What’s That For, PocketWizard? Plus III Half-Press Function

Hi, this is Patrick.  I’m the PocketWizard Tech Support Manager and I’ve been with the company a long time … longer than anyone, actually, but I’m the only one counting.    When asked to write an article for the PocketWizard Blog which would be featured in the Newsletter, I thought, “Suh-weet!  The eyes of millions will ogle my every proclamation!  I’ll wear swanky shirts!  I’ll be even more famous!  Maybe even go on a date!”  But then I was told that I’m not actually famous, my $6 T-shirts are not swanky, and I’d get an article near the bottom if there were 8 or 9 pixels left over on the internet somewhere.  “Meh.  It could be worse,” I thought, “I could be fixing the plumbing again.”  No mention was made about dating, so call me, maybe?

Plus III - Half Press

Click for larger – look for blue circle

Lots of folk know that the Plus III can trigger remote cameras.   What they don’t know is that the TEST button on the Plus III is two-stage, just like a camera!  With the right cable (I’ll explain that in a moment) you can half-press the remote camera before the exposure just like you would when using the camera in your hands.   Wake up that grumpy camera, get the sleepy seeds out of its eyes, and let it focus and meter before it takes the shot. This feature works on Channels 17 and higher.  It’s mentioned briefly on Page 7 of the Plus III Quick Guide, but novels could be written on this subject (budding novelist = date-worthy!).

Some remote camera aficionados will say, “Manual all the way, baby!  Fix that focus and tape that lens!”  That works for some scenarios, especially indoor sports with a sweet spot, but lots of event photography is more dynamic than that.  Maybe you want beaucoups bokeh so auto-focus for wide apertures is critical.  Maybe the lighting is changing a lot and you need the camera to manage the exposure.  Maybe you want more control for self-portraits.  Or maybe you simply want to impress your date with remote techno-wizardry!  Just like hand-held photography, you can see the moment approaching and you choose when to half-press the shutter release, making sure the camera’s little robot brain has enough time to do its thing.

Now most remote cameras will still get the metering right, and possibly achieve autofocus, without this cool half-press feature.  But it just doesn’t feel the same, and our photographer brains appreciate the half-press familiarity.

Tip: Jump to 32 minutes the above webinar for a video demonstration or click here!

To pull this off, you need a certain kind of remote camera cable for your Plus III: you need an –ACC cable.  I apologize for this bizarro cable naming scheme – there is a long and boring explanation, and it’s mostly my fault, but that’s not important right now.  Our Cable Finder will help you find the correct –ACC shutter release cable for your camera.  They have a stereo miniphone connection on them, like a headphone plug for your Walkman, not a mono plug like your great-grandfather’s chest-pack hearing aid  (hipster talk = guaranteed date?)


Click on image to visit our easy-to-use Cable Finder

While you are picking up one of these cables, get two!  With one on your remote camera and one on the camera in your hands, the remote camera will follow along with you.  As you press the button on your camera half-way, the remote camera will do the same thing.  When you press all the way, both cameras will trigger.  It’s like that moment on a first date when you both reach for the check.  So cute!

Watch the Mark Wallace video and you’ll get it.  Visit our wiki for a detailed list of instructions.  Connect with us if you need more help.  Friend me on Facebook if you want to hang out or something.

Patrick Clow,
Technical Support Manager

Patrick Clow, Technical Support Manager @ PocketWizard







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6 Responses to “What’s That For, PocketWizard? Plus III Half-Press Function”

  1. Eddie Putera says:

    Hi there, since you are one of the techies, I think you are the best person that can address my problem. Since upgrading to the 1Dx for 7 months, all 8 units of my TT5 and a TTmini are rendered and collecting dust. When I write in, your PR people asked me to be patient. Well, patience is one of the virtues that I have difficulty keeping after these months.

  2. Tim Sorrells says:

    I love my Plus III’s! I had another set of triggers from brand X company that are still collecting dust. Will add more PlusIII’s as the budget expands. Now that I know I can get a cable release, that’s next on the list.

  3. Scott Ho says:

    I have 3 PocketWizard Plus III triggers and I recently bought an ACC cable for my Sony A77. Guess what. The half-press button doesn’t work. When I half-press the trigger on hand, the LED indicator on the other trigger mounted on my SLR does NOT show the half-press. I can only trip the shutter when I full-press the unit on my hand. Half-press seems to work only on the unit directly connected to the camera with the ACC cable. This really defeats the purpose of using a second trigger.

    Is this a known bug that your firmware will correct in the next update or is it a “feature” by design?

    • Partick Clow says:

      Hi Scott:

      May I ask what channel you are using? My guess is that you are using a channel from 1 through 16. Those channels can’t do the half-press function. Channels 17 through 32 are the ones you need for that half-press feature to work. Try that and let me know. Shoot me message at this link for further troubleshooting: http://www.pocketwizard.com/contact/inquiry/