123 — Entry Level Camera Trigger Showdown — PocketWizard versus Cactus

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #123 com­pares 2 entry level trig­ger­ing devices for your cam­era. A ‘trig­ger’ is sim­ply a device that allows your cam­era to fire nearly any portable flash, mono­light or stu­dio flash while it is OFF-camera. The abil­ity to fire a flash or other light source while OFF-camera allows you to mod­ify the direc­tion and the qual­ity of the light(s) to pro­duce much more cre­ative and pro­fes­sional look­ing pho­tog­ra­phy ver­sus direct on-camera flash. The 2 units tested are the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X and the Cac­tus V5 Duo.

The PocketWizard Plus X transceiver (sold as a single unit) and the Cactus V5 Duo (2 transceivers)

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver (sold as a sin­gle unit for $99.00) and the Cac­tus V5 Duo (2 trans­ceivers for $99.00 or sold indi­vid­i­ually at $59.00)


Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca pod­cast and for loan­ing me the test equip­ment for this week’s podcast!

Both these units do the identical job with identical (100%) reliability in both my indoor and outdoor tests.

Both these units do the iden­ti­cal job with iden­ti­cal (100%) reli­a­bil­ity in both my indoor and out­door tests. The top photo shows how the Cac­tus trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The bot­tom photo shows how the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The main dif­fer­ence is that the Pock­etWiz­ard is miss­ing the extra hot shoe so it attaches to the off cam­era flash with (an included) sync-wire.


The build qual­ity of the Pock­etWiz­ard is slightly more robust than the Cac­tus V5 and its leg­endary reli­a­bil­ity (Pock­etWiz­ards have been around for decades) and the fact that they work with every other Pock­etWiz­ard ever made are its main advantages.

Where the Cactus V5 duo really shines is with the addition of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Both these units will do the identical job, but the cactus's design is more elegant and user friendly.

Where the Cac­tus V5 duo really shines is with the addi­tion of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Here the flash will act as an on axis-fill flash to fill in shad­ows cre­ated by another light, and it fits snugly into the hot shoe on top of the Cac­tus V5. At left is the Pock­etWiz­ard attempt­ing the same task but because it has no extra hot shoe it must be attached to the camera’s flash via an included sync-wire


Both these units will do the iden­ti­cal job, but the Cactus’s design (at right) is more ele­gant, eas­ier to attach and the Cac­tus V5 Duo is half the price of the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X. Unfor­tu­nately the Cac­tus V5 will NOT work with Pock­etWiz­ards or even dif­fer­ent Cac­tus models.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X at The Cam­era Store
The Cac­tus V5 Duo at The Cam­era Store
Illu­minight — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

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