Sony A99 wireless strobe solution

You probably already know I’m now shooting with the Sony Alpha 99.
When adding a new system to your workflow (or a new tool to your toolbox, whatever you want to call it) there are always things that don’t work, or don’t work as you would want to, and this time it’s no different. It started with the option to shoot tethered. This was quickly solved by the great guys from DNA software (www.dslrsoftware.com). They make a great little plugin for Lightroom and it works flawless, so make sure to check them out. So for studio work and location work we are now in working order…. but….. there still is that problem of small flash.

 

Small flash, believe it or not, is a vital part of my “toolbox” for example, when traveling abroad (plane) it makes no sense to drop a Quadra in my luggage with 2 heads, it’s much easier to just bring two strobes with a trigger and some flash benders, you can make amazing shots with just these tools (see my recent desert images which were shot with just 2 strobes and the flashbenders). But we need something to trigger those strobes…..

With Canon and Nikon we have their own solutions and of course the PocketWizard TT series (which I love). Canon recently released their radio trigger system that in my opinion absolutely rocks. I loved the TT1 and TT5 but when I got their RT system I must admit I never touched my beloved PocketWizards again :D. So going from the RT system to the Sony system was a bit of a “shock” you can of course buy the Sony strobes and use one on camera and one as main strobe but with the pricing of the strobes I find it really difficult to swallow the price for using the on camera strobe just as a trigger. So I started my search for something else….. thanks to G+ I came in contact with a company called Phottix, today a blog post about their product and what it can do for you (because they also deliver the same system for Canon and Nikon) and trust me… this you really want to check out.

Let me first start by giving you some information about Phottix.

 

About Phottix
It started with Team Phottix’s passion for photography. Their journey so far has been rewarding: Finding practical solutions to the needs and challenges faced by photographers in their never-ending pursuit of an excellent shot. Phottix is a cutting-edge international company specializing in photography accessories. Commitment and innovation best describe Phottix: Commitment to developing original and innovative photography equipment and accessories for photographers world-wide. Due to this commitment Phottix products are well received by retailers and photographers. From the industry-lauded Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger, to the Strato II Multi trigger and full line of studio equipment, Phottix is at the forefront of the industry.

 

Phottix is comprised of an international team, and has opened offices in Germany, Poland and Hong Kong. The professionals of Phottix are engaged in research and development, marketing, distribution, and technical support.

Ok so now you know something about the company but I guess you also want to know a bit about the product right ?
Well some people might already know it from the Canon and Nikon versions, but let’s introduce the Odin system for people who don’t. When you’re familiar with the radio trigger systems from for example pocket wizard it’s not a real new thing for you but when you’re not…. the nice thing about systems like this is that it does not only trigger the strobes, you can even do that with skyports or other brands that offer a cable release, just add a hotshoe and you’re done but you’re stuck in manual mode, with systems like the pocket wizard and Odin you are not stuck in Manual… they transfer the TTL signal through the radio system and this is awesome, it makes setups that need to go fast go really fast. No more line of sight (because it’s radio) and you don’t need to set the strobes manual, you can of course if you want to, it will do everything automatically via TTL.


My setup is most of the time that I shoot in full manual mode on the camera and let the strobes do the TTL, this way you can choose a high shutter speed to cut the ambient light and the strobe will fill in the model/subject with the proper exposure… but you need HSS (high speed sync) for that, and some radio systems are limited to around 1/200 so no HSS, well also here the Odin works. In other words you will get the same performance and tools as you have with the strobe on camera, but now it’s off camera.

 

As you can already see in the images it does not stop there.
With the Pocketwizard TT series you are transmitting the signal only, so you cannot change output from the TT1, you can set the output in groups with the addition of the AC3 but it’s still a bit different than with what you can do on the strobes itself. The Canon RT system does this much better by offering you essentially all the settings of the strobes on the unit you place on the camera, but…. sadly enough it’s only for Canon. That’s why I’m so excited to see that the Odin system does the same thing, because let’s be honest when you’re used to something it’s very hard to go back. It’s the same as with the A99, I’m a very happy Canon user but the image quality, Focus performance and the WYSIWYG EVF of the A99 is just to good to let go after a test period. So without wasting too much of your time let’s run you through the specs of the Odin system.

Phottix Odin TTL Trigger for Sony Product Overview
(http://www.phottix.com/en/studio-accessories/phottix-odin-ttl-flash-trigger-for-sony.html)

 

The Phottix Odin™ TTL Trigger consists of an on-camera transmitter and control unit (TCU) and receiver units for compatible hot shoe flashes.
The Odin offers photographers four wireless channels and three flash control group designations. Flashes can be controlled in TTL or manual mode, or A:B ratio mode with EV +/- adjustments of three stops. What makes the Phottix Odin unique is the ability to designate groups in TTL/Mixed mode. Individual groups, A, B, C, can also be controlled in TTL mode with EV +/- adjustments. Groups can also be set to Manual mode, adjusting power levels remotely in 1/3 stop increments, or turned off.

 

Functions

·       Wireless 2.4GHz. TTL and Manual Flash Triggering
·       Remote power control of groups in TTL with +/- EV adjustments (3 stops in 1/3 stop increments  – 18 different levels.)
·       Remote manual mode flash power control with 1/3 stop adjustments
·       Remote flash head zoom adjustments – auto or manual
·       Mix TTL and Manual flash – fire some groups in TTL, others as manual
·       Remote power control in A:B ratio modes with +/- EV adjustments
·       High speed sync – shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec.
·       Second curtain sync functions
·       Compatible with Phottix Strato 4-in-1 and Phottix Strato II Multi 5-in-1 Wireless Triggers
·       Upgradeable firmware via built-in USB port.

 

 

So it all sounds interesting right ?
Well to be honest I can’t wait to testdrive this system, at the moment Phottix is finalizing the system for the Sony system and I hope to receive a set in the coming weeks, when I do I will keep you updated of course. If you are using Canon or Nikon you can of course already use their system, so surf to their site at http://www.phottixstore.com and check them out.