Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceiver

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: They're a little dated, but nearly in a class by themselves.

The Long Version: They're more than just flash triggers: Pocket Wizards are a photographer's expensive rite of passage into professional reliability, and if you need what they do, then there's no substitute. They will fire a remote flash, or certain cameras, with absolute certainty over ridiculous distances. The Plus II and the more elaborate Multimax Pocket Wizards are without equal for this; even Pocket Wizard's new Flex and Mini - the TT line, like the old-skool p0rn star - have some issues with range and reliability so far.

The only time I've ever had my Pocket Wizards not fire is when I've accidentally bumped one of the switches off of the appropriate mode or channel - typically while it was in the bag, and solved with a little tape - or have forgotten to turn one on. In exchange for that reliability, the PWII's take a hefty toll on the wallet. They're selling for anywhere between $170US to $240CAN, depending on where you like to shop, and that doesn't include the pictured hot shoe cable. Each light needs its own PW, and one goes on the camera as well. It adds up very quickly, but to rephrase what I said before, if you really need the best reliability and range, then it's a non-decision.

But who needs them?

There's a new generation of low- and mid-priced wireless flash triggers on the market that didn't exist when Pocket Wizards established themselves as the pro photographer's standard equipment. They may not be as reliable, or have the range, or the reputation and interoperability of genuine Pocket Wizards - but they might do most of it. There are also the different camera's own wireless triggering methods, which work with full TTL flash control over shorter distances. Not as bullet-proof as Pocket Wizards, but quite reliable indoors.

For the price of another Pocket Wizard and hot shoe cable, I could buy a Nikon SB600 and have change left over. I've been wanting to add another flash to my kit for some time, so you can guess what an upcoming review will be.

One other great thing about the excellent reputation and durability of Pocket Wizards is what the can sell for on Craigslist. But I digress...


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