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Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 10:43:47 AM »
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Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 10:43:47 AM »

ShootingStars

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 10:57:46 AM »
if im looking for a cheap solution is this it?

i want to be able to trigger one speedlite placed on the ground behind me
what do i need to get?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 10:59:40 AM by ShootingStars »

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 11:05:47 AM »
if im looking for a cheap solution is this it?

i want to be able to trigger one speedlite placed on the ground behind me
what do i need to get?

It'll work, but at $100 each there are less expensive options.  Check out Cactus V, $70 for a pair (transmitter + receiver).  There are others.
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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 11:17:05 AM »
I'm not sure what he meant by "relay mode". To my understanding you can trigger the camera shutter and flash at the same time via a third transceiver?? Yes?

Well, OK but I'm pretty sure my $20 YN-603C triggers can do that too! (actually I know they can because I used it in a shoot recently). And that's twenty bucks a pair! (Trigger cable is included in the box too).
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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 11:26:22 AM »
if im looking for a cheap solution is this it?

It's not the *cheapest* solution out there, other people here can speak to what else can work. I err on the side of paranoid when it comes to my work, I don't want to fuss with potential areas of failure, so I tend to buy gear that I know will work. PocketWizard has been that for me, and at $100 a pair that's the cheapest PW on the market.  So let's say this is the low of the high end in radio transceivers.

And yes, any transmitter/receiver combo will do what you need to do. What you might want to check for is what kind of ports does your speedlight have to accept a trigger: some flashes only have a PC port, some have a miniphone port, some have both, and some have neither. If neither, you'll need a special adapter or a specific kind of transceiver that mounts on the foot of the flash.

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 11:51:23 AM »
I'm not sure what he meant by "relay mode". To my understanding you can trigger the camera shutter and flash at the same time via a third transceiver?? Yes?

Well, OK but I'm pretty sure my $20 YN-603C triggers can do that too! (actually I know they can because I used it in a shoot recently). And that's twenty bucks a pair! (Trigger cable is included in the box too).

Okay, yes, that's a same (or similar) function. Relay triggers things in sequence though, since you want the camera to essentially trigger the flash. If your one trigger does both you can potentially lose some of your sync time. But if what you have already works well then great! I'm also a big fan of PW's warranty, not sure what YN offers there.

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 12:03:55 PM »
I'm not sure what he meant by "relay mode". To my understanding you can trigger the camera shutter and flash at the same time via a third transceiver?? Yes?

Well, OK but I'm pretty sure my $20 YN-603C triggers can do that too! (actually I know they can because I used it in a shoot recently). And that's twenty bucks a pair! (Trigger cable is included in the box too).

I second this.  I've been using Yongnuo transceivers for about three years now.  I usually hold one in my hands, have one on the camera to trigger the shutter, and one on each of my two external flashes.  They work every time, no line of sight requirement, they have great range, and they cost a fraction of anything else.  Also, I sometimes forget to turn them off before throwing them in my bag and they stay on for weeks; they drain so little battery that I've changed batteries only a couple of times in the last three years!

There is a downside though, if you only want the best.  The manufacturing has higher tolerances than I would like, so one of my (four) transceivers does not fit in the hot shoe unless you force it a lot, and one is just a bit too loose (it stays on fine, but I wouldn't put a heavy flashgun on top of it).

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 12:03:55 PM »

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 01:23:32 PM »
I use PWs exclusively for their reliability.

The only thing that I am unhappy with is the lack of a metal foot. I like the locking feature but even with care the feet break occasionally. The Yongnuo triggers do have metal feet but no lock so are not what I want.

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 02:13:34 PM »
I'm still on the fence if I should pick up a set of PW plus III or maybe some of these. I'd actually prefer the other brands for their functionality (mainly to be able to control manual settings from the camera display, not so much actual TTL) - but PW are and seem to remain the industry standard.

And with a few potential shoots lined up at a rented studio facility I might as well have a pair of PW that are compatible with what's on set. And they are compatible with some light meters.
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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 02:16:47 PM »
I'm still on the fence if I should pick up a set of PW plus III or maybe some of these. I'd actually prefer the other brands for their functionality (mainly to be able to control manual settings from the camera display, not so much actual TTL) - but PW are and seem to remain the industry standard.

And with a few potential shoots lined up at a rented studio facility I might as well have a pair of PW that are compatible with what's on set. And they are compatible with some light meters.

For proper manual control of your photos I can not recommend the 600EX-RT's enough: http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt/

That said, if you're in studio and a bit more budget conscious you can grab the Plus X for under $100 right now (there's a rebate on). The Plus III's have a lot more channels, and a long-range mode that works, but how often do you shoot more than 500ft?

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 03:57:24 PM »
I'm still on the fence if I should pick up a set of PW plus III or maybe some of these. I'd actually prefer the other brands for their functionality (mainly to be able to control manual settings from the camera display, not so much actual TTL) - but PW are and seem to remain the industry standard.

And with a few potential shoots lined up at a rented studio facility I might as well have a pair of PW that are compatible with what's on set. And they are compatible with some light meters.

For proper manual control of your photos I can not recommend the 600EX-RT's enough: http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt/

That said, if you're in studio and a bit more budget conscious you can grab the Plus X for under $100 right now (there's a rebate on). The Plus III's have a lot more channels, and a long-range mode that works, but how often do you shoot more than 500ft?


All very good points. I have ruled out the 600 plus controller for now given the cost of upgrading 4-5 speedlites at this point. And I want to move more towards more serious studio lights at some point.

What I like is that the PW models are all compatible with each other. So I was thinking getting a Plus III to have all channels and options for the rented studio place and then add Plus X for my own stuff as needed.

Let's see which of the jobs materialize...
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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 05:50:54 PM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?
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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 06:39:02 PM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?

It has a lot to do with the transmission lag from the remotes to the camera and flashes and, more importantly, the speed at which the Canon shutter closes to capture the light. Too fast and the shutter closes before all the light from the flash "registers" in the image. First party flashes (like the Canon 430EXII or 600EX-RT) are built to work specifically with their brand bodies.

Pocket Wizard developed something called "Hypersync" that offsets the flash trigger to try and account for this, it works better with some cameras than others, but I've been able to get an extra stop (at least) out of my 5D3 using this. As always, mileage varies.

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 06:39:02 PM »

7enderbender

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 10:54:51 AM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?

It has a lot to do with the transmission lag from the remotes to the camera and flashes and, more importantly, the speed at which the Canon shutter closes to capture the light. Too fast and the shutter closes before all the light from the flash "registers" in the image. First party flashes (like the Canon 430EXII or 600EX-RT) are built to work specifically with their brand bodies.

Pocket Wizard developed something called "Hypersync" that offsets the flash trigger to try and account for this, it works better with some cameras than others, but I've been able to get an extra stop (at least) out of my 5D3 using this. As always, mileage varies.


Hm. I see what you're saying but there is still something here I don't get.

Let's leave out the "Hypersync" versions of the PWs. That would be basically their version of HSS with ETTL. I think that doesn't apply for their "dumb" triggers such as the Plus III and X.

So if those are rated for up to 1/250 and the MarkII and III can go to 1/200, why would there be an issue at that speed? The flash pop will be much much faster than that during that time and should illuminate the entire frame. If that's not the case then I can only think of two explanations (neither of which should happen really):

1. The cameras are rated at the max sync speed of 1/200 which (if I understand it right) is the fastest speed where the shutter curtains are at one point NOT covering the sensor. Every speed faster than that will be a smaller slit sliding across the frame and result in dark bands when the short flash pop occurs during that pass through. So this would mean that the cameras really don't have that sync speed and that the curtains are ever so slightly closed at that speed already. This seems unlikely since it clearly works with the Canon system at that speed.

2. A mismatch or delay in trigger time of the actual trigger. That would mean the PWs reach the flash delayed and they only pop after the curtains are already closing again. Or maybe the reverse where it's too early because of some shutter delay. Don't remember which direction the horizontal shutters move. The dark bar seems to be at the bottom. I've seen the same thing happening on my $25 China triggers at times. Not consistently though.

Why make a big deal? I think it matters. 1/200 is pretty slow already if you like shooting with wider apertures while trying to control ambient light. I know, that's what HSS and Hypersync is for. And that's why I'm still on the fence about all this. No good solution is cheap. None is 100% flexible. Or 100% reliable it seems.
I think my next investment is really going to be a medium format film camera for that kind of stuff. Leaf shutters and all. Anyone seen the Gregory Heisler book? Delicious. That's the kind of stuff I want to do more.


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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 10:57:24 AM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?

It has a lot to do with the transmission lag from the remotes to the camera and flashes and, more importantly, the speed at which the Canon shutter closes to capture the light. Too fast and the shutter closes before all the light from the flash "registers" in the image. First party flashes (like the Canon 430EXII or 600EX-RT) are built to work specifically with their brand bodies.

Pocket Wizard developed something called "Hypersync" that offsets the flash trigger to try and account for this, it works better with some cameras than others, but I've been able to get an extra stop (at least) out of my 5D3 using this. As always, mileage varies.


Hm. I see what you're saying but there is still something here I don't get.

Let's leave out the "Hypersync" versions of the PWs. That would be basically their version of HSS with ETTL. I think that doesn't apply for their "dumb" triggers such as the Plus III and X.

So if those are rated for up to 1/250 and the MarkII and III can go to 1/200, why would there be an issue at that speed? The flash pop will be much much faster than that during that time and should illuminate the entire frame. If that's not the case then I can only think of two explanations (neither of which should happen really):

1. The cameras are rated at the max sync speed of 1/200 which (if I understand it right) is the fastest speed where the shutter curtains are at one point NOT covering the sensor. Every speed faster than that will be a smaller slit sliding across the frame and result in dark bands when the short flash pop occurs during that pass through. So this would mean that the cameras really don't have that sync speed and that the curtains are ever so slightly closed at that speed already. This seems unlikely since it clearly works with the Canon system at that speed.

2. A mismatch or delay in trigger time of the actual trigger. That would mean the PWs reach the flash delayed and they only pop after the curtains are already closing again. Or maybe the reverse where it's too early because of some shutter delay. Don't remember which direction the horizontal shutters move. The dark bar seems to be at the bottom. I've seen the same thing happening on my $25 China triggers at times. Not consistently though.

Why make a big deal? I think it matters. 1/200 is pretty slow already if you like shooting with wider apertures while trying to control ambient light. I know, that's what HSS and Hypersync is for. And that's why I'm still on the fence about all this. No good solution is cheap. None is 100% flexible. Or 100% reliable it seems.
I think my next investment is really going to be a medium format film camera for that kind of stuff. Leaf shutters and all. Anyone seen the Gregory Heisler book? Delicious. That's the kind of stuff I want to do more.

Meeeeh, I just know what happens in reality. I don't get much better than 1/160th. This has been the same with my skyports too. Someone smarter than me can answer the "why".

And I just ordered the Heisler book yesterday - looking forward to it!  ;D

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Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 10:57:24 AM »