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Gear Talk

This is the first in a series on Lighting, where we discuss the use of the variety of lighting gear available for rent from

PowerMC2 Receiver. Photo Courtesy

PowerMC2 Receiver. Photo Courtesy

Two new products are on their way to’s offices this week that should make the lighting and off-camera flash geeks among us pretty darn happy. As you may know, we’ve carried many of PocketWizard’s products in our inventory for some time now, including their newer line of “ControlTL” products. Thus far, we’ve carried the MiniTT1 on-camera trigger and the FlexTT5 transceiver. Later this week, we’ll be adding two more ControlTL products to the list: the PowerMC2 receiver for Paul C. Buff’s Einstein monolights and the AC3 ZoneController.

The PowerMC2 receiver, developed in partnership with Paul C. Buff, the manufacturer of the AlienBees, White Lightning and Einstein monoblocs, is specific to the Einstein E640 monobloc, which we rent. It allows you to remotely set the power level on the Einstein when you have a MiniTT1 or a FlexTT5 on your camera. By adjusting the Flash Exposure Compensation setting on your camera, you can move the power on the Einstein up and down.

Furthermore, by using the PocketWizard utility to configure your MiniTT1 or FlexTT5, you can also use PocketWizard’s Hypersync feature, which allows you to shoot at shutter speeds higher than your camera’s rated sync speed. Normally, you’d only be able to do this with a Nikon Speedlight or a Canon Speedlite, depending on your setup. The PowerMC2 allows a similar level of control for your setup as well.

We’ve gotten shutter speeds as high as 1/500 on a Canon 5D Mark II and an Einstein monobloc, and up to 1/1000 (and sometimes a bit more) on the Canon 7D. On a Nikon D300s, we’ve gotten up to 1/4000. For some reason, the Nikon shutters seem to eke out a bit more than the Canon’s do.

AC3 ZoneController. Photo Courtesy

AC3 ZoneController. Photo Courtesy

The AC3 ZoneController takes the capabilities of the ControlTL system one step further by introducing the ability to control lights in either auto or manual modes in up to 3 groups. So, you could have a hair-light, a key light and a fill light, all set to different levels, all adjustable directly from the camera. Previously, this was only possible with Speedlites, and you’d need to have a Speedlite on top of the MiniTT1 to do groups and ratios.

Confused yet? We know. The ControlTL stuff has a learning curve, especially for those getting started in the field. We’ll try to simplify things as we talk more about this.

The true power of the ControlTL system is in mixing different types of lights. The image of the wine bottle below was done with three lights – two Einstein Monoblocs and one Canon 580EX II Speedlite. We’ll have a separate blog post on the details of the setup behind the shot later, but all lights were set to automatic exposure, with the Speedlite set to an exposure seting of -1 EV.

Three-light product shot.

Three-light product shot.

So, whether you’re shooting with Speedlites or Speedlights or any other system, we’ll be showing breaking down different setups in great detail as part of this series. Watch for new posts soon!

Wine bottle photo by Sohail Mamdani. Copyright 2011, Sohail Mamdani


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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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  • TeeWayne says:

    With the latest firmware update on the MiniTT1 & FlexTT5, the ability to achieve hyperSync speeds of up to 1/8000 are possible. I have done this with my Nikon SB-900s AND the Einstein 640’s. In addition, there are two new features with this firmware update that are like getting new tops. SpeedCycler requires both a miniTT1 or Flex transmitter/receiver on your speedlight but allows you to put three speedlights in different zones and each fire equentially with each shutter push or even with CH or CS shuuter speeds. Also you can take the mini Off-Camera and use it to fire and adjust your lighting and now utilize the Sekonic -lightmeter without having to go back and forth.

    Great stuff. Check out this link for more details:


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