Pocket Wizard TTL exposure comp tests ~ findings

Aug 15, 2009 | Flash, Location | 11 comments

Don’t get too excited unless you are contemplating buying the new Pocket Wizard TTL system, because there is nothing more dull than studio based equipment testing. Having said that my results may well be significant if you are in the market for Speedlites or PWs.

Test 1 – 5DMK11 camera controlled flash exposure compensation with an ST-E2 on the FlexTT1.

On the left of the frame directed at the picture, we have a 430EX11 with a Honl 1/4 Grid connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A
On the right of the frame directed at the background we have a 580EX11 connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A.

1

No 'on camera' compensation

2

-2 stops 'on camera' compensation. Notice how the 580 output has been cut but the 430 is the same.

3

+2 stops 'on camera' compensation. Again only the 580 output has been affected.

———————————————————————————-

Test 2 – 5DMK11 camera controlled flash exposure compensation with just a FlexTT1.

On the left of the frame directed at the picture, we have a 430EX11 with a Honl 1/4 Grid connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A
On the right of the frame directed at the background we have a 580EX11 connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A.

4

No 'on camera' compensation

5

-2 stops 'on camera' compensation. Notice how the 580 output has been cut but the 430 is the same.

6

+2 stops 'on camera' compensation. Again only the 580 output has been affected.

Observation: The ST-E2 has no effect on the exposure compensation system of the camera.

———————————————————————————-

Test 3 – Manual control of the flash output when dialed in directly on the Speedlites.

On the left of the frame directed at the picture, we have a 430EX11 with a Honl 1/4 Grid connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A
On the right of the frame directed at the background we have a 580EX11 connected to a Flex TT5 set to Channel 1 on group A.

8

Both Speedlites set to Manual and with 1/1 set as the power.

9

Both Speedlites set to Manual and with 1/4 set as the power.

10

Both Speedlites set to Manual and with 1/16 set as the power.

I then repeated all the tests with my 5D mk1 with identical results.

Conclusion: Well there you have it. The TTL accuracy and consistency from the PW system is spot on. The 580EX11 behaves as it should in all respects. The 430EX11 ignores exposure compensation when dialed in from the camera, with or without an ST-E2 unit set on top of the Mini TT1 on the camera. The 430EX11 does however respond well to ratios, exactly as it should. Both Speedlights work in manual as expected. No surprise there then.

I will report these findings back to the Pocket Wizard development team to see if we can get 430EX11 compensation functionality from 5D and 5Dmk11 cameras in the next firmware upgrade. The great thing about the system is it is continually being upgraded and all users have free access to the latest firmware version.

Please comment your findings in the usual way.

11 Comments

  1. damien

    Hi Deniz,

    Yes I mean FEC, sorry about that.

    I can confirm that full FEC control is now available with the 430EX11 and the Mini & Flex combo using the new firmware. This makes the 430 an excellent value option as an extra Speedlite.

    Regards,

    Damien.

    Reply
  2. Deniz

    Damien , I assume you mean FEC and not EC in this article?

    With the recent beta firmware does the 430EX II still not support FEC?
    I was thinking of purchasing one just for the increased range. Please let me know what the range from the 430EXII is like compared to the 580EXII.

    Best regards

    Reply
  3. David Mackenzie

    HI Damien,

    Great thanks. That’s very clear.

    David

    Reply
  4. damien

    Hi David,

    Don’t sell your ST-E2 yet because if you are using more than one Speedlite with the PW TTL system you can use the ST-E2 ratio function to vary the power to the Speedlites even though they are being triggered by radio.

    You can also have a couple of distant Speedlites being triggered by a pair of Flex TT5s and a couple of near Speedlights being triggered by the infra red of the ST-E2 at the same time.

    I hope this helps,

    Damien.

    Reply
  5. David Mackenzie

    Hi Damien,

    Thanks for all the posts about the pocket wizards. One thing I’m confused about: do you still need the ST-E2 unit to sit on top of the transmitter, or can I sell that, and just use the mini transmitter/transceiver on the camera and a transceiver on the flash?

    Reply
  6. Dave Packer

    Cheers mate. only a star shine’s in the dark

    Dave

    Reply
  7. damien

    Hi Dave,

    When used remotely the ‘on Speedlight’ compensation is disabled. When you use the camera cord the camera thinks the flash is still on the camera and local enough for you to use the compensation.

    Use the camera controls to set the flash exposure comp when in remote mode :)

    Cheers,

    Damien.

    Reply
  8. damien

    Hi Dave,

    Try this.

    Switch your 5D power switch to the position that enables the rear comand dial.

    Put your 5D into Manual mode. Set the ISO to 200, the shutter speed to 1/200th of a second and the lens to f/8.

    Put a MiniTT1 on the camera. Set it to channel 1 or 2.

    Put a 580MK11 on the FlexTT5 some distance away pointing away from the camera. Leave the flash in the same mode as it would be on camera ie: not in slave or master etc and not in high speed sync or second curtain sync mode either.

    Set the Flex to the same channel as the MiniTT1 and the group to A or B (not C).

    On the camera ensure there is no flash compensation dialed in. The range is minus 2 stops to plus 2 stops and is accessed by momentarily activating the cameras meter by half pressing the shutter, then a single press on the flash comp/metering mode button (nearest the shutter release) and dial the rear command dial until the analogue scale on the top plate is centered.

    Fire a frame to calibrate/wake the system. Take a picture and it should look correctly exposed.

    Adjust the flash compensation on the camera to Minus 2 stops and take another picture. It should look dark. Repeat using plus 2 stops to confirm correct functioning of the camera and flash system.

    If this doesn’t work I’ll ring you :)

    Regards, Damien.

    Reply
  9. Dave Packer

    Sorry Damien not 3 stops i meant increasing the power by + 3 on the speedlite! and i was testing it with off camera chord connected to the hotshoe, then taking it off and using the flex. which resulted in no change of power up or down. Hope that makes better sense.

    Dave

    Reply
  10. damien

    Hi Dave,

    I don’t know where you are getting plus 3 stops of compensation from or a wired connection. My 5D only goes to +2 max and there are no wires with the PW FlexTT5.

    Puzzled.

    Damien.

    Reply
  11. Dave Packer

    Hi Damien further to my last question, i have tested mine for most of the day too, and am still unable to alter the flash power on the 580 mark 2 when using it on a flex and triggered by the mini on the camera, even 3 extra stops had no effect! but it does when i use the wired connection.
    The only way i can alter the “power” is to use another 580 acting as a master on top of the mini. Any ideas ?

    Cheers

    Dave

    Reply

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