The ability to fire your flashgun off-camera can give a whole new creative perspective: transform a portrait by moving the light-source to the side; add light to dark areas of a still-life; or add impact to action. Traditionally, studio lights would be connected to your camera with a tangle of PC sync leads and optical slaves, but using radio triggers lets you put a flashgun practically anywhere.
Professional photographers have long sworn by PocketWizards – tough and simple radio triggers with a premium price. The Flash Wave III transmitter and receiver comes in at around half the price, while offering the same manual flash control as the basic PocketWizard.
Having owned PocketWizard Plus II’s for several years, we were very sceptical of these compact units. While PocketWizards use a 433Mhz radio frequency in the UK, the Flash Waves run on 2.4Ghz, where you also find many Wi-Fi networks. In use though, we couldn’t find any problem – even in the corridors of the Photo Answers offices, the triggers performed flawlessly.
Outdoors we found that the Flash Wave III’s lost their connection quicker than our Plus II’s, particularly if line-of-sight was lost behind a hill. In practice this is unlikely to cause much of an issue for all but the most demanding of pros, who may be triggering cameras remotely in vehicles or similar situations.
For the price, and for most users, the Flash Wave III triggers have the upper hand. To connect our PocketWizards to a flash, additional leads are needed, but with a built-in hotshoe, PC socket and tripod mount, the Flash Wave III triggers are quick and simple to fit.
A maximum sync speed of 1/250sec is all we need on our Canon 60D, and the two-stage trigger button on the transmitter allows the receiver to separately control focus and shutter on your camera – something the PocketWizards can’t do.
- Street price: £100 (As of July 2016)
- Max Flash Sync Speed: 1/250sec
- Receiver Size: 110x43x21mm
- Transmitter Size: 75x31x26mm
- Weight: 260g
This review was first published in the August 2011 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.