What’s That For, PocketWizard?
PocketWizard VP, Dave Schmidt gives you an inside look on how to use PocketWizard ControlTL® system’s Manual Power Control with ANY camera.
Are you one of the many photographers who have added a mirrorless camera to your bag? Would you like to use your PocketWizard MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® with that system? Well, you can and have complete control of your compatible remote flashes using Manual Power Control.
Our ControlTL system is well known for its ability to work with Canon and Nikon TTL systems and provide seamless TTL flash photography with one or multiple off camera flashes. The system will also support the adjustment of manual power levels when you add an AC3 ZoneController to your on-camera ControlTL radio. Because Manual Power Control works independently from the camera you can put your ControlTL radio with an AC3 on ANY camera and adjust the manual power of your off camera Canon or Nikon speedlights, Paul C. Buff flashes, or select Elinchrom Rx flashes when they have the appropriate ControlTL receiver (FlexTT5 with AC9, PowerMC2 or PowerST4).
When using Manual Power Control (the “M” setting on your AC3) you are setting the absolute power setting on your flash, from full power to 1/64th power with the spin of the dial on the AC3. You still have full use of the A-B-C zones to independently control three zones of flashes.
Of course you can use as many flashes in each zone as you want, as long as they are all compatible with the ControlTL system. You can also use flashes that are not ControlTL compatible; you just won’t have the power control capability and will have to set the flash’s power level on the back of the flash itself.
Personally, I’ve been using my Sony NEX-6 for about 70% of the images I take and my Canon 5D Mark II for the rest. By integrating my Canon 430EX II Speedlites with the Sony I’ve been able to increase the use of the very convenient NEX-6 and leave the hulking 5D Mark II (with grip and 24-70 2.8 lens) behind more often.
Using manual control is far more predictable than TTL so I find I can dial in the results I want just as fast or faster than compensating the TTL output to fool it into the right settings. This is especially true when working in tricky ambient light situations.
For those of you that pull out the Hasselblad, PhaseOne, Mamiya or any other camera with a hot shoe, this will work for you too. So stop running to your flashes every time you need to change your power and get the ControlTL system to do the work for you.
Updated 01/17/2014 11:00 am EST
Note: Since posting this several of you have tried this with your cameras and for the most part it works just fine. However a few people have reported that they have not been successful. Here’s a couple things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you are using the latest version of the firmware in your MiniTT1 or FlexTT5. This feature is new and is not found in older firmware versions. For updating instructions, click here.
- Some brands of cameras have hot shoe pin alignments that are similar to the Canon or Nikon pins. It is possible that the system is “getting confused” with any signals being sent to the hot shoe. The solution? Tape off all pins except the center pin on the hot shoe on the bottom of your MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 radio.
- Some users may experience lower sync speeds when using this setup. This is normal, and is due to the additional power control communication that is happening from your AC3 ZoneController and transmitter to your remote flashes. If you need to trigger at your camera’s sync limit, you may need to enable the non-power controlling Basic Trigger mode on each of your radios. This can be done using the PocketWizard Utility.
If you do these two things and still have challenges, please contact us here and let us know which camera you’re using and any other details that might help us troubleshoot it. We only have a few of these cameras here to test on ourselves.
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