Aokatec AK-TTL wireless flash trigger released

Aokatec’s AK-TTL radio trigger — supporting full wireless TTL for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax — is now on sale. The gadget works as an add-on to an existing optical wireless system, much like RadioPoppers: converting infrared signals into radio waves to extend a photographer’s off-camera flash working range outdoors.

In this way, one can take advantage of advanced flash features across long distances and in bright light without the weaknesses of optical signal transmission. In other words, you can use wireless TTL, remote control and high speed synchronisation in places where it would be been unreliable before.

Originally announced back in February, the product’s launch has been hit by repeated delays, almost to the point where we were going to denounce it as vapourware. But now we have a comprehensive set of eBay listings, user reports and images to confirm the AK-TTL really does exist.

The AK-TTL claims a 110-metre range, with 16 different channels on the 2.4GHz frequency band. The transmitters and receivers each run on two AAA batteries.

Aokatec AK-TTL transmitter and receiver

Unlike RadioPoppers, the Aokatec doesn’t have an infrared emitter/sensor in the body of the AK-TTL, instead utilising 3.5mm stereo jacks. Thus, if you just want to use it as a manual trigger, you can use normal sync cords. For an infrared relay with wireless TTL etc., you swap in a cable called an ASC-1 (below), which has a little box at the end of the wire  to convert signals between electricity and infrared.

Aokatec ASC1 cable for AK-TTL

In practice, this means there is no need to have the big AK-TTL device directly attached to the side of your flashgun. Rather than cumbersome bespoke brackets — which could make it difficult to fit a flashgun inside a softbox — a rubber band and a lanyard are all that are needed to link up the receivers.

Aokatec AK-TTL receivers with Pentax and Sony flashes

The AK-TTL transmitter mounts in the camera hotshoe in manual mode, or can sit above the pop-up flash in auto mode. It’s also possible to use it with a wireless commander, such as the SU-800 and ST-E2, or a master flashgun such as the Nikon SB-900.

Aokatec AK-TTL transmitter being used with the pop-up flash of a Nikon D300

Aokatec AK-TTL transmitter on a Nikon SU-800 Speedlight Commander

While it may not look elegant, infrared systems of this type are the only way to have reliable, long-range wireless TTL and high speed synchronisation for a Pentax system. Olympus isn’t mentioned in the specifications, but might also work. For Sony, there is alternative of the Pixel King and soon-to-be-announced Phottix Odin. Nikon users can opt for the Kings, Odins or PocketWizards while Canonites have the pick of Kings, Odins, PocketWizards, Hähnel Tuffs and Yongnuo YN-622C.

The Aokatec AK-TTL is now on sale, priced at $109 for a kit and half that for each additional receiver. Click here for listings. For more information, product images and to download the instruction manual, visit the Aokatec AK-TTL product page. There are also a few more example set-up pictures on Flickr.

Samples are on their way to Lighting Rumours HQ for review.

  • Heinmcleodimaging

    I have been waiting for this! Thank you Aokatec!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosscampbell/ Ross Campbell

    Just ordered a set as well as an additional receiver, looks perfect for my Nikon D7000 using the commander mode and 2 Nissin Di866’s.

    • ?

      Just one remark, I’m not sure that Nissin Di866 support HSS in optical slave mode.
      Are yours Di866 works in high speed sync mode when D7000 is set as commander and Di866 as optical slaves?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721670727 Darryl Reynolds

    I have Sony this is great news! Screw Pocket Wizard!

  • http://ranger9.net Ranger 9

    I’m not seeing any listings on US eBay yet. Could they be Euro-only at this point?

    • David A. Selby

      The last I checked, the listings said they ship to North America.

  • http://northfultonphoto.com Ed Dombrowski

    I would love to see if this works for Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3rds. I would think it shouldn’t matter what brand if all it is doing is converting IR to radio and then back again.

  • http://www.comrace.ca/wp_pics/ aaron burns

    My set is working really well – review at http://comrace.ca/wp_pics/?p=481

    Aokatec sent me some updated battery covers – they do feel more secure.

    My summary:
    “As a CLS / i-TTL wireless radio frequency trigger, at about one-fifth the cost of the RadioPopper PX system, the AK-TTL system is, at least with my sample and testing regimen, a good thing. I had complete reliability, usable range, and the build quality looks and feels good. Combined with, say, the Oloong SP-660 II, we get a truly affordable off-camera flash with long-range, obstacle-accommodating CLS control. Long-term reliability (including that of the Oloong flash) has yet to be determined but, at the price point, I say try it out.”

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