PocketWizard PlusX Transceiver Announced

Reputation for reliability and functionality has made PocketWizard the professional’s choice when it came to wireless flash triggers. However, being such a renown brand, there was always a price tag much too steep for many amateurs and hobbyists, especially when you consider buying several of them. For this reason those into strobe photography would often choose other manufacturers (Phottix in particular seems very competitive). Today, PocketWizard attempts to enter budget market as well with PlusX transceiver. While not exactly cheap at $100, it is sure to be within financial reach of most enthusiasts.

PocketWizard PlusX

The PlusX combines both a receiver and transmitter into one package and offers standard 10 channels for controlling your flashes. Simplicity seems to be PlusX’s main point, so a lot of features are automated – for example, it will choose between receiver or transmitter modes automatically. There isn’t any serious manual control available. However, PlusX is compatible with higher-end PocketWizards, which means they will still be useful once you upgrade. Flash sync speed is 1/250s for focal-plane shutters found in DSLRs and 1/500s when used with leaf-shutter cameras, such as Fujifilm X100s.

I won’t hide it – I am rather disappointed. Even though the price is lower than ever, I find limited functionality unjustified. Even so, I’m sure plenty of beginner strobists may find this new PW PlusX very tempting, especially if they plan to take up strobing professionally sometime in the future.

Official Press Release

Here is the official press release by PocketWizard:

PocketWizard Announces Easy-to-Use PlusX Transceiver for Wireless Flash and Camera Triggering

So. Burlington, VT – March 1, 2013 – LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, the world leader in wireless control of cameras, flash lighting and light meters, today announces the immediate availability of its new PlusX Auto-Sensing Transceiver

The high-quality PocketWizard PlusX is the perfect entry into the PocketWizard Wireless System with the same range and reliability of its renowned Plus line of radios. Whether new to off-camera flash or remote camera triggering, or a seasoned professional looking to expand their PocketWizard wireless triggering system, the PlusX is the perfect choice. And as the user’s technical needs grow, the versatile PlusX will continue to work with any other PocketWizard radios that a photographer adds to their gear box.

The 10 Channel PlusX uses PocketWizard’s patented “Auto-Sensing Transceiver Technology” which means it will automatically switch between transmit and receive as needed. Users just turn it on, connect it to the flash or camera and set the channel using its simple, rotary-dial. The PlusX automatically figures out what it needs to do to trigger remote flashes or cameras. Using the same side-profile design of the PocketWizard Plus III radio, the PlusX has an internal antenna to minimize obstruction and increase durability.

“The new PlusX transceiver adds to the legendary Plus reliability that so many photographers have come to trust on all their photographic assignments,” said Dave Schmidt, Vice President of Marketing at LPA Design, the company that manufacturers PocketWizard Photo Products. “Working on a budget should not mean sacrificing performance or reliability.”

The PlusX is compatible with all PocketWizard transmitters and receivers including PocketWizard-enabled photo gear from Profoto, Dynalite, Norman, Photogenic and Sekonic light meters. The PocketWizard Wireless System allows for total flexibility with whatever lights or cameras a photographer may be working with.

PlusX Features include:

10 Channels
With the PlusX’s 10 digitally coded Standard Channels, users can claim their own channel for exclusive triggering when working with other photographers at crowded events. Photographers can use different channels for different setups and select them simply and intuitively with the turn of a dial. And these 10 channels are compatible with every PocketWizard ever made1 set to Standard Channels 1 – 10. (1radios of the same frequency; in the United States, the PocketWizard PlusX operates on an FCC-approved frequency of 344MHz. In other markets it operates on a CE-approved frequency of 433MHz)

Backlit Channel Dial
Setting channels is as easy as turning a dial. The backlit channel dial clearly displays the channel and because the backlight consumes so little power it stays on all the time for convenience.

Internal Antenna
The PlusX features a durable, side profile design with an unobtrusive, internal antenna minimizing visual obstruction between the photographer and their subject. By utilizing an internal antenna, there’s no chance to kink or break it when on location. The total height of the transceiver and antenna is 4.2 inches, and it weighs less than 4 ounces, including batteries.

Easily Connected / Cable Port
On the user’s camera, the PlusX slides into the hot shoe with no cables required. For remotes, it features one do-it-all miniphone (3.5mm or 1/8”) sync port. The miniphone connector is much more reliable than a PC connection and every PlusX comes complete with a miniphone-to-miniphone cable, a miniphone-to-phono (1/4″ or 6.3mm) adapter for triggering the majority of modern flashes, and a miniphone to locking PC cable for triggering some remote speedlights or for using a PlusX on-camera when the user can’t put it in a hot shoe. Other miniphone connector cables are available for major brands of lighting equipment in a variety of lengths. Dedicated remote camera triggering cables are also available for popular camera systems.

Auto-Sensing Transceiver
With PocketWizard’s patented Auto-Sensing Transceiver technology, the PlusX Transceiver will instantly and intelligently switch between transmitter and receiver modes keeping setup as simple as possible. The PlusX may be set to transmit (Tx) only, when desired.

Auto-Relay Mode
PocketWizard’s Auto-Sensing Transceiver technology lets users trigger a remote camera in sync with remote flashes using only three PocketWizard radios: the one in their hands, a PlusX cabled to a remote camera, and the one connected to a remote flash. The PlusX cabled to a remote camera will receive a radio signal and trigger the camera’s motor drive, then switch to transmit mode and trigger PocketWizard-connected remote flashes, all automatically. The sequence can be started by simply pressing the TEST button of any PocketWizard Transmitter. Remote cameras require remote shutter release cables.

Status Indicator/Battery Life Indicator
The PlusX features a tri-color LED status indicator that serves two functions. When the PlusX sends or receives a triggering signal, the LED will glow red. During normal operation, the indicator will blink a single green blink meaning it is operating normally and the battery life is above 50%. It will blink a double amber blink when the battery is below 50% but above 25% and it will blink three red blinks when the battery life is below 25% and it’s crucial to replace the batteries.

Transmit Only Mode
There are times when a photographer only wants their radio to transmit, usually when two or more photographers are sharing a set of lights. By enabling transmit only mode, users can disable the receive mode and auto relay functions to make sure their radio is just transmitting.

Range and Reliability
PocketWizard Plus radios are known for their range and reliability. Although the PlusX costs less than other PocketWizard radios, users will still get the range and reliability they expect from a PocketWizard product.

Sync Speed
Ultra-fast microprocessors allow for reliable sync speeds of 1/250 second for focal plane shutters and 1/500 second for leaf shutters.

Available for Order at B&H

As always, you can order PocketWizard PlusX from our most trusted reseller, B&H. Click here to buy the PlusX for $99.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Jeff
    March 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Poverty Wizards are finally realizing to be competitive they needed a budget device. I think it’s great but for the money Yongnuo RF603 are still about $30 for TWO units. End of April the Yongnuo RF622 Radio WITH iTTL for Nikon will be available (Currently available for Canon) for $99 for TWO.

    • 2
      ) HomoSapiensWannaBe
      March 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Jeff,
      Thanks for the note. The Nikon set with iTTL looks to be a great deal.

      • 6
        ) Jeff
        March 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        There is another Radio iTTL system available too. The Phottix ODIN has a similar SU800 TCU and you can get it with two receivers for $399.99. This is Radio iTTL as well but you can control the power from the main commander unit. Whereas the PW you need to buy an AC3 in addition.

    • 3
      ) Geo
      March 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Romanas, thanks for the post on the PW Plus X 10. I am a amatuer-hobby photo guy and I like Macro and want to get out there a little more. I own the Nikon SB-R200 flash without the Nikon SU-800 Commander.
      Funny I just ordered the SU-800 Commander from B$H last week and their computer somehow dumped and canceled my order. So my question is how does the PW PLus X stack up to the SU 800. Hoe is the compatability and ease or use comparison. Can a rook like me figure it out?

      • 5
        ) Rick
        March 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        Geo. Maybe this was a stroke of luck for you that your order was cancelled. I am strictly amateur when it comes to flash but I have radiopoppers for my d800 and use them on a couple of flashes. Although I often use manual settings, you don’t need to know much to use them when you select TTL modes. I suspect there are many great products out there but the point is they are extremely easy to use and I’m not sure if many people would want the SU-800 any more. Ronan can tell you far more than I can, but basically with any of these brands, you just connect them, which is very easy, and shoot. The radiopoppers also let you control up to 3 groups of flashes individually to increase or decrease the flash power … there are 3 little knobs that you turn … one for each group and you can check exposure on your screen instead of fiddling with the flashes … especially if they are up in the air on a stand. However, the ability to adjust is lost on the SB900 and SB910. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that other brands do something similar and if not yet … they will be soon I’d expect. Take this as an opportunity to explore many of the brands out there.

        • 7
          ) Rick
          March 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

          I meant Romanas … sorry about that.

          • 8
            ) Geo
            March 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

            Thanks Rick, I would assume then that the ability to adjust is there for the SB-R200n flashes???
            Appreciate the knowledge.
            Geo

            • 18
              ) Rick
              March 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

              If you go to their website, you can contact them and ask. I found they were really good at answering questions. I forgot to add that the adjustability also won’t work on SB700’s. I believe it’s because when you use that ability you are in iTTL and the 700 and 900’s are using eTTL. They explain it anyway. Hopefully that’s a future software update or you just replace the little RP Cube that you buy, but we’ll see.

    • March 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Sounds great, since I cannot afford poverty wizards. However, what is the build and construction quality, and any idea on reliability? Is this a case of ‘you get what you pay for’?
      Thanks,

  2. 9
    ) Hoeras
    March 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, they have always been a bit rich for those who want to progress from Nikon’s CLS to proper Wireless.

    But let us give some credit to Phottix, they have clearly put pressure on them. In some cases, competition is a good thing even though if is not, as some think, the Messiah of the world.

    Sorry, couldn’t help add that corrective thought in.

    Oh. I just had a thought, will this work with the SU-800?

  3. 10
    ) Joseph
    March 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Will these work with the AC3 to control flash output>

    • March 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I’m very curious about that too… If not, than $99 is still a waste of money for what is essentially a dumb transceiver. Anyone?

  4. 11
    ) yogesh
    March 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Romanas,

    I am planning to buy a similar remote flash trigger but i am a beginner and would highly appreciateyour opinion. I would like to use my SB-700 flash as a remote flash and am planning to buy pocketwizard plus III.
    The thing i dont know is, do i have to purchase any other equipment like othe remote control, or a cable in order to fire my flash? I am planning to purchase 2 more flash lights in the future but first i would like to get better with one flash using remotly.

    Plz advise,
    sincerely
    yogesh

  5. March 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I am rather annoyed at Pocketwizard. Their Nikon Flex and Mini system STILL does NOT have support for the D600. For such an expensive system it hurts for sure!

  6. 13
    ) Wally
    March 2, 2013 at 6:55 am

    There is so much misunderstanding out there when it comes to wireless triggers. I would suggest spending an evening with a search engine and the internet or better yet manufacturers manuals and do some exploring to learn more. Key is that every one of these wireless trigger “systems” is more or less proprietary. They are designed to support only functions and devices within their brand. You can certainly hack any system if you have the knowledge and one company just announced support of the Yongnuo 602, at east to trigger them. I expect this will happen more frequently in the 2.4 Ghz field where all the cheaper triggers dominate. People have knocked the price of PocketWizard for a long time. Trust me, they don’t care. Pocketwizard has a different mission versus Phottix, Yongnuo, etc. PocketWizard operates in a spectrum where the frequencies have to be purchased but they own them which allows for the range they get, less interference, and the ability to offer pro’s their own custom range of frequencies for additional cost. It also serves to drive up their costs. A SI pro shooting at the Kentucky Derby can set his remote cameras up, and shoot on his own purchased and frequency customized PocketWizards knowing other pro’s can’t step on his signal. This means a lot.
    I first started with Cactus triggers, they worked some times, range was iffy and triggering rate was less than 50%. I stepped up to another 2.4 GHz system, a tiny bit better reliability but still had interference problems and the range was still poor but I did need more reliable triggering. I finally went with PW, its rare if something doesn’t fire now and if it happens, its usually due to low or dead batteries. PW’s do like power.
    There are trade offs in everything. Some are acceptable, others not, it all depends on your point and needs. I use the PW CTL system, its quirky due to it’s methods but it does work IF you understand it. It is not Nikon CLS (and whatever Canon’s system is called), its not close so don’t expect it to be. They use their own language, their own exposure methodology so you have to learn it. you can’t assume that you know CLS so you know CTL. Your pictures will suck if you do.
    I’ve spent the time and frustration to learn it and now my studio strobes (with and without PW support), my Nikon flashes, my PW Plus III’s and my TT1 and TT5’s all live in harmony with my Sekonic L-358. I just can’t get that coverage with Phottix, no matter how much I admire their stuff. I’ll add a few Plus X’s for those simple times I just want to quickly trigger a camera or when I’m a guest in another studio and need it on their lights.
    By all means use what you need and buy accordingly, but please, spend the time to educate yourself about wireless flash triggering. Read manuals, ask questions, read product wiki’s…..do your homework.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      14
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      March 2, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Perhaps I refrained myself from as much detail, Wally, but I did say PW’s are renown for their quality and reliability, and one of the biggest strengths PlusX offers is compatibility with the rest of PW family. I’m not that much into strobing, so I can’t really give all the details and benefits of owning a PW system. I just know they’re the best.

      Thank you very much for giving a much more thorough explanation, though, I’m sure many will find it very useful!

  7. 15
    ) Wally
    March 2, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Hey, my comment was aimed at the general public, not you as the author of the article. Very sorry if it came across that way…..

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      16
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      March 2, 2013 at 7:05 am

      Nah, don’t see it as a defensive response, it’s not. I am indeed very grateful for your input.

      Best of luck!

  8. 17
    ) anonpost007
    March 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I guess PocketWizard didn’t get the memo. The price point to beat is $50 in order to remain relevant in the marketplace.

  9. 19
    ) Phil
    March 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Brian,
    Are you sure PW Flex and Mini system won’t support D600. I have a D600 and I was going to order Flex and Mini system this weekend. I will hold my purchase till I found the fact.

  10. 23
    ) Rohan Machado
    March 4, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Total crap. Yangnou are much better for fraction of the price – both transmitter & receivers.

  11. 24
    ) Ron
    March 4, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Nice triggers, but a little late for me. I’m using the Impact PowerSync 16 system with great results. Very reliable, and allows sync speeds of 1/250. The best part is that a transmitter and receiver cost $150 for both, and an additional receiver can be had for $90. Plus, the transmitter for the hotshoe is tiny, much smaller than the transceivers used with other makes, and can be set up to work as a remote shutter release. Flashes can be mounted to the receiver via hotshoe or 3.5mm sync cord, and the receiver has a teather for securing it to a lightstand. Lots of reliability and thoughtful touches for a good price-point.

  12. 25
    ) Hoeras
    March 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Pocketwizards are supposed to be reliable?

    Well?

    Just bought a Mini-TT1 and three Flex TT5

    The TT5 all work perfectly, but the TT1 drove me completely bonkers. After burn $30 worth of CR2450 batteries, I thought of a simple test. I opened a fresh CR2450 battery and it measured a healthy 3.24V – I then inserted the battery into Mini-TT1.

    Now this is where it gets interesting, the TT1 wasn’t even turned on – and taking the battery out just a minute later it had dropped to 2.7V and also felt maybe a tad warm. This brand new TT1, straight out of the box, was drawing power, a LOT of it, even before turning the unit on.

    Needless to say, it is going back and I want a TT5 (AA batteries) to replace it, as they just have been working perfectly.

    So the TT5’s are great, but has anybody had a problem with the TT1?

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