Fstoppers Old Gear Review- Radiopopper PX
I am the type of photographer that doesn’t stay up to date on the latest gear. Instead, I find what works for me and I use it until I hear about something that works better. This is why it was so hard for me to hand in my Pocketwizard Plus II‘s for the Radiopopper PX system. But boy am I glad that I did.
Plus II’s are tanks. They are virtually indestructible. I used them for years with nary a misfire. But there was one thing they couldn’t do. High speed sync. This hadn’t been an issue for me since I was using a Profoto Acute 2R strobe system. Since I do the majority of my shooting on location, rather than in studio, I had grown tired of the heavy lights. Not to mention being tethered to a power source. I had heard of high speed sync (HSS) and starting looking into it a bit more.
I find out that I couldn’t do HSS with typical strobes. I needed to ditch the Profotos and get Canon speedlites. I also needed a different type of wireless transmitter. I was thrilled to find out that Pocketwizard had just released their new FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 remotes that allowed HSS. I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to abandone the reliability of the PW strobe.
I ran down to the local camera shop and bought the new PW system for Canon. I ran home, my mind spinning with possibilities. I would shoot the sunset at 1/2,500 with my aperture wide open. I would shoot water frozen in the noon day sun at 1/8,000. I would… get 19 out of 20 misfires with this joke of a system. The MiniTT1 worked so poorly that I thought I must have been doing something wrong. I tried updating the firmware. I tried shooting from different distances. I even tried shooting under normal conditions, with my shutter speed under 1/200. All I would get was half-fires and non-fires. So I returned them.
I remembered hearing that Radiopopper triggers allowed HSS. I was nervous to try out a product that I was unfamiliar with. But with my recent failures, I had nothing to lose. So I bought two to try out. A week later I bought a third. A month later, a fourth. They were like magic. I shot HSS until I was sick of it. Not only did they have the range of the Plus II’s, they were more field-ready. Each transceiver comes with a base that attaches the transceiver to the speedlite. This meant that I could place them behind objects, on ledges or anywhere with a four-inch wide surface. For example, I could take my four lights and throw them on one stand and light a wedding party in full sunlight at f/1.4, then go inside, place the four speedlites around a room and light a ballroom at the reception.
The one thing I tell people over and over is that, more than anything, what Radiopoppers do is allow me to use my camera and speedlites to their fullest capabilities. I nicknamed my four speedlites/radiopoppers Voltron. As individual units, they are efficient workhorses. But when they join together as one, there is nothing that can stop them.