FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.

Started Aug 29, 2009 | Discussions
Phil
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FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
Aug 29, 2009

Basically I ran out of neighborhood before I could get out of range.

I used a pair of Pocket Wizard FlexTT5s and one 550EX on its foot stand. It was after midnight but I was still concerned a car would come along and crush my flash unit so I placed it on the bumper of my truck and walked down the road while using the test button on the second unit to trigger the flash.

After all the hoo-ha about limited range I expected to record some problems. I got about 400 feet away and while I couldn’t see my truck any more I could still see the flash on the trees in my yard. If I went any further I would have lost sight of my trees as well.

I don’t know when I’ll ever need to trigger a flash more than 400 feet out but I’ll try another test down on the main road using my GPS to measure range later this weekend.

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Phil Agur

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Shangrila
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Phil, Aug 29, 2009

if you expected range issues with your 550ex, then you should have read the previous reviews a little more careful. other models are having range issues, not the 550ex.

but take the 550ex out for a real shoot and let us know how reliable it worked. I did this several times, and it was erratic every time.

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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Shangrila, Aug 30, 2009

I did as twin 550EX units with umbrellas ten feet up thirty feet apart at a Celebrity Golf Tournament. I used this set-up in two locations and never missed a shot. However since I was shooting as fill in bright sunlight and washing a group of 25 in light from two sides I could have had a single miss fire but every shot appeared even in Lightroom.2.

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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Shangrila, Aug 30, 2009

Yes, I'm aware of that but since I want the PW TTL line up to be a success I thought posting some positive experiences was in order.

I'm unclear if you have a 580EX (or 580 EXII) available for testing.

I'd like to find someone who reset the frequency channels up to the higher range. Since the radio section can be set to channels compatible with the Multi-Max and the multi-max runs trouble free, as far as I know, it would appear worth the 30 seconds to find out what a FlexTT5 does when set-up like a Multi-Max.

I’ve set all 3 of my FlexTT5s to the highest channel. That may be why mine are acting rock solid and yours are acting as if the EMI from the 550EX occasionally impacts reliable performance.

I have a couple of friends with 580EXII and I may try to get them to join in on the testing with the higher frequency settings.

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Arretose
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Phil, Aug 30, 2009

Let's hope the Nikon version of the PW Mini/Flex combo do not have the same problem as Canon. I believe this is a Canon problem, not a PW problem but this will be proved once they are available for Nikon.

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Ray Chen
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Arretose, Aug 31, 2009

Arretose wrote:

I believe this is a Canon problem, not a PW problem

That's a strange way to look at it. If I were to design a new product to work with an existing product, I would say it is my problem if my product is not compatible. 580EX is what, 4 or 5 years old? You would assume PW would want to be compatible with both 580EXes, I & II, as a lot of working photographers use them.

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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Ray Chen, Aug 31, 2009

The problem PW ran into was susceptibility to EMI or radiated emissions from the Canon flash recharge circuit. When you try to make this kind of circuit recharge faster you'll concentrate your effort on squaring up the switching circuit waveform to make it more efficient however this will radically alter the EMI signature of the device.

When you work on quieting down an EMI signature you often attempt to attenuate the signal slew rate with either a magnetic bead or small R/C filter to slow it down. So the PW folks didn’t carelessly ignore the 580EX (II) switching frequency range which is easy to determine but an unspecified parasitic based on the signal DV/DT or slew rate.

It also appear the radio portion of the FlexTT5/MiniTT comes from the PW Multi-Max which means they had field data that indicated this was a solid starting point.

I believe owners who encounter a problem should use the PC application change radio frequency.

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Phil Agur

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Loren D Sanders Sr
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Phil, Aug 31, 2009

Phil, would yo be kind enough to break down what you wrote in your last post?
In other words please transulate it for my pea brain... TIA
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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.- max range 500 feet
In reply to Phil, Aug 31, 2009

I did some daytime testing today with a pair of 550EX units on the hood of my truck and I walked down the road snapping photo back at the truck unit I got a miss fire out of one unit. I then backed up unit I had both going.

I had both firing at 520 feet but but let's round that down to 500 feet.
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Ray Chen
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.- max range 500 feet
In reply to Phil, Sep 1, 2009

I think you've proved that the system worked quite well with the 550EX. I actually thought about downgrading to the older 550EX, but I remember it recharges much slower. I am still on the fence, as I would like to see if the AC7 shield provides a viable solution. If PW knows how to market their product, they should provide the AC7 free or at cost to any (current and future) ControlTL owner. I would not consider the current ControlTL acceptable for working with 580EXes.

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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.- max range 500 feet
In reply to Ray Chen, Sep 1, 2009

I just had good timing.

I had one 550EX running a 2-3 second recharge on a full discharge when word of the problem first showed up. Based on that I picked up a second rather than moving to the 580EX II.

550EX are single channel masters so I'm counting on PW to release their 3 channel ratio controller. Until then ratio has to be done based on differencial distance for E-TTL or by going full manual.
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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Loren D Sanders Sr, Sep 1, 2009

Hi Loren,

Breaking something like this down is very tricky without being face to face. Without some visual feedback I won't know if I'm losing you or insulting your intelligence as I go through it and won't be able to gauge what I'm saying on the fly to be effective.

I didn't like my first attempt so I'll try again after I sleep on it.

Phil Agur

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Phil
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.- max range 500 feet
In reply to Phil, Sep 1, 2009

Just for fun it looked like this...

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churchi
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Phil, Sep 2, 2009

Hi Phil,

You are lucky you have those model flashes. I bought a pair of Flex units last week and did some testing. With the flex on top of the camera and one on a tripod (both with 580 EX II's on top) i began my testing. (I have the CE/433 Mhz versions)

So with the 580's on the camera and tripod i can get around 30m down my street before the signal is up and down. Then i added the OC-3 cord on the tripod flex. So the flex was now dangling below the 580 on the tripod, i now for around 42m range. So defiantly much better.

Now i had an outing on the weekend where i was shooting a motor sport event. So as you can imagine there were lots of people around shooting from the media box as well. As night came around i setup my 580's (II's) on the flex's just like i did in my testing in my street, and began to fire. I was only able to get around 3-5m reliably. I tried every different way of mounting the flash and OC cord along with different channels and could still only get around 3-5m before the flash wouldn't fire.

What i think was the issue, is that the other guys were also setting up like i was (with their remotes and flashes) and i assume that their 580 EX II's (mostly) were interfering with my signal as i had my flashes around near them. (cant be helped due to room)

I was quite annoyed at this, as i had tested at home in the street and when on location where i wanted to use them, the range took an even bigger hit. defiantly not really happy with the new units. i can live with the 40m range, however i can't live with a 3-5m range when working around lots of other flash units.

Not sure what i can do next, however i think i am going to have a look at some other triggers as my working conditions where i want to use these units will always be around other users with noisy flashes. For work inside, i have had no issues with the flex units, however when i need them on site at the motor sport events they just crap out when around other noisy flashes.

I am open to suggestions around the problems i have been experiencing.

cheers

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Shangrila
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to churchi, Sep 2, 2009

thats what I experienced, unreliability when ever it counted.
what to do next? depends how much trust you still have in them.

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churchi
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to Shangrila, Sep 2, 2009

i am waiting for the poppers to be released in a CE version to give them a try. i really want to have wireless stable ETTL from my flashes. Just there is no poppers version released over here where i am atm.

also with the PW's i hope they release this bloody shield soon. they have been talking about it for months, and have heard some good things about the testing of them. however why are other units not affected with the RF noise and only the NEW PW's affected by the RF noise? the multimax units were fine, just wonder why these new units suffer from the issue.

Apart from this small working distance, i think the PW units are a really good unit. Just i can't work with a 3-5m range when around other noisy flashes

i really hope they come out with a fix for all of us, if not i have nearly $1k (3 units) just sitting here not being able to be used!!

i am still hopeful though, and hope PW does the right thing by us and helps all current users out with fixing the RF noise issue. They just seem to be so quiet over on their site for the past 1-2 months.

Has anyone tried to wrap their flashes up? does this help? i am going to maybe give this a try, since i really need the distance to work with on my remote flashes.

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Shangrila
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Re: FlexTT5 Range Test Tonight.
In reply to churchi, Sep 3, 2009

the shield will not help. i do have 550ex which are not affected by the noise issue but same erratic behaviour.

I don't think you can wait for the poppers AND hope that the pw improve. how will you get rid of non working pw if you can't return them? you might not dare to resell them not working to a fellow photographers.

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Shangrila
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even less hope for working units...
In reply to Shangrila, Sep 3, 2009

today pw has a news on its website with product-updates. it seems indeed, they want to let their customers naked in the street
here the passage regarding development of the canon radios:

Six months later and with the release of the 4.30 firmware in July, we finally put Canon behind us and switched over to Nikon (development) full time.

so indeed they keep on selling their not working radios without even trying to fix things. i am amazed.

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amobi
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Re: even less hope for working units...
In reply to Shangrila, Sep 4, 2009

Flextt5 and Mini are piece of garbage. Take it on a real shoot and come back and report unless all you shoot are on street side ways.

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churchi
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Re: even less hope for working units...
In reply to amobi, Sep 4, 2009

totally agree with you. PW have really done themselves no favours here. i really wish they would just work on getting these issues fixed then get other products out. its bullsh!t we have invested so much in these and they just don't work. in a controlled situation on the street it works, however when i was shooting for work at a motor racing event around other flashes, they just sh!t them selves. no range at all

I really can't believe they don't want to fix the broken product first before moving on to other products.

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