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PocketWizard AC3 Zone Controller Vs Nikon Commanders

PW_AC3_sbl(This post is exclusively about the usage of Pocktwizard ® AC3 ZoneController unit with Nikon cameras. Above image has been copied from the PocketWizard website)

Few people including a responder to one of my previous blog posts about PocketWizards have asked whether Nikon SU800 or Nikon SB800-910 Speedlights could be used as a commander to change the light output levels when using PocketWizard Mini TT1 or FlexTT5 units with Nikon Cameras.

Now, before I go further here’s the link to a great tutorial video from PocketWizard website providing the answer to that question in detail.

This is a very short post explaining why I use the AC3 ZoneController instead of my SU800 or other Nikon Speedlights.

As Mark Wallace explains in that video, Nikon SU-800 commander unit, SB800, SB900 & SB910 Speedlights can be used to change the light output values with this system, but the AC3 is the better choice in my opinion due to following reasons.

  1. AC3 provides three mechanical dials to change light output values of each of the channels. These dials only require a single motion to change the values and provide instant visual feedback.
    SU-800 on the other hand, could require up to 4 button presses just to select the channel, and then up to 7 button presses to change the light output values for each of those channels depending on the light output values that are being set. As far as I’m concerned this is way too fiddly and consumes too much time when shooting.
  1. Cheaper than any of the other controller units.
  2. Smaller size (way smaller compared to others).

At $80 retail, PocketWizard AC3 ZoneController in my opinion is a necessary investment anyone who uses PocketWizard FlexTT5/MiniTT1 units with Nikon Speedlights has to make even if he or she owns a SU 800.


One Response

  1. I agree. Having tried all of the Nikon alternatives mentioned the AC3 Zone Controller is my preferred option, for all the reasons given above but especially for ease of use.

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