Sunday, October 2, 2016

Inexpensive Radio Triggers

To order from Midwest Photo, click here.
Phottix Ares Wireless Trigger Set: In David Hobby's blog Strobist, mention was made of an expensive starter radio flash trigger/receiver combination, the Phottix Ares Wireless Trigger Set available through Midwest Camera Exchange. I would have been tempted to buy a set had I not invested in three used Pocket Wizard Plus II transceivers purchased at a local camera store. I will freely admit that as basic triggers, both the Phottix and the Pocket Wizards perform the same functions, although the PW has a well-earned reputation for reliability and durability. The Phottix? Let's say that for now, they represent good value for the money, and with Midwest selling it, a better investment than those no-name disposables you find on eBay. To read Mr. Hobby's post, click here.

Now this is all well and good, but there is something you need to consider. If you have at least one iTTl Nikon speedlight, you might think twice about this particular unit. If you examine this tight crop of the image, you can clearly see that the hotshoe on the transmitter has only the single triggering contact in the center (see arrow). This means you will lose iTTL control if you mount the Phottix transmitter on your camera and mount the speedlight in the shoe. 

Now let's look at the more expensive variation, the Phottix Strato II  which is currently available for Canon and Sony. One important line appears in the description:

Transmitters feature an innovative TTL pass-through hot shoe - allowing full TTL mode to be used with a camera mounted flash.

The more expensive Strato II will allow full iTTL speedlight control with the appropriate speedlight, albeit not yet with the Nikon system. I suspect Midwest will add one to their product line at some point.

I'm surprised that the Nikon version wasn't in their initial lineup. This isn't uncharted territory, since Calumet sold such a unit before it went belly-up. My advice is to wait for the NIkon variation, since the few extra dollars can add a bucket of versatility.