Free your flashgun or create advanced multi-light setups: it’s all possible with a wireless flash trigger. We selected the 5 best wireless flash triggers and reviews given below.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
- These kits all use radio frequency (RF) triggering, which provides up to 100m of range without needing a direct line of sight.
- A system with multiple channel options or channel coding will lock out possible interference from other RF devices.
- A triggering system that wirelessly transmits TTL metering signals is a must if you rely on a TTL ﬂashgun.
- Don’t want to run between multiple ﬂashguns? Some triggers let you remote control ﬂashguns from the transmitter.
- A trigger and ﬂashgun with high-speed sync can up the camera’s normal ﬂash sync speed to as much as 1/8,000 sec.
BEST 5 WIRELESS FLASH TRIGGERS
The Cactus V6 is something special in the wireless trigger world: it can simultaneously trigger ﬂashguns from all major manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Nissin, and Sigma.
The cross-compatible hot shoe design also means the V6 isn’t picky about which camera you mount it to, and it can be triggered via a standard PC Sync socket.
You’ll need two V6 units to get started: one set as the transmitter, the other as the receiver. This makes the combined price double what we’ve quoted, and therefore slightly less appealing. However, the system offers an excellent 100+-metre range and the ability to manage four ﬂash groups over 16 possible channels.
Everything’s controlled by a clear, backlit LCD screen and intuitive controls, while the V6’s build quality is up to a professional standard with metal hot shoe mounts top and bottom. These connections also feature TTL passthrough, so an on-camera ﬂashgun can still use TTL metering.
- Cross-brand ﬂashgun
- Camera compatibility.
- Won’t wirelessly transmit TTL metering signals.
Hahnel Viper TTL
The original viper system was a simple but very effective with an impressive 2.4GHz 100-meter range. However it was cannon only and lacked TTL transmission – but now Hähnel has addressed both these limitations. The Viper TTL kit comes in Canon, Nikon, and Sony variants, with TTL compatibility for all three brands. We found the TTL mode on our Nikon sample worked perfectly.
You still get remote control of ﬂashgun power from the transmitter, with the clear backlit LCD screen and logical controls making it a cinch to use.
Flashguns can be arranged into up to three groups. Although there’s no choice of frequency channels, Hähnel goes one better with a Digital Channel Matching system, which securely codes the transmitter and receivers together to prevent interference.
The build quality here isn’t quite on a par with that of the Cactus or Phottix triggers, but it’s not far off and features metal mounts all rounds.
- Effective long-range control
- TTL triggering of multiple ﬂashguns.
- Lacks some advanced features.
- Larger than competing Nissin system.
Nissin Air 1 Commander & Air R Receiver
NISSIN’S Air System uses a 2.4GHz radio frequency link for up to 30 meters of wireless range. That’s a fair distance short of some rival systems, but we found it more than adequate, with obstacles posing no connectivity issues.
The Air 1 Commander unit is totally intuitive to operate, with a clear, logical display and pared-down controls. It still packs in the features, though, like remote power adjustment of three ﬂash groups and an AF assist lamp, not to mention wireless TTL compatibility with Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujiﬁlm TTL systems.
You can control Nissin’s own Di700A and i60A ﬂashguns directly from the Air 1 without an Air R receiver attached. The receiver itself is just as compact as the Commander and is also powered by AAA batteries. It has eight selectable channels, and Nissin has thoughtfully added a little ﬂip-down foot that lets you stand the receiver and attached ﬂashgun on a ﬂat surface.
- Compact and very simple to use
- Excellent build quality
- TTL triggering
- Pretty small range.
- Cannot match the Phottix or PocketWizard devices for pro features.
Phottix Odin II
The Odin II system is available for Canon or Nikon systems, and its premium price reﬂects the extensive feature set. Where most triggers have three group options, Phottix gives you ﬁve, as well as 32 frequency channels and Digital ID matching to maintain a secure, uninterrupted connection. Naturally, there’s wireless TTL and even ﬂash zoom control.
It’s small wonder, then, that the Odin II’s performance is outstanding. Sustained burst shooting posed no problems; nor did long-range triggering.
We were able to shoot at our test camera’s 1/200 sec maximum sync speed with no banding, although there is a High-Speed Sync mode that’ll top out at 1/8,000 sec.
With so much to play with, the Odin II isn’t the most accessible system for newcomers, but its streamlined control layout and clear backlit screen are a pleasure to use.
- Wireless TTL triggering.
- Numerous advanced features.
- More complicated than most systems.
- High combined cost.
PocketWizard MiniTT1 & FlexTT5
PocketWizard is a pro favorite in this sector, and it’s easy to see why with this no-compromise combo. The FlexTT5 transceiver can double as a transmitter or receiver but we went with the smaller MiniTT1 transmitter. This comes in Canon and Nikon ﬂavours and supports TTL metering over a huge 240-meter range.
If that’s not far enough, this can be increased to a staggering 365 meters in Basic Trigger mode, which allows the MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 to work on any camera with a standard hot shoe.
The FlexTT5 enables high-speed sync with compatible ﬂashguns, allowing for super-fast shutter speeds up to 1/8000 of a second. You can tweak this and adjust the plethora of other advanced features, including extensive channel options, by connecting the onboard USB port and using PocketWizard Utility software, which also enables the device to receive ﬁrmware updates.
- Flawless performance.
- Works with advanced ﬂashgun features.
- Even more daunting to learn that the Odin II.
- Underwhelming build with plastic mounts.
Yongnuo RF-602 Wireless Flash Trigger
SHOESTRING budget contenders like this can often disappoint, but ﬁrst impressions of the RF-602 are encouraging. The ﬁt and ﬁnish are more than acceptable for the money, and while the receiver’s cold shoe mount is plastic, the two hotshoes are metal.
Although there are no group options, 16 frequency channels are available to avoid interference, although they’re set using microscopic switches under the transmitter. A full-on 2.4GHz RF link provides a genuine 100-meter range and, when testing at closer distances, Yongnuo claims sync speeds of up to 1/250 sec. We could only manage reliable 1/160 sec sync in our testing, but the connection was stable enough to avoid misﬁres during burst shooting. The ﬁnal trick up the RF-602’s sleeve is it can be used as a wireless shutter release: just connect the receiver to your camera’s remote socket, and then the two-stage button on the transmitter focuses before ﬁring the shutter.
- Low price
- Long range
- Wireless shutter release capability
- Transmitter requires a CR2 battery
- No group options.