Brando runs the Noah’s Ark of gadget stores – he sells one of everything. If you need something, chances are very high that he has it in stock. The other day I was looking for a wireless flash trigger and found the Pawn Wireless Flash Trigger. Brando sent me a set to review and after using it for a few weeks, I am ready to give you my thoughts.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
This wireless trigger set can be purchased in various configurations, but to get started you will need at least one receiver and one transmitter. Although Brando has separate listings for these triggers for Canon, Olympus/Panasonic, Sony and Nikon cameras, from what I can tell, each set comes with a complete set of cables for these 5 camera brands.
Also included are 1 CR2032 coin cell and 2 AAA batteries to power the triggers, a stick on hot shoe and a product manual.
The larger of the two modules is the receiver (top) and the transmitter is the smaller module (bottom). To use them, you load the batteries and make sure the dip switches in the battery compartment are set to the same thing on both modules.
The receiver and the transmitter have contacts for your camera’s hot shoe or speed light’s hot shoe.
You’ll notice that the receiver has the female side of the hot shoe while the transmitter has the male side.
To use these modules as a wireless trigger, you connect your speed light to the hot shoe on the receiver. If you have a plastic stand like I do, you can then connect it to the connector on the bottom of the receiver. There’s also a threaded socket that will allow you to mount the combo on a tripod.
Next you connect the transmitter to the hot shoe on your camera. After turning on your camera, the flash and both wireless modules, you should see the status LED on both modules turn Green. At this point, whenever you snap a picture, the flash will automatically fire. Great right? Sorta… there is one caveat. This wireless trigger set does not have TTL. TTL stands for Through The Lens metering. It’s important because it will tell your flash how much light to use when it is triggered. The Pawn Wireless Flash Trigger does not have this feature, so when it triggers, it uses full power, which may or may not completely blow out your picture. To get around this you have to modify the aperture and shutter speed settings on your camera.
The Pawn Wireless Triggers can be used for more than just a flash trigger though. My favorite use is to use them as a wireless shutter release. This is where those included cables come in. For this setup, you attach the receiver to your camera’s hot shoe, but if you were paying attention, you’ll notice that when it’s connected this way, it’s not really electrically connected because the bottom of the receiver is just a plastic foot. To electrically connect the two, you use one of the included cables. Plug one end into the side of the receiver and the other end into your camera. Now you can hold the transmitter in your hand and pressing the button on top halfway down will focus and pressing it all the way down will snap a picture. This is a handy gadget to have when you are taking pictures in low light and want to reduce vibration / jiggle that might blur your picture when you physically press the shutter button on the camera. With the Pawn Wireless Flash Trigger, you can trigger the shutter without touching the camera at all.
At some point, most photographers go looking for this type of gadget. This one performs great as a wireless shutter button, but without TTL, it will probably disappoint you as a wireless flash trigger. Brando does sell flash triggers with TTL, so it’s worth looking at what he offers if you’re in the market for this type of accessory.