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First Impressions: PocketWizard Plus X

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (1 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Today, PocketWizard announced their new Plus X radio flash transmitters. The new (and super affordable) refresh is also one of the fastest in the company’s history. Luckily, the triggers are backwards compatible with the older ones as well. Some of the key features of the new Plus X are a claimed range of 1,600 feet, automatic sensing whether they should be in transmitter or receiver mode, a 100 hr battery life, 10 channels that can be controlled via the retro twist dial, a 3.5mm sync port, tri-color LED for a battery life indicator, camera triggering with another remote (which the Plus IIIs had) and more.

Our triggers just came in the door and we’ve had a little bit of playtime with them already. And so far they’re quite tempting–especially at the $99 price point.

 

Tech Specs

From our News Post

Frequency                    FCC/IC model:  344.04MHz
CE model:  433.62 MHz

Channels                      10 standard channels; Reverse compatible with all PocketWizard radios using Standard Channels

Zones                             Single zone

Antenna                       Precision tuned internal coil

Channel Setting       Backlit rotating dial

Range                            Up to 1,600 feet (500 meters) (Actual range is dependent on multiple factors including equipment, mode, environment, positioning, orientation and interference)

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

Status Indicator     LED: Green, Amber, Red status indications

Solid Red:  Triggering signal sending or receiving

Single Green Blink: Status OK, > 50% battery life

Double Amber Blink:  Battery life < 50% but > 25%

Triple Red Blink:  Battery life < 25%, change batteries

Transmit Output Power Less than 1 milliwatt (0.001 watt)

Power                        Two (2) AA (LR6) 1.5v alkaline recommended. NiMH, NiCAD, NiZn, Lithium acceptable (these chemistries may not report battery life accurately). DO NOT USE 3.6V Li-Ion AA cells!

Battery Life             Up to 100 hours (with alkaline batteries)

Max Port Sync Voltage 300 Volts (Camera/Flash Port)

MaxCurrent 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                           None

Housing                  High impact plastic with captive battery door 

Weight                      3.9 ounces (110 grams) with batteries installed

Dimensions         Height: 4.2 inches (10.7 cm)
Width: 2.1 inches (5.3 cm)
Depth: 1.2 inches (3.0 cm)

Operating Temperature Above 5° F (-15° C) and below 120° F (50° C).

Storage Temperature Above -22° F (-30° C) and below 185° F (85° C) (without battery)

Input/Output 3.5mm (1/8”) stereo miniphone jack, hot shoe

Mounting Hot shoe, lanyard/D-Ring loop, ¼-20 threaded insert

In the Box Quick Guide

Stereo 3.5mm (1/8”) miniphone to miniphone cable

Mono 3.5mm miniphone to locking PC cable

Stereo 3.5mm miniphone to 6.3mm (¼”) adapter

Lanyard

RoHS Compliant Yes

Optional Accessories Isolation bar, trigger buttons, camera motor drive cables, PC cables and adapters, flash sync cables and protective case

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (2 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

The new PocketWizard Plus X is the company’s return to the simpler way of working with radio triggers. There is no digital display this time but instead a giant wheel that you’ll turn. When you spin this magical wheel, it changes the channels. When the trigger is actually on, the number illuminates.

Then there is the test button on the front too. It’s significantly larger than the last one was.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (3 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

The front side of the Plus X features a 3.5mm jack port. Using this port you can use one of several cords to work with studio lights and flashes. The trigger comes with:

- 1 PC to 3.5mm jack cable

- 1 3.5mm jack to 3.5mm jack cable

- 1 3.5mm to 1/4 inch converter.

Then there is also the on/off switch, which isn’t necessarily intuitive to figure out but once you explore the trigger you’ll be able to figure it out. Additionally, you can put a little threaded strap here to prevent the trigger from getting lost.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (4 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

The back of the Plus X has the battery compartment door as well as a spot to have it screw into a 1/4 20 thread mount.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (5 of 7)ISO 2001-15 sec at f - 5.6

When the units are on, the front number will glow red. On top of the Plus X, you’ll see a blinking light. Green means lots of power. Yellow means it’s low. Red means you’d better change it.

Vs the Plus III

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (7 of 7)ISO 2001-15 sec at f - 5.6

The trigger on the left is the Plus III while the trigger on the right is the new Plus X. As you can see, the Plus X is significantly less complicated than the Plus III. It also forgoes the digital display and a heck of a lot of the buttons.

The Plus III had its on/off switch clearly marked here as well where as the new Plus X has it on the front of the unit.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer PocketWizard Plus X First Impressions product photos (6 of 7)ISO 2001-25 sec at f - 5.6

Turn them on, set the channels, plug them into the camera and flash/strobe, hit the test button and you’re good to go.

These are perhaps some of the most simplistic triggers I’ve used in a while and absolutely wipe the floor with something like the Impact PowerSync 16s.

Build Quality

The Plus III triggers felt very hollow when you gave them a good squeeze. I’ve felt radio triggers that are made of metal, and those ones are rock solid.

The Plus X triggers are the only solid feeling triggers I’ve ever held that are made of plastic. The company did an excellent job on this part.

Quick Feature Test

In the past three hours since they’ve been with me in my apartment, I’ve tested them with my studio strobes and flashes.

- I put the strobe with one Plus X in my room and the camera with another Plus X in the living room of my apartment. They synced seamlessly.

- I moved from my apartment to two floors up and on the other side of the building, and they still worked.

So far they seem very reliable and can cover quite a range.

First Impressions

Though I’ve only spent a couple of hours with them so far I’m very impressed with what PocketWizard has been able to deliver at such an affordable price. The triggers are compact, solid feeling, reliable, and simple to use. Because of the extra simplicity, they are funner to use than the Plus III triggers were because the menus and interface made things much more complicated.

We’re going to be testing these triggers by themselves and with the older Plus III models–which I’ve personally invested in. Stay tuned to see if I convert.

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