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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39 Responses to PocketWizard Lights It Up

  1. Ben Brunt February 16, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    These little guys look awesome. I was chatting with another photographer who was testing these out too but i think he mentioned he was testing with a D3. Vermont is good for something!

  2. Stephan Mantler February 16, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Some more details about their ControlTL technology are available
    here. Also, there’s a video, and instruction manuals are available for download for their MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 models.

    Biggest bummer for fow: They are available for Canon E-TTL only right now, Nikon i-TTL announced Q2 2009.

  3. Marc February 16, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    I hope the price is a little cheaper than the Plus IIs and Radio Poppers. Doubt it with the TTL capabilities :(

  4. Jeff February 16, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    They look much better than the previous. Any ideas on the price point?

  5. JVL February 16, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Ah, it’s like I want to trade in my x-mas presents now! (got 2 PW’s) just so I can take advantage of ALL of the new functionality

  6. Stuicide February 16, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    Can’t wait to see the price point for these guys, if they are similar to the current PW lineup, I will be getting some.

  7. Brian Larter February 16, 2009 at 7:14 am #

    looks like that link is now live.

    http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/controltl/

  8. Anonymous February 16, 2009 at 7:16 am #

    If only Pocket Wizard didn’t insist that I dump my 550EX flashes and spend another $1300 on a set (3) of 580′s…

  9. Rob Jaudon February 16, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    Chase,

    I am curious to get your view on the Radio Poppers. What are the differences between the two systems?

    Thanks,
    Rob Jaudon
    http://WWW.JEEZOPEEZO.com

    P.S…When are you coming out to Denver for a strobist meetup? You could chill at the crib.

  10. Yanik's Photo School February 16, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Hi Chase

    I was just wondering if you knew off hand if TTL and high speed sync (1/8000) can be achieved by just getting a TT1 or TT5 to trigger PW Plus IIs?

    Thanks!

    Yanik

  11. Anonymous February 16, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    Super sweet. The TTL functions will come in bigtime handy for most users. Big step forward in the technology.

  12. Ken Lopez February 16, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    GREAT Info, Chase! It’s about time Pocket Wizard updates its gear, it felt like forever. And to (FINALLY) make it TTL Compatible, I have a feeling that Photojournalists AND Strobists everywhere are gonna have a field day when these puppies get released into the public!

    Thanks for the update!

    -Ken

  13. Shelby White February 16, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    They’re awesome but I just wish they would have kept the same design maybe just shrunk down a little bit.

  14. Anonymous February 16, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Love all the chatter this has created on Twitter!

  15. Josh Brown February 16, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    I love the onboard hotshoe

  16. dilvie February 16, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    These look like a “me too” reaction to RadioPoppers. If they get the price right this time, they might put RadioPoppers out of business.

  17. Steven Noreyko February 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    Looks like PW is playing catch up with the RadioPopper guys. Cool.

    From looking at the specs so far, it appears you would need both the TT1 and TT5 (or 2 TT5s) to do the auto TTL business.

    Wish they would have made the TT1 a simple 4-channel transceiver instead of just a transmitter though. The TT5 is more like a multi-max than a plusII – I’m guessing the price will reflect that.

    Looking at the manuals – TT5 has the 1/8″ mini plug for remote camera or strobe trigger. Good!

    Eww.. the TT1 uses CR2450 coin batteries. Bleh. Oh well – I guess you have to sacrifice for size.

  18. Sandra L - ON, Can February 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    pocketwizard.com: a fun place to hang out! hahaha oh dear… kick-ass units though. me likey.

  19. Chris February 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    Thanks for posting so soon after the new PW announcement (1 min?)!I was about to pull the trigger on a few of the new radiopoppers.
    I love multiple off camera flash with TTL, but it is often hit and miss with me. Back in the studio, my PW’s work 100% of the time. I’ll be buying these new PW’s soon. The only problem will be finding some money after upgrading to profoto pro 7 line.

  20. Snead February 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Funny how dorky their video is, vut I guess the pocketwizard technology is sort of dorky and techy too. Don’t get me wrong, better than no video for sure!

  21. Adam February 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Doh! I just ordered a bunch of the old ones..:( Oh, well. The new ones look nice. I like the metal hot shoe foot.

  22. Chase Jarvis February 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    Lots of lively discussion if you’re following my twitter @chasejarvis

    I’ll summarize some points off top of my head here:

    -Canon out now, Nikon avail Q2 2009
    -Price $199 for mini, $219 for Flex
    -you can mix and match old PW with these new ones, but new ones required for TTL
    -yes can be on camera with flash at the same time

  23. Jared Froiland February 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Definitely agree with the on camera flash perk. I’ve wanted to have that capability for a long time now…
    Holla!

  24. Constantin February 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    I am not sure I understood right? Can I shoot at 1/8000s ?

  25. Zak.Shelhamer February 16, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

    ohh its about flipping time! i hope the price goes down on the old ones cuz i’m a broke snowboard photographer.

  26. Angus Forbes February 17, 2009 at 1:25 am #

    I guess the orice for the current pw will drop now, I might get a few.
    http://www.amforbes.com

  27. Simon February 17, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    Love that they’ve got their asses in gear, but my, they took their time about it…

    Also, it looks as though there’s no wireless manual control of the flashes there a la radiopoppers. Am I wrong?

  28. Chase Jarvis February 17, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    @s: I haven’t spent any time with Radio Poppers, but these new PW’s – like the old ones – can pop flashes or cameras remotely with a flick of your finger on the button. That what you mean by manual?

  29. Anonymous February 17, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    Very cool… not sure how much i’d use the TTL, but for some quick scouting it’d be pretty useful. I do like the simplicity of it all, and the fact that it’s just a smarter, leaner, meaner PW. Since the originals were so good, I can’t see these being anything less than the best there is.

    Course, since I just dropped $650 on PW II’s, I suppose i’ll have to wait at least a few months before picking up the new ones :)

  30. Simon February 17, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    I meant remote power control of my strobes; sadly I can’t afford assistants, and so being able to manually control the power of my Nikon strobes – bypassing the ttl – from my su-800 is of massive benefit.

    My understanding (but I hope I’m wrong!) is that this isn’t possible with the new devices from PW.

  31. Fotografi February 17, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Wow I will wait for Nikon one’s.
    I’m excited.
    As you I prefer to shoot in manual mode.

  32. Daniel Regueira February 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Those are sick. The previous models aren’t as sleek and cool looking! I’m looking forward to get some of these once they come out with ones for nikon and once I get the money. Even though it probably doesn’t suit my type of photography haha.

  33. owen March 9, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    “I’ve longed put an on camera flash on my camera at the same time as the old wizards before. Not possible.”

    Actually, it is possible with the old Wizards.

    All you have to do is put a PC jack equipped Nikon strobe unit on your camera’s hotshoe, plug your PC-to-3.5mm sync cable into the strobe’s pc jack, plug the other end into the ‘camera’ 3.5mm jack on your pocket wizard; and pow! you’re good to go.

    i have an extra long sync just for this task, so the pocket wizard can chill in my pocket, while my flash unit sits astride my camera.

    not quite as sexy as the new Pocket Wizard sandwich affair, but it works.

    as an aside, it’s worth noting that you can’t do this with the Canon 580EXii. instead of the PC jack being directly wired to the centre pin and the shield of the hotfoot (as i think the Nikon is), it’s wired through the TTL circuit; which conveniently shuts off power to the PC jack as soon as it makes a TTL connection with your camera, bugger.

    a reason why i use Nikon strobes with my Canon gear. Although I’m guessing taping the TTL contacts might solve this problem.

  34. Peter Marin March 12, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    I resisted the older PW’s for their form factor and went with Bowens Pulsars instead, at least their rubber aerial didn’t stick up as high.
    About time PW saw the light with this new shape. I’ve just pre-ordered (and payed in full) the Mini and Flex here in Australia, which the seller says are expected late April.
    850$AU…….OUCH!!! And the whipping I got from my manager (wife)was painful to say the least!!
    All that’s left to do now is sit and wait for these to arrive.

  35. Javier Freytes March 18, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    The only thing I don’t like about them is the lack of ability to make a good expresso or capuccino :) They look great, I’ll have to wait for the Nikon version.
    Javier Freytes
    http://www.jfreytes.com

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