First, what should you call them?
Triggers, remotes, air remotes, radio remotes, transmitters, radio transmitters, transceivers? It really matters what functions they provide, but mostly they are all correct. The big difference in this group is in the transceivers. Transceivers can function as a transmitter or a receiver either by selecting that function on the remote or by an auto sensing feature built into the unit. There are also units that just transmit but don’t receive. You can also divide this group into two camps. TTL (Through The Lens) remotes and basic remotes. TTL remotes communicate with the cameras they are designed to work with: Canon, Nikon Fujifilm etc. They transmit a more complex signal carrying information from the camera allowing you to get the correct exposure from a flash. The flash of course has to be able to work with that same remote, in a sense, speak the same language to communicate or to understand the information being transmitted. For example, a Profoto remote for Canon on a Canon camera would not transmit that information to an Elinchrom flash. Or a Pocket Wizard Remote for Nikon on a Nikon camera would not communicate with a Canon flash. Basic remotes send a simple signal that tells the flash to fire (you may even be able to trigger a camera with the proper cable). The settings on the flash are not adjusted automatically, you must adjust them manually on the flash or change your exposure settings on the camera to match the flash output to get a properly exposed image.
Which transmitters do what?
Various transmitters offer a range of features. You may have read above about the new Profoto Connect Pro and all the great features they have built in. But there are still the other remotes that Profoto offers.
Profoto Air remote – $495 Profoto’s basic remote will work with a range of cameras and will let you turn Profoto heads on and off, turn modeling lights on or off, and adjust the power output of the head with a touch of a button from the transmitter. This is very helpful when your strobe is on a stand 10ft in the air. Also, this is the only remaining Profoto remote with a sync port. This is important to know if you wanted to use a camera that did not have a hot shoe like a Hasselblad 500C/M or a large format camera that has the sync port in the lens and trigger many of the current Profoto flashes. https://www.beauphoto.com/product/profoto-air-remote/
Profoto Air TTL Remotes – $319.00 Predecessors to the Connect Pro, these transmitters offer full TTL and manual control of Profoto flashes or packs that have Profoto Air built in. They also allow HSS if you want to photograph outside in bright sunlight using your flash while using high shutter speeds. These remotes offer up to 8 channels and have a wireless range: Up to 300 m (1000 ft). They are available in Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and Sony versions $319.00 https://www.beauphoto.com/product/profoto-air-remote-ttl-f-for-fujifilm/
Hensel Strobe Wizard Plus – $375.95 Similar to Profoto’s Air Remote, this is a transmitter but it works with Hensel heads and does not have the feature where you can adjust the modeling light or turn the heads on or off. It is limited to 3 channels. $375.95 https://www.beauphoto.com/product/hensel-freemask-radiotransmitter/
The Elinchrom Transmitter Pro – This is a camera dedicated transmitter that works with specific Elinchrom flashes such as the Elinchrom ONE, ELB 500 TTL, ELC 125 and ELC 500. It offers TTl, High Speed Sync and Hi-Sync at speeds of up to 1/8000s with select Elinchrom units. This is one of the few lines of camera specific remotes that are produced to work with not only Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and Sony but also Pentax and Olympus/ Panasonic.
PocketWizard Remotes: Often referred to as the industry standard these remotes are the workhorses of events like the Olympics, NHL, NFL, NBA and large sporting events. There always were cheaper remotes out there, but non could compete with the consistency and reliability of PocketWizard. They also offered many features in their top of the line Pro model that no one else did or does. PocketWizard MultiMAX and MultiMAX II: These are transceivers, and perhaps the most advanced wireless triggering system available. With thirty-two standard channels and four separately controllable zones, as well as 20 ControlTL channels with three zones, the MultiMAX II Transceiver is the ideal solution for working in crowded venues or with multiple lighting set-ups. It features capabilities such as Infinite Intervalometer, SpeedCycler and Long Range Mode. Unfortunately the MultiMAX II has been discontinued but you can still find them used or online.
PocketWizard Plus IVe – $229.95 The Plus IVe has all the great features of the other PocketWizard transceivers that you might expect, plus a few that set it apart. The first is the pass-through TTL feature, meaning if a speedlight is attached to the Plus IVe’s hotshoe while attached to your camera, the camera it will pass on the TTL information to the flash through the Plus IVe. It does not transmit the TTL information to other flashes though, but will transmit a basic signal to other PocketWizard remotes at the same time. It also features a repeater mode, long range capability, high speed receive and external power, and is firmware upgradeable. https://www.beauphoto.com/product/pocket-wizard-plus-iv-on-camera-ttl-flash-remote-manual-flash/
PocketWizard Plus IIIe – $189.95 The Plus llle Transceiver is a reliable, featurepacked, easy-to-use radio for remote flash and camera triggering. The Plus llle is an auto-sensing transceiver which means it will automatically switch between transmit and receive as needed. It features 32 channels, quad-zone triggering, high speed receive and more. https://www.beauphoto.com/product/pocket-wizardplus-x-copy/
PocketWizard PlusX – $129.95 The PlusX is the simplest of the PocketWizard radio line up and the perfect entry into the PocketWizard wireless system. It has 10 channels and backlit channel dial to easily confirm and setup your selected channels. It has the same reliability and range of the more expensive
PocketWizards at a lower price. https://www.beauphoto.com/product/pocketwizard-plus-x/