Photography techniques

New Pixel King E-TTL flash radio triggers

I just received a set of new Pixel King E-TTL radio triggers and I must say am very impressed.  I purchased transmitter/receiver pair from eBay for about AUD$150:

I set them up with my Canon 5D mark II and 580exII speedlites.  The E-TTL works really well and supports A,B & C groups in normal & high speed sync.  Second curtain sync dent work and group ratios are not supported making the use of multiple speedlites less than ideal for creative work.  One other odd thing is the hotshot on top of the transmitter doesn't function, so you can't use an on-camera fill flash with this setup.  BUT...manual mode is awesome!  You can use the 3 groups and set individual power settings and zoom settings for each group all from the back of the 5DmkII menu system.  This is fantastic when using the Westcott soft box that normally requires a wrestling match to change a power/zoom setting on the speedlite inside.  You can swap between E-TTL & manual from the camera as well - everything plays along.

These units use a radio frequency of 2.4Ghz and so don't suffer the issues that the Pocket Wizards have with interference when using 580ExII speedlites.

A USB connection is supported to allow firmware upgrades, so I am hoping the E-TTL group ratio aspect will be fixed in time.



[caption id="attachment_210" align="alignnone" width="458" caption="Pixel King E-TTL radio trigger for Canon flash 580EXII"]Pixel King E-TTL radio trigger attached to Canon 5D mark II[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_209" align="alignnone" width="458" caption="Pixel King E-TTL radio trigger with canon 580EXII attached"]Pixel King E-TTL radio trigger with canon 580EXII attached[/caption]

Setting up Really Right Stuff pano head with Canon 5DmkII, 16-35mm f/2.8 L II & 24-70mm f/2.8 L

I have had to retire my DIY panning setup as a) it can't hold up the 5DmkII with grip, lenses & etc b) the sharp edges keep taking chunks out of my head as I carry my tripod around on location.  I opted for the RRS (Really Right Stuff) single row pano package:

The package incorporates the PCL-1 Panning Clamp and the  MPR-CL II Nodal Slide.  To mount the 5DmkII body (with grip), I also purchased the matching L-bracket:

Delivery was amazing; about 4 days to country victoria, Australia.


Here is the camera setup on my tripod in the process of setting the nodal slide distances.

[caption id="attachment_178" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Canon 5dmkII with 24-70mm L f/2.8 on RRS pano slide"][/caption]

I placed two light stands in front of the lens, one at the Hyper Focal Distance for each selected focal length and one about 5 meters away.  I have only done the setup at f/11 for each lens, given that is a pretty common f-stop for my landscape work.  I generally have the focus set on the HFD win doing landscapes, so the test setup should be reasonably realistic.  The Live View was turned on and I found it quite easy to get very close the correct settings using the x10 magnification and the preview button next to the lens.  Once I was close, I took a number of shots with the light stands lined up in the dead centre of the frame and almost at both edges.  Once I had alignment on all three, the value was recorded and repeated for both lenses and the various marked focal lengths.

The RRS slide has a side scale that starts at 1 and goes to 18 cm.  The example below, I have called 6mm.

Here are my results:

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II on Canon 5DmkII body


16-35mm f/2.8 L II @ f/11 focused at HFD
Focal Length RRS Slide position
16mm 36.5mm
20mm 41.0mm
24mm 41.5mm
28mm 41.5mm
35mm 38.5mm


Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L on Canon 5DmkII body

24-70mm f/2.8 L @ f/11 focused at HFD
f/11 focused at HFD
Focal Length RRS Slide position
24mm 5mm
28mm 15.0mm
35mm 19.5mm
50mm 32.0mm
70mm 48.5mm


Now off to take some panos....