In the comments of our review of the Commlite ComTrig H550 triggers, which have adjustable “ultra speed” functionality, it was pointed out that Pixel King Wireless TTL Triggers also have a high shutter speed hack for manual flash – though you can’t adjust it. This is something we didn’t really go over in our King for Nikon review.
So I’ve done a quick test to see how the Pixel King fares at high shutter speeds compared to the ComTrig H550. The setup was similar: a Nikon D700 DSLR camera with a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikkor lens, Hobo Merlin 300 studio flash and our subject inside a light tent.
To use the Pixel King at high shutter speeds, you don’t need to do anything. No shutter release cable is needed and nothing extra needs to be switched on. However, if you get an uneven exposure, there’s no way to adjust it without changing your shutter speed, flash settings or lighting arrangement. The H550, by comparison, offers an easily-accessible HS Flash dial to fine-tune your synchronisation delay.
At the Nikon D700’s specified sync speed, the Pixel King produces a clean image, unlike the ComTrig H550, which had a black band.
At 1/320s second we see a black shadow across the frame. High speed triggering presumably hasn’t kicked in yet.
From 1/400s onwards we have no dark bands across the picture, but the evenness of illumination varies. This depends on your flash.
By 1/1000 second the photo is quite dark. But we can increase the flash power by 2 stops to get something more like what we saw earlier.
Going up to 1/2000 second and beyond is quite extreme and results in further drop-off in your flash exposure.
In this particular setup, it looks like the Pixel Kings are actually a better option because, while you can’t adjust the sync delay yourself, Pixel’s own engineering seems to get it spot-on straight out of the box. Moreover, there’s no need to switch a special “HS Flash” mode on or off and there’s no cable dangling from your camera.
On the other hand, if you use a different model camera and flash unit then you might get less successful results, needing the ability to tweak the settings yourself until it’s perfect. In this instance, go for the Commlite ComTrig H550 or the PocketWizard FlexTT5.
For more details about Pixel Kings and their other features, including wireless TTL, see our full review. To see an example of super-X-sync shutter speeds being used on location with the King for Canon, go here. You can buy the Pixel King for Canon, Nikon or Sony online for around US$130.