About a month ago, I saw a post stating that Pixel, a Hong Kong photographic accessories company, had 20 units of it's new flash "Pixel Mago" to ship out for reviews. While I only just started blogging, I though "why not!" as there was no harm in asking for a unit to review. Only a week ago, Pixel got back to me stating that they have shipped a unit to me WOOHOO! and it safely arrived on Friday (9am Perth, Western Australia time [UTC/GMT +8]).
Now just to clarify things a bit. This is not a paid review so pros and cons will be included as I think fits and funny enough, I told them I am a Nikon user but I still got sent a Canon version. Luckily I use Canon DSLRs too!
I have decided that I would split this article into two parts:
- Part 1: I will talk about my first impressions and a quick walk through of the flash.
- Part 2: I will have had at lease 1-2 weeks of testing this flash.
The box itself was coloured with information of the flash tattooed around it (on most sides) and it looked bulgy, almost as if it was going to explode!When I first ripped open the DHL bag, I was greeted with a 1/2 wrapped box and bits which had fallen out of it. NOT Pixel's fault. On the ripped wrapping, it stated that China Customs had done an inspection on this item (maybe they thought Honk Kong is trying to attack?), but seriously... they could have done a better job on rewrapping it.
It is not until you open it, you then realise why the box looks like it is going to explode.
Inside the box, is a flash that is wrap around by this impressively heavy-duty air mattress wrap, shielding the flash from any impact. I swear, if you were to throw the box with it's content in it at a brick wall, it will still survive.
At least you can be sure that your Pixel Mago flash will arrive to you with no external damage. Kudos to Pixel.
Other accessories that come in the box besides the unit is a rather flimsy pouch (who uses the pouch anyway right?), a Toyota-jumping-man-like hot shoe stand, a diffuser dome and a manual.
Don't ask me what that extra bit sticking out of the stand is, I'm guessing its for mounting one of their receivers? Also a pity that the stand doesn't have metal threads.
The Diffuser on the other hand is a good addition. The only issue is that it doesn't clip onto the flash properly! all it takes is a light tap and it falls off.
It is a pretty big flash and with the guide number having a rating of 65... WOW! it's probably the most powerful hot shoe, non-bare bulb flash yet.
Let's enjoy the gallery and after that I'll state my thoughts on the Pros and Cons.
- The 1/4" thread on the side is what all manufacturers need!
- LCD is really bright and easy to use.
- Button backlights.
- Powerful flash of GN: 65!
- External Battery Port.
- Easy hot shoe locking mechanism and rubber seal.
- Lock switch to prevent accidental button presses.
- LED video and fill light.
- IR Wireless Master.
- Super user-friendly!!!! I Figured everything out without the use of the maul within 5 minutes of using it (what a smart cookie).
- Smooth head swivel.
- Button feedback is pretty good in general.
- Metal shoe.
What's not and hopefully can be improved:
- Tilting the head up/down requires a lot of force, but it may loosen up after a bit of use. Also while tilting, you can hear the lubricant making this sticky mooshy sound.
- The "OK" button rotates and just like the round dial, it feels really cheap.
- No 3.5mm sync port :(
- No optical slave (I use this a lot as I mix flashes).
- LED light is super bright and not dimmable.
- Wide angle diffuser is really hard to pull out and gets stuck.
- The hot shoe stand could do with metal threads.
- Stofen needs have a better fit.
As a first impression, I think this flash is really well built in most areas and pretty solid, just like the Phottix Mitros+. It's pretty awesome the the LED can be gelled with additional coloured filters (I've only seen an orange one so far) and the additional side mounting thread is a great addition too.
Hopefully through firmware updates, the LEDs output can be controlled because it is really bright and maybe in the next generation, they could add in a 3.5mm jack Sync port and an optical slave mode. I would probably suggest to fix that wide angle diffuser though because I'm sure that many of us who use the bounce card regularly don't want to rip our nails off our fingers during a job and needing to use a key or small coin to pull it out isn't ideal.
Price is still unannounced, so I'm quite intrigued to see what Pixel would reveal and Pixel, so far a job well done.
This concludes Part 1 and I look forward to writing Part 2 when I have put it through its paces.
- GN: 65 (ISO100/200mm)
- Flash Coverage Range: 20 - 200mm
- Auto Zoom: Yes
- Manual Zoom: Yes
- Flash Mode: TTL/M/Multi
- Stroboscopic Flash: 1-500Hz
- Wireless Flash: Master/Slave
- Sync Mode: HSS, 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain
- Adjustable Angle: Tilt -7/90 degrees Swivel: 360 Degrees Left
- Manual Flash: 1/128 - 1/1 (1/3rd increments)
- Recycle Time: ~4s at full power
- LCD: High Definition dot matrix screen
- Battery: 4xAA
- External Interface: Hot shoe, PC sync port, Battery pack port and USB port
- EV: 1/3 increments (±3 stops)
- FEB: 1/3 increments (±3 stops)
- Battery Life: 150 pops (1/1 output with Sanyo Eneloop 2000mAh)
- Fluorescent Tube: Ultra long battery life design
- Special Design: LED fill light
- Overheating: Multi dot matrix temperature control - Battery and tube warning
- AF-Assist Beam: Yes
- Firmware Upgrade: Yes
- Dimension: 196.5x80.7x64.4mm
- Weight: 452g (Exc. Batteries)