PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by eric friedemann, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. I just got a pair of PocketWizard MiniTT1's and four FlexTT5's for my SB-800's. I'd been using the Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander, and it was pretty good in confined spaces where the infrared signal could bounce around the room. However, I'd often have to reposition/turn flashes so that the flash "eye" would pick up the infrared signal. Certainly, I couldn't hide the SB-800's behind furniture and whatnot. And, of course, the SU-800 was of no use outdoors for other than macro shooting where the flashes were very near the SU-800.
    The dog pik was shot with four bounced SB-800's positioned around a large, open room. The MiniTT1 device was on a D700 hot shoe, with the SB-800's sitting on FlexTT5's. I deliberately placed the flashes behind furniture, an HDTV and stereo components, but the FlexTT5's had no problem picking up the MiniTT1's signal. So far, I'm quite pleased with the PocketWizard rig in comparison with the SU-800.
    00YqU0-366565584.jpg
     
  2. The dog pik ...
    00YqU3-366567584.jpg
     
  3. I'm thinking about buying a pair also, but I have a few questions, maybe you can answer.
    1. Do you have to buy a Mini TT1 AND a Flex TT5, or can you just buy (2) Mini's or (2) Flex's?
    2. Are they hard to set up?
    3. If you don't have to buy one of each of the transmitters/receivers is there any advantage to either of them?
    Thanks a lot!
    Nice pic by the way.
     
  4. very interested in this thread. I've been using CLS (D-90 + SB-600) a bit but found it to be unreliable. Indoors, it it pretty good but not dependable. Outdoors, it just doesn't work.
    I need a better solution. I don't understand the alternatives for radio popper. I know Pocket Wizards are very expensive. I've heard of some far less expensive alternatives, but I don't know what the tradeoffs are.
    I need something that works dependably indoors and outdoors. I would like something that is CLS-compatible so I can set flash powers from the camera. I'll be working with a D3 + 1x SB-600 + 1x SB-900.
     
  5. 1. Do you have to buy a Mini TT1 AND a Flex TT5, or can you just buy (2) Mini's or (2) Flex's?
    The MiniTT1 is only a transmitter, so at a minimum you will need a MiniTT1 and a FlexTT5. The FlexTT5 is transceiver - a receiver and transmitter - so you could use just two FlexTT5 units. I have two 2 FlexTT5 + MiniTT1 set ups, one for Canon and one for Nikon. Depending on what I am doing I sometimes use a FlexTT5 as a transmitter.
    If you are working with multiple flashes that can be controlled by the ControlTL system (currently his includes smart speedlights like the Nikon SB900/800/700/600 or Canon 580 EX II // 550 EX // 430 EX II Speedlights; Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 (you need a Power MC2 receiver); White Lightning / Alien Bees / Zeus (you need an AC9 receiver); or Elinchrom units with a connection for an external Skyport receiver;) you should also look into getting the ControlTL AC3 ZoneController which allows you to place flashes in three discrete groups with each group controllable over a 6 stop range in third-stop increments.
    2. Are they hard to set up?
    Not particularly but there is a shallow learning curve. It also really helps to have the latest firmware updates for the ControlTL units. The newest firmware update removes a lot of the confusion people had with the settings in the earlier firmware.
    3. If you don't have to buy one of each of the transmitters/receivers is there any advantage to either of them?
    That is a matter of opinion. The MiniTT1 is smaller and uses a flat type battery, which can be difficult to find. Fortunately it lasts a long time. The advantage of the FlexTT5 as a transmitter is that it uses two AA batteries, but consequently is larger. So you have to choose which his more important to you: size of transmitter or battery availability.
     
  6. 1. As Hemingway reportedly said of pheasant hunting, "(i)t's worth what you have to pay for it.
    Yes, the TT1's and FlexTT5's are a little pricey, but they are also unique. As a Mamiya America tech support guy told me, "(i)f the SU-800 worked well in a variety of conditions, PocketWizard wouldn't have developed the TT1 and TT5 products."
    2. No, the TT1's and TT5's are not hard to set up- they're easy. You take a test shot, and the TT1 finds all the TT5's. The TT5's pick up the camera's aperture setting which comes up on the Nikon Speedlights' control panels- and you're good to go. With this rig, the camera thinks the Speedlights are sitting in it's hot shoe.
    3. Don't take this as Gospel, but my understanding of the products is that you need a MiniTT1 on the camera's hot shoe and a FlexTT5 under each Nikon Speedlight you want to link:
    http://www.pocketwizard.com/products/transmitter_receiver/minitt1-nikon/
    4. Just an FYI, in the photo above, the FlashWizard products are mounted on the little Nikon stands that come with Nikon Speedlights. That may be difficult to pick up in that photo.
     
  7. 1. Do you have to buy a Mini TT1 AND a Flex TT5, or can you just buy (2) Mini's or (2) Flex's?
    The MiniTT1 is only a transmitter, so at a minimum you will need a MiniTT1 and a FlexTT5. The FlexTT5 is transceiver - a receiver and transmitter - so you could use just two FlexTT5 units. I have two 2 FlexTT5 + MiniTT1 set ups, one for Canon and one for Nikon. Depending on what I am doing I sometimes use a FlexTT5 as a transmitter.
    If you are working with multiple flashes that can be controlled by the ControlTL system (currently his includes smart speedlights like the Nikon SB900/800/700/600 or Canon 580 EX II // 550 EX // 430 EX II Speedlights; Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 (you need a Power MC2 receiver); White Lightning / Alien Bees / Zeus (you need an AC9 receiver); or Elinchrom units with a connection for an external Skyport receiver;) you should also look into getting the ControlTL AC3 ZoneController which allows you to place flashes in three discrete groups with each group controllable over a 6 stop range in third-stop increments.
    2. Are they hard to set up?
    Not particularly but there is a shallow learning curve. It also really helps to have the latest firmware updates for the ControlTL units. The newest firmware update removes a lot of the confusion people had with the settings in the earlier firmware.
    3. If you don't have to buy one of each of the transmitters/receivers is there any advantage to either of them?
    That is a matter of opinion. The MiniTT1 is smaller and uses a flat type battery, which can be difficult to find. Fortunately it lasts a long time. The advantage of the FlexTT5 as a transmitter is that it uses two AA batteries, but consequently is larger. So you have to choose which his more important to you: size of transmitter or battery availability.
    00YqUq-366571584.jpg
     
  8. The uncropped version. The bull frog's body is roughly 8-10 inches long. Camera and lens: Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G.
    00YqUs-366573584.jpg
     
  9. "The MiniTT1 is smaller and uses a flat type battery, which can be difficult to find."
    The MiniTT1 uses a CR2450 battery. The CR2450 is inexpensive, but is also not a battery usually carried even in camera stores:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sony-CR2450-3V-Lithium-Battery/dp/B000B77L7W
    I'm having my store order me 4-6 of them, so I can carry a spare pair with me. I'm buying some more eneloops for the FlexTT5's.
    "The advantage of the FlexTT5 as a transmitter is that it uses two AA batteries, but consequently is larger."
    As the MiniTT1's and Flex TT5's were the same price for me, I'd rather have a diminutive TT1 on top of the camera than a TT5. That the TT1 takes an odd battery isn't that off-putting to me.
     
  10. I get CR2450 batteries at Walmart or Target but some drugstores carry them too.
     
  11. "I would like something that is CLS-compatible..." - the CLS performs flash light need determination via preflash testing using visible light. The PW TT1/TT5 are not CLS compatible, even though they use Nikon flashes.
    I think Radio Poppers are much closer to CLS how/what they do, when compared to the Nikon CLS protocol. They try to preserve most of CLS, while PW drops the visible light CLS evaluation.
     
  12. The PW TT1/TT5 are not CLS compatible
    Frank, can you back that up?
     
  13. I had the pleasure of beta testing the Mini/Flex for Nikon. They were GREAT! When they were released, I bought two MinisTT1s and three FlexTT5s.
    When my wife and I both shoot simultaneously, we set her TT1 on channel 1 and mine on Channel 2 so we fire only own our own speedlights. When one of us needs to use all three SB-600s, the other simply turns off his or her TT1 and we switch the speedlights to the corresponding channel and go. They make a great solution for outside family, senior or children's sessions when we have to rely on something more than optical or infrared triggers. When we shoot weddings and receptions, it is great to have our respective assignments and not worry about fouling the other's exposures by trigger the wrong flash. And the Auto Hi-Speed Sync makes it a breeze to get balanced exposures when there is some backlighting or bright sun.
    TTL or manual, the work flawlessly (as long as we have fresh batteries). Battery life is good for the Flex and excellent for the Mini. I love that the Flex uses AA batteries since they are so easily accessible. I have learned that when the Mini's battery gets low, it must be changed immediately, so I always keep two spare CR batteries in each bag.
    I have not tried the SB-700 yet with the PWs but hope to do so once we have purchased a couple of them. Next on my list though is trying to fire a remote camera using the PW FlexTT5. After that, studio strobes. I really love the flexibility and dependability I get with the PW FlexTT5 and MiniTT1!
    The following photo was taken a week after I got my beta units for testing.
    [​IMG][/url][/IMG]
    00YqWi-366605584.jpg
     
  14. From the PocketWizard link below:
    "MiniTT1-Nikon ... Built on the ControlTL platform (Control the Light), the dedicated MiniTT1 Transmitter, with both CLS / i-TTL and Manual Power Control capability, is the perfect on-camera PocketWizard solution for any Nikon digital camera."
    "FlexTT5-Nikon ... The FlexTT5 Transceiver maximizes both CLS / i-TTL and Manual Power Control capability ... With both standard triggering channels and CLS / i-TTL channels as well as Multi-zone capability, it's the perfect MultiMAX partner."
    http://www.pocketwizard.com/products/transmitter_receiver/
     
  15. I am a serious amature and have had the Pocket Wizards for over six months. I use Canon Speedlights. The equipment is great in my opinion. Apparently there is an issue with electrical interference with the Pocket Wizards and the 580's that Nikon flashes don't have, but I haven't run into too many problems and a flexable shield is provided if you do. I just got the AC3 a month ago and it is so nice to be able to adjust your flash groups remotely. Yesterday I was shooting photos of my wife for her latest book. It was so easy to adjust the three speedlights I was using, two 580's and one 430 from the camera with a MiniTT1 and the AC3 on top. Easy adjustments until I got the look I was looking for. Experienced speedlighters can would be able to set up things quickly manually. I just waste a lot of time running in circles. One night I was messing around at home and was able to fire the remote flashes from over 400', line of sight, except for some small trees in the way. Amazing. Easy is nice. I have problems with the Canon A+B:C settings on my D7. It must be smater than I am. Sorry Nikonians for the post on the Nikon Forum, but I thought the information is useful and I am just trying to get up to speed-lite.
     
  16. Frank - They try to preserve most of CLS, while PW drops the visible light CLS evaluation.​
    You have made this allegation multiple times. It has been stated, over and over again, that the PW TT1/TT5 most certainly do maintain the visible light evaluation. All lights under control of TT5 units emit the proper metering pulses when you do a flash exposure lock. The proof is just a button press away.
     
  17. I think it's incredible that Pocketwizard can ask these kinds of prices for something that should have been integrated in the flashes in the first place. Talk about lack of competition... I mean, how is it that all the camera brands use optical triggering in their multiflash communication systems?! It fails even in the simplest of situations such as having a diffusing panel at doorway and flashes behind it, or in most cases when shooting outdoors. And after so many years they still haven't redesigned the system to use radio even though professionals and just about anyone serious about flash will have poured hundreds of dollars into aftermarket radio triggering systems - I mean 800 EUR just to get three flashes to fire?! This could be Nikon's income if they integrated radio into their flashes and everyone would be happier.
     
  18. Illka are you mad at Nikon and Canon or at LPA Design? And I don't think "everyone would be happier". "Everyone" would be paying for something that most people don't need. There may also be issues we don't know about if they build transmitters into their cameras ; radio bandwidth; interference issues ( the commonly seed 2.4GHz spectrum is getting really crowded, that is why LPA Design doesn't use it), flash build issues (see http://lpadesign.com/580EXII.pdf ); broadcast licensing issues in different countries - things like that.
    But maybe the retooling that is currently going on in Japan after the Tsunami and related damage will allow Nikon and Canon to address the issue in the next generation of pro level cameras.
     
  19. lwg

    lwg

    I assume the lack of Radio control in the factory flashes has something to do with frequency regulations in different countries. The way it is now they only need to make one model for the world.
     
  20. 1. Extrapolating from the FlexTT5, I suspect that adding a radio receiver to a flash would significantly increase the size of the flash.
    2. Playing Devil's advocate and extending Ilkka's argument, I'm suprised Nikon and Canon haven't produced a system like the PWizard TT products. The system couldn't help but be profitable, and would increase both companies' flash sales. Though, L G may well be right about the ability to secure one set of frequencies that such devices could use worldwide.
     
  21. Illka are you mad at Nikon and Canon or at LPA Design? And I don't think "everyone would be happier". "Everyone" would be paying for something that most people don't need.
    I guess for all of them; to Nikon and Canon for making products that work unreliably and refusing even after many years to accept that radio works much better and radio is what everyone (who use off-camera flash) will use, even if it means paying a ridiculous money for a reverse engineered third party product or putting up with a cheap manual only trigger. I don't know anyone who is using optical CLS remotes and is happy with the way it works in practice. It doesn't work in many of the most common scenarios where two flashes are needed - a group shot in a large room or outdoors on a sunny day. People will rather put up with simple flashes and radio triggers so that they avoid the reliability issues of CLS. A technology which few in practice can use because Nikon didn't go the extra mile to make it truly reliable.
    What do you mean "most people don't need it"? Only those people who never use more than a single on-camera flash are satisfied with CLS. Add a remote flash and put it behind a panel outside the doorway - it will not fire. Shoot in a room with dark surfaces - it won't fire. Shoot in a big enough white hall - and it will not fire. Shoot outdoors and it will very likely not fire. No subject should have to put up waiting while the photographer tries to get the flashes to fire, or wait while the photographer has to manually adjust the flash by first climbing on a ladder to reach the flash fired by a simple radio trigger. This is insulting and disrespectful to someone who has agreed to be photographed. I would argue that anyone who ever uses more than one flash, or even a single remote flash would be much better off with radio built in the flashes. The only ones who'd be paying for something that they don't need are the people who never use a flash off camera. I bet that the sales of Nikon flashes would significantly increase in volume and revenue when they finally do it right, with radio. And this increased sales will in the long term offset the increase in cost. Every amateur whom I know who uses remote flash even occasionally, owns one or several radio triggers and prefers dumb manual flashes to CLS. And it's not that they wouldn't like to control the flash power from a panel on the camera, or use TTL - they would, but it's just not cost efficient for an amateur. CLS is a technology with great potential but a flawed implementation and I think the popularity of off camera flash photography will dramatically increase when the reliability issue is solved, in an integrated manner. And with the reduced hassles, more people will agree to be photographed using elaborate lighting setups. Happier photographers, happier subjects, more good photography that people can enjoy. Or is it that as a professional photographer you'd prefer flash to be difficult to use or expensive, so that there is more work that amateurs can't do well?
    As for the frequency problem, there are many radio products on the market and they've managed to get their frequencies accepted. I am sure Nikon could if Pocketwizard can. Having to have a panel of dip switches for choosing the region from, or a separate product for each market, is a small price to pay for the increased functionality and usability.
     
  22. Allan said . . .
    I've been using CLS (D-90 + SB-600) a bit but found it to be unreliable. Indoors, it it pretty good but not dependable. Outdoors, it just doesn't work. I need a better solution. I don't understand the alternatives for radio popper. I know Pocket Wizards are very expensive. I've heard of some far less expensive alternatives, but I don't know what the tradeoffs are.​
    I, too, was a bit unclear on the whole subject until only recently. I initially bought into the Nikon CLS system, just a few months ago, with a Nikon SU-800, SB-800, and four SB-600s. The SU-800 worked great indoors--I was ecstatic the first time I was able to control three Speedlights wirelessly, without using a visible commander flash. Then, a couple weeks ago, I took the system outside, and found that the SU-800 failed 100% of the time under the high-humidity conditions near the beach. I did this as a test for an eventual shoot with a model. After discovering CLS' exterior shortcomings first-hand, I decided right then and there to buy a MiniTT1 and three FlexTT5s (for Nikon i-TTL). Here are my reasons for recommending PocketWizards:
    1. Industry-standard tool: Every pro shooter I've ever seen (and I see a lot of 'em in my day job, mostly shooting national covers of celebrities), shoots with PocketWizards. Yes, I know there are many pros who use RadioPoppers or other systems, but I've just never happened to see any of them.
    2. Multiple-manufacturer interoperability: In addition to Nikon and Canon TTL support, PocketWizards' ControlTL technology is also supported by other major manufacturer's studio strobes and monolights: Profoto, Elinchrom, Paul C. Buff, etc.
    3. Rock-solid RF triggering.
    4. Nikon or Canon remote TTL Speedlight support.
    5. Using either a PocketWizard AC3, or even a Nikon SU-800 controller (which duplicates every function of the AC3 when used with a TT1) on top of a MiniTT1 gives you three-group control over either TTL Speedlights, supported studio strobes, supported monolights, or any combination of the above (remote manual power control, not TTL, is used for supported studio strobes and monolights).
    The PocketWizard system isn't cheap, but it's a rock-solid triggering system with a lot of interoperability. While I may be using a supported Einstein E640 monolight with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 receiver today, I may someday move to a Profoto powerpack system in the future. It's good to know that my PocketWizard system will also support certain pro-level studio powerpacks, should I decide to go that way in the future.
     
  23. Actually, I realize that I really didn't address the question above since I know virtually nothing about competing RF systems. I chose PocketWizards mainly for their multi-brand support, and for their high-speed Hypersync feature. Other systems which I haven't researched may have similar, and/or additional capabilities that may be superior to PocketWizards for certain applications. A good vetting of MiniTT1/FlexTT5 capabilities vs. CyberSync, Profoto Air, Elinchrome Skyport, etc. would certainly be worth knowing.
     
  24. PocketWizard Hypersync 1/8,000th Test Images:
    I didn't even know if Hypersync worked with my Nikon D3s + Nikon Speedlights, or not, until I tried it last night on just a blank wall. Tonight, I thought I'd try a pour. I just shot these a few minutes ago--here's my first two Hypersync/Nikon Speedlight images using the Nikon SU-800/MiniTT1/FlexTT5, firing SB-600 Speedlights on a Nikon D3s:
    [​IMG]
    Nikon D3s + SB-600: f/5.6 @ 1/8,000th
    [​IMG]
    Nikon D3s + (2) SB-600s: f/3.2 @ 1/8,000th
    I was so excited to try this tonight, I didn't even realize my ISO was set sky-high at 2,500. This worked right out of the box, with no PocketWizard utility tweaking whatsoever (as may be required when trying to employ Hypersync when using a TT5 with a monolight). This was one of the big attractions for me to go with PocketWizards, and now I'm glad to know it actually works with Nikon Speedlights.
     
  25. If you looking to do splashing liquids in the studio work the better flash system in the south of $8,000 range is the Paul
    C Buff Einstein 640 when it is set to less than half energy and the lower the energy setting the shorter the flash
    duration will be.
     
  26. Yes, thanks, Ellis. I was all set to buy a couple E640s yesterday until I realized I actually needed long-duration flash heads instead for my immediate needs. My primary application is for daylight location exteriors where I need to overpower the sun using battery-powered monolights, PocketWizards' Hypersync features, and ultra-high shutter speeds. I still may get an Einstein/MC2 set-up someday for their many other benefits you've described in previous posts.
     
  27. Depending on how large of area you need to illuminate, the light quality (hard and crisp vs. diffused) you are looking
    for, a high efficiency - but narrow angle and very crisp - reflector like the Paul C. Buff, inc Retro-Laser can really throw
    a great deal of light. It's diameter is about 22" so it isn't a wind catcher the way a silver PLM is.
     
  28. Thanks Ellis. Yeah, that looks cool. I probably will opt for an Einstein/MC2 unit someday because I really like the Buff line of modifiers. The foldable softboxes seem really cool (I want all of them!), and it seems like they're constructed in a way similar to the way a Lowel Rifa light opens (kind of like an umbrella), from what I've been able to gather from others' online comments about them. Plus, they're ultra-affordable. Though fragile, Rifas set-up instantly, whereas setting up a Chimera and shoving pins into a speedring is kind of a pain.
     

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