Hong Kong: Phottix Professional Photo Accessories has officially announced the release of the Strato 4-in-1 Wireless Trigger. This new 2.4GHz trigger claims “great reliability” and offers a (perhaps revolutionary) TTL pass-through hotshoe on the transmitter.
NB: The new 2.4GHz Phottix “Strato 4-in-1” is not to be confused with the company’s discontinued 433MHz Strato, which was essentially a clone of the Yongnuo YN-16.
TTL Pass-Through? What’s that?
The Phottix Strato does not transmit TTL or AWL/CLS-style signals via radio. If you want that, have a look at RadioPoppers, PocketWizard ControlTL or Pixel Knights. You can read more about TTL triggers in our Flash Triggering Guide.
The problem with modern flash triggers is that they take up the hotshoe of your camera. Often this is not an issue, but what if, in addition to your off-camera lights, you want to use an on-camera speedlight for some fill or bounce flash? How about using a ring-flash adapter? Up to now there have been workarounds, but these usually involve buying extra (sometimes unwieldy) accessories such as TTL cords or the Orbis adapter. Why have a workaround when you can eliminate the issue in the first place?
What the Strato does is provide an extra hotshoe to make up for the one it is taking up on your camera. Think of it like extra sockets on a power bar. Another cheap trigger that offers this feature is the Yongnuo YN-04 II, but the extra hotshoe is manual sync only. The Strato hotshoe passes full TTL signals through from the camera, like a TTL cord. This means that anything that works on your camera hotshoe also works on the Strato, it’s just 38mm higher up. As a result you can do the following in combination with the Strato triggering wireless flashes:
- Using an on-camera speedlight (either TTL or manual) for on-axis fill or bounce flash
- Ray-Flash style ringflash adapters (you need to take the extra height of the flash into account)
- Canon users: an autofocus assist light
- Put another brand of trigger on top; e.g. a PocketWizard to use Stratos and PocketWizards simultaneously
- Put an infrared master on top; e.g. a Canon ST-E2 to use Canon Wireless and Stratos simultaneously (yes, this works!)
- Gadgets that mount via coldshoe, such as live view screens, LED lights, spirit levels and 1/4″ screw adapters
Phottix Strato versus Phottix Atlas
With the release of the Phottix Atlas a couple of months ago, what distinct features are there between these two wireless triggering systems? Why get the Strato and not the Atlas, or vice versa?
|Frequency||CE: 433MHz FCC: ~350MHz||2.4GHz worldwide|
|Max Sync (s)||1/250||1/250|
|Wired Shutter Release||No||Yes|
|Transmitter Hotshoe||Yes (sort of)||Yes, TTL pass-through|
|Receiver DC port||Yes||Yes|
|Receiver output||3.5mm, 2.5mm||3.5mm, 2.5mm|
|Price (transmitter + receiver)||€200.00 $216.84||€68.20 $73.94|
Phottix Strato versus Yongnuo RF-602
The Yongnuo RF-602 system is possibly the most popular budget wireless flash trigger on the market. At around twice the price for a set, what can the Strato possibly offer to push Yongnuo off the top spot?
- TTL pass-through (see above)
- Wired shutter release
- Non-proprietary ports for sync and shutter release (RF-602s use an Olympus RM-CB1 type connector)
- 3.5mm input on the transmitter (vs Prontor/Compur)
- AAA batteries in the transmitter (vs CR2)
Yongnuo RF-602s do not wake up a Nikon SB-600 from sleep modeStratos don’t either. Something about pin voltages.
- Screw locks on transmitter and receiver feet
- Switching channels does not require a sharp object
- Maximum trigger voltage of up to 300V, allowing use with older flash units (versus ~6V on the RF-602)
- Receiver accepts external DC power, so you can use it without batteries in the studio
You can read more about the specifications of different triggering systems in our Flash Triggering Guide.
- Phottix Strato 4-in-1 Wireless Trigger product page
- Phottix Journal announcement
- Very comprehensive review written by Australian photographer Martin Pot
- Hands-on by Craig Ferguson.
Where to buy
The Phottix Strato 4-in-1 trigger is available from the Phottix Store. The pricing is as follows:
- Set of 1 transmitter and 1 receiver – € 68.20 / US$73.94 / A$ 81.13
- Extra receivers for Nikon or Canon – € 47.58 / US$ 51.59 / A$ 56.60
The Strato is also shipping to your local Phottix dealer over the next couple of weeks. If you know somewhere to buy the Strato in your country, be sure to let us know in the comments!