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Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 & MultiMax- Comparison? Difference?


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Sep 16, 2010
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I'm unsure of which model of PW's I should buy. The two to be considered are the FlexTT5 and the MultiMax. The price difference is obvious. I'm not looking for someone to tell me which PW is best for me. I'm looking for someone to explain the differences between the two, so I can consider my options, and then make an informed decision.

I'm trying to get my head around the differences between these triggers. Since I'm having trouble finding a comparison between the 2, I've instead tried to take what I have found, and made some preliminary theory's. I see 100's of websites, blogs, & discussion boards discussing PocketWizards, it's an endless wealth of information. But I have found very little of them both being discussed together in a format to enumerate their similarities and differences, the pros and cons of each. I'm sure they are out there, elusive as they may be.

I use Canon, and would be using these triggers for various lighting setups. I use White Lightening, Canon Flashes, and various manual flashes. I occasionally use Eilenchrome and others, but infrequently. The White Lightening (Alien Bees/Buff) are a constant.

I will approach it a little different here, for the benefit of us all. From what I understand so far,

Both are Transcievers
Multimax has Zones, and more channels
The AC3 module added to the FlexTT5 (on camera) gives it 3 zones
The AC9 module added to the FlexTT5 (ON STROBE) gives Alien Bees & WL compatibility.

So, why isn't the MultiMax not mentioned on the PW AC9 page? Is it because it is already equipped internally with this capability?

On the PW site, it says that the MultiMax is compatible to virtually all current flash makes and models...I've assumed that meant White Lightening as well- please correct me if I misunderstood that.

So, does that mean:

MultiMax = FlexTT5 + AC3 + AC9?

I know this formula isn't EXACTLY true, but is it similar? For example, the MultiMax has 4 zones, and the AC3 has 3. But it seems that the AC3 & the AC9 give the FlexTT5 a similar functionality to the MultiMax. Does the MultiMax have the ability to trigger the White Lightnings, meaning, does it already contain the function given by the AC9? The reason I'm confused about that question is that, on the PW site, it states that you can add the AC9 to the FlexTT5, it never mentions the MultiMax on the AC9 pages, that I can see. I assume this either means that The Multimax already has this capability, or that it doesn't and PW didn't intend for the MultiMax to be compatible with White Lightning.

I realize I've asked several questions here, I'd humbly appreciate even an answer to any one of these. Furthermore, if the is a link you could share that would also help, I would be grateful...I'm at loss in the search.

I've been to the PW Site and forum, Buff site and forum, and as many forums as Google will list. Failing to find this info, I now come to you. I've not mentioned my setup because it is always changing, and as I mentioned before, I'm interested in understanding the differences between the 2 triggers, regardless of setup.

To sum up most of what I've tried to convey here, in the form of questions:

1. What's the difference between the FlexTT5 & MultiMax?
how are they similar/different
the pros/cons of each

2. Why would you choose one over the other, in other words, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

3. Since the FlexTT5 is NOT compatible with Alien Bees & WL without the AC9, can The MultiMax communicate (is it compatible?) with Alien Bees & White Lightning right out of the box?

4. Considering the very slight price difference between the MiniTT1 & the FlexTT5, is there a reason the the MiniTT1 might be chosen over the FlexTT5?

5. Are there advantages of buying a combination of MultiMax & FlexTT5? I have several Strobes and several Flashguns.

I'm sure I've misunderstood much concerning these triggers, and corrections will be appreciated as well.
Welcome to the forum.

The biggest / most obvious difference is that the TT models (flex & mini) have the capability to work within the Canon wireless system.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Canon's wireless system, but in a nut shell, you put a 'Master' on camera and it controls the 'Slave' units that is can communicate with. A Master unit can be either a 580EX or the ST-E2. Slave units can be 580EX or 430EX.
Besides triggering the slave units, you can use E-TTL metering and control the ratio between groups. The only problem with this system is the limited communication method. The 580EX uses light pulses from the flash head and the ST-E2 uses infrared. Both will become less reliable when used outdoors, especially in bright sunlight.

So enter the PW TT units. They integrate into Canon's system, replacing the communication with radio, which usually works much better.

I don't know much about the MultiMax, but I do know that it's been around for a while and is not compatible with Canon's wireless system. When you are using the MultiMax (or the Plus II), you can only trigger the light, not control it's output.

As far as compatibility with your lights, any of the PW units should be compatible, to trigger, any light. You just need the right cord to go from the receiving unit to the light. The units have a standard mono-plug socket.

I haven't used a MultiMax, but I've used the Plus II fairly often (I don't own them though). They work well as a basic trigger and the range is up to 1600 feet. If you need the added functionality of the MultiMax, then that's what you need...but that's up to you.

I have some limited experience with the new TT models, but we were only using them as basic triggers...and not using them in the Canon wireless system.

What I personally own & use, are units from the Paul Buff Cyber Sync system. I just used them as simple triggers for my AB lights or random flash units, but I could add the Cyber Commander, which can meter and remotely control AB (and maybe WL) flash units, as long as I have the correct receiver on the light.
Thank you Mike, very concise. You answered my questions in a way that I can understand- Especially your explanation of the FlexTT5, it makes sense, thank you.

As for basic triggers, I bought some in HK a few yrs back, and they have been workhorses- ultra reliable, ultra inexpensive, and very useful. The work as Shutter Release & Flash Triggers. But it's tome to move on to TTL control, and wireless control of the White Lightnings (AC9). I can still use them as wireless shutter release. They've been indispensable, especially in macro work. $70 for 2 Tx & 5 Rx. And I always try to run my equipments full use before moving on- once I've reached the limitation of something, I try to move on before complacency set in- I guess the YongNuo's have run their course are a flash trigger.

Thanks again for your thoughtful response, Mike.

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