bit the bullet and ordered two 600 RT's from Canon's refurbished shop. I would have ordered four, but they went out of stock before I could order another two. Anyway, I now have two 600s and an ST-E3 on the way.

I really need at least one more, but want to wait to see if they come back in stock at Canon Refurb. For the time being, I still have four 580 EXIIs and Yongnuo's excellent ETTL triggers (I think they are 622C).

My question: for a temporary setup, can I use the 600 RTs in radio mode and fire a 580 EXII as a slave. Would the light from the 600 RTs trigger the 580 EXII or will they be off-sync? Alternatively, can I temporarily use the Yongnuo radio trigger to trigger the 600 RTs or am I risking something catastrophic?

As you all know, I'm no technical geek. I am and always will be a "seat of the pants" shooter. Advice please.
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 12:24:41 PM »
Sorry to hijack this thread, but I've got a question that I'm hoping Private or someone else with experience can answer for me.

After bitching for months about Canon's failure to release a receiver that can be used with the 580 EXII, I broke down this weekend, bit the bullet and ordered two 600 RT's from Canon's refurbished shop. I would have ordered four, but they went out of stock before I could order another two. Anyway, I now have two 600s and an ST-E3 on the way.

I really need at least one more, but want to wait to see if they come back in stock at Canon Refurb. For the time being, I still have four 580 EXIIs and Yongnuo's excellent ETTL triggers (I think they are 622C).

My question: for a temporary setup, can I use the 600 RTs in radio mode and fire a 580 EXII as a slave. Would the light from the 600 RTs trigger the 580 EXII or will they be off-sync? Alternatively, can I temporarily use the Yongnuo radio trigger to trigger the 600 RTs or am I risking something catastrophic?

As you all know, I'm no technical geek. I am and always will be a "seat of the pants" shooter. Advice please.

I think this setup would work.  The 580s can be triggered via line of sight, but I would use an actual trigger receiver.  I use 2 600s and a dumb manual flash that works well for indoors.  Have the ST-E3 on your camera hotshoe, and the trigger plugged into your side port.  I don't like line of sight triggering because it can be unreliable.

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2013, 12:44:25 PM »
I just have to comment.  I swear I have NOT found the "perfect" system yet.  Each one comes so close ... and then misses it. 

I jumped on the RadioPopper bandwagon when they first came out. I used the PW TT5 system for several years. And about 6 months ago switched to the Canon 600s with with the ST-E3 remote.

My very most favorite thing about the PW was the AC3 Zone controller. With REAL/PHYSICAL switches and dials I could adjust settings without even looking at it. A bride could be walking down the aisle and I would have one set of lights flashing, then as she passed me I could switch to a different set of lights by quickly turning one switch off and another on. I barely had to take the camera away from my face long enough to flip the switches and then resume.

The downside to TT5 is the stupid RF interference with the Canon 580EXII flashes. I had 5 of those, all with socks on them and still had issues of flashes sometimes being too far to fire reliably (at just 20-30 feet!).

I love the reliability of the Canon 600s. I love that I have 5 groups to play with. I love that it works essentially the same way as the AC3 Zone Controller (being able to turn individual lights on or off, ettl or manual, etc).

What I _hate_ is that there are far too many button presses and dial turns to accomplish a single task.

Turn a light off:
AC3: flip a switch (often without even looking)
ST-E3: put remote down below me where I can see it (old eyes aren't helping), push a button, rotate dial to appropriate group, toggle off

Change the power setting is the same:
AC3: return a dial (often without even looking)
ST-E3: put remote down below me where I can see it, push a button, rotate dial to appropriate group, push a button, rotate dial to desired power level

Too many button presses and dial turns - all of which require that I watch the screen while I'm doing it because all of the buttons are "context sensitive" (meaning they change what they do based on what is on screen at the time). 

I would PAY EXTRA MONEY to get a remote that let me control my lights with physical buttons and dials like the AC3 Zone Controller.

Please pass the word along to Canon.


privatebydesign

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 12:59:16 PM »
Hi unfocused,

Like PhotographyAdventure said you have several options, but the only way you can get full Canon ETTL functionality on the 600's and 580's is via the optical wireless. However it might be worth trying the ST-E3-RT on pass through on the 622C controlling the 600's,  and have the remote 580's on the other 622C's that might work, but I doubt it! I don't see how you could control the 580's as the camera flash menu would "see" the ST-E3-RT.

Other than that thought manual triggering of some flashes via the PC socket and the 622, or more 622's (if they work fully with the 600's) would seem the way forwards until you get your next 600's.
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 12:59:16 PM »

vuilang

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 01:44:21 PM »
PW is less %trigger but more accurate on exposure (in ETTL mode, manual is.......manual)
600 RT is 100% trigger but less accurate on exposure.
that's is what im having.. but mostly using 600RTs due to convieniences
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 01:54:58 PM by vuilang »

unfocused

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2013, 02:16:21 PM »
Hi unfocused,

Like PhotographyAdventure said you have several options, but the only way you can get full Canon ETTL functionality on the 600's and 580's is via the optical wireless. However it might be worth trying the ST-E3-RT on pass through on the 622C controlling the 600's,  and have the remote 580's on the other 622C's that might work, but I doubt it! I don't see how you could control the 580's as the camera flash menu would "see" the ST-E3-RT.

Other than that thought manual triggering of some flashes via the PC socket and the 622, or more 622's (if they work fully with the 600's) would seem the way forwards until you get your next 600's.

Sorry guys, I guess I wasn't clear. I was just wondering if I could set the 580 EXII to manual and use the flash from the 600s to trigger it as an old-fashioned optical slave. I wasn't thinking I would have access to ETTL on the 580s.
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privatebydesign

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2013, 02:31:14 PM »
If you want the 600's working in ETTL and the 580's manual, then only if you can find a Canon compatible optical trigger that would also ignore the ETTL pre-flashes, the 600's still fire pre-flashes for metering even in radio wireless. If you want everything manual then the 580EX II doesn't have a built in optical trigger like most Nikon flashes, but you can use one of these.

http://www.flashzebra.com/products/0118/index.shtml

Using them would give you dumb triggering over the 580's whilst still giving manual remote control over the 600's.

Hope that was more along the lines of your thought process.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 02:34:19 PM by privatebydesign »
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2013, 03:04:20 PM »
If you want the 600's working in ETTL and the 580's manual, then only if you can find a Canon compatible optical trigger that would also ignore the ETTL pre-flashes, the 600's still fire pre-flashes for metering even in radio wireless. If you want everything manual then the 580EX II doesn't have a built in optical trigger like most Nikon flashes, but you can use one of these.

http://www.flashzebra.com/products/0118/index.shtml

Using them would give you dumb triggering over the 580's whilst still giving manual remote control over the 600's.

Hope that was more along the lines of your thought process.


Thanks, that does help. It's that pre-flash that always presents a problem. I'll play around with things when I get the 600s. I'm going to hang on the 580s until I can get another one or two 600s, so I won't be any worse off than I am now and knowing Canon's refurbished store, as soon as they end their current sale, the 600s will probably magically come back into stock.

Again, sorry for hijacking the OP's thread. You can now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2013, 03:20:18 PM »
Ah the damn internet! I wasn't clear, I meant trigger a remote control from the PC socket, not run a cable all the way to the Einstein. This leaves the hotshoe free for the ST-E3-RT/600EX-RT and even a Cyber Commander giving full remote control of the Einsteins can be used via the PC socket.

Thanks - makes sense. I agree with your comment about the simplicity of the AC3 (despite the 6-stop range - and for me, that hasn't been an issue as I just have different baseline set points for indoors vs. out, and I haven't needed more range). 

If I interpret the PW documentation correctly, I can mount the MiniTT1 on the hotshoe, mount the ST-E3-RT onto that, and control power on the PW receivers via the ST-E3.  The docs are scanty, assuming the RT still emits, I may be able to control the Einstein via the MiniTT1 with power set by the ST-E3, and the three 600's with the Canon RT.  Else, I'll use a short PC cable to a FlexTT5 with the AC3 to control the Einstein (if possible to use the AC3 for that) with the ST-E3 in the hotshoe.  If that works, I will find a way to attach the FlexTT5 to the side of the L bracket, to keep it from dangling. I'm sure RRS has a solution for that, for a price.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 03:23:30 PM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2013, 06:47:07 PM »
Thanks everyone for the responses. I bit the bullet and I ordered 3 600 EX RTs. May pick up a fourth, I'm not sure yet.

And DWTerry: I couldn't agree with you more about the physical switches. I am really going to miss that. Problem with my AC3 experience is that half the time, flipping the switches and dials didn't do anything anyways =)

Canon: I'm even willing to pay the Canon tax for such a solution. Give me physical buttons and I'll pay $500 for that stupid controller!

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2013, 06:47:07 PM »

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2013, 12:05:53 PM »
Sorry to bump an old thread, but I wanted to provide an update for others that may be facing a similar dilemma (Or for those that find this thread via a search engine in the future).

As I said, I purchased 3 600 EX-RT flashes to replace my 430 EX II/580 EX II + Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 setup. As of right now, I couldn't be happier. The flashes trigger every time, with the correct settings, and well over the advertised range. Here's a list of pro's and cons when compared to the PW TT5 setup based on my personal experience.

Canon 600 EX-RT Pros:
Reliable triggering
Settings are easy to change, much better menu system than previous flashes
Ability to easily control up to 5 groups (Vs 3 for the PW + AC3 setup)
Simple to set some flashes to manual and some to TTL, and control the settings of each (AC3 was inconsistent for me for this purpose)
No waiting for firmware to make the PW work with new cameras, like the 5D3.
Cheaper if you are building a radio flash solution from scratch. I got mine for $500 each and B&H.
One less piece of equipment you have to maintain, carry around, and setup by eliminating the PWs altogether.

Canon 600 EX-RT Cons:
I lost the ability to sync my flashes at 1/400 or 1/500 (Depending on the camera I was using) compared to that standard 5D3 sync speed of 1/200.
Even though the range is much greater than advertised, they still can't compete with PWs incredible range.
No ability to trigger a remote camera
No physical switches and dials to control settings like the AC3, which makes it a little slower.

All in all, I am very happy with my choice to switch to the canon 600 EX-RT. They have been extremely reliable and a much better solution for me personally, where I need whatever solution I choose to work every single time. On paper, it would seem as if the PW flex + AC3 is the perfect setup, and I would agree, but I have found that in practice, the Canon solution just works much better and much more reliably. I wish I had saved my money on the PW setup. Hope this helps someone else, and thanks again to everyone how help me with this decision.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2013, 12:25:27 PM »
Canon 600 EX-RT Cons:

I lost the ability to sync my flashes at 1/400 or 1/500 (Depending on the camera I was using) compared to that standard 5D3 sync speed of 1/200.

No ability to trigger a remote camera

With a 5DIII you can do high speed sync with the RT system (although not with pre-2012 bodies).

You can also fire the camera remotely with from a flash/ST-E3 with another in the hotshoe (pre-2012 bodies can remotely trigger the shutter, but a cable to the N3 socket is needed).
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Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2013, 12:25:27 PM »