PIXEL – Mago – HSS Flash Hands On Review



Pixel have released their first HSS enabled ETTL speedlite in the new Mago, and they are available now from an incredibly low $90.

This is around half the price of the current comparable YongNuo YN-568EX II, and very likely the beginning of the end of premium prices normally associated with HSS enabled TTL hotshoe flashes.


UPDATE – 1st November 2014 – PLEASE NOTE – Although the initial Mago flash units where providing quite good ETTL exposures, this has unfortunately gone backwards with later firmware updates. And there have been quite significant issues reported with ETTL exposures and consistency with E9A_003 and E9N_004 firmware version units.

UPDATE – 10th April 2015 – A new major firmware update, version F2A_008, is now available HERE. And should resolve the issues noted above.


Pixel MAGO


The Mago are surprisingly well built for flashes of this price, better than YN-568EX II in a some ways. And also providing a few significant extra features like –

  • 20-200mm zoom (compared to 24-105mm)
  • External HV Battery Port
  • USB Port for Firmware Updates
  • LED Video Light
  • High Definition Dot Matrix LCD Screen
  • Quick Lock Foot


In terms of functions, the Mago really only lack the basic manual S1 and S2 optic slave modes. UPDATE – S1 and S2 may now have been added with later firmware updates.

More of an issue for some people though, will be the lack of compatibility with other third party TTL radio triggers like the YongNuo YN-622C (currently working in TTL, but not in remote manual) and Phottix Odin etc. The Mago should offer a great inexpensive HSS enabled option for Pixel King and King Pro users though.

Also at the time of writing this the Mago are still a work in progress to some degree regarding some TTL exposures and a few other small quirks, which will all likely be resolved over time with new firmware. The Mago are 90% of the way there already, and completely usable, though Pixel can sometimes to take a bit of time to resolve things completely with new firmware updates.

Hardware wise the Mago appear to be fairly well resolved (though there a few small issues as mentioned below). Otherwise the Mago are full power flashes, with fast recycle times etc, and very well built for the low price.

Pixel MAGO


Features and Specs –

  • Flash Index – 60M@ISO 100/105mm
  • Flash Mode – ETTL /M / Multi
  • Auto Zoom / Manual Zoom: 20 – 200 mm
  • HSS to 1/8000th
  • 1st Curtain Sync / 2nd Curtain Sync
  • FEC / FEB – 1/3rd Increments (±3 stops)
  • Manual Flash – 1/128 – 1/1 output control (1/3rd increments)
  • Canon Optic Wireless Master and Slave Modes
  • AF-Assist Light
  • 2W LED Light
  • Sound Prompt
  • High Definition Dot Matrix LCD Screen
  • USB Port – Firmware Upgradable
  • External Power Pack Input (Pixel Style Socket)
  • PC Sync Port
  • Full Head Tilt & Swivel – UP/Down: -7/90 degree  Left/Right: 180/180 degree


  • Flash Recycle Time – aprox 2.8 sec (1/1 full power output)
  • Internal Power Source – 4 x AA size batteries (Alkaline or Ni-MH are available)
  • Flash Times – 150 times (1/1 flash output, with Sanyo Eneloop batteries)
  • Overheating Warning – multi dot-matrix temperature control, battery & tube overheat warning.


The Mago also provide full control through the Canon flash control menu –

Pixel MAGO




The Mago have a good simple interface, with larger buttons and main dial than the Canon 600EX-RT, making them a little easier to access and manipulate.

One issue with the main dial though, is that the flash does not always react to every movement of the dial. I’ve noticed this is similar with a number of Pixel LED light panels as well, so I’m not sure if this is something that will be improved. It is a minor annoyance, though you do also get used to it.

Also the relatively loud beep sound goes off with every single click of the main dial, or button press on the flash interface. The beep can be turned off, though this disables the very useful recycle ready indicator beep as well.

Otherwise the Mago’s interface is very simple, and really quite fast and easy to use (for a Canon style interface).


LCD Screen

The Dot Matrix LCD screen used in the Mago has very fine pixels, even compared to the Canon 600EX-RT. So its very crisp. Though it does have a slight mirror like appearance when view straight on, and with the back light on. Or from any angle really other than slightly from the right.


Pixel MAGO


So the LCD screen can actually be a little difficult to see at times. The trick seems to be to view it slightly on an angle from the right side, where you can then get the full contrast.

I’m not sure if this is somehow intentional, as it does coincide with holding the camera in portrait, with the flash tilted down to the left and viewed slightly above. Pixel do promote the LCD as having a wide viewing angle, though a slight angle really appears to be the main viewing option.

Pixel MAGO


In a direct comparison with the Canon 600EX-RT you can see Mago’s backlight is considerably brighter, and the pixels are much finer. Though the 600EX-RT has a lot more contrast and is easier to read.

The 600EX-RT LCD screen is larger, and displays the flash range scale along the base, which the Mago does not have. Also the Mago flash body itself is quite a bit larger than the 600EX-RT.


Pixel MAGO



Pressing the mode button simply scrolls through the 3 main flash modes, TTL, Manual, and Multi (or stroboscopic mode).


Pixel MAGO Modes



Pressing the Function button scrolls through the function options displayed clearly on the right of the screen at all times: Sound Prompt, LCD Back Light, AF Assist, and Sleep Mode.

Keeping it simple, these are the only custom functions available with the Mago. There are more options displayed in the cameras flash control menu, though as far as I can see these can not be changed through the camera menu.

Unfortunately there is still no option to leave the LCD screen on permanently, 10 seconds is the maximum option.


Pixel MAGO Functions


Master & Slave Modes

Holding the Function button for a couple of seconds brings up the left menu display, with Canon Optic Wireless Master and Slave modes.

The Slave mode is very straight forward. Group and channel can be selected.


Pixel MAGO


Master mode is also quite straight forward when set to “ALL”. FEC or power level changes are made as usual. And the the Master flash can be set not to fire in the image if preferred.


Pixel MAGO


Switching to more complex A:B C ratio control is where the display starts to get a little complex, and possibly even a bit confusing. Though it is fairly easy to make adjustments here.


Pixel MAGO


At this point though you may prefer to control things through the Canon flash control menu instead. As you make changes there they will update on the flash as well.

With inexpensive TTL radio triggers available now, the more restrictive Canon Optic Wireless System and interface is often less of a priority now though anyway.

The manual Master screen can also be seen here.


Pixel MAGO


FEC Adjustment

One interesting and unusual addition to the Mago display is an indication of CAM or LAMP for where the FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation) has been set, either through the camera or directly on the flash itself.

This still functions exactly like a Canon flash, in that any FEC setting made directly on the flash will override the cameras FEC setting (not add to it). Any FEC already set on the camera will be restored when the flash FEC is adjusted to zero again. ±3 stops of adjustment are provided.


Pixel MAGO


Sync Mode

Another unusual display is the addition of a First Curtain Sync icon. Pressing the Sync button scrolls through First Curtain, HSS, and Second Curtain Sync modes.

This is just a small criticism, though the addition of the First Curtain Sync icon is not really a great thing. As its easy to mistake with the Second Curtain Sync icon. Its generally much clearer to know which mode is selected if there is no icon shown at all when in First Curtain Sync mode (as most other flashes do).


Pixel MAGO


Flash Power


As seen in the light pattern images bellow, it can be a little difficult to accurately measure and compare flash power between different speedlites, as the light pattern is not always even.

Though the Mago are generally quite clearly matching the Canon 600EX-RT for light output. Bouncing or diffusing the flashes in direct comparisons the light meter readings are virtually even.

With the flashes direct at 20mm flash zoom setting the readings are also equal. As the flash zoom is increased, the 600EX-RT can get ahead up to around 3 tenths of a stop. Though in actual on camera images with the lense matching the flash zoom there is really not much in it.

So the Mago have a solid maximum light output, where many other third party flashes like the YN-568EX II etc are at least 2 or 3 tenths bellow.


Light Pattern


Below is a direct comparison of the light patters produced by the Pixel Mago and the Canon 600EX-RT at each flash zoom length.

These are all shot at the same 17mm zoom length (on a Canon 7D) so that the full light patterns can be seen.

The Mago results are a little less even, though really quite good still for a third party flash.

(These are shot at 5500K so you can also get an idea of the color difference between the 2 flashes).

Pixel MAGO


Althought the Mago is a little hotter in the centres at longer zoom lengths, when matching the lense zoom with the flash zoom, theres not a lot of difference in the results. Below is an example at 105mm flash and zoom setting.

(Although this example is using a 7D crop frame camera. At full frame settings there likely would actually be more vignetting starting to show in the image from the Mago.)


Pixel MAGO


Manual Power Levels


Accuracy between manual power levels is also quite good, all within 2 to 3 tenths of a stop between levels.

Even the Canon flash has some variation here, though its definitely a little more consistent over a number of shots. The variations in the Mago’s results are generally very small though anyway.


Diff. EV Diff. EV
1/1 F 16 F 16
1.0 1.0
1/2 F 11 F 11
1.0 0.9
1/4 F 8 F 8 + 0.1
0.7 0.9
1/8 F 5.6 + 0.3 F 5.6 + 0.2
1.1 1.0
1/16 F 4 + 0.2 F 4 + 0.2
1.2 0.8
1/32 F 2.8 F 2.8 + 0.4
0.8 0.9
1/64 F 2 + 0.2 F 2 + 0.5
0.8 1.0
1/128 F 1.4 + 0.4 F 1.4 + 0.5



ETTL Exposures


The Mago’s ETTL exposures are likely a work in progress to some degree, as by the time you are reading this Pixel will likely be shipping flashes with updated firmware anyway.

From initial testing with the original firmware though, the Mago appears to be fairly good already. There are generally no major discrepancies of a stop or more like we have experienced with a number of other new flashes (when bouncing or changing zoom lengths etc).

FEC adjustments are reasonably close to the 1/3rd or full stops etc as they should be.

I did notice using the flip down wide angle diffuser does have an issue where that requires over a stop of FEC to compensate for though.

Also, although it may be hard to see in regular use, while doing a lot of testing in a fixed environment, it is possible to see the Mago’s ETTL exposures are not always consistent at times. Most of the time this is within 3 tenths of a stop, so its often hard to notice, or pin down the cause in regular use.

I have no doubt Pixel will tweak firmware updates over time to fix any obvious anomalies. Though I do wonder about the smaller inconsistencies, as they are harder to detect. To be fair this is a $90 flash though.

In general though the Mago TTL exposures are pretty reasonable at this stage, and completely usable.


High Speed Sync


HSS (High Speed Sync) also appears to work quite well, and as it generally should.

Light across the frame may be slightly less even than the Canon 600EX-RT, though generally not really noticeable.


Recycle Times


Full power recycle times with Sanyo Eneloops are around 2.6 to 2.8 seconds.

Half power recycle is around 0.8 seconds.

This is comparable to, if not a little faster than the 600EX-RT.


Overheat Protection


Again the Mago overheat protection appears to be a work in progress to some degree. The original beta flash units had some issues with the front lense melting too easily. So these lenses have been updated, and the protection changed with later firmware as well.

The Mago have separate battery and lamp overheat warning though. And the battery warning at least does not just run off a simple count of pops.

I can get close to 50 full power pops from cold before the battery protection warning first cuts in. Then the flash is locked for around 5 minutes. This is with the flash head set to 50mm so that the flash tube is not too close to the front lense of the flash. Even at 50mm 50 shots is still quite good though.

With later firmware others have reported the lamp protection will cut in after just 15 full power pops, if the zoom is set to the 20mm wide setting. This is not unusual though when the hot flash tube is positioned right up against the front lense.

So in general the Mago can physically hold up to decent levels with heat. Though this method of locking the flash completely while in protection mode is not really ideal. Most third party flashes now just slow recycle times to 10 or 15 seconds, so that the flash can at least still be fired.

Again its possible this may be further tweaked in later firmware, and hopefully Pixel may consider a slow down rather than lock out.


Tilt Swivel Head


The Mago has full head tilt and swivel motion, and without any locking or release buttons.

Like a number of third party flashes lately, and through the use of a very sticky grease, the flash head has a very firm, though very smooth motion.

This is gives the flash a quality feel, though swiveling the flash head without holding the flash body will put a lot of stress on the flash body, and foot in the camera hotshoe. So manipulating the flash head really needs another hand to be supporting the flash body first.

The Mago flash head itself is also larger than the Canon flashes. Actually its about the same width and height as the 600EX-RT, though with squarer corners. So I’m not sure which Stofen style caps etc would fit the Mago.


Pixel MAGO


Lever Lock Foot


The Mago has a lever locking foot in the same style as the Canon 600EX-RT. And this is the one area I would personalty be a little concerned about build, or engineering with the Mago.

Unlike the Canon 600EX-RT, which are rock solid in the camera hotshoe, the springs in the Mago foot mechanism allow the flash to rock forward and backward a little in the cameras hothshoe. A bit like the flash has a spring base.

The main concern here is just that this may potentially cause communication issues between the flash and camera in the future, through the contact pins not making a good connection. The Mago contact pins are also rounded instead of pointed at the tip like the Canon flash now uses. These were changed from round tips to avoid dirt and grease breaking signal contact between the pins and hotshoe contacts.

Combined with the stiff swivel head above, you really don’t want to be putting too much stress on this flash foot. Pixel and YongNuo have struggled with engineering good hotshoe connections and even locking rings from the beginning, and its likely the coming YN-600EX-RT will have similar issues to Mago with this as well.

I don’t really blame Pixel for following the latest designs and engineering a lever lock foot, though a simple locking ring would be the more secure option in this case. Time will tell if the current foot mechanism does become an issue though.


Pixel MAGO


AF Assist Light


The Mago has a fairly decent AF assist light, which projects a nice contrast pattern covering a number of focus points (depending on how close you are to the subject, or how zoomed in).

This is not as elaborate as Canon’s dual light AF assist system, though it covers the AF points better than the lazer style AF lights commonly used by YongNuo and Godox etc.

The examples below were with the camera at 1.8M (or 6 feet) from the subject.


Pixel MAGO


LED Video Light


Another nice bonus feature in the Mago is a 2W LED video or modelling light. This is not exceptionally powerful, and there is no power adjustment. Though it is certainly a great help if you would like to shoot some quick video in low light, and really something every on camera speedlite should offer now as an option.

A supplied white diffuser cap normally clips over the 2 LED lights.


Pixel MAGO


When the LED light is on though, the flash is otherwise disabled, with the LCD screen locked. So no flash images can be taken while the LED light is running.

Its a little bit of a pity there is no way to switch the LED light on remotely through the Pixel King Pro radio triggers, as this would have also been handy as a modelling light, and to help focus etc with the flash off camera.


Pixel MAGO


External HV Battery Port


The Mago come with a high voltage external battery port. Though one catch here is that Pixel have made the socket to suit their own new proprietary plug.

Ironically though this will still fit the Canon style plug if you are prepared to cut the lower of the 2 notches out of the Mago’s socket (with a hobby knife etc).

A number of the Mago beta testers / reviewers discovered this, as it was the only way currently to test an external battery pack with the Mago. And most Canon compatible packs do appear to work fine. The risk though would be voiding your warranty.

No doubt Pixel will have their own compatible battery packs available soon though as well. Pixel do already have one of the most popular AA packs for Canon and Nikon etc.


Pixel MAGO


PC Sync Port


The other port shown below is a regular screwlock PC Sync port.

And the third socket shown to the right, is a threaded mounting point for the Canon SB-E2 reporter style flash brackets, which mount the flash down beside the camera. This is a fine thread, not a regular 1/4″ 20 thread for attaching to umbrella swivels etc.


Pixel MAGO


USB Port


The Mago has the USB port cleverly located in the battery compartment. Where it does not require any extra dust cover, and also automatically disables the flashes battery power while the battery door is open.

The USB port is used for firmware updates. (More on firmware versions at the bottom of the post).


Pixel MAGO


Radio Triggers


The Mago should make great inexpensive HSS and TTL off camera flash options for owners of the Pixel King Pro, and original Kings.

There may be some compatibility with other third party TTL radio triggers, though this appears not to be a priority for Pixel at this stage. Use of the proprietary external battery socket (as seen above) likely goes some way to show the way Pixel are likely thinking in regards to compatibility with other third party products.

YongNuo YN-622C

With the early Mago firmware, the YongNuo YN-622C do appear to work with the Mago when used with ETTL. Though the manual side is not working, so there is no remote manual power control possible at this stage.

Phottix Odin

The Phottix Odin would not fire the Mago at all. I had to use a manual Stratto II as the receiver (to the Odin Tx) to have the Mago fire at all.


Pixel King Pro

As far as I can see everything appears to be working with the Pixel King pro and Mago. Though with the early Mago firmware I have, there are issues with random blowouts in TTL mode. This is the flash and triggers not communicating completely.

This issue will no doubt be fixed with updated firmware eventually (and possibly even installed in production flashes by the time you are reading this).

Other than that the Mago should be a great option for King Pro owners after well priced, full power, HSS and TTL enabled flashes for off camera use.


Pixel MAGO


With the Mago mounted on top of the King Pro on camera I still have the random blow out issue (which again should be fixed in time with firmware).

Though I would have to say this (as shown below) is still not the greatest combination to use on camera for any serious use. Its an accumulation of less than ideal hotshoe connections, combined with a stiff swivel head which will test all the connections to their limits (unless you really support the flash body). For occasional flash on camera use this should be ok though.


Pixel MAGO

Soft Case


The Mago come with a nice base stand and padded case. The case is nothing out of the ordinary, though it does at least has a good belt loop on the back.


Pixel MAGO




The packaging the Mago comes in is also a little unique. Its an air bubble tube, which protects the flash pretty well. And goes straight into the outer box without any other packaging needed.


Pixel MAGO



One last point worth mentioning, is that he Mago really is quite a big and heavy flash (around 35 grams more than the 600EX-RT) . And with the low price, a lot of Rebel and XT owners etc will be looking to the Mago as a first TTL flash.

Its certainly worth having a full power flash like the Mago, though it is going to be big and top heavy on a small camera, especially if not using a heavier lense, or possibly a battery grip to balance it out. The Mago is hard to go past at the price, though this is something to at least be aware of.


Pixel MAGO





GN: 65 (ISO100/200mm)
Flash Coverage Range:  20 to 200mm
Auto Zoom: According to shooting angle and image to auto adjust the coverage range
Manual Zoom: According to camera or flash setting to adjust the zoom range
Flash Mode:  TTL/M/Mult
Stroboscopic Flash: 1-500Hz
Wireless Flash:  Master/Slave
SYNC Mode:  High Speed Sync, 1st Curtain Sync, 2nd Curtain Sync
Adjustable Angle:  Up/Down: -7/90 degree Left / Right: 180 degree/180 degree
Manual Flash:  1/128-1/1 output control (1/3rd increments)
Recycle Time:  About 4 sec (1/1 full power output)
LCD Display Screen:  High definition dot matrix screen
Internal Power Source:  4×AA size Alkaline or rechargeable batteries (4×1.5V)
External Interface: Hot shoe, PC port and USB port
EV:  1/3rd increments (±3 stops)
FEB: 1/3rd increments (±3 stops)
Battery Life: 150 times (1/1 flash output, with SanyoEneloop batteries)
Fluorescent tube:  Ultra long battery life design
Special Design:  LED fill light and supplement to background settings
Overheating Warning: Multi dot matrix temperature control, battery & fluorescent tube overheat warning.
AF-Assist Beam: Support
Firmware Upgrade:  Support
Dimension:  196.5mm×80.7mm×64.4mm
Weight: 452g (excluding battery)


Pixel Flash Models


There has been some confusion over the naming of the initial Pixel Flash models, so Pixel have provided this description. The Mago does not have any numbers in the name.


Pixel Flash Models




Before release of the Mago Pixel sent out 20 flashes to various people for test and review. Which is great because they get tested on a wide range of gear, and with people having different needs and priorities.

You can also see some of the people comparing notes on the forum as well.

Below is a list of the some of the reviews. If I have missed your review please let me know and I’ll add it here as well. Thanks.

Brian Hursey Photography.com

And more reviews on the forum here.




Production MAGO – Updates available here.

Beta MAGO / X-650C – Updates available here.


UPDATE – 10th April 2015 – A new major firmware update, version F2A_008, is now available HERE.

UPDATE – 1st November 2014 –

Although the initial Mago flash units where providing quite good ETTL exposures, that had unfortunately gone backwards with later firmware updates. And there have been quite significant issues reported with ETTL exposures and consistency with E9A_003 and E9N_004 firmware version units.

This should be resolved from version F2A_008 onwards.


Beta MAGO / X-650C –

The Beta Mago units, and some early production Mago units, are basically the Chinese version of the flash, called the X-650C (although still branded Mago on the flash head). And these units now require X-650C firmware, which is a different strain of firmware to the production Mago.

The Beta Mago / X-650C started out with firmware from around E7A_003. And early Mago units being sold with E7S 001 are likely the Beta Mago / X-650C as well.

These flashes require firmware updates from the Chinese Pixel website here.

Production MAGO –

These are the current production Mago flashes, which started out with firmware around E9A_003. All flashes available now should be production Mago.


If you load the wrong strain of firmware into the flash it will produce a “firmware error 01” displayed on the flash screen.

So its always a good idea to save the old firmware file which you will remove from the flash when updating the firmware, in case you need to replace it again.




The Mago are looking to be a very impressive flash for the price. And they are sure to shake up HSS speedlite prices in general from now on.

The Mago should be a great inexpensive full power on camera HSS flash option. And a great bonus for Pixel King and King Pro owners.

YN-622C etc owners may be a bit disappointed with the limited compatibility, though as mentioned the Mago are sure to also impact the rest of the HSS market, with more competitive options and prices becoming available now.





The Pixel Mago for Canon are available now from around $90 –

Amazon, UKEbay.


Pixel – Website



  1. Do any tester notice false alarm on Battery? Every time I turn on the Mago… Battery “Empty” icon show up. At first, I think batteries drain even I put it on standby mode. I make sure myself turn the unit off after finish the testing. The next day, battery “Empty” show up again. So I take out all the batteries and put them back up. Turn the unit on and battery indicator show “Full”.

    This is my second report on the mago


    • Author
      Flash Havoc 7 years ago

      Hi Kam,

      Thanks for that. Another person did report the battery indicator issue on the forum.

      I think this may be a hardware issue though unfortunately, as people using the same firmware are not experiencing the same issue. (I have 3 flashes now and have not seen this).

    • the flasher 7 years ago

      yes i have experienced this phenomenon mainly with the flash loaded with the ver 001 firmware.

      • the flasher 7 years ago

        I think my ver.001 flash must be faulty.

        Now it does not fire in ETTL mode. it only sends out a pre flash but no main flash, so the photo comes out underexposed.

        in Manual power mode it fires at full power regardless what power setting you apply.

    • D. Lambert 7 years ago

      I’ve seen no issues with batteries at all. I’m using Ni-MH rechargeable batteries in it.

  2. the flasher 7 years ago

    new Firmwares are available:

    E9A-003 loads on my “Purchased on ebay” Mago :

    E9A-006 this one loads on to the “beta” Mago: http://www.pixelhk.com.cn/Down/falshgun%20update.html

    I haven’t noticed any difference yet…. Beta Mago works OK but the one I bought from Ebay is faulty.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 7 years ago

      Thanks for that.

      I can only see E9A 006, and E7S 004, and these are both for the X-650C not the Mago.

      Have they removed the E9A-003 already?

      It is interesting they they were able to add S1 and S2 slave modes to the X-650C through firmware.

  3. Peter 7 years ago

    Great review, and thanks for linking to our reviews. Your findings seem to be comparable to mine: a very good product for the price, with some rough edges. I’ll check out that new firmware when I’ve got time.

  4. Gary W. 7 years ago

    Hey all,

    I am having a real problem getting ANY of my computers to acknowledge the Mago when I plug it into the USB port. Is there a secret way of doing it? Is there a software necessary to read it? Please, can someone help me out?

    Gary W.

  5. Luc Charron 7 years ago

    I have the the beta version and yes i got faulty battery alarm. Probably 01 firmware.

    In TTL, flash is too strong,almost burn faces in close range. Still good product for the price.

  6. Martin 7 years ago

    I have seen some strange behaviour with the way the Mago reports battery status too. Occasionally when turning on the Mago, it will report that the batteries are flat (freshly charged Eneloops) – but turning it off and back on allows it to work normally.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 7 years ago

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for that, if you’re referring to the Beta Mago though, then there is a firmware update available. Its for the X-650, but that basically is the Beta Mago.

      The production Mago have different firmware again, and I think this issue should have been resolved with those.

  7. Loren 7 years ago

    I just purchased a production version of the Mago and am experiencing ~1 stop overexposure in ETTL (flash forward firing) and ~2 stop overexposure with flash bounced from ceiling. This is with the latest version of the production firmware installed (E9N_004). Tested on 3x cameras: T2i, 7D, and 5D mk II.

    Anyone else experiencing similar overexposure issues? Sent an email to Pixel about the issue; still pending a response….

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 7 years ago

      Thanks Loren,

      Please keep us posted if you get any update.

      I will need to order another Mago as the models I have are basically the X-650C, and now have a different strain of firmware to the production Mago.

  8. Loren 7 years ago

    Here’s the response received from Pixel regarding the ETTL overexposure issue. Appears I’m not the only one that has reported similar performance issues with the production Mago….

    Thanks for your mail.

    Sorry. We already report this issue to our engineer.
    They will try their best to make some improvements about that.

    Thanks for your support! Good day!

    Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thanks and best regards!
    Support Department
    Pixel Enterprise Limited

  9. RonB 7 years ago

    I use the canon 580EXII and often use a pre-flash (ETTL). Wondering if you know whether this flash supports the pre-flash pop?

  10. Gary W. 7 years ago

    Hey all,

    E9N_004 firmware update has included S1 and S2 capabilities. I testes them with my Canon 7D and these modes work as they should. The battery mis-read also seems to be fixed, my NiMH batteries no longer get the low battery warning on the Mago. For the $$, I can’t think of a better flash on the market right now! One 600EX-RT would cost roughly the same as 3 Magos with their own Pixel King Pro transceiver!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 7 years ago

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for the feedback. Are you not seeing the issue with 2 stop overexposure in ETTL when bouncing the flash (with E9N_004) ?

  11. Brad 6 years ago

    Just bought a Mago and am very disappointed in its ETTL performance. Unlike the problems reported here, my Mago seems to severely underexpose using indirect (bounce) flash on my 6D. But it’s very inconsistent. I started with _003 fw and upgraded to E9N_004 with no significant improvement.

    I’ve tried tweaking every setting in camera menus and in flash unit menus. The best improvement was switching from evaluative to averaging metering. Still, it only seems to get exposure right during direct flash.

    Any updates or progress on this issue?

  12. Brad 6 years ago

    Okay, I just tried the Mago on an old T3 Rebel and everything in ETTL was 3+ stops overexposed, unlike my 6D which the Mago underexposed by 2-3 stops. Very frustrating. Any one have any advice?

  13. Loren 6 years ago

    Hello again everyone. So for the past few weeks I’ve been testing out the E-TTL performance of the production Mago speedlite with firmware updated to the latest version (E9N_004). This has all been non-scientific, subjective testing mind you – family sessions, portraits, newborns, etc. I’ve used a variety of lenses (24-70, 24-105, 70-200, 17-50, 35 & 50 primes) and, in general, the E-TTL performance just appears to be “all over the place”. Many shots over exposed by 1-2 stops, then randomly under exposed by 1-2 stops. Very strange stuff – only thing I can conclude is the exposure metering still just “needs work” by the manufacturer.

    For the money, this is one heck of a speedlite, but further refinement is definitely needed before I take it on a wedding or engagement session.

    I’m curious about anyone else’s experience with this speedlite thus far. Any similar findings?

    My next idea (time permitting) is to setup a more scientific evaluation. Studio setup (ie. tripod, controlled lighting, etc) and test for consistency across focal lengths and variety of distances. Will report back with findings.


    • Brad 6 years ago

      I’m experiencing the same frustration and returning my copy to Amazon. This flash has a lot of potential but I feel like a beta tester. Random misfires, “all over the place” ETTL, and too many lens-to-lens and body-to-body variations for my tastes. Many users report nothing but good results, I suspect they are lucky or have the right camera body/lens with the Mago. I have a feeling, once the bugs are worked out, this flash is going to be a game changer. Until that time, I’m sticking with my 430EXII.
      Keep us posted on your results. I’ll be closely monitoring progress on this flash and waiting for more patient photographers than me to help Pixel refine this product.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 6 years ago

      I think most of the people that are not having issues have received early version of the flash with firmware version E7S_001.

      No one has actually confirmed it yet, but I think that flash is likely still the Beta Mago / X-650C.


      Most people appear to be experiencing ETTL exposure issues with the E9A_003 and E9N_004 production Mago flashes.

      So its a matter of waiting for new firmware for those, or returning the flash as Brad mentions.

      For Pixel King Pro owners its likely a good idea to stick with the Mago, but for any YN-622C owners the new Shanny flashes are much more compatible with those, and have stable ETTL exposures already.

  14. Loren 6 years ago

    Hey Brad,

    Thanks for letting me know your findings as well. After thinking it over, I chose to take the easy way out since I was still within the window to return the Mago. Think I’ll hang tight and see what Shanny and the latest yongnuo 600 model bring to the table…

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 6 years ago

      Hi Loren,

      I just received the Shanny SN600C today. If you don’t need the Optic wireless master (and manual only optic wireless slave will do) then they are around the same price as the Mago. And ETTL exposures etc are already fine, and they have a more solid mounting in the camera hotshoe (as well as non proprietary battery port, and YN-622C compatibility).

      Otherwise the SN600SC have the optic master and slave like the Mago, but they are around $120 shipped now though.

      If you’re interested in the built in radio (and prepared to pay a little more for it) the YN600EX-RT ans SN600EX-RT should be worth waiting for. Otherwise the SN600C even, is the same flash without the radio, and for half the price.

  15. Loren 6 years ago

    Thanks – good recommendations in the same ball park in terms of cost. You hit the nail on the head in a separate post regarding many of the 3rd party manufacturers:

    “…companies emerging now have the advantage of creating fully integrated systems from the beginning”

    If I can get a common platform with RT functionality all from the same manufacturer with all the bells and whistles, that’s where my money’s going! Anxiously awaiting your hands on review of both the YN600EX-RT and SN600EX-RT systems.

  16. ScreenCut 6 years ago

    Thanks for full of details review and “comments update history”.
    Im looking something like mago but after i read all this review and comments i decided to wait for the new upcoming players of YN and S.
    Thanks again – really great job!

  17. Dominik 6 years ago

    I got Pixel Mago. My AF assistant is inaccurate with the AF point in my camera. What do you think about send flash back ?

    • Hostel w Poznaniu 6 years ago

      Dominik – what camera do you have?

      If anything has changed in terms of software updates lately?
      Any improvement in ETTL?

  18. Dominik 6 years ago

    Hi, I got an EOS 60D. I can’t update my flash. When i’m trying i got an software error 01. I got a e9m 007 software.
    Small edit: I got a Pixel X650C. That’s why i got software issue. I found update site (http://www.pixelhk.com.cn/Down/falshgun%20update.html) and it’s work, but ETTL work bad as the beggining. I’m really dissapointed, becouse my AF lamp is too much up, and can’t cover the center AF point. I thinking about send it out, but first i need to know something about the warranty. I’m not convicted for 100% that they will give me the new flash or money refund.

  19. Bill 6 years ago

    Are there any updates how the Mago is working with the latest firmware upgrades (I see one from late November). Trying to decide if I should purchase the Mago, Shanny or YN 568II.

  20. Dominik 6 years ago

    No, there aren’t any new updates thats makes any step in ettl work.

  21. Yuppa 6 years ago


    Having owned a YN600EX-RT, and now a Shanny SN600SC, I’d recommend going with Shanny. It’s better in just about every way than the YN568EX II and you can upgrade to radio (receiver) next year.

  22. Bill 6 years ago

    Yuppa and Dominik –

    Thanks. I did order the Shanny SN600SC. I ordered it on Amazon via EACHSHOT and it said to be delivered between Dec. 18 and 23. It’s now Dec. 27 and still no flash. We wrote EACHSHOT and got a generic message back that it has been shipped. Now I see another reviewer saying the same thing. Hopefully the flash will be good when it arrives, but very disappointing that EACHSHOT would advertise shipping that wasn’t at all accurate.

  23. Marcelo 6 years ago

    There is a 006 version of firmware for pixel Mago
    It’s at the end of the page: EBQ-006

  24. Pat Adolfo 6 years ago

    If I were to turn on C Fn. 5 on the YN-622C-TX, will remote manual mode be enabled on the Mago?

  25. Joe 6 years ago

    I see they have new firmware 7 out to correct the exposure. Has anyone tried it? Also after seeing the inside of the shanny flash does anyone know how this flash looks inside. The shanny had really really bad clumpy soldering with burnt boards.

    • Adrian 6 years ago

      Well, the firmware 007 have been specifically issued to correct the TTL exposure problems, but didn’t manage to solve it. It’s a shame they are not able to fix that, as using the flash under TTL is the most basic and important function. Still hope, anyway, otherwise the flash will be pretty much useless. All the other very welcome functions can’t compensate this huge problem. And have another issue in combination with Pixel King Pro receiver – it doesn’t show correctly the +/- EV value. It works well, flash power varies as it should but indication on display is 0 EV.

  26. Richard Worso 6 years ago

    I received the Mago yesterday, my first impression was how solid it felt.
    I tested it and it worked fine.
    I decided to updated the firmware, big mistake, it wont switch on now (?).
    can anyone help please.

  27. Frank 6 years ago

    My Mago is on the way back to Amazon, still overexposures with the firmware 007 on my 5D3, but only with HSS. Pixel told me that i must lower the exposure manually and the new x800c is still better in exposure.

  28. Dee_one 6 years ago

    Dear Pixel Technical Support Service,

    I bought 3 Pixel Mago flashes but I have problem to use them with YN622C transmitters.
    Do you plan to upgrade firmware for Pixel Mago to work with YN 622C transmitter.

    Thank You.


    Dear Sir,
    Nice to hear from you.

    Sorry, we don’t have that plan.

    Good day!

  29. Author
    Flash Havoc 6 years ago

    UPDATE – 10th April 2015 – A new major firmware update for the Mago, version F2A_008, is now available HERE.

    Make sure to save your old firmware file, just in case you want to revert back.

  30. Mohit Garg 6 years ago

    Have you tested out the new firmware? How is the eTTL performance now?

    Any other worthy updates?


  31. Mike 6 years ago

    I just sent this to Pixel Support’
    I purchased the Mago because it was listed as having the functions that were important to me. The primary use of the flash was for ETTL. When I initially used the flash it seemed like most other ETTL flashes, it overexposed direct flash shots and was pretty decent on bounce. Several firmware “upgrades” later I have a flash that is nearly worthless. It underexposes direct flash by about 1/2 stop and bounce by 2 – 2 1/2 stops.The flash often does not fire, this became an instant problem with one of the “upgrades” I have had the flash since Oct. and have used it on one shoot, It is not consistent enough to use for any work. If I had wanted a manual flash I would have purchased one. It is a nice piece of hardware, unfortunately you have been unable to deliver a firmware that lets the flash live up to its potential. I purchased the flash from Amazon for $90 and would be happy to send it to you for my money back. It is not defective it is ineffective for the advertised use.

    • Mohit Garg 6 years ago

      Hey Mike, just curious, have your tried the latest firmware upgrade. I don’t have the flash, I;m thinking about getting it, so just wondering if the latest firmware might fix this.

  32. Mohit Garg 6 years ago

    UPDATE – 2nd May 2015 – A new major firmware update for the Mago, version F4M_009, is now available.

    Make sure to save your old firmware file, just in case you want to revert back.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 6 years ago

      Hi Mohit,

      Where is the F4M_009 firmware available?

      There was a major update here from April – F2A_008.

      The firmware you mention may be for the X-650 if you found it on the Chinese Pixel site etc. That appears to be up to F4M_012.

      • Mohit Garg 6 years ago

        It’s on their international site: http://www.pixelhk.com/Down/DownPage.aspx?Title=MAGO

        Scroll about halfway down and you’ll see it, for some reason they don’t have it on top of the page like earlier :/.

        Looking forward to and update on the new firmware works 🙂

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 6 years ago

          Ok, sorry, thanks Mohit.

  33. Jemimeh 6 years ago

    Hi there I have the mago pixel flash why does the flash over heat after 50 shots I’m using rechargeable batteries

    • Mohit Garg 6 years ago

      What power and zoom are you using it at?

  34. Mohit Garg 6 years ago

    Hi FlashHavoc,

    If you have the 001 or 002 firmwares, could you please upload them and provide a link for research purposes.


    • Author
      Flash Havoc 6 years ago

      Hi Mohit,

      Sorry no I don’t have 001, or 002.

      Are you having any issues with the latest Mago firmware though?

      • Mohit Garg 6 years ago

        I will be receiving my flash in a couple of days, was just preparing myself to test the different firmware versions.


  35. iMiKE 6 years ago

    Have someone tried new F4M_009 firmware? I’m curious about defects on this ROM comparing to early test versions.

  36. Author
    Flash Havoc 6 years ago

    Hi iMiKE,

    Unfortunately I am not able to try F4M_009, as the beta flashes will not accept the new firmware.

    Others have reported the TTL exposures are working well again though.

    I haven’t heard of any issues reported yet.

    • Mohit Garg 6 years ago

      That is excellent news, I should be getting my Mago today and play around more over the weekend, I’ll report how it goes.

      FlashHavoc: The flash that you have, does it accept the firmware on the Chinese site, from the update over there, it sounds like that and F4M_009 are similar if not the same.

    • iMiKE 6 years ago

      So, first test flashes (sended for test review purposes) can’t be flashed to new ROM? OMFG.

  37. Mohit Garg 6 years ago

    Test out the flash and the latest firmware (009), E-TTL performance seems to have improved from previous firmwares. E-TTL works fine except with the Stoffen diffuser or wide-panel diffuser, in this case it seems to overexpose by 2 steps or 1 step respectively, however this is not always the case and depends on the ambient light and amount of white in the photo. The overexposure is experienced in more ambient light situations or with more white int he picture.

    One odd thing I did notice however is that E-TTL performance is better when the flash is in Master mode, if not it seems to underexpose.

    All of this testing is using a single Mago on camera.

    More experiments to be done after my AA batteries are charged.

    • sal 5 years ago

      Hi Mohit,
      Some questions for the Mago:

      1 are there yet issues with the latest firmware here http://www.pixelhk.com/Down/DownPage.aspx?Title=MAGO ?
      2. you have tried, 9 months ago, the version 009 , but I didn’t find other your tests with latest FAH_ 011 of 2015/11/4;
      3. john and imagonman few weeks ago have found yet issues (off camera flash and heat protection) but they are not specified if with latest firmware at link FAH_ 011 of 2015/11/4
      4. have you some advice on a stable firmware version?

      I would buy and use Mago on canon 5d MK2

  38. nixland 6 years ago

    Just tried the Mago on Canon 1D4 at 10fps in hss. At 1/4 power it can do 4 consecutive frame. 1 frame better than YN568EX 🙂

  39. Nabeel Masood 6 years ago

    I just brought this mighty flash but it seems not working with my Canon 40D. When I try to set flash from camera menu it says no external flash is attached otherwise flash shoots as i press shutter button.

  40. imagonman 6 years ago

    I’ve a Mago for 2 months now with newest firmware and it works so god I ordered 3 more to go along w/ 3- 550ex Canons running optical system. Outdoors getting good line of sight to 15-20 meters. Don’t now what else to say except after attempting to use Shanny 600sc that does NOT work with the Canon 550ex’s in optical and now left out in the cold as far as Shanny 600sc’s abandoning the clip on RT rcvr. module I went to the Mago and have no Issues whatsoever. Will be Going w/ the King Pro system added for RT wireless in the future. Can’t beat the price or functionality with the Pixel system being able to do both Optical and Radio wireless! Mago is a WiNNER!!

  41. imagonman 5 years ago

    Well, need an update here. Magos have been fine no issues except that if trying to use one on an Off Camera cord they don’t work reliably. Intermittent connection won’t zoom, HS sync mode hit or miss mostly miss, TTL may fire a full pwr dump or not at all. In the camera shoe No problems, off the shoe NOT Good!

    So wedding, portrait and nature photos who use a flash off camera on a bracket are SOL! Which makes Mago as a Main or master off camera flash another bust!……………oink!

  42. John 5 years ago

    Got problem with battery heat protection. With direct sunlight on the surface of the flash, I just have few pops with the flash, no more than 20 I think. It’s very annoying since I work with lots of client in 1 session, and they are unlikely to wait for 5mins tho. its not too hot inside or outside of the flash, compared to yongnuo that I have. Worst scenario for yongnuo is in very harsh sunlight, and I pops it full power. It’s not melting, but just battery got to die faster.

    • sal 5 years ago

      Hi, this reply is for john, imagonman and mohit garg.

      Some questions for the Mago:
      1.yet issues with the latest firmware here http://www.pixelhk.com/Down/DownPage.aspx?Title=MAGO ?
      john and imagonman have related issues (off camera flash and heat protection) with latest at link FAH_ 011 of 2015/11/4?
      2. mohit garg have tried, 9 months ago, the version 009 , but I didn’t find others its tests with latest FAH_ 011 of 2015/11/4;
      3. anyone has advice on a stable version?

      I would buy and use Mago on canon 5d MK2

      • John 5 years ago

        Sal, I’m not sure. But I think it’s 008 firmware, since I’ve upgrade it to FAH_011 couple weeks ago. so far, this firmware are great.
        But I got one more problem, after using for a while, (3-4hr) sometimes flash won’t pops, even tho there’s beeping sounds. Anyone can confirm this?
        I really love this flash, but sometimes it drive me crazy.

  43. Manjula 5 years ago

    I Have a Pixel Mago. I bought YN622c E-TTL trigger set.
    I cannot control manual flash exposure using this.
    Please help to solve this issue.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Manjula,

      I mentioned in the review that manual is not working with the YN-622C.

      Unfortunately the only solution is that you would be best to either use Pixel King Pro radio triggers with the Mago, or use YongNuo speedlites with the YN-622C.

  44. bwphoto 5 years ago

    Tried to update my flash on my Mac and managed to brick it. Won’t turn on. The Mac APP wouldn’t open as well. Don’t know what I should do now. Either I can try to use a friend’s windows computer and update it there or just try to return it.. Anyone have any experience with this?

  45. bwphoto 5 years ago

    And Pixel’s contact page leads to an empty page. So any issues you have with your product can be addressed by a white screen.

  46. BW_Photo 5 years ago

    Had an issue with the firmware update. I bricked my device, but luckily the shop I bought it from replaced my unit. I’m running a Mac with the latest software update. The firmware app for mac won’t open, and there is no way to contact customer support from their website. Looking up the contact info for the company resulted in a 404 message. Really weird. Does anyone know where to get their email contact info?

  47. imagonman 1 year ago

    Latest update on these hogs…..oink….oink……..using them in full sunlite on a warm to hot day [85*F +] will shut these puppies down in no time. Don’t even have to fire it once. Just sitting in direct sun will activate over temp from external NOT internal temp. MB cover them in foil & and an ice pack..haha…Great indoor units but outdoors in direct sun beating down these pigs quit working & take a long nap…………another reason to own Genuine Canon flashes. Another major OINK…..OINK…. for these after market chink pigs!!

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