Pixel Opas grouping trigger
The Opas is Chinese manufacturer Pixel's longest range (400 meters in open space) manual trigger. In addition to its exceptional range, it offers two additional features: A grouping function, and compatibility with the Pixel King TTL trigger.
Like the Phottix Atlas and PocketWizard Plus III it is probably designed to compete with, the Pixel Opas is a high-profile transceiver unit with an external aerial. Unlike the Atlas and Plus III, it uses the free-for-all 2.4 GHz frequency, allowing it to be used without restriction anywhere in the world. Costing about USD 150 for a pair, it is less than half price of the PocketWizard Plus III and about 75 % of the Phottix Atlas.
The unit appear to be reasonably well built. The casing is plastic, but the hot-shoe, hot-foot and tripod socket is metal.
Being a transceiver, the same unit can work as both transmitter and receiver, and automatically switches to transmit or receive mode when attached to a camera or flash.
Unlike most manual triggers, it comes with a dedicated hot-shoe. There is two versions, one for Nikon and one for Canon. The dedicated shoe does not mean it supports TTL. It is just to “wake up” wireless slaves that has entered power save mode. The hot-shoe does not even pass-through any TTL signals and you should not mount a flash on top of the camera-mounted transceiver.
Since the tranceiver is fitted with a hot-shoe, you do not need to use a cable to trigger flashes fitted with a hot-foot. This means that unlike the PocketWizard Plus III units, the Opas can work with flashes without a pc-socket, such as the Nikon SB-600.
The sync speed is excellent. With a Nikon D700, it syncs fine at 1/250 second.
The Opas let you select one of four channels to avoid interference from other triggers in a crowded environent, and three groups (or zones). Channels are set with a sliding switch on the side. Groups are labelled A-C and are toggled on and off with push-buttons on the front, with LEDs indicating which groups are active. Any combination of groups can be set.
For connecting flashes without a hot-foot, there is a pc-socket on the right side.
The unit doubles as a remote radio shutter release. In this mode, the camera connects to the Opas through a 3.5 mm monoplug socket. You use the test-button to trip the shutter.
Most eBay sellers include the required cables to connect both the camera's shutter release and two cables to connect flashes: One standard pc-sync. cable and another 1/4" (6.35 mm) mono jack-plug for connecting a studio flash.
The unit have a twist type locking collar to make sure the transmitter stays put in the camera's hot-shoe. On the back of the unit, there is also a 1/4 inch metal tripod socket for mounting on a light stand.
For power, it uses two standard AA batteries. It also has a 5 volt mini-USB DC power port. This means that you can power it off the mains using a standard charger for a mobile phone or Kindle ebook reader.
One of the main attractions of the Pixel Opas is that it is designed to be compatible with the Pixel King. Being a manual trigger it will of course operate in manual mode only (i.e. it will trigger the flash, but not allow you to control its power), but it is still a useful feature.
- Frequency; 2.4 GHz.
- 4 channels.
- 3 groups (7 combinations).
- 400 meters operating range.
- 3.5 mm synchronisation port.
- Compatible with Pixel King TTL trigger.
- Powered by 2xAA batteries.
- 5 volt mini-USB DC power port.
To conclude: If you are looking for a manual radio trigger that uses standard AA batteries and works reliable at ranges above 100 meters, the Phottix Opas is well worth considering. Compared to the PocketWizard Plus III and the Phottix Atlas, it offers the same long range at a lower price tag. The use of the 2.4 GHz band is in my opinion a distinct advantage, as this can be used legally worldwide. It also offers three groups. For groups or zones, you would need to buy the much more expensive PocketWizard MultiMax. For some that are also invested in the Pixel King system, I am sure compatibility with that is a welcome feature.