Pocket Wizard TTL ~ firmware updates

Nov 21, 2009 | Flash, News | 31 comments

UPDATE: Full version 500 of the firmware is now available for all PW TTL units. Download via your Pocket Wizard utility application.

There is an updated firmware available for the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 available for download here. It is Beta firmware but don’t let that put you off because the previous official version was a work in progress. The good news is that additional functionality has been added to the Mini and Flex as well as 7D compatibility. A few bugs have being fixed too especially those that affect 5Dmk2 user.

31 Comments

  1. Andy Hudson

    I have never used pocket wizards before but have been considering buying some recently, are there any issues using with the canon 5D MKIII that I should be aware of?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Andy, As you can see this post is from 7 years ago :) I’ve not use Pocket Wizards for 6 years and I’ve not used Canon for 5 years so I can’t help you. I’m sorry. Damien.

      Reply
  2. George

    The latest official PW firmware is causing me problems.

    When I bounce camera mounted flash, the PW underexposes the shot if HS button is pressed on the Speedlite – even though I am at shutter speeds well below camera sync. at 1/125 for example I should still be getting full power but I seem to be getting HSS exposure.

    As I understand you have to press the HS button on the speedlite when camera mounted if you should need to go beyond camer sync. Correct?

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi George,

      I understand. Leave the HSS button well alone. PW units don’t need you to press the HSS button in order to work at high shutter speeds. Just plug and play. If you have modified the settings in the firmware away from Force Master this may be causing your issues.

      I hope this helps. Damien.

      Reply
  3. Per Zangenberg

    Hi Damian

    I recieved two new 430ex II’s yesterday and did a little quick test. I am using the TT5 as transmitter and as long as I flip up the antenna the range and reliabillity seems excellent.

    The AC3 really is pretty sweet little add-on, so I thing you will like it very much.

    All my TT5’s came with the 5.150 firmware.

    Your speedlite mastery video has really inspired me to get into shooting some models and got in touch with some aspiring locals to shoot some free pictures. I am hoping to use this to transfer some more creativity into my wedding work ( http://www.zangenberg.net ).

    The cool thing about the speedlite video is that you show that it does not have to be rocket science with lightmeters and calculators. A simple two-light setup and just see what happens. Very inspiring!

    I will be buying “the big day” next I think and next year I will try to see if I can attend one or more of your workshops.

    regards

    Per Z

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Per,

      I’m glad you are feeling inspired. The Big Day DVD is definitely worth while because it shows the flow of the shoot and will give you ideas and inspiration for shots that customers love.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  4. Per Zangenberg

    I tried out my new TT5’s with 5d mkII and a 580ex and 430exII on a shoot this weekend. I could not get reliable results. I have ordered 2x 430exII and will try it out using only those.

    Damian are you not using the AC3 controller? I just cant find any mention of it in your blog. The AC3 is THE reason that I got the TT5’s since it allows me to control manual power from the camera. I would love to hear your findings on using it.

    Also is there anywhere on the PW site that the settings in the utillity program is explained?!?

    PS. I justed bought and watched your Speedlite mastery DVD and it was VERY inspiring! I only wished I could have bought it as a digital HD download because I dont have a bluray player…

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Per,

      Thanks for your kind words about my DVD. I am shooting continuous light at the moment. I go through phases of using Broncolor then Speedlights then natural light then continuous light etc. For my corporate and portrait work I select the right tools from all my kit. I will get the chance to use the AC3 this autumn on my next Speedlight Mastery workshop for Canon users.

      PW instructions are written by a geek not a photographer and there’s no translation available. Make sure you update to V5.1 of the firmware on all your units and leave all settings as standard. This will provide consistent results to get you going. Then change one parameter at a time and test thoroughly before making further changes.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. David Fenwick

    Hi Damien,

    Glad to hear that I’m not the only one with a sluggish shutter but slightly concerned to hear about your TTL issues. I assume you were using the ST-E2 in conjunction with PWs?

    Would you be confident enough with the PW system to use it at a wedding?

    All the best,

    David

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi David,

      I was using just the ST-E2 and 3 Speedlights. The variation between shots was wild at times. I tried using a 580EX2 as a non firing master and I couldn’t get it not to fire even when it was correctly set. My system threw a wobbly for some reason. I was not using PWs because my Evolvers didn’t have PWs for this shoot.

      The PWs are rock solid with the firmware 5.008 and if anything it is the Canon side of the circuitry that can be a bit flakey at times. And yes I use the PW system at weddings.

      Damien.

      Reply
  6. David Fenwick

    Hi Ian,

    The post you refer to is for old firmware. Here’s the info for firmware version 5.000.

    http://www.pocketwizard.com/products/images/TT1-C.pdf

    And the relevant part:

    “We changed the optimized HSS crossover point to automatically detect based on camera type. This allows the 5D and the 5D Mark II to sync at all shutter speeds with Canon Speedlites right out of the box without needing to use the PocketWizard Utility.

    “High Speed Sync (FP Flash Sync) Begins At” will automatically be set to 1/320 for the 5D and 5D Mark II, and 1/400 for all other camera models. This feature is automatically engaged by default, or can be set by selecting “Auto” for “High Speed Sync (FP Flash Sync) Begins At” in the PocketWizard Utility. Selecting a different HSS crossover point overrides the auto setting.”

    I’ve yet to test PW’s claims for HSS. I have my fingers crossed!

    All the best,

    David

    Reply
  7. Ian Taylor

    Hey David,

    Have you seen this http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-9884-9903-9907

    This camera is not capable of a clean 1/250 full power sync. So you did the right thing. The main benefit is the high speed sync where you get an extra stop of flash juice at high shutter speeds.

    You can always crop out the black margin given the nice resolution of the 5D2 files.

    Reply
  8. David Fenwick

    When a camera and flash sync it means that the shutter is fully open when the flash fires. For a 5D Mark II the fastest sync speed, with Canon’s own control system, is 1/200s, PocketWizard have optimised timings for Canon’s flash system which they call HyperSync. For a 5D Mark II it should now be possible to sync at 1/250 and 1/320s.

    With my 5D Mark II, however, I’ve found that I can’t reliably sync at these speeds. It occasionally works but, more often, I see a dark band at the bottom of my image due to the second shutter starting to cover part of the digital sensor when the flash fires.

    I’ve spoken to PocketWizard who suggest that not all examples of a 5D Mark II will be capable of syncing at these faster speeds. If the body has seen lots of action (I shot 60 weddings with mine last year) then the movement of the shutter blades can deviate from normal.

    To get round the issue I’ve just manually set the shutter speed at which the PocketWizards switch to using high speed sync (FP) flash. So full powered flash until 1/200s and then the lower-powered FP-mode from 1/250s.

    The PWs trigger my Speedlites without issue and were all reset after updating the firmware.

    David

    Reply
  9. Ian Taylor

    What do you mean by a sync problem – you mean it doesn’t fire?

    Did you make sure you reset the units after installing the beta firmware?

    thanks

    Reply
  10. David Fenwick

    Hi Damien,

    I thoroughly enjoyed Speedlight Mastery (in all the glory of blu-ray) and it inspired me to purchase a minTT1 and a couple of FlexTT5s. I’ve just received them, updated the firmware and then had a quick play and encountered a syncing problem when shooting at 1/250 and 1/320s. I’m using a 5D Mark II with 580EX IIs.

    Having worked my way through the instruction manual and addenda (yawn!) I was under the impression that I shouldn’t need to tweak any settings in the PW Utility -am I mistaken though?

    Any advice would be most appreciated.

    All the best,

    David

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi David and Ian, Sorry for the delay in replying – I’ve been away. My 5Dmk2 has a sluggish shutter too so I set my FP threshold to 1/250th. I have the latest firmware 500.8 and it seems stable again. I must say I’m having Canon TTL issues at the moment. My last shoot with ST-E2 was all over the place for some reason. I hope all has been sorted for you. Damien.

      Reply
  11. George

    Cheers Damien,

    Using C1 and C2 to work around this is a nice touch.

    While you are feeding back to PW – can you PLEASE suggest that they also extend the benefits of MANUAL flash power boosts to Speedlites mounted on camera.

    Manual Flash power boost only works on FLEX mounted Speedlites if you also have Speedlite mounted on camera. Surely this function can be local too.

    I hope I don’t have to purchase their upcoming Zone Controller just to get this ability.

    Best wishes,
    G

    Reply
  12. George

    There are annoying bugs in the new firmware v5.

    With ETTL flash if you bounce the flash (any direction other than head on) you will get a large amount of flash underexposure.

    The solution is to DISABLE the new pre-flash boost feature – which actually is supposed to increase the reliability of bounce flash! Perhaps the problem is the the pre-flash boost is just too strong forcing the ETTL to underexpose too much. Perhaps a diffused flash levels things out – I only bounce bare flash.

    However, I used the beta firmware previously and I do not recall this problem.

    Another bug is I do not seem to be able to take flash pictures at F22 – the PW simply will not fire the flash.

    Anyone else found some bugs?

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi George,

      I agree the +f/18 bug is back. It was in the original beta v250 that I tested before the release of the PWs in Europe. With release of v300 it had gone and now it’s back with v500. I expect there will be a minor update to correct this. As for the pre-flash boost, it is needed for distance shooting where the flash is some way off and perhaps only illuminating part of the frame, well out of the range of the Canon IR system. It’s an inherent limitation of the Canon system. I agree it would be better to have the original low power preflash for close work and that is something you can set using your configurations. Set C1 to high power and C2 to low power, that’s what I’ve done.

      I’ll feedback the f/18 issue to PW. I know for sure that all the team are working flat out on the Nikon system at the moment. They had to break off to sort the 7D out and now they are back on Nikon duty I think.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply
  13. Denz

    Just to follow up – the brighter bursts in manual flash are significant upto normal 5DII sync speeds of 200. As a test I flipped a PWmini mounted flash into manual 1/8 power (camera manual) and found the same exposure without the PW needed 1/4 +0.3 on the 580EXII speedlite. So a nice boost in power BUT there is a colour shift with the PW (bug).

    Thanks for now

    Reply
  14. Denz

    I see the beta firmware has now moved to an official release.

    Am I right in thinking that with the 5DII and a Speedlite the new PW system has no extra flash power benefit up to normal sync speed (200). Beyond that however, there is :
    a) Full power flash extended to a shutter of 250 (HyperSync)
    b) From shutter speeds of 320+ optimised flash provides an extra boost equal to +1 of FEC. (compared to normal Canon HSS mode)

    Pocket wizard site claims that in manual mode brighter bursts are available up to 2 stops more – how can I test this? I set my Speedlite to 1:1 power but didn’t see any extra brightness with or without the PW system.

    Thanks heaps
    Den

    Reply
  15. Vance

    I’m currently using the beta version on the 5D MKII and it has resolved so many problems for me! Highly recommend anyone with a MKII to do the same!

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Vance, I’m on the version too and can report no issues as long as you update all your units together.

      Reply
  16. Denz

    Damien, what about the range issues with these puppies. I’ve not been able to hit more than 27m with my 580EXII, and the AC5 RF shield isn’t available in UK until Jan – AND will cost another £25 (should be free in the box really).

    What are your findings?

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Denz,

      I’ve not reached the limit of range on my PW system. Even using a 200mm lens with a figure in the landscape shot I get the system to trigger my 580 EX2s and 430 EX2s with no problems. 27m is a long way to be shooting but I’m sure you must have a need for it. If you switch to the standard system and use manual power settings rather than TTL for the times you need that range that should sort it I suppose. Getting accurate TTL might be an issue when such a small section of the frame will be lit, especially if it not bang in the center. I think I’d need a 600mm lens before I needed TTL at 27m. If there is sufficient demand for the AC5 RF we will be stocking it for sure.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply
  17. Mark

    Thanks for the answer – much appreciated! I’ll be going ahead and ordering two Flexes.

    Then I’ll be reading as much as I can on using them!

    Reply
  18. damien

    Hi Andy,

    Get yourself a pair of Flexs we have a deal on at the moment, download the Beta software and get shooting. You’ll never look back.

    Regards, Damien.

    Reply
  19. damien

    Hi Mark,

    I think the Mini is neat and small. The flex is bigger but better because it is more versatile and takes AA batteries. I find the Mini battery compartment not snug enough so I put a small card spacer in to maintain the pressure on the button cell.

    I’d get 2 Flexs if you can afford the extra £20 or so. Both the mini and Flex will let you shoot with on camera flash and remote flash. Bear in mind that the Flex and Mini have the same strength of construction and it is not advisable to take ‘portrait’ format shots with the flash on camera, not that you would want to because the lighting would look terrible.

    Regards,

    Damien.

    Reply
  20. Andy mcdonald

    Damien

    i’m ready with cash waiting, but want to know if the Beat software has improved things. I need to flex at least & a trigger.
    I’m suing 580’s series 1’s & 2’s

    Should i buy?

    Andy

    Reply
  21. Mark

    Hi Damien,

    Sorry for commenting on an old post, but I wondered what you thought about the relative merits of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 as the transmitter? Both in terms of build and signal quality and manageability. (I still haven’t seen them in the flesh, so unsure about relative sizes).

    I’m expecting that there’ll be occasions when I want a flash on-camera for fill at weddings, so interested in whether you think the Mini or a Flex would be better in this regard?

    Using it on a 5d Mark II if that makes any difference.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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