Up till now, I've resisted the urge to plunk down the cash for a set of Pocket Wizards. I would need at least 3 of them and that's about $500. I've been using those cheap, Ebay systems that cost about $30 for a transmitter and receiver combo. Sure, they're cheaply made but I can go through a whole bunch of them before I come close to the $500 it would cost me to accomplish the same thing--firing my strobes--with PWs.
I'm not down on PWs. They're awesome! I'll admit, PW's physical high-profile on a camera is not something I've found attractive or practical. Being something of a klutz, I can easily envision myself busting one of them off the hot shoe. While PWs have incredible range, I don't need incredible range. I'm rarely more than 10 or 15 or so feet from my lights and, trust me, being that close means the cheap Ebay triggers work just fine. Yeah, PWs have more frequency options (as opposed to the 4-channel capability of the Ebay triggers) but, again, I haven't found myself needing all those channels: I rarely shoot where there's other shooters shooting so I don't worry about interfering frequencies.
I'm not a gear-elitist. I don't feel the need to seem "all that" from a gear perspective. If a tool, whether it's a camera, a lens, or other gear, gets the job done, and gets it done efficiently and reliably with the right amount of quality, I'm down for that. I'm fairly heavily invested in both photo and video gear so I have to make my dollars go further while still being able to deliver content to my clients that meets their expectations. Besides, if I don't have what I need to get the job done, I can always rent whatever it is I might need.
But now I'm rethinking my attitude towards PWs. Why? Because of the new PWs now available: The MiniTT1 and the FlexTT5.
First off, these new PWs are now low-profile on a camera. Yay! But it gets better than that. Way better! The new PWs offer the ability to exceed a camera's native synch speed, either in TTL mode or in manual.
Now that's what I'm talking about!
My Canon 5D has a max, usable, sync speed of 160th. That works for a lot of the applications I'm doing, i.e., in a studio or at an interior location shooting pretty girls. But when it comes to shooting outside in bright daylight, 160th is fairly restrictive. If I want to overcome bright daylight in a very noticeable way, it becomes quite difficult when the max sync speed is 160th. There's simply too much ambient reaching the sensor.
For the most part, shooting ETTL with Canon Speedlites and surpassing my camera's native max sync speed isn't something I find myself doing. But shooting in manual with monolights at "hyper-sync" shutter speeds, well, yeah baby!
A friend of mine did some testing the other day and managed to get sync at 1/500th with a Canon 5D and some Profoto heads. Another friend, a Twitter friend, tested the new PWs with a Canon 1D mkIII and some Profoto gear and he says he got 1/1600th! With a Canon 5D mkII, he says he managed 1/800th with Profoto Compact Rs at full power and 1/640th with the Profoto lights at lower power outputs.
Damn! Those are some mighty fine sync speeds! My brain is spinning thinking of all the things I can do with 1/500th "hyper-sync" on my 5D, especially considering I can go pretty much anywhere with my strobes now that I have a set of these babies.
Billing-wise, I had a really killer month this past month. Hoping it continues. If my workload continues like it's been, and it's looking like it certainly might, I see some Pocket Wizards in my very near future.
The pretty girl at the top goes by the name Princess. Shot her the other day. Easy to look at IMO. She mentioned something about having recently done a spread for Penthouse. I love when models do that thing with their mouths... that slightly biting the lower lip thing. So sexy! Princess captured with Canon 5D w/ Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and three Profoto Acute heads, a 7' Photoflex Octodome, a couple of umbrellas, and a fan. ISO 100, f/8 @ 160th. MUA was Holly. Very minimal post-processing.