New Pocketwizard Plus III
/forum/topic/1087373/0



hammer2k911
Registered: Feb 14, 2009
Total Posts: 306
Country: United States

This might be new info, but any thoughts on the new PW Plus III from Pocketwizard? The transceiver looks very modern and they have eliminated the flimsy antennaes. Info found at

http://plusiii.pocketwizard.com/#Home

Specifications:

Frequency
FCC/IC model: 340.00 354.00 MHz
CE model: 433.42 434.42 MHz
Channels
32 channels
1-16 standard channels
17-32 selective Quad-Zone Triggering channels
Reverse compatible with all PocketWizard radios of the same frequency* using standard or Quad-Zone Triggering channels (*FCC and CE PocketWizard radios work on different frequencies)
Zones
A B C D
Compatible with other PocketWizard radios with Quad-Zone Triggering channels
Antenna
Precision tuned internal coil
Display
Backlit 2.5cm (1.0") liquid crystal display (LCD)
Range
Up to 500 meters (1600 feet)
(actual range is dependent on multiple factors including equipment, mode, environment, positioning, orientation and interference)
Sync speed
Up to 1/250 for focal plane shutters
Up to 1/500 for leaf shutters
Triggering speed
Up to 14.5 FPS
Contact time
62 milliseconds in normal operation
2 milliseconds in High Speed Receive (HSR) Mode
Status Indicator
LED: Green, Amber, Red status indications
Transmit output power
Less than 1 milliwatt (0.001 watt)
Power
Two (2) AA (IEC:LR6) alkaline recommended
NiMH, NiCAD, NiZn, Lithium acceptable (these chemistries may not report battery life accurately)
USB (optional AC adapter PW-AC-USB available)
Battery life
Up to 50 hours (with alkaline batteries)
Max Port Sync Voltage
300 Volts (Camera/Flash Port)
Max current handling
1.0 A peak, 0.2 A (1/5 Amp or 200 milliamp) continuous current limited
Voltage present
3 volts, safe for use with all digital and film cameras
USB
USB 2.0 Mini-B Connector
Housing
High impact plastic with captive battery door
Weight
120 grams (4 ounces) with batteries installed
Dimensions
Height: 13.3 cm (5.25")
Width: 5.1 cm (2.00")
Depth: 3.2 cm (1.25")
Operating temperature
Above -15 C (5 F) and below 50 C (120 F).
Storage temperature
Above -30 C (-22 F) and below 85 C (185 F) (without battery)
Input/Output
3.5mm (1/8") stereo miniphone jack, hot shoe
Mounting
Hot shoe, lanyard/D-Ring loop, -20 threaded insert
In the box
Quick Guide
Stereo 3.5mm (1/8") miniphone to miniphone cable
Mono 3.5mm miniphone to locking PC cable
Stereo 3.5mm miniphone to 6.3mm (") adapter
Lanyard
Operation reference sticker
ROHS Compliant
Yes
Optional accessories
Isolation bar, trigger buttons



Roland W
Registered: Apr 23, 2004
Total Posts: 1932
Country: United States

Looks like nice features as a clear improvement over the Plus II, and the lower price of $139 compared to a Plus II is good too. The easy to use half push feature for a remote camera is much appreciated. Syncing your hand held camera with a remote one, including half press focus, and all controled from the actions of the main hand held camera, is actually something I want to be able to do, and that will have me getting one of these to combine with my Multimax units.



S Dilworth
Registered: Oct 10, 2011
Total Posts: 484
Country: France

More at David Hobby's Strobist blog here.

At first glance, I like a lot about this unit, but it's expensive even with the $30 price cut. It also suffers from feature creep, though I realise the world at large really, really loves new features. (I don't. I like a handful of features, done properly, with any savings going towards better materials and build quality.)

Things I don't like:

- it's very bulky, and that's made worse by the insistence on having it stand as tall as possible on the camera's hotshoe. I'd prefer it to lie flat like the $30 Cactus V5 (or Elinchrom EL-Skyport)
- it still has a dinky plastic foot, unlike the $30 Cactus V5
- it's still missing a hotshoe, unlike the $30 Cactus V5
- it still uses heavy AA cells, when it could use AAA cells like the the $30 Cactus V5.

These issues wouldn't necessarily stop me buying it, and they may even be good things for some users.

The price cut is the best bit. I hope eBay is flooded with cheap Plus IIs as a result.



kdphotography
Registered: Dec 22, 2005
Total Posts: 1241
Country: United States

I'll probably pick one up. I like the lower profile of the antennae, at least for use on camera. I was hoping for much better wireless flash sync for leaf shutter lenses, similar to profoto air. I can get faster flash sync up to 1/1600 with cybersync, but not a fan of the build quality, and hate the "guessing" about the battery. AAs in the Pocket Wizard is a great choice as AAs are much easier to replace and available everywhere---moreso than AAAs or those used in the Cybersync. I don't like to carry multiple battery types for "back-up" and a few sets of AAs serves double-duty for other cameras, speedlites, and the PWs.



Sam N
Registered: Dec 16, 2006
Total Posts: 1264
Country: United States

S Dilworth wrote:
Things I don't like:

- it's very bulky, and that's made worse by the insistence on having it stand as tall as possible on the camera's hotshoe. I'd prefer it to lie flat like the $30 Cactus V5 (or Elinchrom EL-Skyport)
- it still has a dinky plastic foot, unlike the $30 Cactus V5
- it's still missing a hotshoe, unlike the $30 Cactus V5
- it still uses heavy AA cells, when it could use AAA cells like the the $30 Cactus V5.


- The size isn't much bigger than 2 AAs and an antenna. I would also prefer it to lay flat, but I do prefer a slightly bigger unit with AA's to a smaller unit that uses AAAs.
- The plastic foot is an advantage. If anything drops, I'd rather break a user-replaceable foot on a $130 PWizard than the hotshoe on a $3000 camera.
- A hotshoe would be great, but I guess they want us to buy the TT5s.
- Since I already use AAs for flashes, it makes more sense to just have 1 kind of backup as opposed to having to carry around 2 sizes.



Roland W
Registered: Apr 23, 2004
Total Posts: 1932
Country: United States

If you want small and laying flat, the PocketWizard Mini TT1 can work quite well for classic PocketWizard channels, and I use my TT1 that way often. I get plenty of battery life on the Mini, and do not mind having a spare set of special coin cells on hand. The Flex TT5 is also a laying flat design, and you can leave the antena laying down for most triggering at close ranges. The TT5 uses the AA cells, and just like the TT1 it is not limited to ETTL, but can work equally well on the same 32 enhanced channels of the new Plus III, which are also the same as the Multimax channels. Obviously the Flex units cost more than the new Plus III, but they additionally do ETTL and remote manual power on speedlights.

Note that antenna orientation is important for long range, so building it in means they likely needed to keep the unit as a vertical. The Flex TT5 does have an antenna that can be raised so that might have been an option, but they did not go that way.



theMAGE
Registered: Sep 14, 2007
Total Posts: 189
Country: United States

S Dilworth wrote:
- it still has a dinky plastic foot, unlike the $30 Cactus V5


The metal foot on Cactus is screwed with four tiny screws into plastic. It falls of quite easily.



S Dilworth
Registered: Oct 10, 2011
Total Posts: 484
Country: France

theMAGE wrote:
The metal foot on Cactus is screwed with four tiny screws into plastic. It falls of quite easily.


I know: I have four of those Cactus V5s precisely because they're cheap! I was just mildly mocking the Plus IIIs for being so expensive yet still looking and probably feeling like something that costs no more than ten dollars.

But there's no doubt the PocketWizards are well-designed where it counts. It's interesting to note the perforated metal can soldered onto the PCB in this image (taken from this comparison). That acts as a Faraday cage, or electromagnetic shield, which is probably one reason the PocketWizards have a stellar reputation for reliability. The external case of the Phottix is plainly built better, but the insides don't reveal the same attention to detail (loose wires, lack of shielding, etc.).

I've had a few misfires with the Cactus V5, but that's not a big problem for the stuff I do. A bigger problem is that I can't get a clean sync at 1/250th second with the Nikon D700. It works fine at 1/200th second (or 1/250th second on the D300S).

I'd love to upgrade to PocketWizards, but the price! And the design issues, for me, that I mentioned in my first post...



John Skinner
Registered: May 31, 2007
Total Posts: 709
Country: Canada

Gone through too may of these PW piles of junk. The electronics fail, plastic breaks, or they fight each other in group settings.

They'll not get another one of my dimes period.

Now that the competition is catching up, they know they have to offer more for less.. The days of beating the ever living crap out of us for (at best) mediocre triggers is done.



teebat
Registered: Jun 17, 2005
Total Posts: 777
Country: United States

So they are NOT compatible with the PW Plus II's ?



316shooter
Registered: May 17, 2004
Total Posts: 765
Country: United States

They ARE compatible with PW Plus II, and also all the older models back to the original PW. That is one of nicest features of PW is the new models play very well with older versions. PW are the best hands down. Never had one failure in the 15 or so years I've been using them, including in sports arenas and heavy commercial use. In all that time I think I may have broken two shoes (my own fault), and I'd much rather that break instead of the camera shoe.



hondageek
Registered: Aug 16, 2004
Total Posts: 889
Country: United States

What 316 said. I've had a bunch of PW and 550/580mkI feet snapped off when someone runs past or a bike hit's me in the pits (motocross). I can fix a flash shoe in minutes or pop a new PW on but I would hate to have a hot shoe on one of my bodies damaged. That's one of the main reasons I won't use a 580mkII or anything else with a metal foot.



cordellwillis
Registered: Aug 24, 2004
Total Posts: 5080
Country: United States

John Skinner wrote:...mediocre triggers is done.

huh There have been other options for many years (mid 70's). PW is/was the standard because their system is MUCH more than "mediocre" and is reliable. Everyone can have a bad experience, but many times it's user error and/or not understanding the limitations of the product.

It's funny because LONG before PW introduced their ControlTL system I never heard of complaints about PW other than price. Now that competition is out there we have even more options and all of a sudden PW has bad products. I laugh at that. This is no different than when new cameras become old. The question is 'ISO on that gear is horrible', 'why did I ever use that piece of crap', 'why didn't Canon or Nikon do this before', blah blah blah.



John Skinner
Registered: May 31, 2007
Total Posts: 709
Country: Canada

This was JUST my opinion Cordell.. And in the mid 70's I was shooting with cords, not wireless anything.

With the price tag that PW has been asking for the entire time they've been marketed, IT'S MY OPINION that they were poorly made. I have a drawer of them to prove it.

When I work... I have to work. it's not so much the breakage that gives me the issues as it is the electronic failures and quoted repair prices for them. It's just not worth it TO ME.

And with the advent of this new system.. They see the loss of the market with the imports now advancing and gaining market share, they drop the price of a unit that just now.. Has a battery indicator. And NO TTL..

Can't justify putting anymore money into their stuff. I have invested in Buff lighting, triggers etc.. And I've not had one hiccup so far. And all my lights are adjustable now.



huddy
Registered: Oct 19, 2010
Total Posts: 1825
Country: United States

S Dilworth wrote:
theMAGE wrote:
The metal foot on Cactus is screwed with four tiny screws into plastic. It falls of quite easily.


I know: I have four of those Cactus V5s precisely because they're cheap! I was just mildly mocking the Plus IIIs for being so expensive yet still looking and probably feeling like something that costs no more than ten dollars.

But there's no doubt the PocketWizards are well-designed where it counts. It's interesting to note the perforated metal can soldered onto the PCB in this image (taken from this comparison). That acts as a Faraday cage, or electromagnetic shield, which is probably one reason the PocketWizards have a stellar reputation for reliability. The external case of the Phottix is plainly built better, but the insides don't reveal the same attention to detail (loose wires, lack of shielding, etc.).

I've had a few misfires with the Cactus V5, but that's not a big problem for the stuff I do. A bigger problem is that I can't get a clean sync at 1/250th second with the Nikon D700. It works fine at 1/200th second (or 1/250th second on the D300S).

I'd love to upgrade to PocketWizards, but the price! And the design issues, for me, that I mentioned in my first post...


Hmm, I've never had a problem getting 1/250th from my V5's and D700. Using the hack for HSS, I can shoot all the way up to 1/8000 with them too.



Deezie
Registered: Mar 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1455
Country: United States

I dig it, but I'll keep my current model PW's. They're light and reliable. I've only had one unit breakdown since I've owned them, and they get heavy use from me.



drive_75
Registered: Feb 28, 2006
Total Posts: 616
Country: United States

I like the features. They are pricy but my cheap Chinese made trigger only work up to shutter speed of 1/160s so I'm going pick up three of these when they are available.