Big doin's at PocketWizard

There was some chatter on the Paul C. Buff forums recently that PocketWizard would make a big announcement soon. Like I usually do when I hear such a thing, I religiously checked their website for several days and when I keep seeing same old same old day after day, I gave up checking one or two days before "THE EVENT." (Seriously, I must have pinged the Canon website for 60 consecutive days, but gave up on it exactly two days before the 5D Mark II announcement.)

The event in this case is the announcement of the MiniTT1 transmitter and FlexTT5 tranceiver radio flash triggering devices. The news here is that these units allow TTL flash operation over wireless RF channels, which will be much more reliable than the about as expensive but dicier infrared wireless systems marketed by Nikon and Canon. For starters, this system is for Canon only, but Nikon-compatible gear is on the way. I won't re-hash features of the units here, as they are covered very well at the Strobist blog.

Personally, I've never been particularly happy with the consistency of results I've gotten with TTL flash equipment. Being an old hand (a VERY old hand) with manual operation of Vivitar 283's, I'm more pleased with the results I get working in "old school" manual. Therefore, I nearly said "big deal" at the news and went on with my day.

But, fortunately, I read on.

These units have the capability of operating in what is called "Hypersync" mode. This is of high interest to sports shooters like myself because it MAY allow using higher flash sync speeds with studio flashes triggered by these units. The power of my AlienBee's B800 units are "just enough" for some of my arena lighting situations, so the ability to cheat the shutter speed upward to cut out a little more ambient light could prove huge in certain situations, such as the IUPUI Natatorium (below).

The manual for these units says mileage may vary with different flash equipment and different cameras. Therefore, I will need to finagle a test situation to figure out if I can squeeze, for example, 1/400 or 1/500 sync speed with my Canon 40D (1/250 stock sync speed), but every single click upward on the shutter speed is a win-win in helping to cut back the ambient light to eliminate ghost imaging in arena situations. And if I read the manual correctly, it will work my my existing PocketWizard Plus II's. This is extremely cool, as it will keep the cost of adoption down by only requiring me to purchase a MiniTT1 transmitter. I may be interested in a FlexTT5 tranceiver later, but that can wait since my interest in TTL operations ranges from limited to non-existent.

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