PocketWizard Plus X: PW Shakes Up Flash Trigger Market With New Product Offering

PocketWizard Plus X: PW Shakes Up Flash Trigger Market With New Product Offering

PocketWizard has just announced the addition of a new trigger to its lineup: The PocketWizard Plus X. Priced at $99 (and already in stock at B&H), the Plus X offers much of the same functionality and reliability as PocketWizard's much-beloved Plus II and Plus III, but with a simpler, no-frills interface and a gentler price. Read on for the spec list, a mini-review, and my thoughts on the new unit.

While PocketWizard's trigger systems have been the de-facto standard for years, they have been diversifying their product line (with triggers such as the Flex TT5 and MC2) and revamping their staple product offerings (Plus and Plus II) with the Plus III, which featured a redesigned form factor, a plethora of new features, and a USB interface for upgrading firmware. Even though the Plus III is the new standard by which all other triggers are measured, and despite its lower price than the Plus II of old, there has been a constant din from photographers who would like to invest in a PocketWizard system but weren't quite ready to shell out the $150+ per unit that the jump to PocketWizard would entail.


This may just be the perfect answer to those wishing for a Plus-lite of sorts, as the simple and robust operation is plenty for any photographer looking to get their lights off camera simply and affordably. You'll miss out on some bells and whistles, but the Plus X still has quite a nice spec sheet. Check out the facts straight from PocketWizard:

The PocketWizard Plus X is the perfect choice for both entry level wireless shooters and current Plus II owners. Auto-sensing Transceiver technology and large, backlit channel dial make the Plus X the simplest PocketWizard ever. It is compatible with every PocketWizard FCC-version radio marketed in the USA and virtually every popular flash and camera system. And the Plus X also works with all PocketWizard-enabled studio flash units including select Profoto, Dynalite, Norman and Photogenic flashes as well as Sekonic light meters.

• Auto-Sensing Transceiver – Easy to use. No settings to make.

• 10 Channels – 1-4 Classic plus 5-10 low-traffic channels

• Backlit Channel Dial – Easy to set channels in the dark

• Internal Antenna – Compact, more rugged design

• Auto-Relay Mode – Trigger remote camera and flashes simultaneously

• Transmit Only Mode – Positive operation in large groups

• Side View Design – Better subject view on camera

• PocketWizard reliability – PocketWizard compatibility

• Box Dimensions 1.75" x 4.75" x 5.25" (DxWxH)

• Country of Origin: USA

Definitely impressive for just $99, if I say so myself.

Mini Review

I was able to use the Plus X on one shoot, as I just received the units this week. Having been a long time PW user, I had no trouble getting them set up and rockin'. Actually, to be honest, I got the box in the mail, tore that badboy open, and threw them right on my camera. I'm a male, and as a result, clearly do not read manuals until I run into trouble. I had no problems whatsoever getting these set up, dialed in, and popping flashes. In the box, as seen below, are the manual, warranty cards, a few standard cables, a lanyard, and the unit itself.


Operation could not be more straightforward or simple. Turn the dial so the channels match, slide the unit on the hotshoe, plug one into your flash unit, and shoot away. Or if you're using them as remotes, plug them into your camera's remote port, hit the test button, and off you go. Most of the operational details are similar or the same to those of the Plus II and III, so if you're familiar with their operation, you'll have no trouble here.

The construction is the same as that of the Plus III: they have a nice weight to them when loaded with batteries and seem like some tough little cookies. I didn't drop them on purpose or anything so I can't comment on their actual durability, but if they are built the same as the Plus III (and by all accounts, they appear to be) then we can assume that they are just as strong. Though I was only using them indoors to shoot a few quick real estate photos, I didn't have a single misfire in about 550 shots. Pretty damn good, if you ask me. These are true plug and play units, and they integrated seamlessly with my Plus IIIs. While I wasn't able to check compatibility with my MC2s or Flexes and Minis, the manual states that the Plus X is backwards compatible with all of PocketWizard's products, though they do not transmit ETTL information to the flash, so they're just simple triggers.

Glamorous Action Shot via iPhone Glamorous Action Shot via iPhone

My one shoot wasn't really a great barometer for checking battery life, but I loaded them up with fresh Eneloops beforehand and after the shoot, the units were still showing full charge. No real issues there, I expect them to have the same battery life as my Plus IIIs, if not a little longer, due to the reduced functionality, but I am just going by my best guess there.

As far as I'm concerned, at this price point, these units are a no-brainer if you are looking for legendary PocketWizard reliability, cross-platform capability, and support. While you may be able to get away with purchasing cheaper asian units from a no-name distributor on eBay, at this price, why not just get the real deal? They'll be guaranteed to work, have an excellent support system in place, and will work with basically every lighting system under the sun. Many studio systems have PW compatibility built in and anywhere you go, you'll be able to find PocketWizards. Roughly $200 to get into the professional standard triggering system is an absolute no-brainer. While it is known that PocketWizard's Flex units had some teething problems when first released, I couldn't find a single hiccup with the Plus X units that I tested. I'm fully confident that PocketWizard has done their homework here and these things are ready for serious use out of the box.

The new units are already available at B&H Photo Video for $99. I don't have any confirmation of a shipping time as of right now, but I will be sure to updated the post as soon as more information is released. I'd be willing to bet that they are ready to ship, as test units have been shipping for awhile and it appears that all the kinks have been worked out at this point. Stay tuned for more info there, and a more in-depth review as we get to use these on more shoots and explore more of their features.

Mike Kelley's picture

Michael Kelley (mpkelley.com) is a Los Angeles-based architectural and fine art photographer with a background in digital art and sculpture. Using his backgrounds in the arts, he creates images that are surreal and otherworldly, yet lifelike and believable. A frequent traveler, Michael's personal work focuses on the built environment of unique

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B&H says they're in stock and ready to ship right now. Pretty good deal if you ask me!

yeah well lets hope nobody asks you.

this is a "dumb" trigger... means no TTL, no manual control, no high speed sync.
and all that for double the price of a fantastic YN 622C.

thank you but.... NO thank you!!!

yep i agree master433. i paid $20 for a cheapo transmitter AND receiver (got both) that have lasted me 2 years now and still going strong.

I dont think anyone is forcing you to buy them......

Here's a question. I'm thinking of buying a flash trigger for my 600EX? I can go with Canons ST E3-RT  or I can go with another 600EX...or I can go the Pocket Wizard Route? What do you guys suggest?

I would just keep getting more 600EX's. It's definitely the priciest route, but it also just keeps giving you more and more functionality and flexibility. 

If you spent the money of a 600EX, get another one or a ST E3-RT...if you go for the pocket wizard approach you are losing most of the benefits of the 600EX and you would have been better off with a different (and cheaper) flash.

Awesome. I literally JUST received three new Plus III 's today... :/

Yay for not researching hard enough before spending a bunch of money!

well if you would be happy with this "dumb" trigger.. im puzzled why you need a Plus III?

About the no brainer. Basically, you get a "dumb" sync-cable with channels for 99$?? 
At 122,99$ you get the Pixel King. These are E-TTL/I-TTL capable, they sync up to 1/8000 sec (even with a studio flash, which is Supersync/ Pocketwizard calls it Hypersync).
I myself use the Phottix Strato 5in 1 for my Nikon and while it does not have TTL transmition, it has a TTL pass-trough on the transmitter. And it can be used as a trigger for the camera as well. I payed around 90€ for that thing. And her's the kicker, I take them everywhere I go, Shot a shooting in the snow, in a church, some on other outdoor locations and some in my studio. I never had a single misfire!! If the thing didn't fire, it was my own fault (wrong channel, cable wasn't plugged in properly.....
Yes, You might get reliability (it's a giant black box) with not much in it, but value for money......Maybe at around 60$...
Maybe I'm totally wrong, would love to get my hands on some of them and test them and if I'm wrong I don't have a problem to admit it, but from what I am seeing they don't look that breathtaking to me.


PW simply doesn't get it. The days of spending loads of cash on a "name" is long gone. I have used a set of Yongnuo's for 3 years now without a hiccup and I'm still on the original battery in the transmitter. Price...$50 for two receivers and a transmitter. May not be sexy but they work every time. I could replace the set every other year for less than these new PW's.

Exactly my point. And you get more for your money. I'm all for simplicity, but for a reasonable price. The "dumb" Yongnuo/Cactus triggers cost around 30-40$. I would be willing to pay 60$, maybe even 70$ for the Pocketwizards, because they are this rugged, but they charge 30-40$ (which I think will be 30-40€), more. Which is simply unreasonable nowadays. 

I would have to agree with you - I have 5 Yongnuo's and they have never failed or missed - ever!  I also have 3 PWIII's and they are inconsistent and unreliable. I never know when they are going to work or not - I used to use the Yongnuo's as back up. But since I am always changing them out - The PW's are now the back up

Totally agree with these responses. On top of being a somewhat 'confused' brand.. Exactly what is it that makes these the defacto triggering system ?


I use The Buff system in house and the FreeXwire outside. The cheaper systems like Yongnuo work like brick shit houses. I've never seen one fail yet.

i had PW for a long time and i know them pretty well.
i would NOT go back to any PW system right now.

the YN 622C are cheap in price but FANTASTIC to work with.

they are just as reliable as PW and they offer much more functionality.

For 95$ you could get the Yungnuo YN-622C kit.
- 2 tranceivers
- ettl/ittl
- 7 channels
- 3 groups
- flat profile
- built in hot shoe and PC Synch
- the hot shoe is METAL

Sure, the range is 1/4 of that of the PW PlusX but I don't need to trigger a flash on the other end of a football field.

Do the  Yungnuo YN-622C triggers only work with Canon? That's all I see on Amazon.

are there any advantages or disadvantages with this over the PW II+?

Until reading this post, I didn't realize PW was made in USA.  Just checked my TT5 box and sure enough it is too.  

Side note: Mike, I see you're using the 17mm TS-E; and I wondered how you like it vs. the 24mm TS-E, if you've used both?  Thanks. 

JVP404 - You are correct that all PW radios are made in Northern New England

You can't have one without wanting the other. They are quite simply BOTH the best lenses I've ever used.

Crud; I was afraid of that. :)

What about Alienbees Cybersync? Can you compare these triggers?

The advantage of the CyberSync would be to use the commander module. Are you using the regular, sync only model?

cybersync transmitter is a fraction of the size, still less expensive, and they work flawlessly. (as do the PW's)

I've used cybersyncs and PW plus IIIs and in my own experience the PWs are way more reliable. Also, they have a battery charge indicator which I find very useful. 


Pairing the CyberSync CSR+ and/or CSRB+ with the CyberCommander gives you the ability to adjust all your AlienBees and Einsteins from the CyberCommander, independently or in ratio with the rest of the group. Very convenient especially for hairlight or any light positioned up high.

That part is really cool, as well as placing the receivers inline with the power cable so you don't need batteries.  The Cyber Commander chews through batteries like nobody's business though, and unless they've changed them since I used them last, they don't take rechargeable batteries.

The best way to avoid the battery issue is to just buy the simple transmitter that they sell for cheap. That way I just use the Cyber Commander to control any settings on my Einsteins and use the simple transmitter on camera to fire them. I love the CyberSync System and my Einsteins. 

Maybe because I'm just using speedlites, but I'd rather pick up another PAIR of YN622c triggers for $90 than these. Wireless ETTL, Hypersync, and runs on AA's, and super reliable in my experience so far. 

And the Yongnuo Supersync does work even with  Studio strobes

 Where did you learn that ?  I have the 622's and studio strobes and couldn't accomplish that yet.


i sold all my PW after the YN 622C came out.

PW is just overpriced and has lost the edge over the years.

Thank you, Pocketwizard!

I sold my 603's on craigslist for $20... they only cost $30 retail.   The function is the same as this product and reliability was 100%.  PW was the deal for a while but they seem to be offering the same product at much higher cost vs other providers now.  

I can assure you that the functions are not the same. Try using a 603 with a Profoto system, for example.

"I’m a male, and as a result, clearly do not read manuals until I run into trouble."

HAHA, gave me a chuckle... Ain't that the truth, though? :D

Absolutely! Only when I break something :(

So if I'm understanding correctly, you *have* to have a cable attached from the PW to your camera just to manually trigger your radios? 

he is using this setup to remote-trigger the camera, having a second unit in his had as the trigger. As pictured, it doesn't appear that the PW's are controlling any flashes, unless they are offscreen and set to one channel above!

Thanks Kyle! Yes, I am using the system in Relay Mode as pictured.

David, you do not. I am triggering the camera and flash remotely in Relay Mode in the image above. I use them frequently for light painting (e.g. mpkelley.com)

That would be for triggering the camera remotely

What is too slow?

myself, sorry. i read comments from top to bottom, there were no responses when i posted my explanation, when it reloaded, i found i was about 16 minutes behind :)

Ah yes, no worries. Our comment system can act up from time to time.

The advantage of the Pocketwizard units is that they do not use the 2.4GHz spectrum like most of the cheap units do. This makes them far less susceptible to interference from devices such as wifi. The 344 MHz band that they use also allows for much longer range.

My beef with these is not so much the price but rather the visual design.  They are too large and obtrusive on the hot shoe, and there is not a shoe mount for the flashes, so they must dangle off the flash and require sync cables, flashes with sync ports, etc.  I am using the Cactus V5 triggers and at essentially $30/ea these seem to be a far better value.  I'm sure the PW has some merit and I do appreciate a made in the USA product and would pay more for it, but I don't think what this offers is quite the right fit.  Should have just reduced the price of the PocketWizzard II's to $69, or redesigned this product entirely to be a smaller hot shoe mount flash.  

i have no problems with the size per se.my YN 622C use AA batteries so it has to be a bit bigger too.
but the design of these PW suck.
with a different design they could have a hot-shoe on the trigger so you can use on camera flash together with the trigger. like the YN 622C.
overall this trigger offers nothing... only the name POCKET WIZARD.and their brand name is a falling star too. because other companys make invention these days.

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