A few years ago there weren’t very many choices for wireless triggers, so you really had no choice but PocketWizards. The question nowadays is whether you’d be better off saving some money with Vello, using the camera or strobe brand option, or sticking with Pocketwizards Plus III Transceivers.
PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver Introduction
I’ve found the PocketWizard brand is one of the most trusted camera products. Most studio photographers I’ve worked with or known have at least a few of these little transceivers. I own a few Pocketwizards Plus III Transceivers and a few Plus X, they get used for my portable lighting setup, remote cameras and my off camera flash event setup. The Pocketwizards Plus III Transceivers is the most versatile option giving you some extra features.
PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver Features
32 Channels and Quad-Zone Triggering
The nicer feature of the Plus III is the additional channels and ability to work with triggers setup in zones. You have a lot more flexibility in setting up a more complex system of triggers that you essentially have more control over. The additional channels can come in handy if you’re shooting around many other photographers in a shared studio, onsite with a lot of press, or other unforeseen circumstances.
This transceiver has the ability to remain powered at all times through the USB port. This feature alone makes spending the additional $80 on these units worth every penny for me. If I’m hiding a camera or a light in a small out of reach location, then a powered pocket wizard becomes crucial. I’ve had a couple of cameras out of reach in the same location for over a year and they continue to work on a daily basis thanks to this feature.
Using the PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver
I’ve found that you can’t really own too many of these. I have them hidden in lighting bags, waiting on shelves with flash chords and placed around my product lighting table. They’re indispensable radio triggers for both my off camera flash needs and my remote camera setups. The chords that come with each pocketwizard have covered all of my needs. The only additional chord I’ve ever bought was the remote camera trigger, as those are specific to each camera you attach them to. My little Canon Rebel t3i had a very different chord to my Canon 1DX. I use these pocket wizards on my Profoto B1 lights and with my Canon 600EX flash. You just need to remember that you need 3 units for 2 flashes. I’ve definitely left the house with 2 PocketWizards thinking I needed one for each flash, without remembering that my camera needs one to trigger the lights. Under certain circumstances you can often just strobe one flash, but normally I’d advise having everything on your PocketWizard network.
PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver Pros
- Reliability of unit
- Distance and coverage of network
- Solid screw mount to camera
- Multiple channels and zones
PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver Cons
- Price is high compared to other brands
PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver Conclusion
As I said at the beginning, I don’t know many photographers who don’t own a few of these units. I think thats because they were really the first brand to do this well. There are definitely other options nowadays, and Vello are certainly worth investigating. I’ve also heard that the Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter is much improved over older models, and if you already own a few 600EX speed lights, then these could work well together. But for flexibility and universality of usage, the PocketWizards are going to last you a long time and convert well with equipment upgrades or changes.