'ControlTL' Category

MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 now TTL compatible with Nikon D750 & SB500 as well as the Canon 7D Mark II

Crop of D750_7D MK II

Photo taken outside our office during one of many snowstorms we’ve had in Vermont this winter. Photo © Heather Simons

Latest TTL firmware update further expands extensive list of compatible cameras

So. Burlington, VTFebruary 20, 2015 – LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, the world leader in wireless control of cameras, flash lighting and flash power control with Sekonic light meters, announces today a new update to its ControlTL firmware for both Nikon and Canon versions of its MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios. Firmware version 3.800 for Nikon includes compatibility with the recently released D750. Additionally, firmware version 6.800 for Canon now provides TTL compatibility with the Canon 7D Mk II. Any current owner of the ControlTL system can easily install this version via USB and update for free using the PocketWizard Utility. PocketWizard Utility version 1.54 or later is required before installing this update.

“This firmware release makes us compatible with most current Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras. Once we receive our pre-ordered Canon 5DS and 5DS R, our Engineers are geared up to get a firmware update out for these cameras as fast as possible,” said Heather Ambrose, Marketing Director at LPA Design, the company that manufacturers PocketWizard Photo Products.

For more information on how to update PocketWizard products via USB connection and to view current release notes for Nikon firmware update version 3.8 and Canon firmware version 6.8 visit: http://www.pocketwizard.com/support/downloads/

For a complete compatibility list, please visit:
http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=Canon_Compatibility

http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=Nikon_Compatibility

About PocketWizard

Incorporating the latest radio technology, PocketWizard radio triggers exceed the demands of the professional and serious amateur photographer with durability, ease of use, advanced capabilities and legendary reliability.  PocketWizard products, including the PlusX, Plus® III, Plus® II, MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® are made by LPA Design, based in South Burlington, Vermont and sold by distributors around the world including the MAC Group in the USA.

 

 

Bookmark and Share

Upgrading Firmware at the Speed of We-Need-it-Yesterday

New cameras are exciting, especially when they incorporate new technologies that improve camera performance or the user’s creative capabilities. What’s not so exciting is when you take your new camera out on assignment only to find out it won’t perform as accurately and/or consistently as well as your previous camera model. In all likelihood it’s firmware related – causing communication problems between the new camera and your flash triggering system. The language might be the same, but the new dialect causes confusion.

When the PocketWizard product engineers at LPA Design catch wind of new cameras, they prime the coffee machine and, using the earliest available production cameras from Nikon and Canon, begin testing every facet of the camera to determine how well it works or doesn’t work with PocketWizard products before releasing firmware upgrades. During these test trials the engineering team determines what needs to be tweaked or in some cases, completely re-engineered to better ensure PocketWizard triggering devices perform as expected.

A recent case in point is Nikon’s introduction of their newest DSLR, the D810, which replaces Nikon’s popular D800 and D800E. PocketWizard’s engineering team performed exhaustive tests with the new camera to assess and remedy any compatibility issues with the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio transceivers. Considering the complexity of the upgrade process, it’s pretty impressive when you hear LPA’s engineering team was able to hammer out the bugs and release a reliable firmware upgrade in two weeks’ time.

Nikon's new D810 with a fully-compatible PocketWizard FlexTT5

Nikon’s new D810 with a fully-compatible PocketWizard FlexTT5

 

A conversation with Patrick Clow, LPA Design’s Technical Support Manager, explains the complexity and attention to detail that goes into testing compatibility issues between new camera models and PocketWizard radios before releasing firmware upgrades. Between Canon and Nikon, PocketWizard’s engineering team must establish complete compatibility between PocketWizard’s product line and about 60 cameras and 20 flashes. And this figure doesn’t include Sekonic light meters and the various studio flash systems PocketWizard radio triggers are compatible with.

As Patrick describes the process – “There are lots of factors in testing: each shutter speed, every aperture, image stabilization, lens choices, camera battery levels, flash choices, rear curtain sync, MASTER devices and modes, zones, shooting modes, flash durations, and lots more.  When you start to multiply all of the factors together, you quickly get into the millions of possible combinations – you couldn’t test them all in several lifetimes.”

“For the numbers geeks out there, we use a pairwise system to generate grids of test setups. They are still gargantuan, so we edit those grids based on our experience, knowing what changes we made in the firmware, and targeted (towards) the cameras we want to test. In its simplest form, each camera gets a bare minimum of 10 hours of testing assuming nothing pops up.  If it does, we often end up testing it all over again.  The latest firmware had 15 new cameras in it, several requiring multiple rounds of testing as we reverse engineered unique behaviors.  We also re-tested previously compatible cameras to ensure continued stability.  It was a really big project.”

In many ways, firmware upgrades involve thinking the process through backwards. “Our compatibility and features are built entirely on reverse engineering someone else’s totally custom, non-standardized and evolving communication interface and then applying precision timing to that hard-won knowledge. Microseconds matter to us. We do things differently from virtually everyone else in the industry and that’s why we can pull off technologies like HyperSync®, or controlling the power level of studio flashes like the AlienBees with a Nikon or Canon Speedlight.”

New cameras inevitably come with unknowns and according to Patrick, Nikon’s new D810 didn’t disappoint LPA’s Engineering team. “The latest cameras had some interesting things going on under the hood.  TTL for the D810 and D4S, for example, acts differently than previous Nikons at a specific focus distance so we had to figure out how to work through that anomaly.  We did it, and we even modified our own firmware so that if Nikon changes that behavior with a future camera firmware upgrade, or releases another camera with the same behavior, we should still be good to go.” Canon’s newest DSLRs came with their own set of issues.  “Even within the same generation or family of cameras, (Canon cameras) can have strangely different behaviors.  In the past we’ve spent considerable effort figuring out these behaviors and making special cases to manage them.”

“With this last round of firmware we went beyond that – we retooled a major piece of our system to be more flexible.  It should allow us to roll with the punches much more easily and add new cameras to the ControlTL system  more quickly. PocketWizard firmware update version 3.700 for Nikon includes full compatibility with Nikon’s D810 as well as Nikon’s D610, the D4S, Df, D7100, D5300, D5200, and D3300. PocketWizard firmware update version 6.700 for Canon has also been released, bringing full TTL compatibility to Canon’s EOS 70D, 1D X, 6D, T5i/700D, T5/1200D, T4i/650D, and SL1/100D. With these two new releases, all currently manufactured DSLRs from both Nikon and Canon perform with full TTL capability when using the ControlTL feature on PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 Transceivers.

Canon EOS 7D with PocketWizard Flex TT5

Canon EOS 70D with PocketWizard FlexTT5

 

In closing our conversation, Patrick made a point of mentioning his support team at LPA and the time and dedication they pour into their respective responsibilities.  “Thousands of hours, several drums of coffee, and a few dozen buckets of peanut butter pretzels have gone into this milestone.   “I just want to give a shout out to the engineers and testers that made it happen: Tim, Steve, Mark, Gary, Andrea, Ryan, Sarah, Zack, Ian, Heather, and Seth (and Steve, Chris and Ashley).  We have a great support team with Lorei, Heather, Nick, Hannah, Deb, and all the great folk at MAC Group!  Thank you!”

For more information on how to update PocketWizard products via USB connection and to view current release notes for Nikon firmware update version 3.7 and Canon firmware version 6.7 visit: http://www.pocketwizard.com/support/downloads/

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 are now fully compatible with the following recently released Canon and Nikon DSLRs:
Canon – EOS 70D, 1D X*, 6D*, T5i / 700D, T4i* / 650D, T5 / 1200D, SL1 / 100D
Nikon – D810, D610, D4S, Df, D7100, D5300, D5200, and D3300
* Now with TTL compatibility.

For a complete compatibility list, please visit:
http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=Canon_Compatibility
http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=Nikon_Compatibility  

Bookmark and Share

What’s up Pussycat? Özkan Özmen goes on a Portrait Safari

IMG_1918 (1)

Özkan Özmen at work

Özkan Özmen is a portrait photographer based in Frankfurt Germany with a penchant for photographing subjects that can bite your head off. No, we’re not talking about models and celebrities with attitude here. We’re talking lions, tigers, and rhinos. As Dorothy famously said to the tin man… “Oh MY!”

According to Özkan, he’s always been into things that crawl, chirp, growl, and purr, and it wasn’t long after he began taking shooting studio portraits for a living that he decided to put together a compact lighting kit and try his luck outside of the comforts and convenience of his studio. Özkan Ozmen’s personal project ultimately took him on a multi-continent journey in which he’s captured wonderful portraits of the sort of wildlife most of us only see in zoo and safari parks, though seldom as in-your-face.

Özkan understood the logistics – not to mention danger involved in trying to capture tight portraits of wild animals using lights. Still and all, rather than being technically boxed in by the harsh ambient lighting conditions common to shooting in the extreme locales he planned on visiting, his goal was to light his subjects and select-focus at wider lens apertures similar to the way he would when shooting portraits in his studio.

IMG_0083 (4)

(more…)

Bookmark and Share

Dale Travers Popping with TTL

Dale Travers shoots extreme sports and needs a system not only lightning fast, but also incredibly reliable. There’s often no time for a second chance with these athletes.

He writes, “I’ve been using the PW system for years. I love em.” When he got his hands on the PocketWizard MiniTT1® and FlexTT5®, he couldn’t wait to push them to the limit. Not only was he able to flawlessly freeze action, but could shoot at a shallow depth-of-field during the day, popping the subject from the background even more.

Take a look at his results. It’s clear both Dale and his subjects love what they do.

Bookmark and Share

Webinar: Real World PocketWizard Oct. 20th, 2011

Title: Real World Off-Camera Flash with PocketWizard
Date: October 20th 2011 @ 1PM EDT

Getting your flash off-camera is one of the most powerful ways to take your portrait photography to the next level. Join host Joe Brady as he shows his favorite techniques for off-camera flash portraiture featuring PocketWizard Radio Triggers. During this live online video seminar Joe will show how to create beautiful environmental and studio portraits using just one or two small flash units. You will get to see the power of TTL photography with the camera systems automatically controlling the exposure.

Joe will share his experiences and techniques using the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio triggers to control off-camera flash for location portraits and wedding photography. Knowing the capabilities as well of the limitations of TTL exposure systems will allow you to get great results with consistency and will allow you to create images that will separate you from the pack.

Join us on October 20, 2011 at 1:00pm (EDT) for a free one-hour live online seminar, sponsored by PocketWizard and hosted by Joe Brady. You’ll have a front-row seat from the comfort of your home or office as you participate in our interactive streaming-video seminar broadcast in real time.

There is no pre registration required. Just visit this link the day of the Webinar. Please note the link will stream the live video Webinar on October 20th at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Bookmark and Share

East Coast Super Shoot

For the past three years, our local ski resort, Stowe, has hosted the East Coast Super Shoot, a photo competition for ski/snowboard photographers, which took place last weekend and is co-sponsored by PocketWizard. Five photographers are selected from portfolio submissions and teamed with a skier and snowboarder and given two days to shoot like mad. At the end, they presented slideshows in the brand new Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in front of an audience of a couple hundred people and three judges. The overall winner received $1000 cash and a photo shoot assignment by the main sponsor, Orage ski clothing.

You can make your voice heard by checking out the SmugMug PocketWizard Gallery. Take a look at the range of images and let us know your favorites. Here’s just one of many images you can vote for.

(more…)

Bookmark and Share

MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 Radios for Nikon Now Shipping Worldwide

On January 18, 2011 we announced the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios for Nikon are now shipping everywhere. Shipments to dealers continue daily in order to meet the high demand for these new units. These Nikon i-TTL compatible radios are being shipped with the latest ControlTL firmware for Nikon, version 2.100.

ControlTL firmware v2.100 for Nikon adds compatibility for the new Nikon D7000 and addresses some other operational issues. Current owners of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios for Nikon can upgrade to the new firmware for free via the PocketWizard Utility.

This firmware does not include compatibility for the new SB700. This will be addressed in a future firmware version.

PocketWizard has also just released an online wiki format manual for both Nikon and Canon versions of the ControlTL system. The PocketWizard wiki is a work in progress and will continuously be updated as new features are added and improvements are made to the easily-upgraded ControlTL system.

The AC3 ZoneController for Nikon is on schedule for February deliveries.  The AC9 AlienBees Adapter for Nikon is on schedule for March deliveries.

Bookmark and Share

Photo Project 24 and PocketWizard

Wedding and lifestyle photographer Chris Diset came up with an idea to help bring in the new year. What would happen if he got in a car, drove for 24 hours, and took one photograph every hour, wherever he was? His friend and fellow photographer Kerry Garrison signed on board, and New Year’s Day will find them driving and shooting, driving and shooting for 24 hours. They hope to cover 1100 miles in the Southwestern United States. Here’s Diset’s blog post about how Photo Project 24 came into being.

The team will be using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II as the primary camera with Canon EOS 7D’s as backup cameras and a handful of Canon 580 EX, Canon 580 EX II’s as the primary light sources. Garrison is a fan of the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5, and will be utilizing them on this trip.

Photo Project 24 has numerous challenges. With such a short amount of time available at each location, the team is also facing the struggle to get great shots in the middle of the night where there is likely to not be any usable available light. With lighting being such a key element for half of the adventure, the team has chosen to use PocketWizard’s ControlTL system along with the AC3 Zone Controller. “The combination of the ControlTL system and AC3 Zone Controller will greatly enhance our ability to setup lighting fast and dial in the exact amount of light from up to three different groups of lights,” says Kerry Garrison. “We’re both huge fans of the PocketWizard ControlTL system, and use it for our wedding and portrait photography businesses. It was only natural we choose a system with the flexibility it allows.”

Due to storm activity predictions, they’ve had to reroute their original travel plans, and are relying on Plan B, which you can follow here. The duo will attempt to upload images in real time, depending on their Internet access. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Bookmark and Share

MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 Review by Points In Focus

V. J. Franke at Points In Focus has written a lengthy review of the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5. We always love to read accounts of folks using our products, and Franke’s review is no exception. Concepts are clearly explained and the review was even recently updated to include Nikon information. Here’s the original first paragraph:

“To be honest, I think LPA Design’s Control TL Pocket Wizard system is the best thing since sliced bread, or maybe even better than that, I’m not sure.”

We agree, V.J.! Thank you.

Bookmark and Share

Firmware 5.15 Corrects Data Table Issue in 5.10

We recently released the latest official ControlTL firmware, version 5.10. Based on continued internal testing and feedback from users, it appears a couple of the exposure and timing data tables became corrupted somewhere in the process. We’ve had reports of improper exposures with several camera models as well as shutter clipping with the Canon 1Ds Mark III and 1D Mark IV. We have corrected the tables and the revised firmware is available as version 5.15 and can be downloaded via the PocketWizard Utility now.

We recommend upgrading to 5.15 as soon as you can.

The manual addendum for v5.10 is still the same for v5.15.

Bookmark and Share