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Thread: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

  1. #1
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    Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!



    I'm about to blow a gasket over my PW PlusII's.

    This must be the most unreliable radio system ever.

    Not sure if my body is lead lined but they are so hit and miss I'm ready to stick them all on ebay and replace with Air Sync's. 95% when shooting horizontally they work fine but as soon as I go to vertical is 50/50 if they fire and its always when you need them most that they fail.

    So, Phase are doing a deal on the V-Grip where you get two Air Sync's free (including the grip that's 3 units) and was wondering what people thought of the Air Sync system when not shooting Profoto (Bowens) and how the V-Grip works as a trigger?

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Sounds like there's something wrong with either your PW or your camera, they are anything but unreliable.

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    Member JCVG's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    I've never had a misfire with a PW. Not even once in many years (and I use the PW + II). So maybe this unit is defective or there is a connection problem if it happens mostly when you shoot vertical. Maybe the weight can cause a bad connection in this position?

    So just breath, relax and check it when you feel better.

    I also use the AIR remotes (with my Hasselblad) since i switched to Profoto and I really love it as it allows me to setup my groups, turn on and off the flashes, the modeling lamps, adjust the power for every single strobes etc. As reliable as PW (well in my case ) but much more possibilities. If you use them with other brands it will be likely just to fire your strobes and as you have already the PW...

    (BTW if you want to give away your PW instead of smashing them I will pay the shipping).

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Certainly an atypical experience as PWII are extremely reliable.

    Check the batteries. Replace the triggering cord.

    No love for the current V-grip, but the current promotional offer is attractive to move towards Profoto Air, particularly for wireless higher flash sync capabilities.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Love the air system. Shoot two straight days in studio in vertical mode over 1k in shots with remote in hot shoe not one misfire.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Only had a Phase 645 camera for a short while as I was totally tech camera so not much experience with that but on my Canon 1DSIII it's a total nightmare when used in the hotshoe.

    When vertical, the camera can be set up on a triopd ready to go and I press the shutter and nothing. Walk over to the Mac and trigger from there and all fires fine.

    Very frustrating and I sometime go back to using a cable, thats how annoying it can be.

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Very odd. Only time i had PW go wonky on me was when synch cable from back to shoe or from lens to back (on RZ) was going nutters.

    However there was one time at my workshop back in Russia, when i had my american PW and one of students brought in new TTLed PW for Canon and they were clashing like crazy (TTLed ones were dropping dead or misfiring).

    That said - i like Skyports better (so much that PW became my backup system)

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    The MultiMax system is beautiful. Through walls, up a few floors, etc.

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Giles View Post
    The MultiMax system is beautiful. Through walls, up a few floors, etc.
    I'm not disputing that as they are great with very good range when they work.

    When they don't...... all I see is that red mist filling the room!

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    I'm not disputing that as they are great with very good range when they work.

    When they don't...... all I see is that red mist filling the room!

    The most frequent complaints I've had with PW's have been from clients who are using them with PW embedded packs, like the ProFoto R units, though this has been relatively infrequent. Otherwise, if the PW is not embedded, then there is also the factor of the reliability of the cable itself going from the PW to the pack. But typically this would more often cause it not to fire at all, rather than fire sporadically.

    We've had excellent results so far with the ProFoto Air enabled units and also with adding the Air Sync units to 3rd party monolights and packs.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

  11. #11
    jeffacme
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    It is almost always the batteries 1st or the cable 2nd. I have been using the Vgrip/Profoto Air Sync for a year or so with Air enabled Profoto lights and many other non Profoto configurations. It has performed flawlessly for me in studio and a myriad location scenarios. Don't really like the build of the Vgrip but the firmware update port and Air sync built in make it a screaming deal even without the free stuff you get with the current promotion.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Over a decade of PW use, had one unit go bad (an assistant probably dropped it and never told me : -( ... used them to fire Profoto R pacs and Compact Rs ... horizontally and vertically, many different cameras, including use with a Multi-Shot back where a misfire aborts the sequence ... zero issues. Used on an RZ with digital back with the PW mounted horizontally in the RZs side hot shoe ... never missed. Hard wired using a digital back on a tech camera ... never misfired.

    One thought regarding your Canon you could look into, that happened to me, was that the hot-shoe itself can come loose ... I popped the silver spring thingy out and there are screws under it that you can tighten, and mine were a bit loose ... at least they were on my Canon 1Ds MkII ... or maybe the 5D, can't remember.

    I use Profoto AIR for most stuff now because both my Hensel and newer Profoto gear use the same radio system. I like them, but I think they are more fragile than PWs ... and to fire a non-AIR pack with the Air Sync transceiver requires Gerry-Rigging the AIR receiver to the pack.

    The new PW-IIIs are really nice, and I'll pick up a few of them in future.

    -Marc

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Thanks for the replies.

    I am using a hots hoe mounted PW to fire Bowens mono lights with built in radio cards so maybe its the Bownes unit that is the problem and not the PlusII's. Also great tip about the hot shoe on the Canon.

    I did notice last night shooting a small table top setup (6ft x 6ft area) with my DF that if I stood between the camera and flash head the PW wouldn't trigger. Move behind the camera and all fired fine. Its like using Wein infrared triggers again rather than radio.

    I'll have to try dangling some PlusII's of my lights and see if that helps matters and rule out the internal radio cards.

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Rather than dangle them, maybe mount them at a 45 degree angle. The problems you have when switching from horizontal to vertical makes me think that something in your studio is exacerbating the antenna directional issues that PWs have. If the one at your light is at a slant, then you won't ever have the PWs at right angles to each other.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    [QUOTE=gazwas;398104]....I did notice last night shooting a small table top setup (6ft x 6ft area) with my DF that if I stood between the camera and flash head the PW wouldn't trigger. Move behind the camera and all fired fine. Its like using Wein infrared triggers again rather than radio.

    ....QUOTE]

    For the past ten years, I've never had to worry about positioning my PWs in a horizontal or vertical fashion (though I know it can be a suggested workaround or increase range). What you describe sounds more like radio frequency interference, whether from your surroundings or from the equipment. Unfortunately, that may not be as easy to remedy as replacing your batteries or the PW sync cord.

    It could also be alien communication interference. Try placing aluminum foil on your head to block those signals. Make sure to post photos here...

    ken

    (sorry, I'm even sillier without that first cup of morning coffee...)

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    I have had occasional bouts of mis-fires both with pocket wizards as well as skyports.
    What I found was that there is a whole lot of interference in my house.
    two wifi access points, about 9 wifi clients, two cell phones, six wireless phones, 18 wireless switches, three wireless thermometers, and two cell phones.
    Many of these are operating in the same unlicensed band as the wireless strobe triggers.
    I bet if I were to rent a spectrum analyzer I could get a reading on this but just from their behavior the poor triggers are mostly blameless. If I move a wireless skyport receiver to be adjacent to a wireless imac and move several feet away with the skyport transmitter it just will not fire.
    -bob

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    The Air Syncs seem to use a much higher frequency of 2.4ghz vs 433mhz on the PW.

    Will this help my trigger wow's or is the Air Sync's 2.4ghz equally congested/blockable by my head?

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    the 2.4 Ghz band is particularly sensitive to wifi interference.
    -bob

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    the 2.4 Ghz band is particularly sensitive to wifi interference.
    -bob
    So spending money on the V-Grip/Air Sync's may make matters worse!

    .......... where's that sync cable.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Maybe this is too simplistic (I don't have nearly as much wireless stuff around as Bob!) but maybe try playing around with using different PW channels?

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Another thing you might try would be to use a PocketWizard MultiMax in sniffer mode to determine where the interference is strongest. Unfortunately the new PlusIIIs don't have the noise-sniffing feature, so the expensive one is the only option.

    If you are anywhere near LA or San Diego, I can loan you a MultiMax for the test.
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  22. #22
    jeffacme
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    I have not had any interference issue with Air Sync in studio or on location.

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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Quote Originally Posted by gss View Post
    If you are anywhere near LA or San Diego, I can loan you a MultiMax for the test.
    Its a bit far to pop round as I'm in the UK but thanks for the very kind offer!

  24. #24
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    How close are your PW's?

    Sometimes I've had trouble if shooting in close proximity... there is a definitely a "too close for comfort" distance with some of the pocketwizards. Shooting weddings, sometimes if I was in the macro range shooting wedding rings and the camera and the remote flash were in close proximity I'd get misfires.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Smashing Pocketwizards against a wall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    How close are your PW's?

    Sometimes I've had trouble if shooting in close proximity... there is a definitely a "too close for comfort" distance with some of the pocketwizards. Shooting weddings, sometimes if I was in the macro range shooting wedding rings and the camera and the remote flash were in close proximity I'd get misfires.
    I was thinking the same thing Shelby.

    I know when you register the channel on the older Profoto Compact R with PW receivers, you had to press and hold the PW sender button for a couple of seconds, and if you were too close to the light, it wouldn't register ... first time that happened I thought the internal receiver or PW transmitter was defective.

    -Marc

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