Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

  1. #1
    neverhood311's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    I'm from Seattle and I go to school in Utah
    Posts
    92
    Real Name
    Justin

    Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    I'd like to dabble in the world of strobist photography but I'm on a pretty tight budget. I've watched tons of videos of Chase Jarvis using a Pocket Wizard, but those are kinda pricey.

    If anyone has used wireless Pocket Wizards and cheaper brands like Opteka, what's the difference? What am I losing by going with the $25 brand instead of the $169 brand?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Posts
    433
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    If the distances aren't too great, there's a lot you can do with one flash on an extension cable, and the other as an optical slave. Were you thinking of using multiple exposure on the one image?

    My way may not be what you were thinking of, but it is cheap, and can be very versatile.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    Out of interest, the latest Pocket Wizards transmit ETTL II information (eg TT1 Mini & TT5 Flex) ... I don't think the cheap slaves are do that.

  4. #4
    neverhood311's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    I'm from Seattle and I go to school in Utah
    Posts
    92
    Real Name
    Justin

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    Pardon my ignorance, but what's ETTL II information?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    Quote Originally Posted by neverhood311 View Post
    Pardon my ignorance, but what's ETTL II information?
    Basically two ways to operate a flash ...

    1. Using a radio trigger that just tells the flash "FIRE NOW" ... so for this to work you need to tell the flash before hand how much power to use ... and if other lighting conditions change then you need to adjust the flash power output manually. So think of it as "manual control"

    2. ETTL is like "automatic" mode where it controls how much light the flash puts out - so it does all the thinking for you. In reality it makes life a LOT easier (note: you can bias the light output by using FEC) (Flash Exposure Compensation). So think of it as automatic flash control.

    Have a look over the pocketwizard website for more info www.pocketwizard.com.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,015
    Real Name
    Rick

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    Hi, Justin;

    Colin, I think, nailed it. No surprise, right? I use Cactus RF triggers. I have a transmitter and 3 receivers. With that I can fire my 580EX and 2 Vivitars, and slave my 430EX to my 580EX.

    The triggers are quite reliable at any reasonable distance, and you can use them for any kind of setup where you set the flashes manually.

    BUT.

    They're all one channel, so when you want to change the ratios, you walk around to the flashes and lower one and raise another. That may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes in close quarters, when trying to squeeze around umbrellas and reflectors without knocking over the tripod, going around to different flashes is a real PITA.

    They're also much less useful outside, where you might want to add fill. In that case, the ETTL (Extended Through The Lens metering) control of the flash makes life so much easier. I use the triggers much less in natural light situations, because fixed flash output is problematic.

    In my opinion, cheaper triggers are kind of good to start to learn what's possible with multi-flash setups with the flashes off camera, but once you decide you want to do that kind of thing, you're going to switch to a better trigger. I'm definitely going to upgrade to PocketWizards sooner or later. It's just that there are a few other items ahead of them on my to-buy list right now, including a light meter (for flash setups ). But as I say, it's a reasonable way to get into it (I think I paid US$140 for the xmtr and 3 rcvrs I have), and if you decide it isn't worth hassling with the extra flashes, you don't have expensive gear gathering dust.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    To be honest Rick, I have a love/hate relationship with my new version pocketwizards ... 19 times out of 20 they work perfectly ... then one will nuke the scene at full power or 3 won't fire in a row (switch off TT1 - pause - switch on TT1 - away again). The older (non-ETTL compatible) PW Plus II's were ROCK solid, but of course one needs to do the manual setup; great in a constant light environment, but a PITA if shooting a sunset for example.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,015
    Real Name
    Rick

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    That's good to know, thanks, Colin. My Cactus slaves also fail to fire sometimes. That was my biggest concern before I took a chance on them, having read some reviews: everyone said, "They're cheaper than PWs, but they also don't always fire." It was probably in comparison to the Plus IIs. I don't know how often they fail, but I think it's less than 1 in 10, so it's a minor irritation. I get more failures from being too quick on the trigger and the flash not recharging. Another thing on my to-buy list is the external battery pack.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    That's good to know, thanks, Colin. My Cactus slaves also fail to fire sometimes. That was my biggest concern before I took a chance on them, having read some reviews: everyone said, "They're cheaper than PWs, but they also don't always fire." It was probably in comparison to the Plus IIs. I don't know how often they fail, but I think it's less than 1 in 10, so it's a minor irritation. I get more failures from being too quick on the trigger and the flash not recharging. Another thing on my to-buy list is the external battery pack.
    I read something somewhere on the web that summed things up nicely - a chap commented that his new PWs missed "X" amount of shots per wedding (it wasn't many - 1/2 a dozen or so) whereas "total number of misses with the old plus II's over "X" amount of weddings" = "zero". I'm not sure if the problem is on the sending or receiving side - I sold my Plus II's when I go the newer versions - I'm tempted to buy one back and do some more testing. For what it's worth though, I have the same problem in the studio with the Elinchrom skyports

  10. #10
    flipmode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    100
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Pocket Wizard vs. Imitation brand?

    thanks for posting this question neverhood311. I was just debating the same thing as I would like to practice using my flash off camera. I was also leaning towards something affordable vs the pocketwizards, just to start off.

    Rick, you made an interesting point regarding using them outside for fill light. That's what I intended to do and so I thought if I was going to shoot flash in manual mode then that wouldn't be an issue with not having TTL available. But with light constantly changing, I can understand how that may be a hassle changing your manual settings each time, thus making TTL more desirable.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •