Although wireless products have become ubiquitous in everyday life, they are not as pervasive in the
photography world. Curious to see whether
photographers could truly “cut the cord”
and liberate themselves from cables and
wires, we gave a few wireless photography
solutions a try. The results, as you’ll see,
were decidedly mixed.
Remotely FiRing Flashguns
Both Canon and Nikon offer integrated
wireless flash systems that allow a photographer to use multiple heads controlled by a
transmitter on the camera. That transmitter
can be a separate control unit or incorporated into some flashguns.
Canon (aside from the newest Speedlite
600EX-RT) and Nikon flashes rely on light
pulses to control off-camera flashguns.
The problem with both systems is that the
flashes need a clear line-of-sight between the
master controller and the off-camera flashguns to operate reliably. In a studio or small
room it is not such a problem as there is
often enough reflection to allow the systems
to work. Outdoors, things can get trickier.
Phottix mitRos+ and
Third-party flashguns are nothing new, and
I’m sure older photographers will fondly
remember the Vivitar 283 and 285 HV
flashguns that were workhorses for many
photojournalists. However, it’s only recently that aftermarket flashes have become
compatible with the modern TTL metering
systems incorporated in today’s flashguns.
Phottix ( www.phottix.com) is a company
that has begun to make a name for itself
as a maker of quality photo gear. I recently
tried the Mitros+ flashgun along with the
Odin flash control system to accompany my
Nikon camera and SB-800 flash.
The Mitros+ is a hotshoe flash that
sells for $400 and incorporates a radio to
control other Phottix flashes. It’s compatible with several different flash triggering
systems sold by Phottix. The Odin TTL
Flash Trigger/Receiver kit ($350) is the
best of the systems, and I used it to trigger
a Nikon SB-800. I was then able to use the
Odin commander on the camera to control
the Mitros+ and the SB-800 attached to the
The menu for setting up the flashes is
slightly simpler than that on the Nikon, but
still a little convoluted; I had to refer to the
manual to figure out how to adjust settings.
Once I got everything set up, though, the
system worked like a charm. The commander fired the flash and I could even
stand behind a wall and have a remote
flash fire every time in another room over
25 feet away. Phottix claims the radio signal
Cutting the Cord
A look at options for a photo world without cables and wires.
BY JOHN RETTIE
108 RangeFindeR NOVEMBER 2014
Top left: The combination of a Phottix Odin
controller (on the Nikon) and an Odin receiver
for attaching to a Nikon Speedlight along with
the Phottix Mitros+ flash provides a robust,
cost-effective flash lighting system. Below:
Several Nikon cameras, such as the D600/610,
can be connected by Wi-Fi through the WU-
1b device plugged into the camera’s USB port.