FAQs - Answers to Questions We Get All the Time.
After the questions about what cable is needed for what (see the Cable Finder for those answers), there are several more that we get on a regular basis.So, before sending an email or picking up the phone, try checking these FAQs for the information you need. It's often the fastest way to an answer!
Of course, if you don't find it here, feel free to email or call your local distributor.
Will new PocketWizard units work with old?
Yes. All PocketWizards work with each other. Just set the channels to the same number.
Why do PocketWizard radios use miniphone connectors rather than the "industry standard" PC / locking PC / household / etc.?
There are several connectors common to the photo industry, but there is no specific industry standard. The PC is close to an industry standard, but it is not the same from brand to brand and is not included in all equipment. There are three primary reasons why miniphone connections are used:
a. Reliability - the PC connector is a notoriously weak connector. The MultiMAX is designed for ultimate reliability and there is no easy or cost effective way to improve the PC connection. Even with improvements there is still the high probability that it will never be as reliable as a miniphone connection.
b. Safety - the household connection used in many flash connections can be mistakenly plugged into a standard household outlet causing a very unsafe situation. By not using this connector the likelihood of this type of accident is greatly reduced.
c. Availability - if you desire to make your own cords or if a miniphone plug is damaged or destroyed then it is very easy to find the miniphone connector. The miniphone standard connector is a universal connector and can be found in many sources.
What is "firmware" and what version should I be using?
All PocketWizard radio's operate using a type of computer program called firmware. All of the ControlTL radios, the Plus III and the most recent MultiMAX have a USB port that allow them to be updated with new firmware via the PocketWizard Utility. ControlTL radios also have many features that can be configured via the Utility.
IMPORTANT - When you update the firmware on your PocketWizard radios, make sure to update ALL similar units all to the same firmware version (all MultiMAX on same version, all MiniTT1/FlexTT5 on same version).
If similar radios have different firmware versions, they may not operate properly. Reverse compatibility for standard triggering will not be impacted by new firmware. Please follow the instructions in the Utility for updating your units. Click here to download the Utility.
Plus II and PlusX owners need not worry that their units don’t have a USB port. Plus II’s operational needs are much simpler then the MultiMAX or ControlTL radios and its firmware has been proven over several years of use.
Why won't my units trigger when I have them right next to each other?
A PocketWizard radio slave is designed to operate at long range. Units may not trigger normally at an extremely short range of a few inches or less. Antennas that are touching each other are definitely not recommended. Move the units several inches to a few feet apart and try again.
How can I get longer range?
First, follow the orientation and positioning guidelines in your product's instruction manual regarding Radio Performance.
If you need to trigger from farther away than the 1600 foot range of the MultiMAX you need to use additional units. Follow these steps:
1. Set one pair of units (one RECEIVE, one TRANSMIT) to same channel and zone
2. Set a second pair of units to a different channel
3. Attach PORT 2 from first RECEIVE unit to PORT 1 of second TRANSMIT unit
4. Triggering first TRANSMIT unit will trigger second RECEIVE unit. Use additional pairs to further increase range.
Each pair increases the triggering delay by 1/2000 (0.0005) second in normal mode, 1/4000 (0.00025) second in Fast Mode. This means that flash Synch over great distances will require slower shutter speeds. Use the chart below for general distance calculations. The chart below assumes a 1/1000 (0.0010) flash duration, and F:8.0 for a leaf shutter. Slower shutter cameras or long duration flashes will not achieve these maximums. The MultiMAX does not imbue your camera with greater Synch speeds than it was designed for. If your camera can't Synch at the speeds in the table below, use the next lowest speed at which it can Synch. Read Camera Equalization to further understand precision timing issues.
Why isn't there a radio relay mode to just do this automatically?
The delay time to switch from RECEIVE to TRANSMIT is greater than the nearly instantaneous triggering you get using the pair system described above (How can I get longer range?).
Long distance flash trigger timing is critical and there is no way to make an auto-switching unit faster than the pair system. As an example, the fastest shutter speed that could be achieved with a single auto-switching MultiMAX pair would be 1/125.
How do you operate remote pre-trigger on and off?
This requires a MultiMAX at each end, (Version 6.XX or higher) and a special electronic shutter-release cable. (Only Nikon and Canon cords are currently available)
Select any channel from 17-32 and one sub-channel (A, B, C or D) for both units.
On the MultiMAX being used as the transmitter, press the button of the selected sub-channel to switch the camera between its "awake" and "sleep" modes. This important feature saves the camera's battery power during long intermissions or periods of inactivity at certain events.
Why is my remotely-fired camera and flash not synching?
If a remote camera and flash are set to the same channel, the flash is going off well before the camera's shutter has a chance to open. What has to happen is that the photographer has to fire the camera on one channel, then the camera has to fire the flash on a different channel. The RELAY mode feature of the Plus II and MultiMAX will have the unit first receive a signal to fire the camera on one channel, and then transmit a second signal to fire the flash on another.
Will optical slaves work if one flash is fired with a PocketWizard?
Yes they will. However if you work where others are using flash, (weddings, parties, etc.) you are better off using PocketWizard radio slaves on all remote flashes to "close off" your lighting system to other cameras and flashes.
Will other wireless systems work with PocketWizard?
No. Some systems use less reliable infrared signals. PocketWizard devices use a 16-bit digitally-encoded radio signal that is not susceptible to most forms of interference. Other radios systems are assigned different frequencies by the FCC.
Does auto focus work with a remote camera?
Auto focus will work, but how it works depends on the camera and how auto-focus is set. (usually single or continuous) Many photographers prefer to pre-focus a remote camera manually to avoid any possible AF delays.
Can I get private channels?
Yes. If you expect to work in a location where other photographers might be using the same channels as yourself, you may opt to have private channels (otherwise known as Custom ID's) installed into your MultiMAX.
Shooting high-profile sporting events (Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series) can put you in a situation where even the 32 channels on the MultiMAX are not enough.
This option is available only directly from LPA Design; call (802) 658-0038 for price and lead-time.
Are long exposures possible with a remotely fired camera?
Holding the “TEST” button down with the camera in “B” will keep the shutter open, but battery power is being consumed by both the transmitter and receiver. For very long “B” exposures, a MultiMAX with settable contact time, or a mechanical cable release, is the better option.
What is the cord that came with my PW used for?
The PC1 cord that is included with all PocketWizard units is primarily for connecting a transmitter to a camera that does not have a hot shoe available. Plug one end into the PC socket found on the lens (leaf shutters) or body (focal plane shutters), and the other to the PocketWizard transmitter.
Note: This cord can also be used on the receiving end with certain shoe-mount flashes (Canon 580 EX II, and most Nikon flashes) to connect a PocketWizard receiver to the flash’s PC outlet.
On a trip to Europe, I had to purchase an extra PocketWizard, but it did not work with the ones I already own, is there a difference with the units sold overseas?
Yes: The units are set to different frequencies. In the United States, the FCC reserves the 344-354 MHz frequency for PocketWizard systems. In Europe, regulations assign 433-434 MHz. A PocketWizard sold in the USA bears the letters “FCC” on the outer shell; a European version will have the letters “CE.”
My MultiMAX is in a delay setting that I cannot get out of, how do you reset these units to factory defaults?
A MultiMAX can be reset to factory defaults by turning the unit off, then turning it back on while holding the “C” button down. The latest MultiMAX units can also be reset from the on-screen menu.
My PocketWizard will be mounted in place that cannot be reached for a long time; do these units go into a battery-saving mode?
A Plus II™ or USB MultiMAX will shut down after 40 hours; other units will remain on as long as the batteries allow.
Do you release beta versions of the firmware?
Yes, check out the Beta Lab for more information about beta testing new firmware.
Why does my flash or remote camera trigger as I plug it into or unplug it from the MultiMAX?
The miniphone jacks used for the ports on a PocketWizard are a standard type of jack that can briefly short as the connection is made or broken. If you do not want your device to trigger when plugging into or unplugging from a unit then power off the device before making or breaking connections.
In general, all equipment, including your PocketWizard devices, should be turned off when making or breaking connections.