There are a lot of flash triggers out there, and they range in from very very cheap to several hundred euro per item. I have had a variety of different trigger over the years from cheap to mid priced, and every time I buy a new set I discover another feature that is missing.
After a while I knew what I wanted/needed in a trigger set and what I was willing to pay.
- No shoe adapters, it should have the Sony hot shoe
- a cheap, common battery type e.g AAA CR2 etc
- No special cables that you can’t replace
- No miss fires or phantom firing
I didn’t think that was a lot to ask, and I can’t be the only person on the planet who’s looking for it. Then one day in the Sony alpha forum on flickr I read about the Pixel Soldier TF-373
- Professional flash trigger with simple shutter remote control
- Wake-up function wakes compatible flashes from sleep mode
- Transmitter can control A, B and C groups individually with 7 different flash combinations
- Receivers can be set as group A, B or C
- Swappable shutter release cable for your camera model
- Power saving mode on the transmitter
- Receiver battery life of up to 400hrs with 2xAAAs: more than 10x the life of similar products
- Low voltage design allows use of rechargeable batteries
- Multi-power design allows use of power socket
- Syncs up to 1/250-1/320sec on compatible cameras
|Type||FSK 2.4GHz Wireless System|
|Cable length||1.2m (coiled style)|
|Standby Time||Transmitter||3 years (2033 button battery)|
|Receiver||400 hours (2x AA alkaline battery)|
|Dimensions (L*W*H)||Transmitter||66 * 37.5 * 28.5 mm|
|Receiver||80 * 37.5 * 30 mm|
I ordered 2 sets from an eBay shop. They cost €60 per set, postage inclusive + €22 Import tax. The reason I ordered 2 sets is that I am always sceptical about the quality of “Made in China”, I also wanted more that 1 receiver. As always the seller said 4-6 weeks delivery time, and it was in my hands within 5 working days. The German “Zollampt” (customs and excise dept) opened the packet decided to impound the batteries (I still don’t know why), just as well I ordered a trigger set with cheap common battery type 😉 .
The Pixel Soldier is based on the popular Yongnuo RF-602 system. The quality of the plastic housing is much better then that of my Cactus or Yongnuo triggers.
I have shot 2 weddings and several studio sessions with them and so far have had only a single miss fire, and no phantom flash triggers. A lot better than the Yongnuo
Sync time s of up to 1/250th aren’t a problem (using the A900 and A700, please check the max sync speed of your camera first) with out any banding.
What is Wireless Flash Grouping?
Wireless Flash Grouping is the main feature added to the Soldier TF-37X since the Pawn TF-36X. In addition to 16 frequency channels (the Dip switches for which are still buried in the battery compartment) the Pixel Soldier offers three Wireless Flash Groups A, B and C. With a simple switch on the receiver you can quickly set a flash, studio light or remote camera to any of the three groups.
What’s more, the transmitter features a control panel that allows you to select and trigger multiple groups at once. This creates seven (7) different combinations which are:
- A only
- B only
- C only
- A and B
- A and C
- B and C
- A, B and C (all)
Wireless Flash Grouping on the Pixel Soldier can allow a photographer to control multiple lighting setups at once. It may also be used for individually metering up to three different lights without having to switch any of them off. This could even be used with remote cameras too.
One feature that I found cool is there is a shutter cable included in the set. You simply plug one end of the cable into the port on your camera where you would normally plug your Sony shutter release cable, and the other end into the receiver. Now you can now fire your camera (using the test button on the trigger) wirelessly .