GEAR REVIEW - INTERFIT STROBIES TITAN PRO TRIGGER
With so many flash triggers on the market these days, it can be difficult to discern which is the best one for you. Prices range from under £10 for virtually unheard of brands from China, to over £125 per unit for the latest Pocketwizard Plus III, which are pretty much the industry standard manufacturer. If you're planning upon a multiple strobe setup things can quickly add up to an expensive outlay. Not only is a trigger for each strobe required but one for the camera too! In most cases you definitely get what you pay for but, there are a few surprises out there, that offer decent bang for your buck.
You could of course run multiple strobes from a single trigger via the sync ports. From personal experience, this can be time consuming, physically and creatively restrictive and a potential trip hazard. In short, its not something I recommend as a long term solution.
Before you begin narrowing your selection for a trigger system down, two criteria need to be established. Firstly is whether you want a TTL (Through The Lens) trigger or plan on using manual strobes and a light meter for complete control and accuracy over your exposure. There are arguments to be made for both which depend upon the environment you're using them in but, personally I favour the latter for in the studio. I use my strobes in combination with a Sekonic L-758D light meter which has the optional radio module fitted which essentially turns it into the L-758DR. The beauty of this is that I can test fire the strobes whilst standing next to my model, get a reading off her and adjust my light power accordingly to get an accurate exposure or whatever exposure I desire to create the ambiance in the image. I can also get an idea of where light is falling off and how quickly
In order for this to happen the triggers must be on the same radio frequency as the the triggering module of the Sekonic. In the UK Sekonic operate on the Pocketwizard frequency of 433Mhz. Almost all other triggers on the market operate at 2.4Ghz and so are incompatible with the system. You can work around it by using another trigger which you hold whist using the meter but its another bit of equipment to carry. I've done this myself and I was forever forgetting to take the additional trigger with me and would end up making two trips to get a reading. I like, simplicity and efficiency.
If you are planning on a manual strobe system, whether that's with speedlites like the Yongnuo YN-560 II or a studio monolite like a Lencarta SF300 or Paul C Buff Einstein and want to use a Sekonic meter for accuracy and efficiency, then you need to be looking at triggers that are on the 433Mhz band. Pocketwizards being the industry standard off this but are pretty expensive. For a fairly sophisticated 3 light setup, you'll require 4 triggers, which works out to £500. That's quite a substantial amount to outlay in one go.
Fortunately you can achieve the same for less with the Interfit Strobies STR158 Titan Pro Transceivers. Like the Pocketwizards, these operate on the same European 433Mhz CE and work flawlessly with the Sekonic light meters that accept the RT-32 module or have it inbuilt. With an optional cable you can even use them remotely to trigger your camera, which will be an attractive feature for some folks, especially if you're doing self portraits. As I have a face suited to radio, I tend not to bother too much.
Build quality is more than acceptable with the body made from sturdy plastic and a metal footplate. On the reverse of the unit is a 1/4" tripod mount thread, so you can screw these to light stands and adapters with ease, before connecting your speedlite to the hotshoe. Below the hotshoe are the channel selector and test buttons and a LED which will flash letting you know the unit is operational. On the top of the units next to the antenna are two pc ports, which allow you to connect the trigger to a studio strobe. Interfit were kind enough to include a couple of cables in the box to allow you to do this, as well as two AA batteries.
Using the trigger couldn't be simpler. You place one on your camera's hotshoe and connect your strobe to another unit. Ensure they are on the same channel, turn on and start snapping. They work perfectly with the Yongnuo YN560 II speedlites. The triggers fire every time and I've not had any issues in the year I've been using them.
Although Interfit isn't the biggest name in the photographic industry, I've always found their equipment to be of a good standard. Not the cheap stuff you often find on eBay that ends up breaking two weeks later. Add to this that these particular triggers are rebranded Phottix Atlas triggers and you should have even more piece of mind. I've had Phottix equipment in the past which again are a relatively new company but have earned a solid reputation for producing high quality photographic accessories. I owned a set of their Strato II 5-in-1 multi triggers which worked flawlessly. The only reason I sold them was they were 2.4Ghz and I wanted 433Mhz for the Sekonic meter.
POCKETWIZARD OR POCKETFRIENDLY?
The Titan Pro is easily on a par with the Pocketwizard Plus II, which one online retailer is still selling for £140 per unit. I do find this a bit odd considering the Plus III can be had for £104. The Titan Pro can be had at just under £62 delivered! That's quite a saving, when you factor in how many triggers you need, depending on your light setup. Its is a bit like comparing apples to oranges though with regard to the Plus III, which is has a lot more features, most of which are tailored to use out on location. For those that don't require the extra goodies, the Titan Pro is more than an acceptable trigger and one that I would recommend to anyone looking to put together a wireless strobe setup in their studio. It of course will perform equally well outside with an operating range of 100m/320ft (if only my studio was even half that size!). The Pocketwizard Plus II did for many years, so don't think that the Titan Pro cannot hold its own. It can and does.