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PocketWizard Re-Emerges With The Release Of The Better, Newer, Plus IV

By Kishore Sawh on March 10th 2016

When PocketWizard released the Plus III, it was a moment to savor, because it was the moment when the world of digital transceivers seemed to embark down a sensible road again. You see, PocketWizard triggers had been the gold standard in a market of few, and because of that domination, they could afford to, and did charge a premium for their product. As is natural in that sort of market environment, the seeds of competition were sewn by various companies no one ever heard of or cared for, who would compete on the basis of price. Queue then, the proliferation of discount triggers and a divide between the good and the unreliable.

PocketWizard seemed totally uncaring about the new eBay offerings and continued to produce products that were very good, but pricey. They knew their mettle was proved, and the other brands were just so far behind. So if you were looking to buy, you either dropped a lot of cash on PWs, or you spent about 1/8th of a PW on something like a Neewer or Yongnuo, or Cactus or whatnot and realized rather quickly that these cheap triggers were just not reliable.

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Fast forward a bit and PocketWizard was still going on with the same, but in the meantime, the other brands started becoming a little better, and thus a lot more appealing. Where before they were little more than disposable training wheels for beginners, they became just decent enough for enthusiasts to use, and not that I’ve seen the P&L statements, but PW was likely bruised. What many of us knew, however, was that for the working professional, PWs were still better by a measure of reliability, and on set or in the field that’s paramount to price. So when they released the Plus III, with all those features at a smaller price point, it showed that PW listened.

And then they fell silent.

Not quite in a Wonka factory manner, PW seemed to just drift out of view, quietly chugging on with daily operations, busy, no doubt, with the resounding success of the Plus III, even though they did, sort of, have communication issues when they weren’t upright. But now they’ve finally released the Plus IV, which picks up right where the Plus III left off, equaling in price and besting in features. With each unit coming in at $153 USD, they’re not cheap, but historically speaking they are better.

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They look, as many have noted, a bit like the Plus III on its side, and that design allows what some will say is the best of both worlds: You can do on-camera TTL and control remote flashes. When used as a transmitter, the IV will control most Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus flashes, and of course, it’ll communicate nicely and fully with PocketWizard-enabled gear such as some offerings from Profoto, Dynalite, Sekonic, and so on. Karen Marshall, CEO of LPA Design, the U.S.-based manufacturer, and distributor of PocketWizard products had this to say,

Serious photographers understand the benefits of controlling the light at the time of exposure, both in-studio and on location…I’m delighted that PocketWizard engineers have been able to add TTL pass–through, for use with on-camera flash, and a metal foot and applied it to our time-tested technology, offering our users even greater versatility.

[REWIND: LIGHTING 201: OUR 2 FAVORITE RADIO TRIGGERS]

In a slightly strange move, the company suggests that this is not an outright replacement of the Plus III, but rather something to use in conjunction with, describing a scenario as having an on-camera IV for TTL and the Plus III on studio strobes. Interesting. I just spent some time with and reviewed the Impact PowerSync 16-80 triggers which are significantly less expensive than PWs but with almost as rich a feature list, and in my experience (though not shooting weddings and I’m strictly a no-TTL guy), they worked very well – exceedingly well one might say. I’m very interested to see just how much better these can be, but I gather they are something special. Get your shiny new and workhorse Plus IV here.

If lighting is your game or you want to make sure you get up to speed at record speeds, then Lighting 201 is right up your alley.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

8 Comments

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  1. Hao Wong

    What’s the point of this for Canon users? If it isn’t cheaper than the Canon RT and other brands as well why choose this?

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  2. Marc Weisberg

    I’ve been a PW user for over a decade. Yes, there are many, many far less expensive alternatives available in the market. They’ve always been reliable and rock solid for me. I use them with my Porfoto gear and until recently coupled them with my Neewer TT850’s. Only due to the flexibility of being able to control the individual TT850’s from an on camera controller/tramsmitter, I switched over the the Godox receivers and transmitters for the TT850’s. 6 Godox receivers and 2 Godox trasmiters were only $120! And they work perfectly in the field. I still have and use for all my Profoto gear but the savings and reliability of the Godox is amazing for the price.

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  3. Vince Arredondo

    I agree. I use Yongnuo 622N and TX and they have never failed on me. O bought a bunch of them… not a single misfire. I still dont see the point to invest on a pricey radio when these work really well.
    Also, for me is very important to control the power from camera, and the TTL version of PW is really really bad.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      I have the FlexTT5’s and the cross compatibility between speedlights and Einsteins to control power is not found anywhere else. The HSS the Flex system gives me with speedlights is also a plus. I have a few PlusIII’s that I use with my streaklights and dynalights.

      The zone system is great and turning them on and off are a breeze, as opposed to the Impact Powersync where you have to hold down the button for a couple of seconds to activate/deactivate the zone. When you are on the fly the quick change helps.

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  4. Landon Wise

    Having switched from the Plus III’s to Yongnuo in order to have a flash on-camera at the same time (and E-TTL), this announcement immediately jumped out at me . The Plus IV definitely seems appealing, but knowing that I can essentially buy 4 perfectly capable Yongnuos for the price of 1 PocketWizard- it’s kind of a no brainer. If Yongnuo (or any other brand) would be lacking in the performance department it would be more enticing but like you said, these ‘cheap’ brands have essentially caught up with the industry leader.
    I’ve used the Yongnuo YN-622C’s for about a year now and I quickly learned that even though the Yongnuos were significantly less than my PW’s, their reliability was (in most cases) better.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      Just out of curiosity, do you shoot weddings and events? Or product?

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    • Landon Wise

      I shoot weddings and primarily use them during receptions. So I’m sure if I was shooting in a more controlled environment like a studio and needed all of the functionality, it would be a much different story.

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  5. Joseph Ford

    I love that Pocket Wizard is not resting on their laurels. but the real thing I looking to do is a system from flash to strobe that supports TTL. So far only Phottix supports in a way that makes sense.

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