Me and My Gadget
Stephen Barker, a Hamilton-based commercial photographer, tells Chris Gardner why his PocketWizard Flex TT5 radio transceivers are his favourite gadgets.
What's your favourite gadget?
Among all my lenses and camera gear, I think my PocketWizards are my favourite gadgets. A PocketWizard is a wireless radio triggering system for off-camera flash lighting. It uses a transmitter mounted on my camera's hot shoe to trigger a remote receiver connected to a remote flash. The FlexTT5 is a transceiver so it can either transmit a trigger signal or act as a receiver unit to fire a flash. I have four of them, so one sits on the camera, to control up to three remote flashes. They can also be used to trigger a remote camera.
What do you mainly use it for?
I use them to trigger my Canon Speedlite 580EXII flashes and studio flashes. They are great indoors and outside. With an AC3 ZoneController attached I can control the level of output of each flash right from the top of my camera. I can quickly determine the best exposure for the lighting effect I'm after. They work by radio signal so can be fired at distances up to 365m. They can synchronise at a higher shutter speed than an SLR camera's standard setting so I can get 1/500th sec on my EOS1DMkIII and retain full power which is very handy when shooting a portrait outside on a sunny day and needing fill-in flash.
How would you change it to make it better?
I'd make more zones or channels available than just the three that it can control. I'd also build in the AC3 ZoneController's functions so that I wouldn't have to slide it on as an extra. I'd want to improve the consistency of performance as every now and then it doesn't trigger properly. Apart from that I wouldn't change much else. They're pretty compact and are good on batteries. They cost around $400 each, so they aren't cheap but they are the industry leader for wireless control.