Fans of radio-enabled flashguns are soon to be spoilt for choice, with yet another 2.4GHz product hitting the market. The latest, called the Speedlite ZR45, comes from Clellan, a brand from Hong Kong you probably haven’t heard of but which already has its own dedicated following.
Sporting a minimalist design but still offering some unique features, Clellan has designed this flash specifically for off-camera use, with an integrated 2.4GHz antenna sending and receiving signals between multiple ZR45s. Like the Canon 600EX-RT, Phottix Mitros+ and upcoming Cactus RF60, you have the full range of features including built-in radio, high-speed sync, TTL, autofocus-assist and manual power control — though not all at the same time.
The current Canon version supports on-camera Canon E-TTL II and HSS up to 1/8000s, however the 2.4GHz wireless functionality is a separate function, letting you fire and remotely adjust manual power levels only. A slave can be assigned to one of four independent groups, all of which may be controlled from a designated master.
There is also a simple basic optical slave (including pre-flash-ignore) but the ZR45 is not compatible with proprietary optical transmission systems (Canon Wireless, Nikon AWL).
As a bonus, four colour filters (red, blue, orange, white) are included. Made from rigid plastic, the filters slip into place in two seconds, making it a much less fiddly system compared to DIY attachments or the filter slot on the LumoPro LP180 (which often drops gels). Coupled with the large LCD, clean menu layouts and minimal number of buttons, ease-of-use seems to be a high priority.
According to the spec sheet, you’ll get a guide number of 45 out of this thing (105mm; Iso-100) with a 24–105mm zoom range, full tilt and swivel adjustment, manual power control down to 1/128 in 1/3-stop increments. Recycle time isn’t specified. For full technical details visit the Clellan product page.
The only major omission seems to be an input for external battery packs, but it looks like the manufacturer wanted to keep the interface simple, with buttons comprising a single iPod-like wheel that controls everything. (Compare that to the button forest on the Triopo TR-850EX.) There’s also no USB port for firmware updates.
The Clellan ZR45 comes with a 24-month manufacturer warranty. At the moment it is only available at select stores in Hong Kong and Macau, but more international distributors are expected to appear soon. Check here for a list. A Nikon i-TTL version is expected around April or May, the company says.
Would you buy one? What’s your wireless flash of choice? Or is built-in radio a gimmick? Let me know in the comments below.