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Friday, June 1, 2007

Hi-Tech Studio: Go Wireless

Break free from the shutter button and get to know your subject

Hi-Tech Studio Using a wireless trigger, you can get away from the camera itself. While you can be well over 100 feet away with many triggers, in the studio, it's often desirable to be just a few feet from the camera. It doesn't sound like much, but those few feet take you too far from the camera to shoot unless you're using a remote unit. You can get wired triggers, of course, but the length of the cord limits your range.

Among the most popular triggers are those produced by PocketWizard. The company has been designing and manufacturing digital radio triggers for more than 10 years. The PocketWizard Plus II was designed with two basic requirements, namely affordability and reliable triggering. It's a simple-to-operate unit that assures you won't miss the shot. Connect the Plus II to your camera and/or flash, and you're wireless. The unit offers all the popular features of the previous Plus transmitter/receiver system and then adds to them. It's also compatible with all previous generation PocketWizard units.

The Plus II has built-in Auto Sensing Transceiver Technology. PocketWizard describes this as "technology that analyzes the status of the Plus II's miniphone jacks, camera hot shoe or the Test button to determine which mode (Transmit or Receive) to set itself. By default, the Plus II is always in Receiver mode unless it senses a trigger pulse from a camera's hot-shoe, then it quickly switches to a Transmitter. For shooting situations that may require the Auto-Sensing disabled, simply set the selector switch to "Local" and the Plus II will only receive radio signals."

The Plus II is a transceiver, which means that it can function as both a receiver and a transmitter, depending upon what you need during the shoot. It utilizes a microprocessor that will automatically trigger the camera within 10 microseconds (1/100th of a millisecond) with its built-in Auto Relay mode. With the fast switching speed, there's no loss of camera shutter speed performance or triggering delays. The Plus II has a fast triggering speed of 12 fps. At this speed, it will outpace most D-SLRs so you don't have to worry about missing a decisive moment because the camera didn't fire. The Plus II has a triggering range of up to 1,600 feet, and four selectable channels prevent cross communication if there are other wireless signals in the area. For the usage we're addressing in this article, that's about 1,580 feet more than you'd need, but it's good to know it's there for other applications.


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