Ares are the new inexpensive base model Manual radio triggers from Phottix, but don’t let that base model tag put you off as the Ares are really a solid option with some unique features.
Instead of trying to squeeze a lot of features into a compromised package, Phottix have simply taken the most commonly used functions and boosted those into a solid, high performance package, at an affordable entry level price.
The Ares also have a couple of unique new features, the main one being a transmitter unit which folds flat on the camera hotshoe providing a low profile on the camera when needed, as well as a quick channel selection, and “Fire All” channels button, acting as a clever type of grouping function.
Ares Features –
- 200 Metre Range
- Standard AA Batteries
- Standard 3.5mm Rx Sync Port
- Universal for most cameras – due to simple Single Firing Pin
- Fast – “Fire All” & pseudo channel/grouping function
- 8 Channels
- Fast Sync Speed – 1/250th +
- Low Profile Folding Transmitter
- Large Solid Locking Rings
- 1/4″ 20 threaded mounting hole in Rx foot
Ares Limitations –
- No shutter release or remote camera triggering option
- No flash wake up feature
- No Tx Sync Port (a hotshoe with cord would resolve this if needed though).
- Not compatible with other Phottix Triggers
Because the Ares are simple single firing pin triggers they are universal for most cameras, so there are no Canon – Nikon or Sony etc dedicated versions. This means you can switch from one camera to the next without any compatibility issues. Pentax cameras for example often prefer single firing pin triggers to the Canon/Nikon dedicated trigger options as well.
Again single firing pin means there are few compatibility issues. That only leaves safe sync voltage as a possible issue. Although it isn’t stated in the specs most Phottix triggers have a 300volt safe sync voltage which covers most hotshoe flashes, even the older ones, and most studio lights (300v to be confirmed).
Studio lights can be attached via the receivers 3.5mm sync port, and sync cords are supplied.
As shown above and below the Ares have a unique tilting Transmitter that can quickly fold flat for a low profile on the camera. The Ares like PocketWizard Plus II/III, and Phottix Atlas II, use full size regular AA batteries, which means they have a reasonable size to them, and quite a high profile on the camera when mounted vertically.
With the Ares you can have the best of both worlds, with ease of access to controls, and likely greater range in the vertical position, as well as a nice low profile when preferred.
Channel Feature –
The Ares also have a very clever and useful pseudo Grouping feature which allows the 8 Channels to act as a type of group function.
This means that each light, or group of lights, can quickly be turned on one at a time for setting up with a light meter, or the camera LCD. The ALL button then quickly turns on all lights for the final image or exposure.
This is also handy for wedding and events etc, where you can set up a number of lighting arrangements in different groups, and then switch between those groups remotely from the camera as needed.
Normally scrolling group combinations or menu options is something to avoid, but in this application its actually quite clever. Even a simple manual switch would take more time and concentration to select the desired channel position. This way you simply click the channel up and down, and easily see when you have selected the channel you’re after.
You can only select a single channel, or all channels though. If more detailed grouping is required the Strato II would be a better option.
The receiver has a similar quick channel selection, and a standard 3.5mm mono socket sync port.
The other side of the receiver has a simple and easily accessible ON-OFF switch, and a 5v external power port.
Whats Included –
- Transmitter and Receiver
- Carry Case
- All the Sync Cords required
GHzRange: 200m +
Channel: 8 channels and Fire All Function
Power: 2 x AA batteries (Transmitter and Receiver), 5V DC (Receiver)
Max sync speed: 1/250 sec* (On compatible cameras/flashes)
Antenna: internal antenna
Working Temperature: 0+40C
Working Humidity: 35-95 RH
Input Voltage: 2.2-3.2V
Current: Maximum Working Current: 45mA, Standby Current: 7mA (single channel), 27mA (all channels),
Off Current Info: 0mA
Weight: With batteries: 108g, Without batteries: 61g
Phottix have put together a solid manual trigger option with the Ares, covering the most commonly used functions at a very affordable price. We already know Phottix produce great build quality, fast sync speeds, and reliable range and performance.
Disregarding remote shutter and camera release, the Ares are really doing the most part of what two hundred dollar PocketWizards would just a couple of years ago, now for around just $30 a unit. And with the added convenience of built in hotshoe for speedlights, fast pseudo group function, and folding low profile Transmitter option.
The Ares cover the most used basic trigger functions without compromise, fast sync speeds, solid build quality, large locking rings, standard AA batteries and 3.5mm sync port. Its a pity they are not compatible with other Phottix triggers to expand and upgrade the system later, but for basic manual triggers the Ares may do all you need anyway. If you do need more features or intend to upgrade possibly to TTL triggers in the near future the Phottix Strato II, or Atlas II may be a better option as they are forward/backward compatible. But for simple solid manual triggering the Ares are a good option available now.