Phottix Strato II Multi trigger
Phottix has just released the the Phottix Strato II Multi trigger, an upgraded version of the Phottix Strato 4-in-1 wireless flash trigger. The Phottix Strato II Multi adds wireless flash grouping and a host of other improvements, while retaining backwards compatibility with the original Strato.
The new model is backwards compatible with the original version, released last year. Like its predecessor it uses the 2.4 GHz band (unregulated worldwide), have four channels, sync up to 1/250 second, uses commonly-available AAA batteries, have a 5V DC external power socket, and will trigger both flash and the shutter. In addition, the new version extends the range to 150 meters, and also support four flash groups (A, B, C, D).
The trigger can be used as a:
- Speedlight wireless trigger via hot-shoe.
- Monolight wireless trigger via 3.5 mm and 2.5 mm sockets.
- Grouping wireless trigger.
- Pass through relay for AF-assist and TTL commander.
- Wireless shutter release.
- Wired shutter release.
The new grouping feature let the photographer allocate any number of flash units to each group, and then use buttons on the transmitter to activate or deactivate each group individually. I.e. the transmitter allow the photographer to fire any of 15 combinations of those groups for maximum flexibility. This is intended for photographers using multiple lighting setups or metering large numbers of flashes.
The unit is compatible with the Phottix Odin TCU (but only for trigging manual units).
User reports are generally favourable, but there are some reports about battery consumption being higher than most other radio triggers of the same class. When batteries wear down, it does not stop working, but the unit becomes less reliable. It also reacts slower and is typically no longer capable of syncing at 1/250 second.
Like its predecessor, the Phottix Strato II Multi features an innovative TTL pass-through hot-shoe on the transmitter. This feature let you put a flash in the hot-shoe of the camera mounted tranceiver and activate its AF-assist light.
The pass-through feature also let you fire both TTL-controlled flash units and manual units at the same time. The TTL-controlled units will be controlled by a commander unit (e.g. Canon ST-E2, Nikon SU-800) in the hot-shoe of the tranceiver that is sitting in the camera's hot-shoe), while the manual units are triggered by radio and typically placed in the hot-shoe remote Strato radio tranceiver. However, the TTL computation does not take the light from the manually controlled units into account, so mixing modes like this is only practical when TTL is used for key and the manual units are used to light up the background.
It's important to understand that the Strato II Multi itself does not provide wireless TTL support. Any flashes triggered wirelessly by the Strato II Multi trigger must be in manual mode. The TTL pass-through hot-shoe only let the photographer put a TTL flash or TTL wireless controller in the hot-shoe of the transmitter. A TTL flash can be used for TTL key, or a TTL wireless controller may control remote TTL key flash units (by means of light), while the Phottix Strato II Multi will trigger (but not control) remote units hooked up to a Phottix Strato Receiver to provide background light.
As noted above, it can also be used as a wired or wireless remote shutter release, complete with half-press capabilities. To get the correct cable for the shutter release, make sure that the model you order is for your body.