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Firmware, software updates coming for MiniTT1, FlexTT5  
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | by Rob Galbraith
LPA Design is preparing a round of firmware updates for both the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5, as well as a new release of PocketWizard Utility for Mac and Windows. The firmware and software updates together will introduce the following changes:
  • The ability to choose between HyperSync and camera maker High Speed Sync at shutter speeds above 1/500. By choosing HyperSync at 1/640 at up, it will be possible to combine powerful studio strobes, an extreme HyperSync Offset value and a high shutter speed to, for example, balance or overcome bright outdoor ambient light. In our introductory article on the new PocketWizards last month, we referred to this capability as the second HyperSync mode, and it works by firing the flash well before when the camera normally would on its own.

    The new PocketWizards offer many combinations of flash + camera + sync speed. If you're new to the world of flash synchronization at shutter speeds above your camera's standard sync speed, prepare for some learning and experimentation to see which combinations are useful to you.

  • A basic triggering mode, intended primarily to allow the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 to be used as transmitters with cameras other than Canon and Nikon. This would include SLRs, medium format cameras (with either focal plane or leaf shutters) and pretty much anything else with a hot shoe that works with an existing PocketWizard like the Plus II now.

    When set to basic triggering mode, all but the centre pin of the feet of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 are disabled. This mode doesn't include ControlTL or HyperSync; used this way, the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 operate as simple PocketWizard transmitters, like a Plus II, but with the 32 Standard Channels and Custom ID support of the MultiMAX.

    LPA Design is still finalizing battery life and trigger delay specs for the basic triggering mode of each unit, but it's likely that the trigger delay time will be slightly longer than a Plus II or MultiMAX, which in turn could mean having to choose a slower shutter sync speed. For example, if you trigger strobes with a Plus II now, and you can achieve 1/250 without a black band appearing at the bottom of the frame, you might need to sync at 1/200 instead with the MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 set to basic triggering mode. MiniTT1 battery life is expected be somewhat less than the hundreds-of-hours rating given to the unit when attached to a Canon or Nikon that is fully compatible with the MiniTT1's advanced communications features.

    Note that basic triggering mode should only be enabled to use the MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 as a transmitter with cameras that aren't on the list of compatible Canon and Nikon models capable of ControlTL and HyperSync. Also note that because the foot designs of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 are meant to emulate the fit and pin layout of Canon and Nikon (in the respective Canon and Nikon versions of each), there's a small possibility that these PocketWizards may not slide easily, or at all, into the hot shoes of some cameras from other makers.

  • The MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 will fire any flash sitting in their hot shoes, not just ones they detect to be compatible with ControlTL. In this way, it's possible to place a flash like the Vivitar 285 in the hot shoe of the MiniTT1 on top of the camera and have it fire normally, or to mount a flash like a Nikon Speedlight SB-26 in the shoe of a FlexTT5 receiver and have it fire, much as it would if it were connected to a Plus II. These flashes are just examples, any number of shoe-mount flash models will be usable in either the MiniTT1 or FlexTT5, because when either PocketWizard doesn't detect a fully compatible flash on top, it will send a trigger signal via the centre pin only and not attempt advanced communications via the other shoe pins.

  • With a FlexTT5 receiver connected to a remote camera, continuous shooting is possible. This is true if the FlexTT5 isn't in the hot shoe of the remote camera, or if it is in the hot shoe of the remote camera and the Flex has been configured in PocketWizard Utility to ignore commands coming from the camera via the hot shoe. Continous shooting using Relay Mode to trigger a compatible Canon Speedlite is not possible, this scenario is one-frame-at-a-time shooting only.
LPA Design is targeting late in the week of March 9 for release of the new firmware for the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 Canon versions, plus an updated PocketWizard Utility. The firmware adds the feature changes described here; the new software will allow certain features, such as basic triggering mode, to be turned off and on.

PocketWizard Utility for Mac and Windows will automatically scan for updates to itself when launched on a computer with an Internet connection. The program is also the place to check for firmware updates for the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5, plus MultiMAX units equipped with a USB port too. As of this writing, the current version of PocketWizard Utility on each computing platform is 1.15. This is not the version that adds the new features described in this article, though 1.15 can be used to keep an eye out for that new version, which will probably be called 1.2 or later.

We'll post a story at the time the new firmware and new PocketWizard Utility come available.

Revision History
March 4, 2009: Corrected the description of changes made to continuous shooting mode.

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