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