Pixel King ETTL Radio Triggers Part 1
I recently bought myself some Pixel King ETTL Radio Triggers. So I phoned up my friend Ian and we decided to test them out…..
The reason for buying these is that I’m fed up of running around and changing power levels of flashes.
I used to use a Canon ST-E2 infra red trigger but it does not work very well doing the day.
The Pixel kings allow me to do two things:
- ETTL and Flash Exposure Compensation from the camera with the following flashes: 580EXII, 580EX, Sigma 500 super
- Manual power control from camera menu of 580EXII
Note: the Pixel Kings do not support Ratios. You cannot have a 580EXII in manual and 580 in ETTL. You can use a manual flash along with an ETTL flash but you must set the power on the manual flash yourself.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty of the units but I will give you my hands on impression.
These triggers are a lot cheaper than the TTL Pocket Wizards but because the Pixels use 2.4ghz frequency they do not fall foul of RF interference like the PWs do.
Firstly they are designed to work best with the EXII type flashes however its very difficult to mount a 580EXII flash on the receiver (Rx) because the Rx hotshoe not designed to fit with the rubber skirt around the flash’s shoe. THe flash does mount but it is very tight fit!
Other types of flash with a normal locking ring fit perfectly well.
On a plus point the transmitter (Tx) has a built in Focus assist light which is very handy indeed as the Canon cameras I own (1Dmk2, 5dmk2, 40d) can barely focus in low light!
So how do they work in the real world?
First of all I tried them out in my back garden.
I used a 580EX and the 580EXII mounted on tripods and light stands and used a 60 Inch parabolic umbrella that I bought from Cotwold Photo on Ebay
I tried various set ups throughout the day below are some photos with the flashes positioned behind me to either side and with a reflector in front to fill in the shadows on my face.
Once the light dropped in the evening we used a similar set up and captures some very moody shots!
The set up was almost the same as before:
The triggers always seemed to be in High Speed Sync mode and I noticed that the flash head would move according to the focal length of the lens. This was a bit annoying but nothing major a quick trip into the camera menu sorted this out. The Pixel kings are compatible with the flash camera menu first introduced with the 40D so if you have a newer camera than the 40D you will have this menu on your camera. The Pixel Kings also work with my 1Dmk2 although only in ETTL mode but I’m happy to report that Flash Exposure Compensation and Flash Exposure Lock works as they should!
Through out the day I shot over a hundred photos and only had 1 misfire which I could not reproduce. The Kings work as advertised and an ideal entry point into ETTL radio triggering.
Pixel have already released a couple of firmware updates to fix some glitches. I hope that 550EX compatibility will be restored at some point in the future.