PocketWizard Lights It Up

They’ve been hinting at it for some time now, butPocketWizard radio slaves just one minute ago announced a completely refreshed product offering aimed at continuing to dominate the photographic airwaves radiowaves. And they’ve spoiled us. Check out the Mini TT1 transmitter and the Flex TT5 transceiver pictured above.

It’s no secret that I’ve been using their stuff religiously as long as I’ve been using remote flashes and cameras. Hell, I just spun through some of my behind the scenes videos and spotted them in Chase Jarvis RAW: Ninjas, Chase Jarvis RAW: Photoshoot in 180 seconds, Chase Jarvis RAW: KungFu, Chase Jarvis TECH: POV Photography, Chase Jarvis TECH: High Speed Photography, before I got tired of watching. Anyway, you get the point. They’re an important part of my arsenal.

Here’s a peek at what they’ve promised us. From their announcement:

- “Slide and shoot” simplicity.
- Full TTL operation.
- High speed sync up to 1/8000 at up to 8 fps.
- More reliable radio signal.
- 32 channels.
- Work with all earlier model PocketWizards.
- Will trigger remote strobes and cameras.
- Upgradable firmware via USB.

So aside from their press release, and all the specs and details available on other sites, here’s my brief confessional: I got to play with these wicked little buggers a short while back. Not in any hardcore sense out in the field where I’ve got pictures to prove it (couldn’t just put gaffers tape over the logo and be clandestine with these puppies…), but rather locked in a conference room under NDA. My very first impression?

Badass. Super badass.

Why? Well…

[My quick thoughts (+ UPDATE: a video from PW) after the jump…Click the ‘continue reading’ link below.]

In all honesty, since about 99% of the shooting I do is on manual, it’s not really the fancy TTL technology that wowed me. Sure it was nice being able to make a slick picture in that conference room in about 3 seconds, but I mostly use studio strobes and shoot custom stuff without TTL metering. So it’s not that… And yes, I like they made them workable with older models (my wallet thanks them), and sure I dig the sync speeds and the burlier signal, but those aren’t not the real kickers for me either.

The real kicker is this iteration is the simple redesign.

I’ve always loved the functionality of PocketWizards, but in truth, that’s what I expected from really smart engineers who have brains the size of a watermelons and sweat it out on the test bench for years. Stuff that worked. Having said that, prior to now it was not the function, but the form that I struggled with. I’ve poked more eyes out and picked my nose (scratched my brain?) with that big ol’ rubbery antenna on the older models more often than I care to admit. I’ve longed put an on camera flash on my camera at the same time as the old wizards before. Not possible. I’ve wanted string those little wrist straps from the older models together and hang myself with them rather than hang them on a c-stand (awkward). And I’ve often wondered why they didn’t have a nice little mount for the flash and/or a tripod screw on the bottom since day one.

Now? All that’s fixed.

Hell, these even stack together when not in use. Dope. And from my perspective out in the field, all that little stuff beyond “mere” functionality actually matters. It’s slick. And it matters for miles and miles. The technology has (almost) always been there, but this new era gets the rest of the equation correct as well.

Criticisms? Only one that comes to mind off the cuff is that all us Nikon and Hasselblad yahoos and everybody else have to wait till next quarter to get ‘em for our rigs, while the Canon peeps can buy ‘em right away. Doh!

It’s ok. I’m happy willing to wait.

Rumor has it they’re posting a link this morning with all the goodies, pdf’s and such. I’ll pop that in here as soon as it goes live this morning. If you guys catch it before I do, please ping me in the comments section. The link is now live and can be found here. And they also just posted a video (basically just a video brochure) that give you further details…

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