Pocketwizard TT1 Review

Be prepared… this is a long one.

A few months ago I wrote a post HERE about a couple of exciting new products from LPA designs, the makers of the pocketwizard triggering system.  If you are entirely unfamiliar with these products i suggest a quick read of my earlier post as there is a bit of assumed knowledge.

I’m not initially interested in the wireless ETTL modes for these new models so i just bought myself a TT1 transmitter to try out the Hypersync mode which supposedly allows you to achieve a much higher x-sync with your strobes.  Unfortunately I experienced a deluge of problems and they were so many that there is no way my problems were isolated, if anyone from LPA designs reads this it would be nice to get some sort of formal response to my issues.  If there is a solution/fix on the way I would love to know about it.

Where to begin??……

In this photo you can see a size comparison with the pocketwizard Multimax. The TT1 is refreshingly small thanks mainly to the smaller battery and lack of screen.  The vertical orientation of the older PWs left them susceptible to hotshoe damage.  I have snapped off several hotshoes on the older ones with only minimal force. The slimline TT1 should be much stronger and the lack of external aerial means you can more easily stash it in the smallest corner of your camera bag.  This I like very much!

Buttons are few and far between.  There is a test button and a small switch with three settings, OFF, C1, C2.  The C1 and C2 switch allows you to select one of two totally different setups which are configurable by using the USB cable and supplied computer software.  Each setup can have its own channel (1-32) and its own hypersync offset value as well as a couple of other ETTL settings.  If for example you use 2 different cameras, you might want to have each configuration tailored to to each camera.  Or if you use two types of strobes like I do (speedlights and Elinchrom Rangers) you can use each config. for each type of strobe.  So what do you do if you use 2 cameras and 2 types of flashes hence requiring 4 configurations? The key problem here is that the Hypersync offset (which i will explain in a bit) is different for every type of flash and every camera.  For me, 2 configurations is simply not enough.  Would it have been hard to implement a 4 way switch instead?  And speaking of which, the switch itself is one of the cheapest switches I have ever had the miss-fortune to pay a couple of hundred dollars to use.  It is so small and flimsy that it is actually quite difficult to get it into the C2 position because the throw of the switch is so small. It also wobbles around like its about to fall out.

Unlike previous PWs , there is no way to change the channel on the transmitter with a simple switch.  You have the option of using the c1 and c2 switch but that only gives you 2 channel choices and I found that i preferred to have both c1 and c2 set on the same channel and instead have the hypersync offset values set differently on the 2 settings.  One for my 1dMKIIN and on for my 5dMKII.  For most people this probably wont be a problem, when you plug the TT1 into a computer you can alter the channel that way.  If you come across another photographer in the field though and you are both using the same channel there is a way round it.  LPA designs have included a learn function in the TT1.  By using another transmitter or transceiver you can teach the TT1 any of the 32 standard PW channels by simply holding the learn button and firing the test button on the second transmitter in close proximity.  Of course this relies on you having either a PW Multimax or a PW PLUS II to teach the channel.  In practice I found this to work very well and very quickly.  I think i appreciate the size saving by not having to have a screen in order to select the 32 channels.  I’m sure it was a cost saver too. See, I’m trying to stay positive about some of this!

I shoot with a Canon 5dMKII which has a x-sync of 1/200. Something that was talked about heavily upon its release and considered by many to be the biggest negative against the camera. I know several sports photogs that avoided it because of this fact alone.  I have put up with it but it does limit the cameras potential when you are shooting outdoor action with strobes in bright sunlight.  1/200 is just not fast enough.  So when I heard about the hypersync  mode in the new TT1 I was very excited. It claimed to be able to take my x-sync on my 5dMKII up to 1/320 which is what I always use on my 1DMKIIN.  If this was true it would be a BIG deal to me.

So what is Hypersync?  Well I’m not going to go into great details because this is going to be a long enough post anyway.  Basically the TT1 is able to send the trigger signal to the flash before the shutter operation has begun on the camera.  Getting this jump on the tightly timed proceedings of x-sync and shutter operation allows you to squeeze a slightly faster x-sync out of the camera because the flash is already well on its way to firing as the shutter opens.  The “head start” that you give the flash burst is called the hypersync offset and it is controlled in very small increments using the software.  There is no easy way to figure out which offset value is going to be the best for your setup.  The best way to do it is to aim your flash at a blank wall and experiment with different shutter speeds and offsets.  You will see a dark band on your photos if you set the shutter speed too fast and your aim is to get the fastest shutter you can with the most minimal amount of black banding.  This trial and error process is extremely frustrating, especially because you have to remove the PW from the camera and connect it to your computer in order to change the offset.  The whole process is made even more frustrating by the inconstancy of the results.  Whenever you change the offset , i quickly learn t that the first shot you take will be junk.  For whatever reason , you need to fire one shot off before the PW will give you more consistent results.  The first shot every time would always give me a totally different result so ignore that one.  I also found that sometimes it would simply not fire at all for the first few times.  The receiver was no more than a foot away and sometimes I would have to fire 5 or 6 shots before the TT1 would begin to send a signal.

More inconsistency…..

When i first got the TT1 i immediately put it on my 5dMKII. I had heard you could get it to work at 1/320 with almost no banding in the frame.  I tried it with the default settings and default offset value of-170.  Much to my surprise i got a totally clean 1/320.  No banding whatsoever.  I was very excited about this but when i went back to the TT1 the next day and put the setting back to those that I had used the day before i started to get banding at the bottom of the frame.  I thought i was going mad, i went back and checked my shots from the day before.  Sure enough, 1/320 with no banding.  I began going through the whole trial and error again thinking that I must have used a different offset but after 45 minutes of frustration I could not improve on the result I was getting.  Granted, the banding was minimal, probably only 1/20th of the hole frame but it still frustrated me that I could not repeat the result from the day before.

I began to try some higher shutter speeds up to 1/640 just to see how much of the frame was going to be black.  Now remember when I was saying how the first shot after you unplug from your computer is junk?  Well I found that if i set my shutter speed to 1/500 , I could achieve a totally clean shot for the first shot.  1/500 x-sync on a 5dMKII?!  That is crazy, but it would only work once, immediately after I unplugged from the computer.  And then after that the best I could get would be 1/320 with a small amount of banding.  At first I was excited by the 1/500 result.  I knew it was possible on my 1DMKIIN as I had already seen consistent results from that, but the 5dMkII was normally much slower.  So why does it work just once?  If it works once, surely there is a way to get it to work all the time? I spend the next hour trying different offset values but to no avail.  By this time I had dedicated about 4 of the most frustrating hours of my life to trying to configure these things and I was about ready to throw the thing at the wall.  Yes I can achieve a faster x-sync than before but the whole implementation of it was driving me mad.

The TT1 just seemed to be a totally different POS on the second day.  When i first got it, the first shot after unplugging from the computer always displayed black banding for the bottom half of the frame.  With that one out of the way it would do pretty much what it was supposed to.  But on the second day of configuration, that first shot after unplugging from the computer would always show a perfect photo even, as I said at much higher x-sync that you would imagine possible.  These simple inconsistencies just make you think this is a product that was just not ready for public consumption yet and gives you zero confidence that it will work as you want it to next time you pull it out of you camera bag.  I can’t comment on the ETTL capabilities but it seems like they should have waited a lot longer before putting this product out there.

Next problem, mixing strobes.

Different offset values are needed for different strobes.  If you have a mixture of strobes in your setup you are not going to be able to get the best out of this transmitter.  I found that the best offset value for my  canon speedlight 580EX and my Nikon SB-80DXs were quite close.  Not too much to worry about and if i picked an average offset value for the two I could achieve good results.  Not quite as good as if they were all Nikon or all Canon, but decent.  The big problem come when you mix in a large studio strobe such as my Elinchrom Ranger.  The best offset for the speedlights and the Ranger were a long way apart, the ranger needing much larger offset.  This just causes a mess of uneven lighting which is totally useless for anything.

Oh and did I mention that the optimal offset for each flash is also different for different power settings?  Not by much in most cases but its something else to be wary of (and frustrated with).  With only 2 possible settings (c1 and c2) available to you on a shoot.  You need to know what power you plan to use, which camera and which combination of strobes.  Not very flexible unless your client is willing to sit there while you try to trial and error a new offset value……

While doing all of this preliminary testing at my home ,another bug popped up.  Because the hot shoe of the TT1 mimics that of a canon speedlight, the camera thinks there is one in the shoe and would therefore love to limit you to whatever the native x-sync is (1DMKII is 1/250 , 5dMKII is 1/200).  In order for you to select a higher shutter speed, the TT1 tricks the camera into thinking you have a flash with High Speed sync enabled.  The small “H” symbol appears in the viewfinder to show this.  But occasionally when i would take a test shot, this would not work and the shutter speed I selected on the camera would flash back to 1/250 at the instant i took the shot.  I could never figure out what was making this happen.  It didn’t happen all that often but it does not inspire any confidence in the product.  If I am shooting an athlete doing something , I NEED to know that it is going to behave in a repeatable fashion.  I cant just cross my fingers and hope that it doesn’t freak out when i press the shutter and select 1/250 when i want 1/500.  The shot would be ruined.

TT1 in real life use…..

Ok time to get out of my house and put this thing to use in a real situation.  Maybe the results would wash the sour taste out of my mouth.

For those of you who have ever used pocketwizards to shoot skiing and snowboarding, you will probably know the frustration of your flashes not firing when you are 50 yards away with line of sight to the receiver.  We all know that the stated maximum range of these things is 1500 feet with optimal conditions.  These optimal conditions only exist in the labs at LPA designs.  My flashes regularly fail to fire at anything more than 50 feet away and sometimes even less.  There are many ways to improve your chances of getting signal, raise the receiver off the ground and keep it away from metal are two of them.  This past weekend while shooting a jump for a sunset ski shoot, I placed my receiver on top of a 12ft light stand on a wooden bracket.  I then moved the lightstand so that it was directly in front of me and about 40feet away.  I ran a long cable from the receiver to my strobe which was slightly hidden from me.  The receiver though was plainly visible and raised well above the ground.  My flash only fired about 2/3 of the times I wanted it to when i used the TT1 as my transmitter.  FROM 40 FEET AWAY WITH DIRECT LINE OF SIGHT.  When i held the camera in landscape orientation I would get much better results, but turn it 90 degrees for a portrait shot and it would fire 50% of the time at best.  Sometime it would fire if i held it 5 inches from my face, but put my eye up to the viewfinder and……NOTHING.  Now some of these weird shortcomings are things I have experienced using the PLUSII and the Multimax.  But i was really hoping that the TT1 would have addressed some of these issues and it has not.  In fact, it was worse.  I took the thing off my camera and went back to using a Multimax for the rest of the shoot.

I know several people who have had shoots entirely ruined by the poor range on PWs and the inconsistency of the signal and I really thought that they would have made some headway by now. The problem is that the majority of PW users use them in such close proximity that they never have a problem.  Or they use them in a stadium or basketball court where signals seem to work quite well for some reason.  Perhaps the signal is bounced around much more.  I think its time that LPAdesigns addressed some of these signal issues as well as the ones i mentioned above regarding the TT1.  If you have had problems with PWs and have had a shoot ruined by one I would urge you to make a comment on this post below and hopefully someone from LPA designs will read it.  I will be sending this post to them and asking if they have any suggestions for solving some of the problems and I will post a response if one comes.

The simple fact right now is that there is no way I would recommend this TT1 to anyone who is working professionally.  If you are not relying on your photography to make your living then maybe you wont mind the trial and error that comes with it.  If you have clients relying on you though and you have a reputation to uphold, there is no way I would trust this thing if you plan to use it in a similar fashion to me.  I have had enough trouble with the PLUSII and multimax, I don’t need any more problems.  Yes I could get a 1/500 x-sync on my 1DMKIIN and 1/320 on my 5DMKII but the limitations on configuration and inconsistent operation just make it far to much hassle and it feels like you are rolling the dice every time you take a shot.

If you do buy one, wrap it in some foam and duct tape so it bounces when you throw it against the wall.

UPDATE: Cameron Laird is a news photographer from Australia and he has published a great video about his problems with the ETTL side of things when using the TT1 and TT5.  Whilst I did not test that side of things, it would seem that it too is well below an aceptable level of reliability for a product as expensive as this.  Watch the video HERE.  Visit Cam’s blog HERE

UPDATE2: I mentioned above that the quality of the on/off switch was terrible.  I failed to mention that the quality and feel of the Test button is also unbelievably sub-par.  Today I took my collection of pocketwizards out to an open field to do some range testing just to see how poor these things are in a more suitable environment.  After pressing the test button no more than 50 times, it has now broken.  The button is stuck on.  Holding down the test button puts the TT1 into “learn” mode so my transmitter is now permanently stuck in that mode and will not function.

Before it broke, my estimate was that the useable range of it was around 30 feet in direct line of site.  Anything more than that was a crap-shoot.  I did squeeze a tiny bit more range out of it when i hoisted the receiver up on top of a 15foot lightstand but lets be honest, we dont want to have to do that all the time.  Imagine having to have 2 lightstands for every light.  The receiver should not require its own lightstand!!!!  Let alone one that is 15 feet tall.

Please Pocketwiard, if you are listening, lets get these things fixed!  They have the potential to revolutionize flash photography but they really need some work right now to iron out the bugs!!



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Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in Whistler, BC, Canada but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

  • Erich Sparks

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

    Recently I had to make the decision to upgrade my slaves. I considered the pw’s after countless hours of research until I talked to a few people who have used them outdoors in cold weather. They suck. I decided to save my money and go with Alien Bees Cybersyncs. I don’t need ttl nor have I ever used it but I do need range and with the cybercyncs, I get that. I’ve taken pictures from atleast 150 yards away, flashes behind jumps, when it’s dumping and in the middle of the woods. I have yet to change the batteries 4 months later and the misfires are usually due to my flashes, not the cybercyncs. These things rock.

  • Pingback: New Pocketwizard TT1 and TT5 at Dan Carr Photography Blog

  • Dan Carr

    Thanks for the info Erich.

  • http://www.lornecameron.com Lorne Cameron

    Time to get a D70 Dan ;)

    Good info, hopefully the extra man hours on the Nikon development will be worth the wait.

  • brian

    Damn Dan, thanks for the solid post. I’ve been having the range issues lately with my plus 1s, close too sometimes inside 20 feet. But when I first got them I was using them from 200m no issues, even not in the line of sight. I haven’t even considered these ones or even heard much about them, but it definitely seems like a good idea to continue avoiding them.

  • http://www.deeplikepow.com Ian Millar

    Interesting review, personally have never had problems with range on my PW’s. At least not to a point of anger, a few miss fires but thats about it. I’ve also have not heard to much about it from others. Is it possible you have some contact issues on your camera bodies hot shoes?

  • Dan Carr

    I would love that to be the case but I had similar results with my brand new camera as I did with my 3 year old one. The update i just posted at the bottom of the post includes a link to another photographers review where he also recommends staying away from them due to range issues.

    Last year I was doing another sunset shoot with 2 other photographers. All of us were only getting about a 50% hit ratio and I know of several other guys who have the same story.

    Once last summer I was shooting a sunset jump on the glacier. The flash would not fire when there was a skier in the air above it. But as soon as there was no skier hitting the jump it would work every time from about 30ft away. I tried it many many times with the same result. As soon as a skier hit the jump it wouldn’t work.

    if your ones are working well Ian i’d hang onto them for ever!

  • Cam Laird

    Hi Dan and thanks for the mention on your blog. It sure is a real shame that the new Mini and Flex are such a let down. I was SO anxious to get them after seeing the video demos on the PocketWizard site. While they still work for a lot of what I do (which is over short distances) I can’t rely on them at all. Which in our business is something that you can’t do – reliability and consistency are the keys to repeatable results.
    Damn!

  • Dan Carr

    Hey no problem Cam, i’m glad someone tested out the features that I didn’t. It ties it all together quite nicely. Up until now there really hasn’t been much written about these new PWs apart from the “extensive” coverage on a certain popular photography site that clearly has a strongly biased opinion of these.

  • http://www.kimguanzon.com kim guanzon

    I’ve done 1/800th on my 5d MKII without black banding.
    I’ve done 1/1600th on my 1d MKIII without black banding.

    I’ve done 1/8000th on my 1d MKIII with black banding at 40%, meaning if you frame it right, you can get a usable crop by cheating.

    here’s my proof:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jowchie/sets/72157617958125063/
    check exif data for sync speeds.

    and here’s my miniTT1 settings:
    http://twitpic.com/4bcsg

  • Dan Carr

    Well that is interesting Kim. the -2500 offset in your picture, which camera do you use that for?

    What flash do you use ? And can you get the same results consistently?

  • http://www.kimguanzon.com Kim Guanzon

    Dan,

    I use Profoto Compact 600R’s I use that setting for both my 1D MKIII and 5D MKII. as the flickr set shows. I get consistent results. but then I havent tested it for more than 20 feet. I might have to try that tonight.

  • Dan Carr

    Thanks Kim. I guess you have it pretty low powered in those setups so the durations would be very fast. I will definitely try out that setting though.

  • http://www.kimguanzon.com Kim Guanzon

    the main reason i needed to go low power was to do be able to do shallow depth of field. I’ve tried higher power settings on the cinco de moustache set that I have previous to this set which I set to half power.

  • http://www.richardbaybutt.com Richard baybutt

    Thanks for the great write up. Was pretty keen when you sent me that message but not so sure now. Was using the plus IIs on a job last week; really high, held up on a monopod, no metal around, clear line of sight and they failed at about 100ft. One step closer and they worked, one further back and they didn’t. Mega frustrating. Hope they can sort this.

    Thanks again.

    RB

  • http://www.portrattfoto.com/foto/joss09/ Jörgen Nilsson

    Hey !

    Experienced exactly same thing during JOSS in Ã…re, shooting right beside (30m) huge pile of snow (mega kicker) and when there were a skier in the air PW didn’t work. No skier, perfect sync. From other angles it synced better…
    Really strange, but snow is made of water, and someone told me that water can disturb radiosignals in certain situations. Who knows.

    I am going to shoot clothes at a glacier in a couple of weeks from now and will def. check which distances work and not.

    Sry for typos, swedish is my main language.

  • Dan Carr

    Hey Jörgen,

    Thanks for posting, i’m glad to see that I am not going crazy and this happens to other people too! If you have any interesting experiences from your shoot on the glacier please post another comment. Thanks!

  • Olivier Bouton

    Same story here.
    With my 5D2, the TT1 only fires occasionally. At one point, I thought it was broken but then it worked fine on the 1D3. It stays in my bag for now, because I don’t have the time to fiddle with it.
    I use the Plus IIs instead. Those are reliable.

  • http://www.mokaphotos.com MoKa Photos

    Thanks for the info. I too was very excited about the Mini TT1 until I used it at a wedding last weekend. I used a 580EX on top the mini on my camera (5D) and a manual Sunpak flash with a PW attached. I got an unacceptable amount of misfires. It also gave me a zero value on the white value on a few shots. Thank goodness I shoot in raw. Also I was very glad I was the backup photographer. The whole experience was a nightmare, just like the prior wedding where I had issues with the PW cords, which were not that old or used that much and had been treated like gold, which I replaced with Paramount cords that worked fine at this wedding. My solution is to return the unit and research a better system.

  • http://britton-photography.com Ryan Britton

    I found this post through a google search, and, unfortunately, I experience the same problems.

    We pre-ordered these at the WPPI tradeshow in February where they were first announced. They arrived in the first week of March, and we put them into use right away. They worked perfectly then, but they have recently started giving us no end of problems on our shoots at both short and long ranges. They’re at the point now where they’ll occasionally not trigger one or more strobes (we often use several) and sometimes trip only after the shutter has already closed. Nothing has changed to cause this aside from battery life — I would guess we did maybe 4-5 shoots before they first started going downhill (they’re unusable now). For now we’re only using the Plus 2s. They work reliably enough, though the bulk sitting on the hot shoe is less welcome.

    I’ve read anecdotes in the past that seemed to suggest that most intermittent triggering problems with Pocket Wizards are due to weaker batteries. If this is the case, the TT1 is pathetic. It cannot take any standard rechargeable batteries due to its size so fresh batteries means buying new ones. That would get expensive fast. I’m going to buy one new battery and test it, but either way I don’t think we’ll be using them.

  • http://www.mattdpictures.com Matthew D’Annunzio

    I just recently picked up a TT1 and TT5 which I use with my Ranger and 5D2. So far I have only tested them in my living room to set up the hypersync. I was able to make it sync around 500 until I raised my aperture above F8. I thought I was going nuts. If there is only a minor difference in speed and they are intermittent than what’s the point. For now I am going to keep my fingers crossed that there will be a firmware update to fix these problems, if not than they will be getting returned.

  • Al King

    Just purchased the tt5 last weekend. Havent been able to get them synched with my Profoto 600r’s yet. Guess they will be going back tomorrow.

    I only wish I had seen this post 1st. I feel prey to all the hype on you tube. :(

  • BPR

    I have to say, you nailed it on the head with the maddening inconsistencies of the Flex and Mini. I’ve had problems getting a Mini to trigger a Flex from fifteen feet away, even in a direct line of site. Especially when holding the camera in the portrait position…wtf? I hate spending/wasting my time troubleshooting why it’s not firing. Sometimes replacing the batteries seems to work, either in the flash or the Flex itself, but it certainly doesn’t seem like a lot of battery power has to be used before it starts faltering. I’ve been deeply considering switching to the Radio Poppers, assuming I can even sell the Mini and Flex’s on ebay. Still, I’m also considering the veil shield to see if that helps any. Ridiculous, though, that it’s taking so much effort and trouble shooting to deal with this…

  • Tim

    So much inconsistency in the reviews of the mini and flex combo across all of the forums and blogs. Although my usable range is around 30 ft with my 580 EXII; the system is working for now. I was suprised to see that I was able to get 1/8000 sync speed with my 5D and Elinchrom Ranger set-up today, with no banding. I did not change any settings on the flex or mini; basically straight out of the box with the latest firmware update.

  • Dan Carr

    Exactly Tim, inconsistency is the word. And that should not be a word that is associated with such an expensive product IMO.

  • BPR

    Yeah, and as inconvenient as it is to make sure the sensors on the off-camera flashes are angled so that they can see the master when you use Canon’s native wireless system, that’s still far better than not getting a shot at all half the time. At least you know that if the sensors see the master (and they’re close enough) they WILL work. Every. Time.

    Having said that I did just purchase a 430EX II and it performs very consistently on the Flex. I even tested my 580 and old 430 on a second Flex, side by side with the 430EX II on its own Flex, from about 25 to 30 feet, and the 430EX II fired every time, while the other two…nope. Sometimes they’d go for several shots and then inexplicably not shoot for several more. So it is obviously the RF noise wreaking havoc.

    So, who wants to go spend $80 for the Canon cable to separate the Flex from a 580 or other high noise flash? Or $160 or even $240 if you need more than one coz you’ve got two or three off-camera flashes? Or to settle for the 430EX IIs as your off-camera flashes and give up the power of the 580s (which I admittedly did, but to save money rather than accommodate the new PWs). Or who wants to go buy the new RF shield or even do the DIY VeilShield?

    So, long story short, I’m selling my PWs and will deal with the line-of-sight issues that come with the native wireless system, at least until I save up enough to buy the Radio Poppers. From everything I’ve read, they just work. What a concept.

  • Ernie

    TriCoast Photo did a YouTube video (link above) showing test results and documenting the inconsistent firing and range results. It turns out the problem is caused by an inordinate amount of RF interference coming from the Canon strobes. PW folks acknowledge the problem and claim to be working on a fix but I have no firm details on that yet. Moving the PW further from the strobe is reported to help quite a bit – 1/r2 works for RF just as it does with visible light.

  • Dan Carr

    Hi Ernie,

    Yes the problem with Canon RF noise has been well documented. I do not use Canon strobes so this is not the problem in my case. I use a mix of Nikon and ELinchrom strobes.

    The PW folks solution that you refer to is a shield to put around the canon strobes. It has been shown on some websites. So their solution for those folks using canon strobes is to pay them MORE money to fix the broken product that they are using. This, in my opinion is all work that should have been carried out in the development phase. This should never have been released. I mean who releases a flash product without discovering that the brand they have designed it for causes major issues!!!

  • Leanna

    I should have read this first. I got my new PW TT1 this morning and it hasn’t worked once. I use a Canon 50D, configured several different options and still get misfires. I have a 580EX and after much frustration, it finally fired but only twice. I don’t understand those videos where they say that you just put it on top of your camera and start shooting. On what planet? I’m returning it tomorrow morning. I am quite disappointed with the built of the item and all the fudging involved. I don’t have time for that stuff.

  • Jason VH

    I guess misery loves company, because I feel a lot better after reading your post Dan. I have had issues with inconsistency and range with my PW IIs, and thought it was just me.

    The TT5 looked so promising, and I am glad I held off until reading the first waves of product feedback. I hope they get their act together, the form factor and not needing the additional cable is a big selling point. I’m actually surprised PW doesn’t have a marketing plan in place to handle damage control over this- if I was their web marketing guy, I’d be working to at least spin this.

    Right now I’m just bummed I didn’t pick up several PW IIs when everyone was selling them off in anticipation of the TT1 & TT5 release.

  • http://www.pimhendriksen.com Pim Hendriksen

    I couldn’t get them working at high speeds. I browsed for days to look for a solution, but I couldn’t get faster than 1/200. I bought the set all at once, so I never bothered to check if the firmware was the same for every unit. But it wasn’t! After a firmware upgrade it work instantly. So folks, check your firmware!

    I use a 430EX II that can be used on E-TTL or manual in any speed. The 540EZ I use can be used at 1/1 and 1/2 power on manual at 1/8000 of a second. I almost gave up on the pocket wizards, but now I am happy with it. Btw, my camera is a Canon 5d mk2.

  • http://laportestudio.com John LaPorte

    I too purchased a TT1 and TT5 and they have been nothing but problems. My dealer told me to
    send them back for a free up-grade and PW sent me a brand new set, complete with a sock to
    slide over the 580ex2. The new units are no better and the sock (if it helps at all) just gets in the way of the controls on the flash unit.

    My problem has been, that when tested in the studio, they seem to work ok. On location, It is
    a totally hit and miss situation. The light will usually fire with the test button, but not
    from the camera. I am not using a real fast shutter either. Range is very limited also when
    compared to the old PW2′s. When I talked to the TR at PW he said that sometimes you just have
    to shoot it 3 or 4 times for it to get itself together. This makes for a “real professional”
    situation when on location. This purchase was a major mistake.

  • Dan Carr

    thanks for the input John

  • Yoda

    Last Saturday I joined the bunch and bought me one mini and two flex’. first thing first, I live in Oslo, Norway so all the equipment listed below is CE approved. I also have a 5D2 and some L glasses together with two 580EX II. I started with a few shots in my livingroom and the flashes fired some 75% of the shots and not every time both fired. I have tried almost everything (I think) I replaced all the batteries, upgraded to the latest software (5.100), tried hot-shoes with built in PC cable, various distances, with or without lightstand and umbrellas/softboxes, both manual and ettl. The only improvement noticable is a small change in consistency when on a lightstand but still no champagne. My old plus II (which was from B&H and therefore FCC approved) was working all the time but this crap is throwing me back to the stoneage. I can’t shoot weddings and say to the client: “Uh oh, can we please do that again, my flashes didn’t fire” I purchased them for overpowering the sun but the only thing I’m overpowering is my frustration to sort this out. I also heard that the CE versions have less interference with the 580EX II and neither the AC5 (sock) nor the AC7 (shield) is neccesary but that seems to be wrong, would love to hear from others in EU who might have the same problem or maybe a fix?
    And yes, pressing the test button fires everything just fine and a flash mounted on top of the mini also fires every time so it can’t be the connections. Or can it?

    Anyway, I’m going to see the dealer next week to try a different set, maybe I have some luck then?

  • Yoda

    Update! Went to the dealer today and after an hour with several different setups, we tried some brand new flex and mini. They come with version 5.0 and worked perfectly, THEN we upgraded to version 5.100 and same shit, same wrapping. Lession: DO NOT UPGRADE TO 5.100 until LPA design realeses a new version and bug fix for this. We tried both 5D2 and 1D4

  • Dan Carr

    wow very interesting! Thanks for the update Yoda!

  • http://wherenextphotography.co.uk Ross

    I just took the risk and bought a couple of TT5s and a TT1. It seems like a pretty terrible idea! I’ve only had a chance to test them indoors in close range but, even there, they’re misfiring about 25-50% of the time, even though I’m using a 550ex which has very low radio noise. Interestingly, I tried using the TT1 or TT5 as a transmitter and a Plus (the old blue one) as a receiver and they fired perfectly every single time. This set-up still gves you the benefit of Hypersync (7D shoots cleanly up to about 1/500s, even at minimum flash power) but you lose TTL. If this works outdoors over long range, I’d be tempted to hang on to one for fast-sync flash work. It would leave a nasty taste in my mouth though when they don’t really do what they’re supposed to!

  • http://Www.bryceboyer.com Bryce Boyer

    I had my digital tech, who is VERY good at figuring this kind of thing out, set up a knew TT1 for fast flash duration. He reported many of the same issues as above. I read this post after a brief google to see if it is just our unit or if others are having similar issues. I’m glad it is not just our unit. At the same time, I’m frustrated b/c I really hoped this little guy would work.

    I’m using the unit with a 1Dmark III. When I hit the test button, it fires any number of Profoto packs with PW Plus II receivers. But the camera won’t fire the PW thru the hot shoe. I’ve tried it with 3 bodies all with the same result! I know the radio signal is sending, but the camera is not as to make the signal go. If I put the camera on motor drive and let it roll, sometimes I’ll get a pop in there. My tech has is using current firmware and has tried all kinds of solutions. I came across this blog hoping to find my own solution- only to find we are not alone in these issues. I think I have passed my time to return my unit. If I figure anything out, I come back here with feedback.