Fstoppers Old Gear Review- Radiopopper PX

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.

 

 

nick fancher photographer columbus ohio 1/2,000 @ f/1.8

radiopopper nick fancher high speed sync 1/4,000 @ f/1.8

radiopopper nick fancher high speed sync 1/4,000 @ f/2.8

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.

Pocketwizard Flextt5 Pocketwizard Flextt5

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.

 

 

radiopopper px canon Radiopopper PX (Canon) with stand.

nick fancher photographer columbus ohio 4 Radiopoppers on one stand for more power.

nick fancher photographer columbus ohio HSS portrait

nick fancher photographer columbus ohio 4 Radiopoppers spread throughout the room to light a big space.

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.

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39 Comments

Kent's picture

Radio poppers are old fashioned. Try Yongnuo YN-622C Wireless E-TTL Flash Triggers.  They are cheaper, more portable, allow for more flexible arrangements, and just as reliable.  Only down side compared to the gold standard of Odin Phottix (not pocket wiz, not radio poppers) is that the 622c don't have a LCD display and instead require the in-house camera controls.  For some ( and I mean some) professionals this may be prohibitive for speedy changes but otherwise it is a no brainer.  I would stay away from poppers or FlexTT5s.  I am sure someone will point out some obscure feature that the popper or pocket have but unless you really need it save some cash and get the YN-622

Thomas Shue's picture

Pretty strong statement against Pocketwizard here on Fstoppers. It is fine to not like gear, but to make and post an image like the "Sucks" one above might  burn some bridges for you guys. LPA is a fairly small company and they will see this for sure. Glad you like the Radio Poppers, I myself and loving the new 600 ex-rt's

Tobias Solem's picture

You do realize that it is one individual's experience and opinion, right?

Patrick Hall's picture

We like to give our writers the freedom to express their opinions openly.  Of course Lee and I did one of the first reviews of the Nikon Flex and Mini system and we came away with a different experience than what is shown here.  Nick Fancher is an amazingly talented photographer and if it didn't work for him then I'll take his critique as well.  

The biggest thing I didn't like about the minis is they use a really uncommon watch battery that isn't rechargeable.  I know it sounds silly but I've switched to the Plus III units mainly because they have a battery indicator on the LCD.  That's really important to me and I wonder why they all don't have that feature.  

pocket wizard flex system for canon are known for having issue. that's why they ship them with the riser and condom. which helps, doesn't completely get rid of the problem. so really, they suck. on the other hand, the flex system for nikon is AMAZING. never miss fire. just as reliable as the plus II or plus III.

I use a pair of Flex TT5s for motion stopping work with my dynalite strobes (slow flash duration). Works very well for me all the way up to 1/8000. 

J. David Buerk's picture

I've never had an issue with my Flex System.  Just sayin'.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Love my Flex system.  I use 3 sets frequently and they fire just fine. 

Couple of things I love about them (or 3...)   They can be triggered by my Sekonic.  They do auto 2nd curtain sync.  I can use them with studio heads as well as my Canon 580's

The button battery thing is a pain, but I carry 2-3 spares because of it.

Remy Musser's picture

I haven't tried the Radiopopper but have to agree that the Flex system sucks.

The Flex  system is not able to give the consistency a professional needs.

I'm using the Phottix Odin system since 2011 and I'm loving it!

Not only it gives you access to all the function of your flashes from the CTU it also gives very consistent results in terms of exposure in TTL mode.

All the people I know who had the chance to try the Odin system changed or are in the process of changing from PW to Phottix.

I sold my set of 4 flex transceivers, way too many non-fires. Curious to try RadioPopper though. 

Kent's picture

Radio Poppers transmitters are approx. $189, require special mounts, force you to have a flash or transmitter on your body and translate the infrared signal into radio then back into infrared.  The YN-622 transceivers (yes you can use them either way) are $85, have a pass through shoe, use 2.4 GHz technology, are capable of high sync, ratios, A,B,C groups, Multi modes.

Your response is juvenile.  If you would like to express an opinion to help others in the photography community provide insights not abusive contrarian slurs.

Fortunately there are excellent reviews that compare Odin, radio poppers and YN-622 that I encourage others to explore. 

Corey Melton's picture

pretty sure Kent works for Yongnuo 

Kent's picture

I don't. I work for a pharmacy company. Try again.  And if you read my post you see that I encourage others to read reviews on all the products to see which one fits them best. So much for your conspiracy theory.  Why aren't you asking the same question of fstoppers that is dedicated to balanced reviews that obviously provided a very slanted perspective.

By the way there are downsides to the YN-622 including limited compatibility (check your flashes and camera flash menus), no USB port for updates, limited ETTL ratios to name a few. 

I own several flash remote systems, and the one thing I can assure you is that any allegiance that I have to the YN-622c today will quickly be replaced by whomever advances better technology tomorrow.  In the meantime I will enjoy my investment and try to get the best out of it that I can. Happy shooting!

I also forgot, the 622c has excellent focus assist. 

Jesus's picture

Hey I just got 4 Yongnuo YN-622 with 2 YN568EX Flashes, I`m Super happy with the quality this is a great product and the best, cheaper...

Wow, the YN568ex has HSS. Impressive. Might need to buy 4 of those

My flex system is kicking my @ss with miss fires.  When it works it's awesome but looking like a fool in front of clients is starting to get old.

John's picture

I have 3 tt5's, 1 mini and the ac3 control for canon, I don't have any issue with them at all, bear in mind that the pocketwizard and your equipment need to be powered on in a certain order, if they are not then you will get misfires. When they are turned on per pocketwizard instructions they work awesome in all the modes TTL, HSS......as far as the different battery on the mini, you almost never have to change it and if you do it's quick and easy. and if you have multiple tt5's those will also work as both a receiver AND a transmitter.

I have been shooting the Flex system for years. It's like an abusive relationship. Most of the time they beat the tar out of me and I hate them, but sometimes they are so good I can't get rid of them. I have Cactus transceivers that I use whenever I don't need hss. Build quality is low but they never miss and have the range I need. I'm going to try the Yongnuo system, if it works as advertised I'll be free of the PocketWizards forever! Anyone know the difference between the YN-622 and the YN-622C?

Guy talks about the difference in this review of the YN-568ex

Thanks!

I stopped using my tt5.  To many misfires. Canon system.  Thanks for the updates on the other systems.  

The Flex system has an issue with Canon speedlites (nothing with Nikon).  It's a known issue and they have a work around.  The Canon speedlites produce RF noise and interferes with the pocketwizard signal.  http://www.adorama.com/PWAC7.html

John's picture

I have 3 tt5'5, 1 mini and the AC3 controller, the system work great with my 580exII flashes, bear in mind that if you do not power on your pocketwizards and your equipment per pocketwizard instruction you will potentially get mis-fires. When turned on in the correct order they work awesome in all modes  TTl, HSS...  as far as the battery in the mini, it lasts so long its not even a worry and if you are a PRO then you'll have spares of everything you need anyway, it's quick and easy to change. If you have multiple tt5's  they can be used as both a receiver and transmitter, so if you get into a situation where you don't have a battery for the mini you can use your tt5's without a problem. The AC3 controller has proved invaluable, you can make your flash adjustment effortlessly controlling not only TTL but manual flash mode right from the camera. Reading this article I am curious did you power on your devices per pocketwizrds instructions?

Another vote for YN-622

I have 4 PW FlexTT5, 1 Mini TT1 and an AC3 Zone Controller.  I have never had misfires that were the fault of the PW system.  I use Canon 550EX flashes (cheap used flashes and no RF interference), Quantum T and X series strobes and Novatron strobes.
Both systems (PocketWiard and Radio Poppers) are good pieces of gear and both are more than capable of getting the job done).

I ditched radiopoppers for the Odin system and have never looked back. Radiopoppers were just too clunky and involved using an ST-E2 or 580EXII on the camera (with a radiopopper attached to that). With the Odin system,  it was just one thing in the hotshoe. It also had full manual and E-TTL control from that unit.

I use the flex with Nikon ....I like them...but the TT1 seems to be less dependable then the TT5 and the shoe mount is somewhat loose on mine at-lease...the battery issue is the same as Lee...I carry a few and test the levels with a battery checker but if it is an important session or event ill just trash the used batteries for fresh...not so green I know...
I think they are very well built the the OP and Im sure there will be other products at this point that can be competitive.. 

Sounds like operator error or a bad unit. Your problems with the flex system are not typical. I loved my system for HSS (that's why I upgraded). Now, though, I have the Canon 600RTs... pretty cool.

One problem is turning the PW's on in the right sequence and also the sleep time, you need to send a test fire to wake up the PW's after not firing every 600 seconds I think it is. I own the flex tt5's and at first I didnt think they were that good for some of the same reasons but then when you figure out all the stuff you have to make sure to do, which becomes second nature, it turns out to be more 19 out of 20 shots you get. I use PW's for Alienbee B1600's and have optimized them so I can shoot up too 1/8000's with no banding, just loss of power. 

so really once you figure out the system they are quite nice, even though the orientation of the trigger to the receiver still seems to baffle me, they seem to have to be orientated fairly well to work which for radio frequencies is kinda weird .

John's picture

 you can disable the sleep timer on the flash in the pocketwizard utility

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