Accessory Review: Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger for Canon
Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger for Canon
$329 / £267 www.phottix.com
The Phottix Odin is a wireless TTL flash trigger system that operates via radio frequency. At $329.99, the Odin's price tag may seem a tad steep over the competition, but it features several key advantages that make it worth the ride. The most prominent advantage of the Odin's TCU (Transmitter and Control Unit) is its large LCD screen, which displays exposure stop increments, TTL/M modes and various other options that are linked directly to the flash and camera menu system. This is something that most wireless flash trigger units lack.
The Phottix Odin's LCD screen is also backlit, which is a lifesaver during night shoots. In addition to a friendly LCD menu interface, the Phottix Odin is blessed with an intuitive grouping of tactile menu buttons that govern controls such as flash head zoom, test light, modelling flash and second curtain sync, to name a few. Thanks to the LCD/button combination, the Odin is easy to acclimate to right out of the box. It's worth noting that most of the Odin's competitors lack LCD screens and offer limited control over camera and flash options.
For this review, our Odin was used with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and paired with a Canon Speedlite 580EXII unit.
Another benefit of the Phottix Odin's system is that it operates via a 2.4GHz radio frequency with a range of over 100 meters (though I was able to get it to work from up to 15 meters further away). This is an advantage when compared with Canon's finicky infrared systems, for example, which in my experience require close proximity between flash and trigger. As of this spring, Canon does now finally offer a radio wireless system, but at around $470, the Canon ST-E3-RT is significantly more expensive than the Odin (and currently only works with the high-end 600-EX-RT Speedlite flash).
Adding to the Odin's versatility, the TCU and receiver combo can host up to three seperate groups of flashes (A, B and C) in four different channels. While we've seen greater numbers of groups and channels available on other competing models, this represents significant versatility.
Not once did the Odin falter and break connection at longer distances during my testing. The unit also fired consistently 100% of the time, never once missing a beat.But perhaps the greatest thing about the Phottix Odin, on top of the fact that it's a full TTL/ETTL system that works really well, is that nearly all of the Speedlite's options and controls can be controlled via the Odin TCU. This includes shooting in full Manual mode with 1/3-stop adjustments. The Odin allows A:B ratio shooting and accommodates an adjustable zoom range of 24-105mm.
In most cases, there was no need to fiddle with the Speedlite flash's controls at all, for most of it could be done from within the single Odin TCU, including camera system options like FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing). Of course, you could configure your flashes manually at different exposure increments and speeds, but when you want TTL, the Phottix Odin does really well.
|Phottix also shows some love for the Nikon crowd with the Odin Nikon system. Note the USB port for firmware upgrades and 6.3mm port for strobe connectivity.||The most recent Canon firmware upgrade brought 1/3-step tinkering to the table.|
In terms of build quality, the Phottix Odin is fairly rugged, yet compact enough to hide inside a small camera bag pocket. The TCU and Reciever each run on two AA batteries and contain USB ports for firware upgrades. Phottix customer support appears very responsive, and only recently the company released a recent firmware update that addressed the original unit's lack of 1/3-step increment adjustment in Manual mode after floods of emails from Odin owners. Something I'd like to see added via firmware would be the ability to control both Manual and Multiflash modes in the camera system menu via the Odin TCU, so hopefully we'll see that down the road. There's even an included cable and 6.3mm adapter to connect the reciever to a studio strobe.
The bottom line here is that the Phottix Odin is one of the best wireless TTL flash triggers on the market. The unit performs flawlessly at ridiculous distances, never missing a beat during my testing. Its highly intuitive LCD/Menu system and integration with camera and flash system menus make it a bonefide snap to use. The versatility of three separate groups and four different channels with A:B ratio, TTL/Manual, second curtain sync, zoom and other options governable right from the TCU itself is a definite time and headache saver. With impressive customer support and frequent firmware upgrades, it's hard to find any major flaws in the Phottix Odin.
If you desire a reliable, dependable and intuitive wireless TTL flash trigger system that can operate flawlessly from football field lengths away, the Phottix Odin is certainly worth a look. It's a little more pricy than some of its competitors, but considering the feature set it offers excellent value for money.
What we like: Exceptional interface, 'plug-and-play' ease of use, versatile functionality, proven performance, great customer service with firmware updates, solid construction. Canon and Nikon compatible versions.
What we don't like: We have to nitpick here, but again, we'd like to see a firmware update that enables Manual/Multiflash control from within the Odin TCU. Also, at this price Phottix could have added a shutter trigger as well, which would make this model the ultimate trigger system. One last thing: how about other camera brand compatibility and a list of compatible third-party flashes?
This product is available on Amazon.com
Mike Perlman is a freelance photographer and writer, based in Bar Harbor, Maine. After a spell reviewing camcorders at Camcorderinfo.com, Mike moved to infoSync World as the Senior Photography Editor, before taking up a role at TechnoBuffalo.com as the head of the Photography department. These days, Mike runs his own photography business and contributes to DP Review between shoots.