April 28, 2011

using the PocketWizard MiniTT1, FlexTT5 and AC3 during photo sessions

While in Vegas earlier this year during WPPI 2011, PocketWizard recorded a video clip of me while photographing two photo sessions.

The first part of the clip shows the sequence while I work with my friends, Natalie and Chris. The final image was a dramatic B&W portrait of the couple, in the vein of old Hollywood Glamor style portraits. My description of this photo shoot appeared in that article on Tangents.

Afterwards I photographed model, Shawna, still with the idea of getting a dramatic and glamorous portrait of her, using the new PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units.

In watching this clip now, I realize I was speaking too fast. A combination of nervousness and my usual manner of speech. So be ready for a rush of words.

old Hollywood Glamor style portrait with Natalie & Chris

dramatic and glamorous portraits of Shawna

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio slave system for Nikon:
(B&H affiliate links)


MiniTT1 transmitter

FlexTT5 transceiver

AC3 ZoneController

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio slave system for Canon:
(B&H affiliate links)


MiniTT1 transmitter

FlexTT5 transceiver

AC3 ZoneController

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RON LEMISH April 28, 2011 at 3:40 am

Finally the Vegas Pocket Wizard video. They appeared a little simplistic, but the new Pocket wizards make your work so much easier and faster to accomplish.
Don’t worry about the fast talking.Remembering from the past I will pop into my computer nearly deleted batteries that will slow down the speed of the playback and return you speech to normal ;-)

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2 DaveT April 28, 2011 at 3:55 am

Neil,

Thanks for a great video. I really like the pull back shots showing the lighting set-up alongside your commentary. I also like the individual stills with the lighting and exposure details at the end – it rounds it off nicely.

The small Lastolite box looks to be surprisingly versatile and transportable.

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3 Dajuan April 28, 2011 at 6:27 am

Neil,

Following up on DaveT comment regarding the small Lastolite box. Can you talk about the quality of light differences between it and the larger Lastolite box (24×24)? It appears your doing a lot more feathering of the smaller box, utilizing it’s edge light. If you already own the 24×24 (and I do, thanks to you), when would one find a preference for the smaller unit?

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4 Paulo Leonardo April 28, 2011 at 8:18 am

Neil fantastic explanations. I bought your book on Flash on camera and confessed that it is simply amazing.
I’m reading the second time and I’m learning things I never imagined and I think most do not know. I’m waiting for the translation of the book to Brazil off camera, I’m anxious to make it soon. Big hug.

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5 Stephen April 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

Neil,
This is an excellent, well-produced product demonstration video. I hope it brings you more success.

I just received two FlexTT5 transceivers and an AC3 controller. I need to update the firmware on the TT5 units and try them out.

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6 Holly Haddad April 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

wow – great video – extremely helpful and beautiful photos!
thanks again!

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7 Jerry April 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for the vid. As usual, great stuff. What is the modifier on your “B” light?I couldn’t quite tell. Thanks.

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8 Neil vN April 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

There is no modifier on the ‘B’ flash. What you’re seeing there is the speedring and bracket for the Lastolite Ezybox softbox. I removed the softbox, but kept the flash on the light-stand, still attached to the bracket and speedring. That’s what you’re seeing. But it’s not affecting or modifying the flash at all.

Neil vN

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9 Steve April 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Neil,

Very strongly considering ordering a mini tt1 and flex tt5 so I can go TTL off camera. I currently have a single 580exII that i trigger via cybersyncs.

Would you recommend saving about $100 bucks and getting a 430exII and using my 580exII as an on-camera master?

If I do spring for the PW system, would the AC3 be beneficial if only using one 580 off camera?

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10 Neil vN April 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I think a Canon 430EX would be perfect for this as an off-camera flash. With that, you don’t have to immediately invest in wireless triggers yet, since you can already play with off-camera flash just using the wireless flash capability of the Canon camera and flashes.

Once you start feeling constrained by the line-of-sight limitations of that way of working, then the next step up would be to use wireless triggers.

With the PW system, I do think the AC3 makes life a lot easier, since you don’t have to delve into the menu of the Master flash. You have the controls readily available on top of the AC3 ZoneController. The only disadvantage is that you lose the infra-red AF assist that you would’ve had with the on-camera master flash.

Neil vN

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11 briand April 29, 2011 at 12:09 am

i thought i saw tt5 on your camera, but the info said tt1

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12 Neil vN April 29, 2011 at 12:42 am

Looking at the info as I wrote it down for the individual blog posts, it does look like I had used a TT5 on the camera in both cases.

Ultimately though, for this setup, it is immaterial whether I had used a TT1 or TT5. They do the same thing as the on-camera transmitter. For other photo shoots linked to in those articles, I did use the MiniTT1. But really, no deception is intended.

Neil vN

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13 Jonathan Seawright April 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

On the B flash (rim light for Shawna), what was the modifier you were using? Or it’s possible I might be seeing things….

I LOVE the videos. It really helps out in learning methodologies for how one might work with a model.

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14 Neil vN April 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Check my comment #8

Neil vN

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15 Alfredo April 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Neil, I admire your work and your teaching abilities. Thank you for having this web site!

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16 Adrian April 30, 2011 at 1:51 am

Great work Neil, Love the setup and Images, Keep up the good work!

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17 Eduardo B. April 30, 2011 at 11:43 am

Neil, Does the Flex TT5 transceiver works also with studio strobes or only with nikon flashs?

Thanks

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18 Neil vN April 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

They will work like old school pocketwizards if you need to fire studio flashes. I’ve used an on-camera FlexTT5 to fire my (manual) Quantum flashes at a wedding. They work very well.

Neil vN

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19 Martin Beebee May 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Great video, Neil. Quick question: Since the price difference between the Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 is only ~$20, it seems like the Flex would be a better purchase because it’s ultimately more versatile. Are there any significant advantages to using the Mini TT1 as the controller instead of the Flex?

Thanks!

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20 Neil vN May 2, 2011 at 1:06 am

With the workshops that I present on flash photography, I wanted to standardize by only having the FlexTT5 units for both the Nikon and Canon users.

The MiniTT1 has these advantages over the Flex TT5:
– it is less bulky.
– it costs $20 less.

The FlexTT5 has these advantages:
– The FlexTT5 can be used as a transmitter or receiver.
- It takes AA batteries rather than the TT1′s cell battery

This is important to me … I need to have fresh batteries in each unit at the start of every workshop. If something isn’t firing during a workshop, I need to be able to quickly pinpoint the source of the problem. So I just can’t risk a delay during workshop if I eventually have a TT1 become erratic with a low battery. I need to focus on teaching the workshops.

So I’ve biting the bullet and I am selling all my TT1 units, in favor of just using the FlexTT5 … purely for the AA batteries.

Neil vN

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21 Patti May 2, 2011 at 8:07 am

Hey Neil,

Sounds silly but I used the Flex TT5 and mini TT1 yesterday for the first time, they worked great but I am wondering. What is the best set up on the lightstand with a softbox. I found myself fumbling and finally found a configuration that worked but wasn’t sure if it was the best one. Any suggestions?

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22 Neil vN May 3, 2011 at 1:52 am

What softbox are you using, and how are you attaching it to your light-stand?

Neil vN

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23 Patti May 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

In reply to…What softbox are you using, and how are you attaching it to your light-stand?

Neil vN

Neil, I am using Lastolite 24″x 24″ Ezybox Hot Shoe Softbox Kit with Mark II Bracket
I also have a Photoflex Light and Umbrella Shoe Mount Clamp

Any advice will be appreciated, thanks!

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24 Neil vN May 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Patti … I normally have the Lastolite Ezybox either on a monopod that someone holds up, or I simply place it on a lightstand. I haven’t yet bothered to use an umbrella bracket when I have it on a lightstand. But that would be the way to go to tilt it forward – with an umbrella bracket of some kind.

Neil vN

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25 Patti May 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Neil,

Also, can you combine a standard pocket wizard on one flash with a flexxtt5 on another flash as long as you have the zone controller? Meaning, can one flash be manual and another in TTL?

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26 Neil vN May 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Patti, the TT5 will fire any other (older) PocketWizard such as the Plus II, when the TT5 is set to either C1 or C2 (channel 1 or 2), and the Plus II is set to the same channel.

Neil vN

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27 Ulf February 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

Hi,
great video.
But there must be a mistake!!
The first picture you there you say the AC3 is on the camera. BUT you can see in the video that you have the SB-900 on the camera!
So what is true?
Is it possible to use an on Camera flash and an AC3 on the same time?? I think that would be great but I donÄt think so.

thanks for ansering.

PS: Do you knot the new TTL transmitters/recievers from Hensel, Pixelking and Yongnou? They might be much cheaper.

Thanks a lot.
Ulf

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