Great news for current Canon Pixel King owners, the very long awaited upgrade, now called the King PRO, are coming in June, and Pixel have now confirmed they will actually be compatible with the current King receivers!
Its probably been tough for many current King owners to stand by watching all the buzz around the recent YongNuo YN-622C and Phottix Odin, with all their added functions and refinement. But the new King Pro should bring the King’s right up to speed, and then some. As the new built in interface promises to offer the fastest access to adjust flash settings of a transmitter of this style with LCD display.
The King Pro transmitter will be a transceiver unit this time, meaning the same unit can act as both transmitter on the camera, and receiver on the flash. Though there will be separate dedicated receiver only units available as well.
Prices and full specs are yet to be released, though the images already confirm most of the key points. Most importantly the King Pro now have their own built in interface, so they no longer rely on the limitations of the Canon Flash Control Menu. And this allows for one of the most significant upgrades in function, the ability to mix ETTL, and remote manual power control, separately in any of the 3 groups.
ETTL Flash Exposure Compensation can also be adjusted independently in any of the 3 groups, which is far more practical than the limited ratio method the Canon flash control menu offers.
Another major upgrade is an ETTL pass through hotshoe allowing an ETTL flash to be mounted on camera (the current King pass through hotshoe being disabled).
Interestingly Pixel have dropped the scroll wheel adjustment seen in the earlier images (named the King II), which is now replaced with a simple + and – button (as seen in the image above, but not marked +/- as yet).
Either way I don’t see a problem there, the main important thing is that there is a fast instant selection of group A, B, or C, and then the ability to adjust power levels or FEC up and down quickly from there. Even the Phottix Odin are not this quick to adjust, as you need to scroll to select a group first before making adjustments. The YN-622C still rely on the camera menu for adjustment like the current Kings, which can be much more tedious particularly for remote manual power control.
The King and King Pro, like the YN-622C, follow Canons original protocol closer than the Phottix Odin, and therefore require MK II Canon flashes to have any remote manual power control of the flashes. This is a disadvantage if you would like to make full use of older inexpensive MK I Canon flashes, as the Odin will do. Though the upside is the impressive bang for buck flashes from YongNuo like the current flagship YN-568EX (available under $200 with Amazon Fulfillment) have proved to be mostly compatible with the current Pixel Kings at least, making for a fairly economical fully featured set up (except for external battery port on the flash at this stage).
And more good news for King owners is that Pixel have confirmed that they have their own (exceptionally nice looking) flash unit in development, shown center below between the current Canon and Nikon alternatives. Though realistically there’s no knowing at this stage how long this flash will actually take to become available. Pixel have been careful not to build expectations that this flash will actually have a TTL receiver built in, though its fairly obvious this will at least be the goal of most companies of this capability now. Either way its an impressive looking flash with nice large LCD and control wheel, and compatibility with the Kings would be ensured, even if a separate receiver may still be required.
These were the early King II specs, and I don’t thing much would have actually changed here –
|Wireless System||Digital FSK 2.4GHz|
|Range||Up to 100m|
|Channels||15 fixed channels and 1 auto channel|
|Receiver Output||TTL hot shoe, cable sync port|
|Power||Transmitter: 2 AA batteries (300 hrs)|
|Receiver: 2 AA batteries (200 hrs)|
|Flash Mode||E-TTL, TTL, M (for Canon)|
|i-TTL, TTL, M, Multi flash (for Nikon)|
|Mixed Mode||Support Mixed Mode (Such as, TTL in Group A, Manual in Group B)|
|EV||Support different EV addition/subtraction of each TTL group setting|
|Ratios||Supports output light ratios|
|Sync Mode||1st curtain, 2nd curtain, High Speed Sync, Red-eye reduction|
|Group Control||3 groups (7 different combinations)|
|Function||Supports flash zooming, focal length, Iso, shutter speed, FV lock and FP|
|Sync Speed||1/8000 second|
|Compatible Flash||Flashgun, Studio light and outdoor light|
|Firmware Support||Upgrade the device by downloading new firmware online|
As usual the devil is often in the detail, though provided they perform as indicated the King PRO are looking to be the upgrade many King owners have been waiting for. The new transmitter should really bring some serious added functionality and convenience to the system.
Stay tuned for more King Pro release details.