PocketWizard Wraps Up Canon RF Noise Problem

If you have purchased (or are considering purchasing) one of the new PocketWizard TT5/TT1 remotes for the Canon system, keep reading.

If not, save the electrons ...

Surprised by not only the magnitude but the variable nature of radio frequency interference put out by some of the Canon flashes, PocketWizard has addressed the Canon flash RF issues with the release of the AC5 RF Soft Shield.

It's basically an RF-blocking cloth shield which muffles the Canon flash noise and allows the TTL/HS sync-capable remote units to do their thing. It was a Canon-specific design problem, and there were reports of signifcant levels of interference from some Canon flash owners.

Today's news is that PW is going a step further and making the AC5 shields available for free.

It was a rough hand to get dealt, from an engineering/design standpoint. But kudos to PocketWizard for doing the right thing and making them available gratis. The offer goes live today, and runs through Jan 31, 2010.

Future units are reportedly going to include the AC5's in the box according to Mark Wallace at Snap Factory, for whom we also have to thank for the range demonstration video shown above.

Sign-up page for your free AC5 is here. And check out Mark's post for more specific info on range and reliability.


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OpenID mpot said...

I applaud the fact that PW are making these shields available at no charge to existing users.

October 26, 2009 4:57 AM  
Blogger First Name said...

Wow Pocket Wizard deserves a really large pat on the back for this :)

October 26, 2009 9:19 AM  
Blogger Alonzo Riley said...

Still though: why not build the shield INTO the case?

October 26, 2009 10:37 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

I wish the sign up page was live though!

October 26, 2009 11:02 AM  
Blogger KE Photo said...

My radio poppers are amazing and have not had one issue...last week in the middle of the city I hit 10 shots in a row while testing @2,142.3885ft.

I wanted PW's but could not wait for the issues. I hope they can make a great product and provide some great competition so we all win.

I wonder when PW will release the Nikon versions?

October 26, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Norton Zanini said...

Thank God! and right on time, I was actually selling my new TT5 for the PLUS II ones, because I couldnt stand having spent $215x2 for something that was comparable as Ebay Poverty Wizards ($35) reliably-wise... again, Im glad that happened.

October 26, 2009 12:26 PM  
Blogger Dom said...

Did my first photo "gig," taking pictures at my daughter's church dance. I used the Ebay triggers which I have used before and pre-tested just before the event.

Mega failure! Over 50% of my shots did not work (used two Canon flashes). One or both flashes would not always fire.

So now I will take those cheap POSes and chunk them in the trash where they belong. Since my wife observed the fiasco, I did get the greenlight to buy some PWs...now if she would just let me buy a real nice photo color printer...

October 26, 2009 1:25 PM  
Blogger Chris Bohnhoff Photography said...

Definitely great if you're a TTL shooter. If you set power manually. . . sh*t outta luck. Any guesses which camp I'm in?

October 26, 2009 2:48 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

Sigh... Kudos to PW for doing this, but why accept US addresses only?

Rest of the world getting the shaft as usual :/

Registration is open btw.

October 26, 2009 4:42 PM  
Blogger Eric Duminil said...

It's obviously nice from PW to provide this sock free of charge.
But considering the price of their transmitters & receivers, they might as well ship them gold plated...

October 26, 2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Tim B said...

Glad to see PW do the right thing to fix this mess. Thanks for posting this.

Too bad Canon hasn't followed suit with an RFI suppression kit for their older strobes.

October 26, 2009 7:01 PM  
Blogger swaffs said...

I appreciate what PW are doing here, justa shame it's not for EU guys yet....

I am experiencing issues with my CE units, which I agree are not as bad as the US guys, but definately waay below the advertised ranges.
Without doing any formal tests, I don't trust them any more than about 10 metres away.

I've spoken to the UK distributors and it's encouraged me to make my first ever blog post!


October 27, 2009 6:00 AM  
Blogger ps said...

Why not radio your voice from TT1
to Flex5. Little mic and little speaker can do the trick and you can communicate with the model and you do not have to shout in public places.

October 27, 2009 8:05 AM  
Blogger Jan Luursema said...

I also posted this on the PW flickr group, but I'll repost it here since not everybody reads that flickr group probably.

Firstly, I appreciate the fact that PW is trying to solve the problems at low cost for the customer.

But this: "433 MHz units sold in Europe and other parts of the world are not greatly impacted by RF interference." is just not true.

They are also impacted by the interference, the range is just a little bit better (about 40 meters with a problem flash (580EX), about 4 times less than with a 550EX). So I really think PocketWizard shouldn't put those kinds of statements on the website.

I also got in touch with the Dutch distributor and he told me the AC5 shield will only be available for sale in stores here, and will not be distributed for free, "because there are less problems with the CE version".

That is pretty disappointing really. The problem, while being not as bad as with the US version, is still very significant with the CE version.

Another note: this is not a definite fix ofcourse, just some patch work. And it will still be troublesome to have to put a sock on your flash every time you want to use it at long range.
I suspect the solution will be in a hardware fix. When the second version of the flextt5 comes out PW should consider a program where existing users can upgrade at greatly reduced cost.

October 27, 2009 12:30 PM  
Blogger gb_eh said...

Just received a response regarding Canadian users. PW support says Canadians distributor to start offer on Nov 2nd until Jan2010.

October 29, 2009 9:34 PM  
Blogger Tetsuo said...

Wish the guys from Orbis would do the same with the connecting arm...

October 30, 2009 2:02 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Nice of PW to ship these free of charge. However, it doesn't erase the fact that their reputation is irrevocably damaged by the fiasco, and the band-aided product still falls short of its original promise and appeal. Who wants to put a sock on their flash all the time? They just exercised really bad engineering and testing, obviously. How brain-dead can you be to not find this RF problem in testing? I hope whoever was responsible for this product disaster is not in a position to make the same mistake again.

October 31, 2009 3:39 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

From the Canon 580EX II speedlite instruction manual:

"This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the fallowing two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference..."

November 05, 2009 10:41 AM  
Blogger RoemerPhoto said...

Has anyone received their shields yet?

December 18, 2009 7:43 AM  
Blogger Kiteland said...

Just to add support to the comments that CE users also have major interference problems when using the 580EXII. I have multiple 580EXIIs and Flex TT5s and that combo is simply not reliable. Pity PW are not giving the Rest Of the World the same level support that you guys in the US getting. Come on PW do the right thing.

December 23, 2009 2:24 PM  
Blogger Bob Joziasse said...

You can also stack the PW with a Cactus V4... Experienced it yesterday: http://bit.ly/cPdX8D


February 08, 2010 8:56 AM  
Blogger Conrad Erb said...

Question. Is there any suggestion that PW will improve the TT5 somehow and make the shield unnecessary? I am about to spend around $1k on triggers, and I was going to go with the TT5, until THIS problem came up. Having to use a frigging sock on my flash is about the stupidest thing I can think of.

April 28, 2010 1:28 AM  
Blogger leif said...

like conrad erb above, i'm getting closer and closer to dropping some bank on PW units because i'm tired of unreliable units from other manufacturers. the hyper sync mode is very appealing, but having greatly reduced reliability and range with my 580 ex ii is really slowing me down on committing to this purchase.

does anyone with contacts @ PW or possibly the FCC, know if the 2.4GHz range is somehow unappealing for this application? why fool with this low frequency (relatively speaking) range anyway?

July 20, 2010 6:41 PM  
Blogger c+n said...

We just had the Flextt5 ruin two flashes this weekend. After the first use with the two 580exII's. We see other have this problem -- and some say the sock may be the issue. Both flashes won't synch, even on camera now -- the e-ttl is gone and they always fire at full power. Anyone else with this problem?

June 05, 2011 10:15 PM  

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