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*he that buys cheap buys twice and pays more long term*
Yeah yeah getting that out early and out of the way first. Though honestly they performed well enough for my needs, but my wireless radio flash setup is giving out on me - its not battery based since its still working through the PC cord (on the receivers), its just not firing when I use the receivers hotshoe slot.
So I've decided its time to look at something a bit more heavy duty and reliable - thus to the market leaders. However I'm not sure which unit would best suit my specific requirements. Furthermore I read that some of their units have interference problems with the Canon specific flash units.
So considering that I'm currently only using one or two flash units for nothing more tricky than macro work (I'd happily expand my setup further in the future, but its just not on the cards at present) and that I'd rather smaller less obtrusive units over larger ones what in the pocket wizard range would suit my needs best?
Far as I can tell I've got:
Mini TT1 E-TTL Radio Transmitter £140.23
Gives easy control on camera and off with a small profile unit; which also sports its own hotshoe so one can easily have a flash on camera and another controlled offcamera.
Additionally when used as a transmitter for any (PW) receiver setup one can use higher sync speeds than normal even on higher powered flash settings and also use the full frame of the highspeed sync speeds on flashes that support the feature (Eg 580EXII)
Flex TT5 £151.00
works with the above unit for the off-camera flashes; slightly larger profile but still fairly small and with its own hot-shoe connection.
Both those units appear to need shields on flashes like the 580EXII because of interference that the flash generates; on the plus side they work with the auto-flash system; thus negating the demand for manual only operation of the flash units.
PocketWizard Plus III £129.99
Not yet on the market (UK side expected end of this month) but hitting at near the price point of the Plus II version (and that is before any market depreciation of the price). Bonus would appear to be a far greater range of controllable settings and options as well as groupings over the above two units. Downside is that the units have no hotshoe and require PC cable connections to the flashes; plus they also do not support the auto flash functions.
Bonus is that they don't (at least I see no mention of them needing) any shields on the flashes to work correctly.
At the moment I'm a little torn, I like the small profile and ease of use of the TT1 and TT5 system; on the flipside I do have to invest yet more in shields on the flashes I use (and there is no mention of the canon macro twinflash needing a shield but I would not be at all surprised to find it needs one - heck that one needs an audio shield have the time with its loud recharging beep sound).
The Plus III units would appear to be a bit more than I need now, esp in terms of more advanced controls, and they do add a bit of fiddlyness by being a unit connected by cable rather than hot-shoe. On the plus side they are cheaper in cost for a pair and keep options open a little more for future (possible) system expansion.
I think a combo of the Mini TT1 E-TTL and Plus III units might be the best approach for my own situation, but I'd welcome other peoples views on this setup.
I also note that PW have a few other options for controllers on their site, though from what I can see they are much more geared to a 2+ flash setup with multiple heads and groupings.
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I too was concerned about the shielding issue. However I spoke to one of their reps at Focus and he assured me that the issues with the 580 EXII was not a problem in the UK but can be in the USA, all as reported. I bought 1nr TT1, 3Nr TT3 and a controller at the show (from another stand). I went to the Pocket Wizard stand to buy a soft shield as the stand from which I bought the rest didn't have any. There were some on the PW Stand for sale but, as I said, I was told that I really didn't need one and was urged to save the money.
I have used them since without any issues and I have to say that I think they are brilliant and so simple. The ability to shoot at very high synch speeds with TTL is an amazing advantage. I have other Pocket Wizards (Plus ll) which I use for studio work and they again perform flawlessly. In addition I have a Canon ST-E2 remote controller but this can be a bit finicky and because it is Infrared needs to see the strobes (not so the PW TT1-3 combo because they are radio)
Hope this helps. Me ...well I know they are not cheap but I would not hesitate.
Roy, interesting point regarding the difference between UK and USA - I assume this must mean the PW units run on different wavelengths in those two markets and that the UK ones are less affected.
Out of interest what do you find is your general "go to" setup with regard to the PW units you use on a day to day basis. I'm trying to work out if the Flex TT5 is worth getting or if, with the TT1 as the controller, there isn't any need to add the Flex if one gets the PW Plus units (since even the III are cheaper than the Flex TT5 unit).
I got the tt1 and 2x tt5 they have them on offer at the mo as a package form wex but be quick.
It's the best system out there and allows ettl off camera and high speed sync to 1/8000, and as it's radio it's range is massive, all creative needs sorted.
I am getting to grips with it myself but to be honest but because it is automatic to a degree it makes it nice and easy to be shooting with 2 or 3 flash guns or strobes as some like to call them.
Definetly the way forward though imho.
I recently bought a Mini TT1 and 2 Flex TT5 and at Focus went for the AC3 conroller. I have had no trouble with them at all and use them with a 580 ex and 580 ex11 with no trouble at all. I do admit though that I have only used on point and shoot mode with just one session with the AC3 which works like a dream for setting both flashes.
The pocket wizard web site has several videos you should look at one goes through the whole mini, flex and ac3 set up and use. It is about an hour but worth it.
I used the Canon 7D's radio system for a while but it was very temperamental with line of site so went for the PW's.
A significant cost but works everytime, if that is what you require.
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