Chinese photographic accessory manufacturer Phottix have announced the Ares, a cheap and cheerful 2.4GHz flash trigger with a transmitter that flips up and down. The system is billed as having “no advanced bells or whistles — [just] simple, reliable and affordable radio flash triggering engineered with Phottix durability and quality.”
The Phottix Ares will not transmit TTL information, nor will it wake up your flashes from sleep mode or provide an autofocus-assist lamp. What it does have is a long 200-metre operating range, claimed 1/250 second synchronisation, a hotshoe, a sync port and DC power input.
The channels (eight of them) are clearly displayed and easy to switch, plus there is also an “all” channels option to fire all your flashes at once. This all looks far more intuitive than the obscure dials and confusing groups options on the Cactus V5. What’s more, if you don’t like dropping your camera from eye-level to check and change channels, the transmitter flips upright, as shown:
This feature sounds very handy, while the option to fold it back down again means it is less vulnerable than other systems where the transmitter sticks out like a sore thumb until you remove it from the camera (e.g. PocketWizard Plus III). Phottix have not specified whether the two orientations make any difference to the Ares’s range.
On the receiver units, you can plug a speedlight into the hotshoe or the 3.5mm sync port. A lanyard will let you hang up your receivers without putting strain on any cables, while the 5V DC input means you can plug an Ares into mains power for long-term studio usage.
Phottix will be phasing out their lower end triggering systems — including the Aster, Strato I and Tetra — to make way for the Ares, which is to be released this month. When it is on sale, you will be able to order it from the Phottix Store.