I got my hands on an early set of the brand spanky new PocketWizard Plus III units at WPPI last week and took them out on the streets of Las Vegas for a quick test and photo shoot. It was also a great opportunity to use my new Lensbaby Edge 80, which I am totally smitten with.
I love it when a manufacturer takes a great product and makes it even simpler to use. With the Plus III transceivers, PocketWizard have taken all the great features of the Plus II and made them easier to access and squished them in to a more compact device. They've added some new features as well, upping the value proposition. These new units are more affordable than previous Plus II models.
- Super easy to use controls!
- 4 zones for controlling up to 4 lights on the same channel
- More compact with shorter, more protected antenna
- Automatically detects, activates, and works as a transmitter or receiver
- Long battery life, improved battery retaining door
- No TTL control of speedlights (buy the TT1/TT5 units for that)
- No audible beep option to confirm fire/signal receive
- Will not function as a coffee warming device
The Lensbaby Edge 80 is the newest optic from Lensbaby. It is a flat-plane selective focus lens, which differs from the classic Lensbaby optic. The original signature Lensbaby look has soft, gradual blurring from the selected point of focus out towards the edges in a circular pattern. The Edge 80 is more like a traditional view-camera lens (some folks associate this with the "Toy Camera" look). It is razor sharp across a plane of focus that can be tilted and twisted to wherever your heart desires. (A typical lens has this plane of focus straight up and down, parallel to the sensor plane)
You can create some really cool and unusual looks with a lens like this, and it's far easier to use than a traditional view camera (which requires you to view an image upside down or stand on your head to shoot). For example, you can create a full-length portrait where the subjects face is razor sharp, but her body is out of focus - putting the attention where it should be: the eyes and smile.
Placing the Edge 80 optic in the Lensbaby Composer Pro body is fluid bliss in use. The machining and build quality are beautiful and smooth as glass. This is a manual lens, so you set the aperture and focus manually. Setting the camera to aperture priority works great and allows for quick shooting and allows putting attention on getting the focus plane where you want it. Speaking of which, you will need some practice to be able to work quickly with this lens, however the payoff is well worth it. Spend a little time playing and you'll have a valuable artistic tool that will further separate you from your competition.
The following images show examples using these tools. I used a small Photoflex Octodome with (2) Nikon speedlights in it. I used two speedlights to give me enough power to easily match and overpower the existing sunlight, and to allow lower power settings for faster recycling. A third speedlight was used with a Rogue Grid over it to create a spotlight on the opposite side of the sun, further helping to separate my subject from the background. It also adds great highlights to her hair and jacket. See the lighting diagram for placement details.
For your research:
- PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers
- PocketWizard TT1/TT5 TTL Transceivers
- Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic
- Lensbaby Composer Pro lens
- Lensbaby Original
- Photoflex small Octodome
- Rogue Grid for speedlights