Ojecoco H-550 wireless trigger
The brand new (their website was registred on May 20th, 2011) Chinese company Shenzhen Ojecoco Photographic Technology Co., Ltd has announced a grouping wireless radio trigger as their first product. The name is H-550. It features both a TTL pass through hot-shoe, and wireless hypersync.
Here is a link to the description on the company's webpage:
There are two different models, one for Canon and one for Nikon. The image above shows both side by side. The two models have different hot-shoes corresponding to Canon's and Nikon's hot-shoe layout, but are otherwise compatible. The H-550 for Canon is wirelessly compatible with the H-550 for Nikon, allowing Canon cameras to wake up and trigger Nikon flashes and vice versa. It also has a special “incompatible mode“ that dumbs it down to a generic trigger (so it will work in the hot-shoe of any camera and with non-dedicated flashes), and a 2.5 mm jack socket that let you connect it to a studio flash by means of a suitable cable adapter.
I have received three units (two for Nikon, one for Canon). A full review will appear on this site as soon as I've had time to test them, but below are some initial impressions:
There is just one unit, which can work as an transmitter (TX), receiver (RX), or wireless shutter release, depending upon the position of the main function switch. I think this is a better solution than the auto-detect feature used on the YongNuo RF-603, because it allows the unit also to be used as a generic grouping trigger device.
The unit is powered from two standard AAA 1.2 volts or 1.5 volts batteries. The use of standard AAAs is a huge improvements over the expensive and hard to find CR2 and 23A batteries that are used in some other wireless trigger units.
The units appear to be reasonably well-built, but not professional quality like PocketWizards. The 4-way main function switch feels a bit flimsy and I am not sure how much abuse it will take. There is a hole in the hot-shoe to secure the flash with a locking pin. The unit has a metal hot-foot, but there is only a locking collar with no pin to fasten the TX to the camera. The locking collar is somewhat undersized, but has dents that lets you use a nail to fasten it. However, mounting the TX on top of a Nikon D700 and putting a Nikon SB-900 in its hot-shoe to utilize the TTL pass-through feels a little unsecure, even after making sure the locking collar is tight.
The unit has the ability to switch on and off in total 3 different flash groups (G1 - G3), giving 7 possible combinations. There is also 16 channels selectable by means of 4 dip-switches on top of the unit.
The H-550 has the ability to wake up remote flashes that has entered power-save mode when you half-press the camera's shutter button. I've tested this with a Canon 550EX II, Nikon SB-800 and SB-900, and it works as advertised with all compatible units.
The H-550 does not offer TTL wireless control, but like the Phottix Strato II, the Ojecoco H-550 features a TTL pass-through hot-shoe. This feature let you fire both TTL-controlled flash units (controlled by an AWL-compatible commander mounted in the hot-shoe of the H-550 sitting in the camera's hot-shoe) and manual units (triggered by radio and connected to a H-550 receiver) at the same time. 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.
Hypersync is a special type of synchronisation that allows you to use flash with high shutter speeds without using HSS (Canon) or FP (Nikon). HSS/FP comes with considerable power loss. Hypersync loses less of the power, and more important, can be used with powerful portable units such as Elinchrom Ranger.
In hypersync mode, the H-550 fires before the shutter opens. This means that the image sensor is exposed to the fading burn of the xenon tube. Because the duration of the flash is longer then the shutter speed, it provides continuous light for as long as the shutter stays open.
Hypersync was first offered by Pocketwizard. As far as I know, this is the first time it is available on an alternative trigger system.
Before you can use hypersync on the H-550, the TX unit need to be trained to learn the sync time parameters of a particular camera. Once set up, the sync time parameters are remembered. There is no need to retrain the TX unit unless you move it to another camera. You engage hypersync mode by twisting the hypersync dial on the right side of the unit. The dial is also used to fine-tune the time should a black band appear. I've tried the hypersync function for some skateboard photography. It works as advertised, but I have to twist the dial to its maximum position to sync at 1/8000 second with my Nikon D700.
The H-550 works as a wireless or wired shutter release as well. You can even trigger both flashes and the camera's shutter at the same time, using a single handheld H-550 unit as master.
I'll update this blog entry as my testing of the units progress.