Let there be light

20160319-10584804-900

Playing with my Canon flashguns using PocketWizard FlexTT5 triggers and an AC3 on my Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-Pro 2. They work fine as long as you don’t need TTL metering. (I don’t.)

Egg

For those interested in the details…

20160320-11534604-600First, I set the flash mode on the camera to ‘Forced flash’ to make sure flash is always triggered even if the camera thinks there’s enough ambient light.

Next, even though the camera just sees this as a simple on/off flash trigger, I want the AC3 to be able to control the flash levels on the Speedlites, so all of the communications between those bits need to be in TTL mode to get that level of control. So the Speedlites are in TTL mode, and all the PocketWizards are also configured to use TTL communications.

Finally, I want to adjust the levels manually, so the switches on the AC3 are set to the ‘M’ position, and I can use the dials to turn the individual flash levels up and down from the camera, even if they’re buried inside a softbox, or somewhere similarly inaccessible.

It’s possible you may see one other glitch if you try this, but it’s easy to fix. The central connector pin on the bottom of a flashgun does the basic triggering. The other ones are for the surrounding control communication, and manufacturers handle this differently, so Fuji equipment will be expecting different things on these pins from Canon kit, or from PocketWizards designed to work with Canon kit. This can cause confusion – in fact, when I first tried this, I got strange messages on the X-Pro 2 screen about internal temperature warnings – others have seen this too, and it’s presumed to be a bug in the early firmware, since it happens instantly when the camera is switched on from cold. This morning, I had no problem, but it may be a good idea anyway to stop the different parts from trying to communicate when they don’t speak the same language.

20160320-12214801-600Some people just put tape over the extra pins. Perhaps somebody sells a hotshoe adapter that only connects the single pin. I had a really dumb PC-sync-to-hotshoe adapter in the bottom of my bag, so I put this between the PocketWizard and the camera, and plugged it into the PC-sync socket on the Fuji… and it all worked beautifully, as well as giving me a bit of extra space for reaching controls and things. (See the top picture above.) Who would have thought that this old connector from the 50s would be a good way to connect to sophisticated high-speed bi-directional radio communication systems?!

All in all, I’m very happy with this setup, and it gives me one less reason to carry my heavy Canon kit around.

3 Comments

Quentin,
Thanks for posting the test, and I too am someone who saves all those little flash knick-knacks… I was very happy to see the old PC fitting on the side of the XPro-2. When I first shot editorial we used all kinds of rigs with speedlights all over the room: slaves, splitters… remember?

Unfortunately I sent my XP2 back as there were too many glitches to use professionally. Mine reset and got hot! When I set up the RMA any firmware fix was nowhere on the horizon… and who knows if the upcoming update will catch everything?
I know I will buy another in a month or so when Fuji sorts it, and my guarantee clock will be “reset” in my favor as opposed to keeping mine as they experiment.

I have an Odin TTL controller for my Canon flashes and when I bought an x100T I hoped it would fire with the Odin up top but no… With my Buff Einsteins their transmitters work fine on the XE2 and x100T. Please keep posting about the Fuji/PW experience in case I have to switch over.

Hello Quentin.

It really frustrates me that you get it to work on your X-Pro 2 and I donĀ“t. Is it really down to the PC-sync-to-hotshoe adapter you use? I have tried and tried and tried with my Nikon flashes. Taped over pins except the centre one on my TT1 . I can see that when pressing the test button on the TT1 that the Flex TT5 receives the signal. Switching to manual mode – the flash fires, alas, no luck with the AC3. Does it work for you with only the Flex and AC3 in the camera hotshoe, or have you not tried that?

Hi Tore –

I did have some problems with it directly in the shoe when I first tried it, but then it seemed to fix itself. I’m surprised, too, if you have Nikon kit because I thought I’d heard that that worked better than Canon with the Fujis.

Have you got the latest PocketWizard firmware?

I’d be surprised if using the PC-sync was radically different from using just the centre pin: I used my adapter simply because it was the easiest way to get centre-pin only. And because simple triggering using my Plus III worked fine…

Have you tried slower shutter speeds? The Forced Flash setting? And I seem to recall that some cameras don’t sync properly if you’re in silent mode (though I don’t think that was a Fuji issue).

Mmm…

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