Comparison with the Pixel King
Advanced users may be interested in using the Flash control menu on their Canon EOS DSLR to have finer adjustment over their remote Speedlite’s behaviour. To save you the trouble of diving into such menus, Hähnel put shortcut buttons for Second Curtain Sync and High Speed Sync on the transmitter. There is some customisation to be had in the Flash control menu. For instance, setting flash exposure compensation appears to work without issue. However, if you were hoping to put your remote flash into manual mode and then set the power levels through your camera, disappointment looms. Though “Manual” appears as an option in the External flash func. setting menu, if you try to select it, the camera decides it knows better, and ignores your selection, immediately putting it back in E-TTL mode.
Similarly, the “zoom” menu option is available, but selecting a focal length doesn’t appear to do anything. Instead, your remote flash will either match your camera lens, or follow settings you make directly on the Speedlite’s own control panel.
By contrast, the rival Pixel King Wireless E-TTL Trigger has no problems enabling manual mode and selecting a power level through the Flash control menu of a Canon camera. Since the Tuff appears to be a TTL-only trigger, it also lacks high speed sync with manual flashes, a prominent feature of the Kings.
The Pixel King also works with manual zoom setting.
One advantage that the Hähnel Tuff TTL has over the Pixel King is that it has dedicated buttons for SCS and HSS. But on the King you can still set these – you just need to go through the Flash control menu on the camera LCD instead.
If, for whatever reason, you wanted to combine radio triggering with Canon’s infrared E-TTL II signals, unfortunately this can’t be done with either the Tuff or the King.
Beyond this, the triggers from Hähnel and Pixel are quite similar. Their channels are set differently, but they both take AAs, both have no TTL pass-through and both work in E-TTL mode without ratio control. The Tuff, as its name suggests, is certainly sturdier, more resistant to shock and has a more secure battery door. The pricing is nearly identical – about £100 for a kit from either brand. Read on for final recommendations.