Friday, 7 May 2010

Clash Of The Titans - Phottix Atlas vs PocketWizard Plus II (Intro - Part 1 of 3)

Check out Post 2/3 (Product Showcase & Short Range Testing)
Check out Post 3/3 (Long Range Testing)
Check out Post On The Update (Random Triggering Fixed)

Atlas , from mythology was a Titan who dared go up against Zeus and forced to hold up the celestial spheres (the sky) from the western edge of Gaia (the Earth) as punishment. He is also known as Atlas Telamon or "Enduring Atlas".

"What has that got to do with photography?" you ask.

Well this......

...The PHOTTIX ATLAS !! alternative to the current industry standard and reliable PocketWizard (Plus II) about also adding the fact that it is almost a third of the price !!!

PocketWizard was & still is the king of the wireless heaven. But is Zeus ready to dish out wrath against the little known Titan who dare stand up to him and pose a genuine threat to his position on Olympus?

I review the newly (well actually, not yet) released Phottix Atlas and give it a head-to-head with the PocketWizard Plus II. This post will be about the my introduction to the Atlas and how I came to acquire it. The second post will be about the features and direct comparison of the Atlas to it's direct competitor, the PocketWizard Plus II. This post will also contain a quick short range wireless trigger test. I hope to then conclude with part three (coming soon) with a long range test and a few other closing remarks.

OK, now to set the stage for this Clash Of The Titans:

I am a photographer operating out of Dubai & Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. Following in the footsteps of (and having learned from) contemporary greats like David "The Strobist" Hobby, Zack "One Light" Arias and Joe "MultiFlash Numnuts" McNally, I started into the world of 'off-camera' flash photography. This was a couple of years ago. When I started I didn't have a lot of money (and still cannot say that I do). So, with great inspiration from the do-it-yourself guru, David Hobby, I started looking around for cheap/alternative wireless radios. Couldn't find any in the local market at the time. So, with no other choice, I settled for PocketWizard.....1 PocketWizard at a time! What does one do with one PocketWizard?? Well, at least I had one. Eventually ended up with three (2 Multimax and 1 Plus II). I had the freedom that is afforded by these wonderful devices. I used them a for almost every assignment.

A couple of months ago, while visiting my good friends at Gulf Photo Plus, I saw some "e-bay" (as they are commonly referred to) triggers. I decided to pick up a set of Phottix Tetra (1 trigger & 2 receivers) and one extra receiver. Pretty inexpensive way for me to end up with a radio setup to trigger 3 remote flashes for less than half the price of 1 Plus II. Got home pretty excited and tried them out.

They worked fine within my small office. But, to my disappointment, as soon as I took them out into the living room (and beyond) they were inconsistent in their triggering and the range didn't seem all that fact less than their advertised 30 meters. "What a waste of money", I thought. Didn't use them AT ALL, from then on.

The Tetras sat in my flash bag for about 2 months. I kept them there just in case my PW's died or broke or something. Still cringe at the thought of what I would do if I had to take them out of the bag. Didn't know what else to do with them.

I attended an exhibition called PhotoWorld-Dubai held at Dubai World Trade Center a few days ago. I happened across the Phottix stand/booth. I made a beeline to them & immediately let loose a pocketful of bitching and complaining to Steve Peer, CEO of the company.

He explained that they did have some issues with their older versions of this product and offered to swap out to the newer version of the Tetra. He said that the newer version didn't have this problem. I vented out a little more steam and decided to take them up on the offer. That's when I glanced over to see Lawrence, head honcho (sorry, forgot his designation) giving a demonstration of what looked like PocketWizards. Another beeline dash!

(Excerpts of my thoughts...)

WHAT ??? They are compatible with Pocket Wizards? Both ways...while transmitting & while receiving.

Hmm....feels solid and looks good!

Hey!!! There is a hot shoe mount on the front face of the trigger! Whoa!!!!!!

Wonder what the range is? Will it fire consistently?

So I took the Atlas in my hand (with Steve's permission of course ) and walked away from their stand and triggered the flash setup they had in their booth. 30 meters...still works. Hid behind another booth (to eliminate line-of-sight) and triggered. Still working! Alright...this looks interesting. Steve informed me that the Atlas was actually better than the PocketWizard, with respect to range. "Sure", I thought sarcastically. I told him that I would believe it when I saw it.

Anyways, I came back the next day and decided to buy 3 of the (not yet officially released) Phottix Atlas for just a little over the price of 1 Plus II from PocketWizard, with the aim of testing and reviewing these wireless triggers. Lawrence agreed to swap all my Tetras for 1 Atlas. Fair trade, I thought since they were just dead weight to me. I was handed over 3 radios in plastic packets. Steve explained that they didn't have the packaging and manual done as yet. He would be able to send me the manual via e-mail when finalised. Still not a problem for me. I mean it was supposed to work like the PocketWizards.

Got home and tried them with my PocketWizards and they worked like a charm. Now I had an additional 3 wireless triggers (bringing up my total to 6 - 1 on-camera and 5 remotes). I was a happy camper.

Check out Post 2/3 (Product Showcase & Short Range Testing)
Check out Post 3/3 (Long Range Testing)
Check out Post On The Update (Random Triggering Fixed)


  1. I use Yongnuo RF602, they are much cheaper than PocketWizards but work on same technology (besides TTL, Yongnuo works only in manual) so they are precise and have great range. They never missedtriggered for me, and I use them everyday.

  2. Hi Marcin...

    Sorry for the late response. Thanks for your input.

    Actually, I had never looked at the alternatives, until after I had bought the Phottix Tetras....also they were not available for purchase in Dubai (that I knew of).

    Glad you like Yongnuos


  3. I am planing to purchase PIXEL TR-332. Do you have any experience of using this product? I found this product at stores near my place with the price much cheaper than PocketWizard.
    so I wonder about the performance of this product.


  4. mariotapilouw > Sorry, haven't used these I can't comment on them.


  5. hey,
    charles can you tell me where is the best that i can get a pocket wizard flex TT5 or Plus II ,

  6. Hi Anokh,

    You forgot to mention where you live. Actually, I can only tell you where to get PocketWizards in Dubai. You can get them at

    But please note that they are the European frequency models. These will not be compatible with the US (FCC) models.


  7. Great post! Just heared that the US is still waiting for the Atlas, while here in Europe they are already shipping for some days. I got me 3 of them.

    You know what? I even prefer them over the PW's because they are more versatile.

    I just made a video with 7 great ideas for off camera flash photos and I used the Phottix Atlas throughout the whole film. Check it out over here

    What I really love about the Atlas is the superior quality. The super stable metal hot shoe, the PC cable with screw mechanism, the camera trigger cable with the switch - it's a super high quality product. Competition is good.


  8. Charles, found your post, searching for Phottix products in Dubai.
    I been looking for an reliable off-camera sync. PW being a high cost option.
    So I've been left with Phottix Terra or Phottix Atlas.
    FYI GPP doesn't have Phottix Atlas in store.

  9. I need to get these!

    You can get Phottix Atlas and Sekonic Light meters form shops near Gudaiba bus station in Dubai. But what I need to know is if Phottix Atlas which is released in any part of the world can be compatible with Sekonic L358 flash meter? Or do I have to get a particular make? Please help.

  10. I need to get these!

    You can get Phottix Atlas and Sekonic Light meters form shops near Gudaiba bus station in Dubai. But what I need to know is if Phottix Atlas which is released in any part of the world can be compatible with Sekonic L358 flash meter? Or do I have to get a particular make? Please help.

  11. Allan,

    Basically (and in theory), the Sekonic light meters with radios are compatible with PocketWizard radios. Therefore (again, in theory), any radio triggers compatible with PocketWizards should also be compatible with the Sekonics.

    Now, keep in mind that there are (as of now) 2 flavours of PocketWizards. One that is for the US (and/or the Americas) which has the FCC branding on the side of it and the other is the European version which has the EU writing on the side of it. As of now, these are the 2 versions I am aware of.

    As of today there is only 1 version of the Phottix Atlas. This is the EU (rest of the world) version. Phottix has advised that the US version is coming out soon...not really sure when.

    So when you buy these products, at the very least you need to check the frequency/ies they operate at. More than likely, if you are buying them in the UAE (Dubai), they will be the European versions.

    I have the Sekonic 758DR, but unfortunately, it was purchased from the US and is therefore only compatible with the US (FCC) versions of PocketWizards. I am not sure if the L358 has a radio or's been a long time since I rouched my Sekonic....but if it does, ensure that it operates on the same EU freq that the PW or Atlas works on. Alternatively, you can purchase radio module for the light meter (if it allows for one) that matches the freq of your radio trigger.

    Hope that sorta answers your question.



  12. Hi Nigel,

    If GulfPhotoPlus doesn't have it you may try one of the small electronic stores (like Micro Digital, Al Falak Electronics, etc.) in any of the bigger malls in Dubai. Not sure, but you could try E-Max, Sharaf DG, Plug-Ins as well.


  13. Nigel...also forgot to mention Advance Media

    Great guys and with a lot of photography gear...knowledgeable bunch of folks too!!


  14. Does anyone know, can I use the Phottix Atlas with Fuji x-pro 1 ?


  15. I want to know,
    Does Phottix Atlas and Pocket Wizard are compatible?
    I mean if we used PW as Transmitter and Atlas as Receiver...?
    Please advice..

  16. I really like the idea of new cheaper products coming up on the market and to offering us some cheaper alternatives, and sometimes even the quality isn't compromised.