Relay Mode

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Next recommended reading: Remote Camera Triggering
Relay.JPG

You can trigger flashes in sync with your remote camera. This is called Relay Mode. You will need at least 3 PocketWizard radios-one in your hand (or on the camera in your hand), one PocketWizard in the camera's hot shoe connected with the appropriate remote camera cable, and a remote Pocketwizard connected to your flash. The transmitting and camera PocketWizards need to be set to the same Channel and the PocketWizards connected to the flashes need to be set to receive one Channel higher.

How Relay Mode Works

  • The PocketWizard in your hand sends a signal to the PocketWizard attached to the camera.
  • The PocketWizard on the remote camera receives the signal and triggers the camera's shutter through the remote camera cable.
  • That radio then automatically switches to transmit mode and waits for the camera to provide a sync pulse.
  • When the shutter moves, the camera sends a signal through the hot shoe to the PocketWizard then the radio will send a trigger to the remote PocketWizards on the next higher Channel.
  • The PocketWizards connected to the flashes will receive the signal the higher Channel and fire the flash in sync with the camera's shutter.

To summarize: Set the radio in your hand and the radio on the camera to the same Channel and set the radio(s) with the remote flash(es) to receive one Channel higher. For example: use Channel 1 for the PocketWizard in your hand and on the camera and use Channel 2 for the PocketWizard(s) connected to the flash(es).

Notes

  • To determine which remote camera cable you need, please see our Cable Finder
  • Be sure the radio connected to the camera is in the hot shoe as well as connected by the remote camera cable.
  • The radio in your hand can be set to TxRx or Transmit Only. The radio on the camera MUST be set to TxRx. The radios connected to the flashes can be set to TxRx or Rx Only.
  • Relay is automatically engaged if you are using auto sensing PocketWizard transceivers. If you are using Plus III, Plus IV, FlexTT5, or FlexTT6 radios and have a receiving radio in the hot shoe of a remote camera, the radio will automatically relay a signal on the next higher Channel. In most situations, this is not an issue. However, if you are shooting in an environment with multiple PocketWizard users, this may result in your radio sending out unwanted triggers if you are not using a remote flash as well. Please see the Auto Relay section below for details about how to prevent triggering another photographer's PocketWizard units.
  • MultiMAX radios: To set up Relay mode, set the radio to Transmit mode and choose what Channel you wish to use to trigger your flashes (for example, Channel 20). Switch the MultiMAX to Receive mode and choose the Channel you wish to use to receive the original trigger (for example, Channel 17). Press "L" and you will see "RLY 20" on the screen. The MultiMAX will receive a signal on Channel 17 and transmit on Channel 20.
  • Half press function: This will still work as described in the Cables page. If you are using 2 Plus IIIs and an older radio, like a Plus II, you can still take advantage of the half press feature. Set the Plus IIIs to Channel 32 and use them as the main trigger and on the camera. Use the Plus II radio(s) for the flash(es), set to Channel 1. The Plus III will "loop" the Channel and receive on Channel 32 but trigger on Channel 1.
  • FlexTT5 / FlexTT6: These radios will auto relay to the next higher Channel but you can choose different Channels to use via the Utility menu. Go to the Channels tab and adjust the transmitting and receiving Channels as you wish.
  • PowerST4 and PowerMC2 receivers can also be used for Relay mode, be sure to adjust the Channels as described.
  • Auto Relay mode will not work at shutter speeds below approximately 1/5" if rear curtain sync is turned on or if the camera is set to a delay, like a 2 second self timer. If you would like to use this setup, one option is to set the radio with the remote flash to the same Channel. The flash will fire at both the beginning of the exposure then again when the shutter moves.

Auto Relay Mode

When using autosensing PocketWizard transceiver (PlusX, Plus II, Plus III, Plus IV, FlexTT5, and/or FlexTT6) connected to a remote camera by a remote cable and in the hot shoe, the radio will automatically transmit a relay signal one Channel higher than the signal it received. For example, if the transmitting radio and the radio connected to the camera are set to Channel 1, the radio connected to the camera will then relay a transmitting signal on Channel 2. If there is a separate receiving radio, it will fire on Channel 2. This is the way the product is designed to work.

However, if a second photographer is using Channel 2 and the first photographer is not using relay but just a remote camera, the relay signal could inadvertently trigger the second photographer’s equipment.

Normally that would not be an issue as there are rarely multiple PocketWizard shooters. In a situation like a professional basketball game, photographers need to register the Channels they plan to use. If a photographer is only planning on triggering remote cameras on (for example) Channel 24, another photographer could be assigned Channel 25. When the photographer using Channel 24 fires his camera remotely, his connected PocketWizard will trigger any receiving remotes set to Channel 25.

Alternative Radio Setups to Prevent Auto Relay from Engaging

  • Photographers can set the radio connected to the camera to Rx Only. It will not be able to send out a relayed trigger signal.
  • Photographers can use a different radio on the camera, like a MultiMAX, which has a separate Relay function that needs to be set.
  • Relay only works if the radio connected to the camera is in the hot shoe. A photographer could simply remove the radio from the hot shoe or put some sort of barrier-like a thin piece of tape or paper-to block the contacts.
  • The Plus III, Plus IIIe, and Plus IVe can be set to Hot Shoe Disable mode.
  • In situations where there will be several photographers using PocketWizards and the radios need to be registered, each photographer can be assigned 2 sequential Channels.
  • In the case of the FlexTT5 or FlexTT6, the photographer can choose a specific Channel for the relay signal.
  • Using Custom IDs can also help solve the issue. See note below.

Auto Relay Mode with ControlTL Radios

When using a MiniTT1/FlexTT5/FlexTT6 remote camera setup using default radio settings, a remote camera can be triggered in single shot mode and there will be a delay between subsequent triggers until the camera's viewfinder LCD deactivates. When the camera's meter is "awake", the receiving radio cannot listen for an incoming signal. Continuous triggering with ControlTL radios is possible if the FlexTT5 / FlexTT6 attached to the camera has either Disable Shoe Communications or Basic Trigger Mode set via the PocketWizard Utility.

Auto Relay Mode with TTL is only available in single shot mode and there will be a delay between shots until the camera's meter sleeps. For Canon cameras, the delay is typically 2-3 seconds before the meter sleeps. For Nikon cameras, you can adjust the length of the delay by going into the custom menu settings and changing the setting. It's called Auto Meter Off or Standby and the shortest delay is 4 seconds.

There are 2 different ways to use Relay with continuous shooting with no delay between shots with ControlTL radios:

Option 1: Use an additional radio to keep TTL

If you would like to remotely trigger the camera in continuous shooting mode and still use TTL and/or HSS, it can be done with the addition of one more radio. Here is an overview:

  1. Use a FlexTT5 / FlexTT6 in the hot shoe of the camera, set to the same Channel as the recieving FlexTT5 / FlexTT6 radios connected to your flash(es).
  2. Set the transmitting radio to a different Channel
  3. Connect a PocketWizard to the remote camera cable but do not set it in the hot shoe. Set it to the same Channel as the transmitting radio.
  4. Press test on the transmitting radio.

The transmitting radio will trigger the radio connected by the remote camera cable. That radio will fire the camera via the camera's remote port. When the shutter moves, the camera will then send a signal to the FlexTT5 / FlexTT6 in its hot shoe, which then sends normal signal out to the remote radios. Because the radio in the camera's hot shoe is being triggered by the camera's hot shoe trigger, rather than listening for an incoming radio signal, there should be no delay between shots. The transmitting radio and the radio connected via the remote camera cable can be any type of PocketWizard, including Standard radios like the Plus series, as long as the Channels are matched. If you are using a FlexTT5 / FlexTT6 connected to the remote camera cable, it needs to be set to either Disable Shoe Communications or Basic Trigger Mode via the PocketWizard Utility. To keep TTL, the radio on the camera's hot shoe and the remotes all need to be ControlTL radios.

Option 2: Basic Trigger mode, no TTL

To use Relay mode with continuous triggering, you can set the radios to Basic Trigger Mode via the PocketWizard Utility. Set the transmitting and on-camera radio to the same Channel and set the remote radio to receive one Channel higher. With Basic Trigger mode, you will be able to trigger the camera as quickly as you like but the sync speed will be limited to X-sync and the flash will need to be set to manual. TTL and HSS are not possible with this setting.

Custom ID Information

If you have Custom IDs installed on your radios, you can combine Custom ID Channels with regular Channels.

  • MultiMAX: The frequency will not impact the way relay functions. Choose the Channels you wish to use and be sure to note what frequency you are using when you register the radios at an event.
  • Plus III or Plus IV: The radio will auto relay to the next higher Channel. If you have one Custom ID on Channel 17 (for example), it will trigger the remote flash on Standard Channel 18. If you have 2 Custom IDs installed in each radio, on (for example) Channel 18 AND Channel 19, it will trigger the remote flash on Custom ID Channel 19.
  • FlexTT5 or FlexTT6: The radio will auto relay to the next higher Channel like the Plus radios above unless you change it in the Utility. The frequency will not impact the way relay functions.
  • If another photographer is using relay mode from regular Channel 17 (no Custom ID) to regular Channel 18 (no Custom ID) and your radio has a Custom ID installed on Channel 18, their radio should not trigger your equipment. Your Custom ID can only be triggered by another radio using the same Custom ID.