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If you've been considering making an investment in a radio triggering system to open yourself up to a new world of creative options, and grant yourself freedom from cables both in the studio and in the field, the new PocketWizard Plus III gives you an awfully good reason to pull the trigger. It's an excellent tool for both new and advanced users who desire a high-quality (yet budget-friendly) wireless system to remotely control flashes and cameras, and thanks to its selective quad zone triggering capability, it's also a great new tool for more people who use the PocketWizard MultiMAX.
The PocketWizard Plus III has 32 standard channels (as opposed to four digitally coded channels on the previous generation). This means you can control more elaborate setups, and it gives you the ability to find a free channel when you're working an event where other photographers may be causing traffic in the airwaves. However, things really get interesting when you take into account that it features four groups.
When you look at the controls on the PocketWizard Plus III, you see four distinct buttons marked A, B, C, and D (and it's no accident that they look and operate like buttons on the back of a DSLR). These are your groups. Here's an example of how they can be used: you're shooting a wedding ceremony, and you have four remote cameras and flash systems set up around the area. Pressing one of the group buttons enables you to select and control one of your four remote camera systems (as well as the camera you have in your hands). This is selective quad zone triggering, and it gives you an enormous amount of flexibility.
If you're a user of the PocketWizard MultiMAX (which is still the most advanced radio trigger around), the quad zone triggering ability makes the new Plus III an excellent low-cost remote receiver that you can add to your system. The Plus III is also compatible with Sekonic light meters and select Profoto, Dynalite, Norman and Photogenic flashes.
All of the merits that made the previous generation a big hit with photographers are present in the new PocketWizard Plus III: its drop-dead simple ease of use (which has been made even easier), its auto-sensing capability and its auto relay triggering ability. Perhaps more importantly, it also carries the tradition of being totally reliable, and completely compatible with other PocketWizard equipment and popular flashes and camera systems.
When you mount a PocketWizard Plus III to your camera, it has a much slimmer profile than the previous generation. The thin side of the device faces forward, so the photographer can more easily see the subject. The controls have been designed to be adjusted quickly and easily with a single finger, and they're large enough to be pushed with a thumb. Whether you're shooting with one hand under your lens, or one hand on the grip, the controls on the PocketWizard Plus III are easy to get to, and they aren't in your face when you're trying to compose your image and communicate with your subject.
Like the previous generation, the "Auto Sensing" capability enables the PocketWizard Plus III to automatically designate itself as either a transmitter or a receiver. This can make setting up less complicated, and give you more options on how to configure your gear. The "Auto Relay Triggering" enables you to do things like remotely trigger your camera with a transceiver, while a second camera-mounted transceiver will both fire the shutter and relay the wireless signal to a third transceiver on a remote flash.
Also like previous generations, the PocketWizard Plus III is sold individually. However, more than one transceiver is required to control remote equipment (so you're going to need more than one). Because it utilizes wireless radio frequencies, you have to be mindful of the country you're operating it in. Different countries have different laws that regulate the airwaves, so using a remote trigger in a foreign country could potentially be illegal, and could cause compatibility issues if you try to use it with wireless equipment from other countries.
There are many more new features that have been added to the PocketWizard Plus III. It now ships with three different kinds of cables that will ensure compatibility with most of your gear, right out of the box. An illuminated LCD has been added to make operating the unit even easier. It also has a USB port that allows you to connect an external power source. This way a remote camera can be set up and stay powered even longer than its two AA batteries can provide. The "Test" button acts similarly to your camera's shutter button. A half press can remotely wake up and focus a camera, a full press can fire off a shot. All told, the new PocketWizard Plus III is a great reason to pull that wireless trigger, and to tap into some awesome new possibilities.
For more information about the PocketWizard Plus III, please see the B&H InDepth Hands-On Review.
|Frequency||FCC/IC model: 340 - 354 MHz|
|Channels||32 Channels, 1-16 standard, 17-32 selective Quad-Zone|
|Zones||A - B - C - D, compatible with other Quad-Zone PocketWizard radios|
|Antenna||Precision tuned internal coil|
|Display||Backlit 1.0" (2.5cm) LCD|
|Range||Up to 1,640 feet (500 meters)|
|Sync Speed||Up to 1/250 for focal plane shutters, up to 1/500 for leaf shutters|
|Triggering Speed||Up to 14.5 fps|
|Contact Time||62 milliseconds in normal operation, 2 milliseconds in HSR Mode|
|Status Indicator||LED: green, amber, red status indicator|
|Transmit Output Power||Less than 1 milliwatt (0.001 watt)|
|Power||2 x AA batteries (alkaline recommended), USB|
|Battery Life||Up to 50 hours (with alkaline)|
|Max. Port Sync Voltage||300 Volts (camera/flash port)|
|Max. Current Handling||1.0 A peak, 0.2 A (1/5 amp or 200 milliamp) continuous current limited|
|Voltage Present||3 volts, safe for use with all digital and film cameras|
|USB||USB 2.0 Mini-B connector|
|Housing||High-impact plastic with captive battery door|
|Operating Temperature||Above 5 degrees F (-15 C), below 120 degrees F (50 C)|
|Storage Temperature||Above -22 F (-30 C), below 185 F (85 C)|
|Input/Output||1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini phone jack, hot shoe|
|Mounting||Hot shoe, lanyard/D-Ring loop, 1/4-20 thread|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||5.25 x 2 x 1.25" (13.3 x 5.1 x 3.2 cm)|
|Weight (with batteries)||4 oz (120 g)|