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A working photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Yes it does. It even works well when you use shutter speeds shorter than your camera normally allows you to work with flash. Caveat:   the higher the shutter speed the less amount of light from the flash you’ll have to work with. This happens for a combination of two simple reasons

– Cameras with focal plane shutter regulate exposure time by varying the width of the gap between the front and rear shutter curtains so the shorter the shutter speed the less time any area in the frame is actually exposed to light. The shortest standard shutter speed that most flashes can expose the entire frame at, the “X-sync” speed, is the shortest shutter speed the gap between the first and rear curtains is opened across the entire frame. With modern vertically traveling focal plane shutters this is normally in the 1/200 to 1/250th range.

However With a Nikon or Canon camera with what is known as either FP Sync (Nikon) or HSS (Canon) and a compatible TTL (through the lens) metered and controlled flash the flash and camera can be set for the flash to send out a pulsing continuous stream of low power flashes that are coordinated with the size and progress of the gap across the frame.  A very shorthand way of understanding how FP and HSS works is that the smart flash becomes into a virtual continuous light source. Just as with any other continuous light source the shorter shutter speed the less light reaches the sensor (or film: Nikon at least has incorporated a FP flash mode with their film cameras at least as far back as the F4 camera and SB 24 Speedlight)

But what about with higher-powered non -Nikon or non-Canon flashes can hi9gher sync speeds be used? It depends. The primary ingredient here is how the synchronization signal is transmitted to the flash. I’ve been using the wireless PocketWizard ControlTL system for Canon cameras since its introduction and the Nikon variant since before its official release with both Nikon and Canon “smart flashes”. I don’t want to go into how it works  (see http://bit.ly/q7RFQj for that) and the issues that have been reported with the Canon 580 EX II Speedlite (see http://bit.ly/gnsgbA).

I have also been using it reliably with higher energy monolights and pack and head flash systems too but the electro mechanical characteristics of the specific make and model of the flash limits the range of shutter speeds you can use before you start to have black out bands at either the top or bottom of the frame. Basically the longer the flash duration at any given energy setting the greater the range.  PocketWizard even makes adapter modules and transceivers for certain models of monolights and pack + head systems.

This brings usback to the question posed in this post’s title. It is actually two questions:

Can a Quantum Trio flash be triggered using the PocketWizard ControlTL wireless system?  Yes it can.  I’ve done it with a Quantum Trio and a Trio Basic.

Can a Quantum Trio flash be triggered at higher than normal sync speeds using the PocketWizard ControlTL wireless system and if so what is the shutter speed range available?  Yes it can. If you don’t mind working at higher ISO settings and wide open or with the flash very close to the subject, at least with the Canon models of the Trio /Trio Basic and   ControlTL system up to 1/8000th of a second with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III body*.  Because I prefer to work at ISO’s below 200 and apertures smaller than wide open I find my practical limit outdoors is about to limit the upper end of the shutter speed   to the 1/1200 to 1/2000th range.

*  I have read reports where when using the ControlTL remotes with Canon EOS 5D Mark II bodies   the flash sync shutter speed range is limited, but as I have no experience with a 5D Mk. II I can’t say one way or another.

Below is an example of a portrait I shot last month with this rig. Click o nthe thumbnail to see a larger version and make the captions more readable.  You might also  be wondering why  the flash mounted is on a big Gitzo camera tripod instead of a light stand. It’s  because I didn’t bring a C-Stand and sand bags with me and it was a little windy.

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  1. dave #
    November 12, 2011

    I wonder if they would work with even older radio slaves say Quantum 4i’s ?

    • February 6, 2012

      Sorry for the delay, I’ve been busy. I have no idea as I junked my Radio Slave IV units back in the mid 1990’s when I switched to the original 16 channel PocketWizard “classics” at the request of the repair people who got tired of retuning my Radio Slave IV units.

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