Friday, January 13, 2012

PW Part Deux, The Replacements are in!

First off, Happy New Year!  Ok, it's a little past new year now, it is actually like January 13, 2012... more precisely Friday the 13th, not that I am superstitious, mind you.. uhhmmm, yeah.

I'm not really sure how we quite fell on it, but last week I was sending off another beta test report through to the PW beta program, just letting them know how I am getting along with the ControlTL units and discussing an issue that came up for me.

I suppose at one point, I either had an issue that other PW owners had, that PW themselves could not reproduce, or I could not replicate issues that others had, and in a reply to one of my messages, Ian Ray (my main contact there at PW, and an all around super-nice guy,) asks me for a detailed list of my equipment along with hardware and build serial numbers.  It was very easy to hook up each unit and do a screen capture of all the relevant info that he needed, and off went that email.

The return email was a little surprising... apparently, I somehow had several beta ControlTL units in my possession that were not even supposed to have ever been released to the public!

Now, I know how maybe one of the units that I own could have been such a beta unit (I might have received it directly from PW when I started to be one of their beta testers last year), but I have absolutely no idea how the other beta units got into my possession, or how they ever even got out.  I bought my first pair of TT5s from "The Camera Store" out in Alberta (only place that had them in stock around this time last year!), and all the other units came from right here in Montreal from a place called Photoservice (highly recommended, BTW!).   

Well, Ian suggested that we swap out the units for current full release production units, and I happily agreed.  In typical PW customer service fashion (which for me means they always do their best to try to go above and beyond), not only did they kindly replace those beta units for me, but just to be on the safe side, went and replaced all my FlexTT5 units, all my MiniTT1 units and even went as far as replacing all my AC3 units.  I would be walking around with the latest and greatest and all brand spanking new!

Yesterday, I receive a box from LPA and took them out for a quick look over... sure look the same to me!  Tonight I took each unit out, and checked the firmware and hardware revisions and they all had the latest hardware builds and the latest firmware already installed, so the only thing that I did, was to do a factory reset using the PW Configuration Utility amd made sure they all had the same settings for when I do some testing tomorrow, and put away the boxes they came in for future use if and when needed.

Please note, normally, when you do firmware updates, your old settings are saved and you can reload them, but not so in the case of when upgrading to v.3.003. 

If you are upgrading from a previous version of the software over to v.3.003, you need to write down all your settings, that are different from the factory default, on a piece of paper, because the PW Config Utility does NOT save your old settings when doing this update... it automatically resets everything to factory default... so, you have been warned.  :)

Now, my last tests were done back in August 2011 and that with the v.2.160 beta software.  Since then, there were many changes and improvements, and the latest and greatest firmware at the time of this posting, as mentioned, is now v.3.003.

One of the many things that was changed/improved was the Automated HyperSync settings.  The different values in the firmware changed pretty much all previous settings where HyperSync was concerned, and so the settings that I documented to get those clean frames with my studio head back in August no longer work as well, therefore, I need to redo the tests and get the values that will give me the cleanest frames possible again at the different power levels and shutter speeds that I need.

Not only that, but I need to play a little more with the new things that I did not get a chance to use all that much like flash power control without a camera and SpeedCycle (now *that* feature I already know where and how I want to use it this summer for a special photo shoot!). 

Certainly one of the things that I am sure that changed was the results of the Automated HyperSyc, and I was quite eager to see how that works now with my collection of supported Nikon OEM and unsupported Nikon and other 3rd party flashes as well as my very well liked Photogenic PL-2500DR studio head.

The new replacement units sent to me by PW:

Five FlexTT5, two MiniTT1 and two AC3 units...
this is my preferred setup with my twin Nikon D700 cameras!

Anyway, I just wanted to bring people up to speed, and want to let you all know that I will be doing some new tests very soon with these new units and their newer firmware, and of course reporting the results right here on this blog..

Stay tuned for some new results, new photos and more info about these units!