Review: Phottix Strato II Multi 5-in-1 Triggers

Phottix Strato III had been looking for a set of radio triggers for my flashes for quite a while, but didn’t want to shell out for a set of Pocket Wizards. Instead I got a pair of the Phottix Strato II Multi wireless triggers. These run retail for about 2/3 of the price you’d pay for a single PW, and come in a Tx/Rx pair (transmit/receive). So far I’ve been impressed with their normal use as remote flash triggers, but they also support wired/wireless triggering of my Nikon camera bodies. I have successfully used just the receiver unit wired directly to the camera to get some bracketed shots for HDR. Normally if you press the shutter on the camera you can introduce vibration and cause your frame to get a bit blurry. With the Phottix I was able to remotely focus and fire the camera for shake-free frames. Now I had also been looking into a separate product to do just that, so it’s one of the reasons I went with the product I did for less than the cost of two products to do two different tasks. In fact, I was so impressed with my first pair that I immediately ordered a second pair. Now I can have 1 receiver for each of my flashes, and one transmitter for my primary and secondary cameras (D600 and D90).

Now I should mention that these are not necessarily “dumb” triggers, but they aren’t iTTL or CLS-compatible either. They work via radio signal, which is better than the IR provided by the Nikon CLS, as that is only line-of-sight. These will work over quite a bit of distance and allows me to conceal the flashes in areas where they would never be able to see the master flash. They operate on 4 channels (1-4) on 4 groups (A-D), which offers quite a bit of flexibility. My flashes must be set to manual mode, though in that respect they’re back to being “dumb” triggers. The nice thing is that the transmitter allows for TTL pass-through, so I can still have my SB-800 mounted on the camera body above the transmitter, and it will work to do balance flash while still triggering any slave flashes remotely.

What is equally nice is that I can use that type of setup (with 1 transmitter) and have multiple remotes in use. For one remote I may have a flash on group A and a remote body on another remote in group B. With just one press of my shutter on my primary body, I can drive my TTL flash, my slave flash, and a remote body all at the same time. In fact I’ve already used this setup for school events for my daughter, using a second body as a remote. This has yielded some decent shots for alternate views, even if it results in a lack of variety or composition from such a static setup.