Trent Chau | Photographer and Instructor

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Pixel Mago Speedlight Review and Beta Test

Sorry for the delay all!  And the winner of the MAGO speedlight is Cornelio Ocampo!  Please email me your ship to address to trent@trentchau.com

Help support this blog and future reviews, purchase the Mago Flash here using our referral link, thank you! : Pixel Mago on Amazon

The actual unit the sent me, shipped in 07.21.2014...with a fine layer of Georgia dust on it already! (That's my bad).

The actual unit the sent me, shipped in 07.21.2014…with a fine layer of Georgia dust on it already! (That’s my bad).

Introduction

Back in April while browsing Lightingrumours.com I stumbled upon a post about how Pixel was looking for Beta Testers/Reviewers for their new budget oriented Mago Speedlite for Canon. I really wasn’t expecting to be selected as it was limited to 20 reviewers to be selected from a pool of probably hundreds, but lo and behold I get contacted by Pixel just a few days after putting the submission in and made the cut! So as promised to them here’s the review of their Mago Speedlite.

This review/testing isn’t going to be one of those “Take it out of the box, snap a few photos of a bookshelf, give my opinion, and write a review” type pieces. The plan is breaking this thing Ivan Drago from Rocky IV style. I’m aiming to put this flash to the distance and limits in various shooting environments and give an honest assessment to how it works. As much as the idea of being kumbaya and making Pixel happy by doing a nice review may help get me on their good side, that isn’t my style. If the Mago annoys me, I’m writing about it, if I love something about it…writing about it. As a note though this is a new product, and also this is a beta test. So if there is any faults found Pixel will be noted and there’s a good chance it will be corrected during the course of the product existing.

(update 08.08.2014 – The reviews are trickling in and Pixel is taking all the reviewers suggestions to heart and actually will be making hardware modifications to their Mago.  That’s awesome guys, it takes a bit of work to do that and they are.)

Who the heck is giving this review

Expect example photographs like this which exclusively used battery powered flashes for lighting.

Expect example photographs like this which exclusively used battery powered flashes for lighting. – Trent Chau Photography

Hey there, my names Trent.  For anyone who needs photographer qualifications or to know a little bit about me here’s the quick and easy.

Website : http://www.trentchau.com
Portfolio : http://trentchau.500px.com
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/trentchauphotography

Quick Bio : Portrait photographer based out of Atlanta, GA. Focusing on Portraiture, Weddings, Corporate events and also photography education. I run a photography social group called “Meet and Shoot (http://www.masatl.com) in Atlanta that host classes, workshops and massive photoshoots with models and all that jazz. I shoot Canon and currently use a Canon 5d Mark III and a Canon 6D with a plethora of lenses and lights.

While photography is amazing and wonderful I rather just teach it and enjoy watching people learn. Particularly love teaching lighting to people in a way that they can see the potential of their own personal style expand. I love my personal work but it isn’t anything special compared to others out there, just enough to make me happy.

For anyone who loves Street Fighter, I relate to Ryu a lot. Good enough to hold my own, good enough to get by, but still walking this earth and learning more and looking for the next good fight (photoshoot).

Without further ado, here’s the review.

About the Flash

Out of the box you get a flash stand, a so so quality carrying case, and a flash diffuser.  Standard fare among flashes of this price range.  The diffuser saves you $5~$10, so that's nice.

Out of the box you get a flash stand, a so so quality carrying case, and a flash diffuser. Standard fare among flashes of this price range. The diffuser saves you $5~$10, so that’s nice.


The Sales Pitch – Why the Mago Speedlite

In a Speed Light world full of a crazy amount of options, some of you maybe wondering what warrants your attention from the Mago Speedlite. Mostly with some heavy hitting sub $125 flashes like the Yong Nuo YN Flash series and the newly anticipated Neewer TT850’s (Godox also) creating a lot of lip licking and praise. To be honest I’m wondering what makes the Mago stand out also because there really wasn’t any sales propaganda that was sent out to us for this review. After a little bit of research, here’s some quick things that was unique about this flash that might get your attention.

  • Affordable E-TTL automatic flash close to the same price range as manual flashes. As of now they are roughly $90~$95
  • Built in LED that can be used for video and focus assist (once you past the fact that it’s bright as hellfire and the candy raver you want a picture of will probably fall of the stage from how bright the LEDs are).
  • High guide number of 65 in an affordable unit, where Canon charges $249 for a unit that has a guide number of 43 that has less functionality. (Nearly 50% more POWAAAAAA!!!)
  • Pretty good connectivity and upgrade ability – ability to attach power packs, and a basic sync port. No 3.5 port though

Pixel has setup this pretty detailed page about what you will get from the Mago Flash : Click Here.

The Flash Unit out of the box

Out of the box what you get with the Mago is standard fare compared to other comparably value cost flash units from Yong Nuo and Neewer. You get a carrying case, a diffuser cap, and a flash stand. The quality of the carrying case isn’t that high. It’s functional and it works, but it feels pretty flimsy and prone to fraying and breaking apart. Recently I’ve purchased some Neewer tt850 flash units which don’t cost much more and the stitch quality of the Neewer carrying case is leagues better. To many this won’t matter, but the small things do add up and this quality difference is noticeable. For the sake of another opinion I handed the 2 different flash carrying cases to a friend visiting and she said the Pixel case felt like one of those school bags you buy to use for a week while you look for a replacement that works better, it just didn’t seem built to last.  While the competitors flash case felt like there was more robust stitching and quality.

The Flashstand that pixel gives you.  It looks like a dude shuriken.

The Flashstand that pixel gives you. It looks like a dude shuriken. Or it looks like Justin Timberlake and his Christmas Box.

The flash stand (SF-18) you receive with the flash is pretty solid for it’s all plastic build. It looks like the old Cingular Cellular logo back in the day. The neat thing is it looks like it’s meant to hold an IR based E-TTL wireless solution from Pixel. I don’t use any of Pixel’s wireless trigger systems so can’t really say if the extra portion is meant for that.

Look at the size of this thing, it's massive.  It's like Stewie from Family Guy.

Look at the size of this thing, it’s massive. It’s like Stewie from Family Guy.

The flash unit itself is pretty nicely built. The plastic doesn’t feel as robust as the Canon 600ex-RT and of slightly less quality than the Neewer tt-850. The Mago had a feel of a more hollower plastic  compared to a denser (though not heavier) feel of the Neewer and the 600ex-RT. The size and look of the Mago looks like it was very much influenced by the classic Canon 550ex (yes that old behemoth). The flash head on the Mago is massive and squarish in shape and the unit itself is pretty large in size. It’s an odd to look at as the top portion screams designed in the 90’s, while the bottom portion has a more modern late 2000’s feel (and an odd hybrid of the 600ex-RT with the Nikon Sb-910).

Testing the seams on the flash there is no creaking while applying pressure looking for gaps in the seams, and the unit felt sturdy and tight. There is NO button to activate the rotation of the flash head and there is a nice range of movement including a full 180 degree turn in both directions of the flash head (though you cannot go past 180 degrees). Unfortunately since there is no button lock mechanism, using a heavier modifier like a Gary Fong Lightsphere may cause the unit to collapse down if you attempt to shoot at 45 degree angles, mostly as the unit gets older.

It's the small things - I haven't noticed another competitors budget flashes have the switch locking mechanism that the Mago has, the closest one being an estimated $200 more.

It’s the small things – I haven’t noticed another competitors budget flashes have the switch locking mechanism that the Mago has, the closest one being an estimated $200 more.

What’s extremely impressive about the flash though is finally there’s a third party flash that doesn’t use the standard screw mount to tighten the flash and has gone to the easy switch mechanism that comes standard on the Canon 600ex-RT, 580 ex II, and 430ex II. While Canon isn’t the first to have this quick click system (I believe the Nikon Sb-600 or 800 was), I was getting pretty tired of over tightening and dealing with the screw based mount system. A quick google search shows that the Phottix Mitros does have a similar locking mechanism, but its also $300. While it doesn’t pitch weather sealing as one of it’s selling points it’s interesting to note that the Mago does have the rubber seal that Canon weather sealed units have over its metal hotshoe.

Pretty informative interface with easy and intuitive navigation and useful data.

Pretty informative interface with easy and intuitive navigation and useful data.

The LCD interface of the unit is pretty informative and the icon designs are easy to read and pretty WYSIWYG. Navigating the interface is pretty intuitive and simple with the most things labelled to do exactly what they want. I totally pulled a dude move and didn’t read the instruction manual and just used the flash, and was pretty thrown off on how to turn on the LED’s for a few minutes. After a little bit of fiddling around I found out if you hold down FUNC on the right it cycles the first button to either be wireless function set or LED on/off. I wish the LED button had its own toggle switch as it could be a quick and useful feature you want to instantly turn on without having to worry about being under the wrong menu. Otherwise if you toggle the flash to wireless set (as shown above) you have to take multiple steps to turn the LED on.

Its pretty cool there’s a battery power indicator on the flash. Is it accurate? Don’t know just yet, but it’s always useful to have one.

LED modeling lamps - Useful or annoying?  Only real world usage will tell

LED modeling lamps – Useful or annoying? Only real world usage will tell. That’s being planned in a future update.

One of the selling points on the flash is the inclusion of 2 2 watt LED lamps for focus assist, and also video work. Outside of the annoying multi step process to enabled the LED’s if you are accidently under the wireless control menu, the LED’s are quick to turn on and have that annoying LED condensed brightness (as in it’s annoyingly bright at the source). Real world brightness is actually pretty bright and was almost about 2 to 3 times brighter than what my Samsung Note III LCD brightness puts out.  Something to note though, and this seems really silly…but yay for this addition for the fact that you now have a built in flashlight in your camera bag at all times. If you remember to use it this can be so helpful in situations you may need a flashlight in an emergency such as camping, urban exploring, and more. A light is a light, and bravo to Pixel for this addition. When the LED was turned on it looks like it’s either on or off, there is no way to adjust the intensity of the light.

Trent’s after usage Input – While at first I wasn’t expecting much from the LED’s, I’ve come to find the LED’s were a massively helpful contribution to the shooting experience with the Mago flash unit.  To the point that I wish my current flashes have this option.  Bravo once again for pixel for this great addition.

The Mago uses standard double A batteries.  After being spoiled by the battery packs of the Neewer tt850s, it was kinda annoying going back to double A's.

The Mago uses standard double A batteries. After being spoiled by the battery packs of the Neewer tt850s, it was kinda annoying going back to double A’s.

Recently I added 6 Neewer tt850 flash units because of their integration of Lithium Ion battery packs, a first when it comes to small flash units. The convenience of the battery pack can’t be understated and its been hard going back (I actually will be selling my 600ex-RT because double A’s are tiring. Unfortunately the Mago speedlight is a Double A based speedlight, taking 4 of them to power the flash. To get the optimum results from this review, and to give the best batteries possible I will be using Sanyo Eneloop XX which have been voted some of the best batteries you can use for flashes by a ton of people.

Initial Observations

All in all the flash was pretty easy to jump into out of the box, and pretty intuitive to use. Navigation is extremely simple and the build quality is pretty decent. Compared to competitors the build quality doesn’t stand out as exceptional, but it doesn’t feel too cheap. While there seems to be some small corners that Pixel skipped in an attempt to save some money (the feel of the plastic, the quality of the accessories) there are some stand out things like the lock mechanism, the interface, and the solidness of the seams that make it feel like they put a bit of an effort into the Mago. I was particularly enthusiastic about how easy the interface was to use, and how informative the icons and data was. Also the LED initially didn’t win me over, but after thinking that this flash could be seen as a competitor to the Canon 320ex but provides twice the power (64 gn compared to 32gn) along with both having LED illumination for video at over a potentially half the cost, the Mago seemed like a no-brainer. Further testing is required, but initially there’s a lot of good vibes coming off the flash.

This concludes the initial impressions of the flash unit. This is a live blog review so there is more updates coming out soon. For those interested here’s some of the things to expect coming up.

  • Real world usage – Excuse the language but use the flash a shit ton and see if it goes the distance. If we break it…good, because we will tell you. Rather it break on us than break on you. A lot of photo shoots planned and putting the flash to the test during this hot a humid Georgia summer. Including a wedding!
  • A comparison of this flash along with the Godox v860c (TTL) and Neewer TT850. These new flashes use L-ion battery packs which can be the future of flash tech. An honest assessment between the two flashes and how they compare to each other. The Mago says it has a full power recycle of 4 seconds in comparison to 1.5 seconds for the Neewer, this real world test will showcase that.
  • Extreme situations. I didn’t receive any stipulations from Pixel on how to test it, so to hell with it..I’m using this flash in the rain! It’s suppose to rain in GA the next few weeks. Have at it! Also other extreme situations to test it in. How exciting.
  • E-TTL comparisons between the Canon 600ex, the Godox v860c, and the Mago. Using both on camera and a TTL cable and not changing anything else, taking a TTL test and seeing the results we get.
  • High speed testing. Testing HSS up to 1/8000 and also various other things to see what this flash is made of.

As mentioned initially, the goal of this review is the Ivan Drago of testing. I want to put it to the test and beat it down. Is this flash Rocky? Or is it Clubber Lange and mean up front but eventually puts up less fight than Glass Joe from punch out?  Continue reading to find out.


Day 1 – General Usage

Image on the left is using the Mago Barebulb bounced off blinds setup at the studio.  The picture on the right is the same photo without the flash.

Image on the left is using the Mago Barebulb bounced off blinds setup at the studio. The picture on the right is the same photo without the flash.


The first test for the Mago will be general real world usage of the flash unit. I met up with a close friend  Marissa,who rocks as a professional model in the Atlanta area. Marissa wanted to try out a shoot were she was dressed up inspired by Pocahontas. The purpose of this is general usage with flash and using it completely barebones. The flash was placed on a basic umbrella holder barebulb with a sync cord going straight to the camera. This emulates getting it right out of the box and connecting it for off camera flash with limited equipment cost.  Initial shots were taken inside the Atlanta office.

Here's examples of the using the flash on bounce barebulb to shoot Iso 50 at f2

Here’s examples of the using the flash on bounce barebulb to shoot Iso 50 at f2

Here's examples of the using the flash on bounce barebulb to shoot Iso 50 at f2

Here’s examples of the using the flash on bounce barebulb to shoot Iso 50 at f2

The flash as expected worked pretty well. It didn’t miss a beat firing from 1/1 to 1/16th power. Changing the power on the flash does require the press of a button before moving the wheel, which is different than the Neewer tt850 (which changes at the spin of the back wheel). The flash quality seemed consistent and nice, and the flash was pretty easy to deal with. Nothing noteworthy where it makes it any different from any other flash except for one crazy cool factor….you can turn on the LED as a modeling light while using the flash…It didn’t really hit how amazing this was until I shot Marissa in a completely dark room with only the LED’s as a modeling light.

An example of using the modeling light for AF assist before using the flash to illuminate your subject.  Pretty damn useful option.

An example of using the modeling light for AF assist before using the flash to illuminate your subject. Pretty damn useful option.

It seriously is pretty cool having a little modeling light on your flash to help focus.  Its annoyingly bright, but I could imagine how useful this would be for night shooting with a prime.

It seriously is pretty cool having a little modeling light on your flash to help focus. Its annoyingly bright, but I could imagine how useful this would be for night shooting with a prime.

After a few shots inside,we jumped in the car and drove down to the local hiking path to take a few shots outside. The area we ended up being in had about 100% humidity and the temperature was pretty high (upper 80’s Fahrenheit). While not the worst conditions you could put a flash in, it was a nice start to see if the Mago could keep up with my photography pace. I ended up using a 36″ Smith Victor Umbrella with the unit to test out how it would respond to these conditions.

The Mago on a Giotto stand with a Smith Victor 36" umbrella.  While not the most effecient modifier to use, it allowed the flash to have pretty good exposure to the high humidity of the swamp like area we were in.

The Mago on a Giotto stand with a Smith Victor 36″ umbrella. While not the most effecient modifier to use, it allowed the flash to have pretty good exposure to the high humidity of the swamp like area we were in.

The flash actually had some surprising results. First of all it didn’t skip a beat the whole time. There was no overheating even when I popped 6~7 pops at full power. There was no build issues or missed flashes. Also it’s possible the Pixel was very conservative with their estimate of 4 seconds for full refresh for recycle as this flash was able to get back to full power within 2~2.5 seconds even in the less than ideal weather conditions.

Here’s a few more examples from the quick shoot with Marissa.  Please read the captions for further information.

Top - Without the Mago Flash Bottom - Using the Mago Flash with 36" Umbrella

Top – Without the Mago Flash
Bottom – Using the Mago Flash with 36″ Umbrella

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36" Umbrella  Model : Marissa Bennett

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36″ Umbrella
Model : Marissa Bennett

Trent Chau-4891

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36" Umbrella  Model : Marissa Bennett

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36″ Umbrella
Model : Marissa Bennett

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36" Umbrella  Model : Marissa Bennett

Using the Mago on Manual with a 36″ Umbrella
Model : Marissa Bennett

Performance note : After about 60-70 full power flashes, the battery meter shows half full.

Day 1 Usage Conclusions

  • LED light actually proved useful in a studio environment
  • Refreshes faster than advertise (less than 4 seconds to full power)
  • Used power pretty quick, mostly in comparison to the Neewer TT850 which gets a lot of full power pops (roughly 500~600)
  • Worked consistently even in a hot humid environment

Day 2 – Extreme weather conditions

Delanie helped show off what the Mago was capable of today, and she rocked it!

Delanie helped show off what the Mago was capable of today, and she rocked it!

Day 2 of testing the Mago was a little bit like day 1. This time the beautiful Delanie Frances of Luna Lanie cosplay. Our idea today was to shoot a few cosplay photos of her dressed up as Baby Doll from Sucker Punch and also of her Heartseeker Ashe costume from League of Legends. We were planning to shoot both in studio and in the woods. There was a couple neat unique things we did today including

  • Using the Mago as the main light along with 2 studio strobes
  • Using the Mago in SUPER extreme weather conditions
  • Using the Mago at multiple camera angles to test build and connectivity

One of the first things was bringing Delanie outside and using the same setup I used yesterday with Marissa. Shooting with a Canon 6D outside and a Canon 135 F2 at 2.0, the Mago provided a great key light for the scene. Nothing new to report except that it worked well. The Mago at 1/32nd power provided all the lighting I need to shoot the 6d at Iso 50, 1/160, at F2.

Delanie as Baby Doll The Mago on the 36" Smith Victor umbrella Model : Delanie Frances

Delanie as Baby Doll
The Mago on the 36″ Smith Victor umbrella
Model : Delanie Frances

Delanie dressed up as Baby doll, lit with the Mago flash.

Delanie dressed up as Baby doll, lit with the Mago flash.

The Mago on the 36" Smith Victor umbrella Model : Delanie Frances

The Mago on the 36″ Smith Victor umbrella
Model : Delanie Frances

Afterwards we went inside and I used the Mago at full power along with two 600 watt Norman ML600’s. The Normans were at about half power with 2 strip boxes while the Mago had the Smith Victor umbrella and was used as the key light. The results were as expected and the Mago was able to provide quality lighting while keeping up at a good pace without ever overheating.

Using the Mago as the main light in a basic studio headshot setup.

Using the Mago as the main light in a basic studio headshot setup.

Extreme weather conditions expanded

Yesterday the Mago did a pretty good job shooting in a humid hot environment. Today we went into the dense woods by the Chattahoochee river that was incredibly humid and extremely hot. Not only that but half way into the photo shoot it started raining and as promised I went ahead and shot with it in the rain. The Mago got wet and it kept shooting like a boss and didn’t miss a beat. Pixel I’m sorry if this was a no no, but your flash worked in the rain. That was cool. In the woods we shot some more Baby Doll  and also revisited her heartseeker Ashe cosplay from League of Legends.

Delanie as Baby Doll in the woods

Delanie as Baby Doll in the woods

Delanie as Heartseeker Ashe

Delanie as Heartseeker Ashe

The Mago kept on chugging after being rained on, didn't miss a pop at all.  Impressive, or will this cause problems later?  I don't know.

The Mago kept on chugging after being rained on, didn’t miss a pop at all. Impressive, or will this cause problems later? I don’t know.

Performance notes – Despite being completely drenched, the flash did not stop working.

Day 2 Usage Conclusions

  • The flash keeps on chugging along and keep on shooting, even in extreme heat, humidity and RAIN.
  • Repeat, the flash works in the rain.
  • Fast refreshing even at full power, I’m really beginning to think 4 sec full power is conservative estimate.
  • Consistent lighting, performs as well as my Canon 600ex-RT and Neewer tt850’s.

Day 3 – The Mago in a critical situation

Using the Mago to photograph a marriage proposal.

Using the Mago to photograph a marriage proposal.

Day 3 brings one of my most favorite days testing out the Mago. So the flash has proven to hold it’s own, and hasn’t missed a beat yet. It’s worked in heavy humidity, high heat, and also a downpour of rain. How about lets test it out during something absolutely critical.  Lets test it during a surprise wedding proposal. The quick story is a client contacted me a few weeks ago and he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. The idea was during one of my photo shoots inspired by Hamlets Ophelia that James (the Client) will propose to Michelle. The time came for it this morning and the Mago was going to be the main light source for the whole event.

We pretended to be doing part of my Ophelia shoot. Model : Michelle

We pretended to be doing part of my Ophelia shoot.
Model : Michelle

Using the Mago with a 36" Smith Victor Umbrella on camera left

Using the Mago with a 36″ Smith Victor Umbrella on camera left

Sidenote – The Ophelia shoot is a project in 2014 where I shoot everyday Atlanta women as Hamlets Ophelia.  The concept is to take a simple outfit, a flower crown and bring the subject to a natural location and shoot.  To see the Ophelia Inspired Set, go here – Ophelia Light and Dark 2014

The main reason for this test wasn’t to see if the Mago could flash once or twice, but how would it handle repeated firings in the same difficult environments as before (albeit no rain this time). Quite frankly the flash handled it beautifully. Out of a sequence of over 86 shots in less than a few minutes the flash didn’t miss one click and always illuminated the scene. While it was at 1/8th and refreshing fairly quickly, I give it credit for working in the horrendous environment and after being rained on yesterday. Nice big thumbs up from me.  Well done Mago.

86 out of 86 shots the flash fired for.  Even after being rained on yesterday.

86 out of 86 shots the flash fired for. Even after being rained on yesterday.

I was extremely impressed by how the Mago performed.  Michelle and James, thank you so much for trusting me to be a part of your amazing event. What a stunning and beautiful event and it was an absolute joy to be a part of.

Sisters Lit with the Mago at Lake Lanier .

Sisters
Lit with the Mago at Lake Lanier .

After the excitement of their proposal it was time to take photos of the stunning Sophia and her sister Hope. We went to Lake Lanier to do another Ophelia inspired shoot where the main trial this time was placing the flash in precarious positions and using it once again at various levels of power. The biggest note to make is even at full 1:1 power after being rained on the day before the flash still worked perfectly and without a hitch. I’m really impressed by the little guy. Also my nephew is interning with me during the summer, doing 2 weeks of hard photography learning. I’m proud of the my nephew. Here’s him holding the lights for me and understanding lighting positioning.

My little nephew holding the Mago with Umbrella for me.

My little nephew holding the Mago with Umbrella for me.

Here’s a few sample images from the shoot, with wides showing the light position but also the photographic results.  Please read the captions for more details.

Sophia and Hope - Dryads Lit with the Mago flash

Sophia and Hope – Dryads
Lit with the Mago flash from Camera left.  Using a Smith Victor umbrella

An example of the extreme level of use the Mago will be placed in.

Placing the Mago in extremely tough situations and in precarious positions.

Sophia and Hope - Moments Lit with the Mago Flash

Sophia and Hope – Moments
Lit with the Mago Flash above models using a Smith Victor umbrella.

Sophia and Hope - Trials Lit with the Mago Flash Unit.

Sophia and Hope – Trials
Lit with the Mago Flash Unit from above camera an a Smith Victor umbrella.

 


Day 4 – ETTL and at a wedding

So before talking about the wedding that was shot today, it’s time to note something extremely odd and probably not related to the flash. For the last few days I’ve paired the flash with Sanyo Eneloop XX’s without a problem. This morning when I tried to charge the batteries in the Lacie charger there was 2 dead battery warnings(shows up null).  This happens when the cells can’t be recharged anymore.  Pretty disturbing because these batteries are pretty new and that sucks. Going to try to refresh them and hopefully that will fix it. Will keep you guys updated.

Update – After letting them sit for a day, I was able to refresh and recharge the 2 dead batteries.  I actually don’t think this is a problem with the Mago flash, but just a fluke.

Using the Mago in ETTL during a wedding. Wedding of Valdesha and Gerald.

Using the Mago in ETTL during a wedding.
Wedding of Valdesha and Gerald.

Today was a fun day testing the Mago. Where the engagement shoot is a critically important photoshoot, the real test for the Mago was today during a wedding. The wedding allowed me to try out Pixels implementation of ETTL and also see how the camera performed during an extremely strenuous event. Also I get to compare the Mago to my current favorite flash the Godox Ving 860c (yes the Godox is better than the 600ex-RT IMHO).

The last few days of testing before this pretty much used the Mago in manual mode, and it performed admirably. But the Mago does actually do automatic ETTL and as a wedding shooter TTL can help so much.

The ETTL system in the Mago looks to be completely based of the Canon system, probably reversed engineered. You can control the settings of the flash with most any recent Canon cameras with a hot shoe. The Mago also supports High Speed Sync, and second curtain sync.  Using the Mago was pretty  much similar to using any Canon flash.

First shot straight off the Mago bouncing off the cielings.  Skin tone and brightness look pretty good.  Not a touched up shot.

First shot straight off the Mago. Skin tone and brightness look pretty good. Not a touched up shot.

During the getting ready photos the flash worked great, but there was sometimes the flash didn’t go off. There were 2 things I noticed that may have caused this. The flash doesn’t really create a firm seal on my 6D and has a bit of movement on the hotshoe. In comparison the 600ex-RT and the Godox v860c both fit better. There really isn’t any reason why the flash shouldn’t of fit fine as it’s been handled nicely.

Also once in a while the flash seemed to not fire after making either an exposure compensation change on camera or on flash. This didn’t happen 100% of the time, but during the wedding there was roughly 8~9 no fires, and 2 or 3 times it happened after I adjusted the exposure compensation. When the flash did fire though the exposures were nice and consistent and the results were very similar as to what the 600ex-RT and the Godox v860c produced. I was extremely impressed by how the Mago did via E-TTL and liked how easy it was to manipulate to achieve more accurate results.

ETTL with the Mago during a wedding.

ETTL with the Mago during a wedding.

Now for some bad news. After being spoiled by the Godox v860c’s Li-ion battery pack, it was disheartening to see how fast the battery on the Mago was going through. Mind you the 600ex-RT last about the same length through a wedding as the Mago seemed to last, but the Godox destroys them both. By a little bit after the ceremony, the flash was already on 1 bar of power (out of 4). The Godox during same usage would possibly be at 3 out of 4, but I’ve seen it 4 out of 4 still after that time. I’ve just being really spoiled by the battery pack in the Godox flash.

The Mago kept churning, and despite having a few no flashes did a really admirable job, it’s just disheartening to see how fast the battery seemed to drain. Another negative about the flash is the weight. The flash is notably top heavy, and bulky. Maybe I’m getting old (hell, I am old) but the flash felt a bit heavier than the others I’ve used.

Toning down the flash via in camera ttl control.

Toning down the flash via in camera ttl control.

Ettl worked great getting close ups of the rings and details.

Ettl worked great getting close ups of the rings and details.

Performance Notes – Some misfires that were replicable with adjusting exposure compensation.  Also misfires because the hotshoe wasn’t 100% a tight fit on the camera.  Some misfires just happened for no reason, but about 3 out of 400 shots.

In conclusion for using the Pixel Mago for weddings is this :

  • Good ETTL Implementation. Had no issues integrating with wireless triggers with ETTL passthrough, and also just getting nice consistent results.
  • Occasional frame drops, couldn’t duplicate it,and it wasn’t a battery refresh issue. Will explore more and write if it happens.
  • The free bounce cover they give you is nice, and very useful for the flash.
  • Went through batteries fairly quick.
  • Flash is a little louder than other flashes like the 600ex-RT.  Mechanical movements like zoom is audible, but not glaringly loud.
  • Didn’t fit really flush in hot shoe compared to other flashes.

Day 5 – ETTL direct comparison with the Mago vs. the Godox v860c. Also using the LED as a modeling light at night.

ETTL Comparison Mago on the Left Godox v860C on the right

ETTL Comparison
Mago on the Left
Godox v860C on the right

My dear friend Elizabeth (Jonahmodels) met up today and modeled for me. To further try out the automatic ETTL settings I did a direct comparison of the Mago vs. the Godox v860c. Elizabeth posed in the same spot and I shot 4 shots with each flash, and choose the median of each one. The picture above shows the results of the Mago on the left, and the Godox V860c on the right. This image is a direct flash pointing at Elizabeth.

ETTL testing with the flash pointed to the cieling. Mago on the left. Godox v860c on the right.

ETTL testing with the flash pointed to the ceiling.
Mago on the left.
Godox v860c on the right.

After directly pointing the flash to Elizabeth, the next step was bouncing it off the ceiling at a slight angle. The exposure compensation was cranked to +2 on both flash and the results are shown above. As with the direct flash above there were several shots taken and the average is shown above.

The results are varied, and it’s odd, but after shooting years with Ettl this is to be expected. This test only quickly shows the ETTL in one given area, and results can vary. So take the results with a grain of salt.

Afterwards I brought Elizabeth outside.  Here’s a quick photo of Elizabeth outside the office with the canon 135F2 at 2.0 shooting ETTL mode. It exposed pretty well. (I’m not a fan of direct flash)

Elizabeth lit with flash on top of camera.  Shot with a Canon 6D with a Canon 135f2 at 2.0

Elizabeth lit with flash on top of camera. Shot with a Canon 6D with a Canon 135f2 at 2.0

Using the LED as a modelling light

Using the LEDS on the Mago as focusing assist and modeling lights.

Using the LEDS on the Mago as focusing assist and modeling lights.

So tonight Elizabeth and I tried something really cool, we used the LED’s as modeling lights on the flash. It worked amazing! Yes Nikon people you do have a AF illumination on the camera, but the Mago LEDs actually emulate the effects you will receive with the modifiers and it’s pretty damn cool. Really awesome to be honest to see what you are expecting while shooting at night. The LEDs were SUPER helpful to acquire focus and also just add ambiance to the scene. I would love to have all my flashes have LED’s on them.  If pixel could implement a wireless control trigger that turns on and off the led, it would superior.

Here’s a gallery of photos taken with the Mago with the LED as a modeling light. Talk about an awesome addition.

A little extra – Using the flash to emulate the sun.

This is a bit of extra for people who aren’t familiar with what little flash units are capable of. Here is the Mago being used at 1/4th power to emulate natural sunlight on Elizabeth. All I did was face the flash towards the empty side of the room and let it do it’s job.  Something that’s been really fun is showcasing just how much you can do with one flash unit.

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power.  Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing.  Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power. Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing. Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power.  Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing.  Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power. Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing. Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power.  Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing.  Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power. Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing. Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power.  Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing.  Results make me happy!

Using the Mago to emulate natural sunlight on 1/4th power. Using the LED on the flash to assist in focusing. Results make me happy!

 


Day 6 – HSS (High Speed Sync) testing and general shooting

Todays model is the beautiful Kim Page.  We are showing you High Speed Sync usage and also general photography outside and inside using the Mago.

Todays model is the beautiful Kim Page. We are showing you High Speed Sync usage and also general photography outside and inside using the Mago.

One of the things we haven’t really tested out on the flash yet is Pixels implementation of HSS. Unfortunately I don’t have a really long E-TTL cord nor could I find my old ST-E2 from back in the day so I was limited to testing the HSS via on board flash. The results ,while visually unspectacular because of how flat the light was, worked pretty well.  The ability to shoot at 200mm zoom on the flash really helped a lot. Here’s one example of using HSS below with a shutter speed for 1/1250. Today’s model was the amazing Kim Page who has done several shoots with me before. I absolutely adore this lady and today it was an absolute joy to be around her.  Oh name drop time, but this lady is also the daughter of a VERY famous wrestler.  She’s proud of it!

The Mago doing HSS with +3 ev.  Iso 100 at f2.8 at 1/1250.

The Mago doing HSS with +3 ev. Iso 100 at f2.8 at 1/1250.

HSS seemed to work nicely and hopefully I can find the wireless triggers to do something a little more impressive than the straight from camera flat flash look (I despite it if you can’t tell). I will say this at the price range of the Mago and with the guide number of 65, it’s pretty damn nice having that power and HSS. HSS because of how it functions really dramatically reduces flash power, and the Mago was able to supply a rich amount of light. The implementation of HSS worked well for me and I enjoyed it.

The Mago has proven an effective and light flash that has worked over and over again outside.

The Mago has proven an effective and light flash that has worked over and over again outside.

Outside of HSS shooting today was a day of just general shooting with Kim using exclusively the Mago inside and outside. I wanted to show some more results you can get with it and also using it for various different looks and techniques. Kim also became part of the Ophelia shoot today and also general in studio shooting. The Mago has been a constant performer for general shooting and hasn’t really had any major hiccups yet. Overall I give it a thumbs up as a stand alone flash capable of producing consistent and great results.

Model : Kim Page Headshot in the woods with the Canon 6d and 135 F2 at 2.2.  Using a 36" smith victor umbrella.

Model : Kim Page
Headshot in the woods with the Canon 6d and 135 F2 at 2.2. Using a 36″ smith victor umbrella.

Model : Kim Page Ophelia inpsired, Mago flash on camera left with 36" Umbrella at 1/8th power.

Model : Kim Page
Ophelia inpsired, Mago flash on camera left with 36″ Umbrella at 1/8th power.

Model : Kim Page Mago on Camera Right with a Smith Victor 36" Umbrella.  Canon 6D shooting 2.8.

Model : Kim Page
Mago on Camera Right with a Smith Victor 36″ Umbrella. Canon 6D shooting 2.8.

Model  : Kim Page Mago positioned outside a window to emulate window light coming in.  Modified with a Smith Victor 36" Umbrella.

Model : Kim Page
Mago positioned outside a window to emulate window light coming in. Modified with a Smith Victor 36″ Umbrella.

Model : Kim Page Mago High on camera left by the model, creating a soft light illuminating Kim.

Model : Kim Page
Mago High on camera left by the model, creating a soft light illuminating Kim.

Model Kimberly Page Lit by a Mago above model, with Smith Victor 36" umbrella

Model Kimberly Page
Lit by a Mago above model, with Smith Victor 36″ umbrella

Model : Kim Page Lit with Mago Camera right.

Model : Kim Page
Lit with Mago Camera right.

Model : Kimberly Page Mago flash lighting the subject from camera left.

Model : Kimberly Page
Mago flash lighting the subject from camera left.

Model : Kimberly Page Mago flash lighting the subject from camera with an umbrella.

Model : Kimberly Page
Mago flash lighting the subject from camera with an umbrella.

After almost a week of constantly using the Mago, I’m really excited about the product. It’s worked perfectly even 4 days after being rained on. It’s constantly put out consistent light over and over. Check out soon for my conclusion comments. There’s only 1 or 2 days left to write, and the conclusion!


Day 7 – Comparing it to competitors

A comparison of four flashes. PixelMago, Canon 600ex-RT, Yong-nuo 565ex, Godox Ving 860c

A comparison of four flashes.
PixelMago, Canon 600ex-RT, Yong-nuo 565ex, Godox Ving 860c

Here’s a link to amazon where you can purchase this flash : Pixel Mago on Amazon

Today’s installment keeps it simple.  After using it for over 10 days now real world usage, I feel we can give a more honest assessment about how the Mago performs and how it compares to other competitor flashes.  This section will compare build, interface, usage, and more with a few other flashes  I actually own.  Also doing a few test to see how the flashes compare to each other results wise.

In this comparison we are going to compare these four flashes.  Prices are from August 2014, info pulled from Amazon.

  • Pixel Mago – Estimated price $90-95 – Guide Number 65 @ 200mm, iso 100
  • Canon 600EX-RT – $549 – Guide Number 60 @ 200mm, iso 100
  • Godox v860c – $179 – Guide Number 58 @ 105mm, iso 100.
  • Yong-Nuo 565eex – $101  – Guide Number 58 @ 105mm, iso 100

Immediately there’s a price differential between the flashes above, with the Canon being more than all the other 3 flashes combined.  For those who aren’t familiar with guide number, it’s pretty much the power output estimate of the flash.  The higher the guide number, the brighter the full power output.

We are going to break it down into a few simple categories, and rank the flashes in that category.  Finally at the end write a pro/con summery of each flash.

Build

Surprisingly the build quality of each of the flashes isn’t far off, mostly for the price differential between each unit. Of all the units the Yong-Nuo 565 feels the cheapest with the buttons being a little tougher and not having a wheel on the back (cross hair joy stick instead). The buttons on the 600ex-RT do give a slightly better response when you press them, but this is being extremely critical. Of all the units the power button on either the 600ex-RT or the Godox is better. One of the things I absolutely love that Canon did is made Lock the middle option on their on button. On the Pixel it’s the very last option and the pixel on/off dial is extremely tough and annoying to turn off and on. The godox has a simple slide up/down switch that’s super easy to hit, but also pretty easy to activate your bag on accident. The yong-nuo has the most painful switch only for the fact there’s “Load time”, you hold the power button down and it eventually turns on after a few seconds.

As mentioned above the Pixel and the Canon are the only ones that have the switching mechanism to lock down the hot shoe. After 2 weeks of use though the Pixel’s locking mechanism doesn’t fit as tightly as it once did, while the Canon has been fine even after over a year of owning it.

All in all if I had winner on build it would be the 600ex only for small little things. The 600ex has a button to engage flash movement while the others are tension based. The 600ex has little rubber sides and stuff that are just accents….is it worth $400+ more…oh hell no, but it is a little better built. The Godox is the second after the 2 with its more simple build it feels more robust than the YN and the Pixel Mago, but the mago was pretty much right by it. The YN565 felt like something was slightly off with its build compared to the others.

Ranking : 600ex, Godox v860c, Pixel Mago, YN565ex

Interface
Each flash unit has a pretty intuitive LCD interface. The godox and YN565 uses a less buttons in the back to control the user interface while the 600ex and Pixel has almost the exact layout except the Canon has the button for it’s wireless system and the pixel has an extra interface button. Concerning the graphic user interface, while the data display is smaller I give the advantage to Pixel here. Not only is there a lot of menu options, but when programming and changing small menu options the Pixel is the only one that actually has a graphic icon showing what you are doing. Normally low resolution icons can be pretty good or bad, depending how they are designed, and pixel did an extremely good job at making sure they are legible. The 600ex isn’t a slacker either when it comes to custom function interface and back lcd. It has a graphic menu (which reminds me of the Commodore 64) which actually explains what the custom functions do. On the bottom of the barrel comes the Godox and the YN, where if you try to change any custom functions it says CF00-000 …yeah good luck with that if you don’t’ have a manual figuring out what is what. The back menu of the pixel is average in size, where the yn565 is minimal and the 600ex and the Godox fairly large and informative. During general usage it’s a lot easier to see and navigate the Godox and 600ex, followed by the Pixel and lastly the yn565.

Pixel really did a quality job designing their interface for the Mago. Canon also stepped up their game with the 600ex, where it was a lot worst back in the old 580ex days. Something cool is the Godox does have a mini usb input, so there is possibility of a firmware update in the future for better menus.

Ease of use is also a critical part of the interface, and the Pixel really shines here.  The whole menu system was extremely intuitive and navigation was quick and easy.  Right after it the Canon and Godox were super easy to use because of the large lcd interface, and pretty nicely designed if more text based interface.  While the YN doesn’t score high its not because it’s really bad (mostly compared to the old 560’s), it just doesn’t shine compared to the three competitors.

Ranking : Pixel Mago tied with Canon 600ex (slight edge to pixel), Godox v860C, YN565

Value
It wasn’t long ago the winner of value was easily anything from Yong Nuo.  While it’s obvious they completely stole the design of the 580ex II to make their mold for the YN-56x series, they delivered reasonable build, great results, at a quarter of the price.  Yong Nuo products only got better as time passed and it was understandable that 2~3 years ago the Yn-560x series was selling like hot cakes.  Sadly all kingdoms fall and it’s finally reached that point.  The winner of value?  Easily the Godox v860c.  Yes it’s $179 when the other two cheaper ones are almost half the price or less, but the Lithium Ion battery you receive with the v860c is just that good.  For those who don’t know the Godox comes with a battery pack, and a charger.  That battery pack isn’t just 4 double a’s, its actually a battery pack of badassdom that allows you 4x the battery charge and over a 200% speed increase.  Pretty much it has the ability to put out like a teenage boy, but actually last as long as a man in a Danielle Steele novel.  Where all the flashes (save the 600ex-rt) create tremendous value because they offer outstanding results for an extremely reasonable price, the long term value of the Godox v860c’s battery and capabilities cannot be understated compared to the others.  It’s just that good.

So lets take the battery out of the equation, and just compare the unit’s themselves.  Easily the Pixel Mago is a surefire value winner.  The capabilities of the flash, what you get with it, and the absolutely steal of a price makes it a no brainer when it comes to the four of them.  The extras like the LED, diffusion plate, and various other internal features make the value of the Mago supersede the others who offer only part of the same features.  The ultimate value is when a company finally combines the Battery pack along with the optional LED and more.

So you might be wondering why the 600ex-rt wasn’t mentioned.  In the reality of it all you are paying for an AMG Mercedes when it comes to buying the 600ex-RT where the other flashes are a Camry, Accord, and an Altima.  They are all cars, but the 600ex-RT is a league of it’s own.  The flash as a basic unit is amazing, but is it worth 4x~5x the price?  Only if you are going to heavily invest into Canon’s INCREDIBLE RT system.  They knocked it out of the park like a Mike Trout home run with the design of the RT system, but unfortunately decided to charge Yankee season tickets prices for you to play with it.  Where the other flashes will let you jump in at sub $500 for two flashes and a way to trigger them, the Canon system will be roughly about $1500.  Value?  Canon scoffs at the idea….you are paying for the name, and the experience…deal with it.  It’s the Mid Range Leica of value, and they aren’t going to really help you save a few dollars here and there.  But outside of expensiveness, you do get a hell of a lot with the Canon system so please don’t see this as me saying the system is bad, but for a good majority of people it’s overpriced and not needed.

The YN-565EX is sadly yesterdays news.  If you can get a used one for $50, that’s completely worth it, but if someone wants more, you are better off buying a Mago.

Ranking : Godox v860c, Pixel Mago, YN-565EX, Canon 600ex-rt

The small little things
There’s the selling bullet points that companies point out, and then there’s the small little things you actually notice over time as you use equipment.  Of all the flashes the one that I’ve put through the field of battle the most has been the 600ex-RT, and in the end it has come out incredibly strong, tough, and reliable.  There was slight cosmetic damage on it from the 30+ weddings it has been through the last year, and various other challenges.  In comparison the Godox hasn’t been used as long but already the wide angle diffusion panel has more play on it than I’m comfortable with, and the flash will occasionally go to 14mm zoom on the sensor because of how loose the panel is.  While mostly an inconvenience, it does reflect on the total build quality.  The Pixel mago already has shown some changes as I’ve put it through this ordeal.  The hotshoe doesn’t mount as tightly as the Canon, despite only having it for less than 2 weeks.  Maybe I’m spoiled by the complete build quality of the Canon, or the psychosomatic nature of trying to find something wrong with a device that’s 1/5th the price, but it is worth mentioning.  The YN565ex I will be honest here guys, mine died, for no reason at all.  It boots up, and it doesn’t flash and complains that it doesn’t work.  That’s no beuno.  The technology and build in the 600ex-rt is incredible, but not everyone needs it nor many can afford it.  Mostly if you think that the 600ex-RT is over 75% the cost of your average starting Canon digital SLR.  That’s incredibly expensive.  The 430ex-II at $299 does offer a respite, but that comes from using a weaker flash that’s capable of less.  Where as all the other flashes here have a generous guide number of at least 58, the 430ex is only 43.  One of the factors to consider is theses flashes get to 43 equivalent power almost twice as fast as the 430ex, and here you are paying $299 for a unit (over 3x the cost of a Mago) and you are getting Chevy Cobalt performance for the price of decked out Camero (in equivalent).

Something I found was one of those really stand out small things was the LED on the Mago.  Yes it’s not powerful, yes it’s kinda bright (all LED’s are), and yes you won’t use it all the time, but when you do it’s sooooooo nice.  I actually found myself really yearning for it on my other flashes.  Sometimes we convince ourselves we really don’t need something cause we’ve never had it before….but sometimes after using something for a while and then not having it, you end up missing it (anyone remember when we didn’t have mouse wheels?).  The LED feature is one of those things where in the future because of my shooting style I will ABSOLUTELY adore having it on all my flashes, even to the point that they design somehow the LED’s being inside the flash head itself.  It was that cool of a feature of have and when you guys experience it in real life you can really see where the benefits are.

It has to be pointed out again, the small little thing on the Godox v860c is that incredible battery pack.  So incredible that we’ve already sold all of our flashes at the event company and gone completely with these units.  It’s so easy, and revolutionary to use a battery pack that it’s hard to go back.  Double A’s suck.  They suck more than the Jacksonville Jaguars.  You have to deal with 4 crappy little batteries that don’t put out much power, and sometimes even the more expensive ones have problems.  If one has a problem you are in trouble, and there’s 4 of them.  So pretty much you have 4 times the risk of something going bad when it comes to rechargeable batteries.  Godox only charges $30 for a spare battery pack, and it’s the equivalent of like 20 double A’s…what an incredible value and deal.  Guys, I love they battery pack….so much.  You have to experience it.

Ranking : Godox, Pixel, Canon (Tied), YN565ex

Conclusion

So it comes to the conclusion for this section and this is a Mago review so lets talk about how it compared to the other flashes.  Quite frankly guys, it held it’s own.  At the paltry price of $90-95 it was able to put out consistent results that the Godox, and Canon gave out.  These are units 2x to 5x it’s cost.  When I first got the flash to review there was a resounding meh from me.  Oh here’s another flash in a large field of competitors, and it doesn’t have a battery pack like the Godox.  I’ll be nice and give it a review, try to beat the S#it out of it, and be completely honest about it.  The Mago really won me over when compared to the other competitors.  It’s price is extremely eye opening mostly for the options you get.  The interface is beautiful and well done, and the LED’s were an incredible addition.  The flash didn’t fail me, and while I know some of them out there will have issues this one worked like a champ.  All those factors combined makes the Pixel easily better than average and in some cases a clear choice among it’s peer.

More will be written on the total conclusion of the of this piece, but I will go ahead and make this statement.  If I only had $100, the Mago is easily the right choice.  If I had $200, the Godox is better in the long run.  If I had more money than a rap artist who successfully gave his mix tape to the right people, than the 600ex-RT is the best approach.


Day 8 – A little more HSS to the mix, this is the last visual test and finally the conclusion after a little extra testing

This is an example of the MAGO using HSS to add to the scene.  Because I wanted to shoot fully wide open at 2.8 and the light coming from the window was extreme, it required a shutter speed of 1/800th of a second to capture the scene (there was a LOT of light).  The Mago was able to consistently give HSS results that allowed me to add light to the scene while employing the natural light that existed.

This is an example of the MAGO using HSS to add to the scene. Because I wanted to shoot fully wide open at 2.8 and the light coming from the window was extreme, it required a shutter speed of 1/800th of a second to capture the scene (there was a LOT of light). The Mago was able to consistently give HSS results that allowed me to add light to the scene while employing the natural light that existed.

We’ve reached close to the end guys, this is the penultimate day before the conclusion will be written early next week (it’s a busy weekend this weekend).  Ms. Elizabeth once again agreed to jump in front of the camera to try a little HSS testing with the Mago straight off the camera hotshoe.  Why this way?  Because it shows results you can get with what you have after you immediately buy the flash.   Yes a nice camera was used, and also a nice lens, but anyone can easily get close to duplicating these results using a Canon 50 1.8 and a rebel (though they have to step back further).  The camera combo and lens combo ranged from a Canon 6d paired with a 50 1.2L, 35 1.4L, or a Tamron 24-70 2.8VC.  All pictures were shot at 1/500 to 1/1250 shutter speeds using iso ranging from 50 to 400.  The Window light was super strong but very one sided on Elizabeth and the flash made a distinct impression (as seen above).
This implementation of HSS isn’t the best way to show HSS as stopping motion at high speeds, but it does show you that you can shoot outside in bright light with this flash at low isos and also very fast apertures.    Sometimes we want to get the background lit correctly when it’s a lot brighter, while shooting full open at 1.8~2.8, but also illuminate our subject when the sync speed is over 1/160+.  This HSS implementation shows that.

So here’s a few more photos that will talk a little bit more about the HSS on the Pixel Mago.

Shot at 1/400th of a second at 2.8, the use of the Mago bouncing camera right filled in the really deep shadow located on Elizabeth.

Shot at 1/400th of a second at 2.8, the use of the Mago bouncing camera right filled in the really deep shadow located on Elizabeth.

Sometimes you need HSS.  This is 1/1250 at 50mm 1.4 outside, and the flash filled in her shadows.

Sometimes you need HSS. This is 1/1250 at 50mm 1.4 outside, and the flash filled in her shadows.

Shooting 2.0 with really bright side light, the Mago was able to supply the fill at 1/1000th of a second.

Shooting 2.0 with really bright side light, the Mago was able to supply the fill at 1/1000th of a second.

HSS is what’s consider more advance usage of a flash, but it’s good to know that anyone who buys the Mago can rest assured knowing that the HSS implementation provided by Pixel does its job.  Once again the flash was always on the camera when these were shot, and there was no off camera flash being used, just bouncing flash and using it as a large light source.  Being able to get great flash power at 1.4 outside and shooting 1/2000th of a second…that’s a win right there.  Color me impressed!


The last day – Its comes down to this

The fun irony of using a competitors product to light the flash you are reviewing.  This is the end of this fun road trip all.

The fun irony of using a competitors product to light the flash you are reviewing. This is the end of this fun road trip all.

And we have reached the end of this amazingly fun road trip with the Pixel Mago.  I have to admit in many cases the Mago was pretty impressive.  The photography situations it was placed it delivered good results, but also most importantly consistent results.  Even after being drenched in rain within 2 days of being used, the flash kept going and going towards the end with really no major faults during use.  Yes there was a few small bumps and bruises, but those you would expect to occur with any flash used like this one was (which wasn’t exactly being babied).  Before I write a full heartfelt conclusion, I wanted to write about a few key items in detail that should help influence people’s purchasing decision.

Battery Life – Despite the energy meter showing the flash depleting power, there was actually no days during this test that the flash completely ran out of power except during the wedding.  During general usage outside I was able to get a lot of flashes at various power level.  The Mago’s battery consumption I would say is close to that of the 600ex-RT.  You will go through double A’s, but it’s doesn’t suck down battery power at a crazy level.  During the review the batteries were charged to capacity, but double  A rechargeable are also a little tricky sometimes, and a unconditioned cell could give sub par results.  In this case it’s important to note the Mago wasn’t a battery draining monster, but it also wasn’t energy conservative. The Mago was a good mid line, which is nice considering it’s stats.

Build Quality – When China fist started making knock off products in the photography industry several years ago it really was hit or miss.  As time has passed the quality has gone up considerably (though still not on par with OEM products).  Initially I was concerned about the Mago because the accessories  that came with it, the boxing, and even the flash itself screamed cut backs and budgets, but the unit I received held up and did it’s part.   It is important to note though during an assembly line process that there could be those lemons out there, so during this review I consistently check on the build quality of the flash, the nooks and crannies, and so forth.  I can say the flash is built well now, but I am slightly concerned over time that it may not hold up that well in comparison to a 600ex-rt or an OEM flash.  There was those small little things you can feel while using where it felt like something may loosen over time, or one small mishap like a drop can cause issues.  With this flash and it’s cost it delivers amazing results, but if you are the type of person who purchases to have a working product for 5 years and you don’t want to mess with what’s new…go ahead and buy a 600ex-RT or a high end flash like a Mecablitz.  If you want something that works really well now, is built pretty okay, but you may have replace it in 2~3 years, go ahead and save money and get this flash.  The build quality won’t disappoint you.

Practical real world usage – If there was anything I was hoping for in this review, it was the fact that you the readers can see realistic real world application of the flash.  The Mago really held up well to the diverse amount of photography before it and was able to do it’s job in both a casual and professional atmosphere.  The cheap price of the unit really allows a professional photographer the luxury of redundancy because all things have the option of failing, and having 2~3 Mago’s spare can help any faults.  The cheap cost of the unit allows your new photographer the option of having a very capable flash at an extremely affordable price.  The extra options such as the LED, wireless, hss, and all the small little things make it that much more of a value to the end user during practical usage.  Photography is all about lighting and how we capture it,and the Mago provides the opportunity to add quality light in at a very reasonable price.

Which leads to this guys, the final conclusion.

I would recommend this product.  But I wouldn’t buy it for myself.  The Mago was EXTREMELY impressive, and at it’s price of $90-95 online an absolute steal.  It wasn’t exactly about what it was great at during this review, but how much it didn’t fail that made it such a value to me.  The Mago really was impressive and didn’t have any glaring shortcomings that prevented it from performing, and was  consistently able to provide brilliant lighting.

So why wouldn’t I buy it?  Simply put….battery technology.  We are on the cusp of a new revolution when it comes to portable flashes and batteries.  It’s been a long time coming, but mark my words guys that battery packs will soon start becoming more popular in these flash units.  I absolutely adore my battery pack based flash units because of the small little things such as ease of replacing the battery (4 separate batteries sometimes fall wrong at weddings, and you have to look to see if they are facing the right polarity), the fact that each battery last 250% longer, and also the performance benefits of speed and power.   These are all things that are extremely hard to give up, even if it means now having some of the really neat features the Mago has.

None the less it is $90 more to get the the Godox V860c, and that’s a lot of money.  If I only had $100 would I get the Mago?  ABSO F’ing Lutly.  All things in consideration Pixel has made an incredible flash at an incredible price, and if it wasn’t for Godox/Neewer coming out with such an awesome battery pack based flash, I would easily told everyone to go ahead and grab a Mago to try out if you didn’t want to spend an astronomical amount of money on Canon/Nikon flashes.

Thank you everyone for reading this, and also big big big thank you for all of those who helped out.  Really big thank you to all the models and talent who were a part of this.  Also thank you to Pixel for letting me review their product.

Here’s a link to amazon where you can purchase this flash : Pixel Mago on Amazon

Got an email from Pixel and they were absolutely floored by the detail given to their product in this review.  I had a proud moment when they said in the email that I was one of their best beta testers they’ve ever had.  Being that the goal of this review was to break it and also not give any bias towards the product, it’s really cool to see a company not shy away from people who want to be honest about their product.  They even mentioned in the email that they have brought the flash back to the drawing board to make hardware level changes after reading the reviews done by the 20 chosen participants.


I was one of several people selected to review this product.  Interested in learning what the other reviewers think of it? I tried to find as many as possible to link here, please enjoy.

LambertPix Mago Review

Sven Bluge – Mago Review

P4Pictures – Mago Review

TheFlasher.eu – Mago Review

 Peter Koerhuis.net – Mago Review

Bobby Wechsler – Mago Review

Adrian Tan – Mago Review

About trentchau

Photographer, videographer, and photography instructor in Atlanta. Born in New Orleans. I love food more than photography, but do love photography quite a bit.

98 comments on “Pixel Mago Speedlight Review and Beta Test

  1. Lee Workman
    July 23, 2014

    Very cool my man

  2. Nikki Rockstroh
    July 26, 2014

    Looks like a pretty good flash. Definitely looking for one – keeping this in mind.

  3. DeOndré Jõvan Bonds
    July 26, 2014

    Very nice review. Interested in one myself

  4. Shawn Doughtie
    July 26, 2014

    On the quick drawdown of the battery power — which batteries were you using?

  5. kenzie lacy
    July 26, 2014

    Looks like a handy flash!

  6. Judy Bruner
    July 26, 2014

    Great review! Probably one of the most “in the trenches” reviews the manufacturer will get on this flash!

  7. Wes
    July 26, 2014

    I need another flash to support my off camera portrait shots. T
    his will be a good addition.

  8. Judy Bruner
    July 26, 2014

    Great review! Probably one of the best “in the trenches” reviews the manufacturer will get from anybody, too!

  9. Thomas Pello
    July 26, 2014

    What kind of external battery pack can it use?

    • trentchau
      July 26, 2014

      It uses the standard Canon based one which Pixel has.

  10. Jorge Mayorga
    July 26, 2014

    Always love your work and blogs man! Keep up the great work you do, helping inspire others like myself and more.

  11. Jason Fuller
    July 26, 2014

    Great flash and a great write up, very detailed!!!

  12. Eric Goines
    July 26, 2014

    Thanks Trent that was very informative

  13. Mike Troutt
    July 26, 2014

    Great review so far. I am really liking the idea of the modeling lamps. I might have to pick a couple of these up when they are released.

  14. Dean
    July 27, 2014

    Very detailed review. The rapidly declining battery charge is not very appealaing to me . Is the head outer dimentions the same as that of the 580 ex series ?, in case I need to use the same color gels , diffuser ..
    Dean

  15. GOOD ONE

  16. Joe Chatman
    July 28, 2014

    My flash broke last year and I need a new one desperately. I’d like to be considered for a chance at this opportunity. From your review it sounds pretty great! And yes, thanks for all the incredibly detailed descriptions!

    • trentchau
      July 30, 2014

      Well if I don’t break this one, it could be great to whoever gets it 🙂

  17. John Aldrich
    July 29, 2014

    Very nice, Trent! I hope I can make it to one of your workshops one of these days!

  18. Matt Montemayor
    July 30, 2014

    Great review, thank you.

  19. Karel Uyttendaele
    July 30, 2014

    Damn good flash unit!

    • Eric Goines
      July 30, 2014

      I’m learning a thing or two here !!!!!

      • trentchau
        July 30, 2014

        Thanks Eric, been a while! Miss you man.

    • trentchau
      July 30, 2014

      I’m finding myself pretty impressed by it.

  20. lyndon versoza
    July 30, 2014

    well done. Pictures are great! How did you trigger the flash?

    • trentchau
      July 30, 2014

      The flash was triggered either on camera (direct hot shoe), using a pocket wizard to a sync cable, or using a phottix strato II multi.

  21. Phillip Ward
    July 30, 2014

    Wow, nice review. I’m actually excited about the LED light as a modeling light. I shoot strictly with speedlites, but always lusted over the monolights’ modeling light.

    • trentchau
      July 30, 2014

      Phillip and it’s actually proven extremely useful too.

      • Phillip Ward
        August 16, 2014

        Does the LED turn off when the flash fires? Or is it more like using it to hit focus, then walking over and turning the LED off to shoot? Would be sweet if it turned off automatically. I’d be very interested in getting a couple to replace my first gen Yongnuo yn 560 flashes.

  22. Toni
    July 31, 2014

    I think the 65 number guide it’s a bit of “fake” number guide.
    Pixel said it’s 65, but they measure it at 200 mm (as you state at the final comparision, like the Canon).
    To compare in same conditions, not must be measured at the same zoom mode as the maximum the others can zoom (all at 105mm)?
    For the rest, It’s a good review and a very good speelite. Evenmore considering the low price having TTL and the LED add-on (overheat risk if powered-on some minutes?).
    Maybe you left to use and write about the Master mode to control others speedlites (groups and ratios).

    • trentchau
      July 31, 2014

      Great points. I wish I had a light meter to be honest to measure output. Sold mine a while back.

  23. Cornelio Ocampo
    July 31, 2014

    does it have a built-in wireless trigger like the YN565EX?

    • trentchau
      July 31, 2014

      It does wireless through Canon’s infrared interface as far as I can tell, not wireless like the Mitros or the new YN’s.

  24. Paul Raybould
    July 31, 2014

    A very nice looking flash. Can I just say that I have been reading reviews of flashguns for the last 3 months while deciding on which one to purchase and this is THE best review with real life examples of what the flash can do.

    • trentchau
      July 31, 2014

      Thank you! That’s the goal. Didn’t want to make it a simple tech review.

  25. Joey Server
    July 31, 2014

    Nicely done! I’m impressed.

  26. Jesus Blanco
    July 31, 2014

    Parece un muy buen flash,buena explicación e interesante precio.Me gustaria disfrutar de uno.

  27. Rodney O'Rourke Sr.
    July 31, 2014

    Proof positive that when a busy professional is given a task he accepts he will do an extraordinary job with it.

    What impresses me most about this review are the details and that, regardless of the ranking, there is plenty of information for users to recognize what features are significant to each of them to make an informed choice on picking one of these flashes.

  28. Steve Lowe
    August 1, 2014

    Great review. I’ve been looking for another ETTL flash as a secondary. I didn’t see it but does it do HSS?

    • trentchau
      August 1, 2014

      Yes it does! Actually putting up more HSS results today with Elizabeth as the model.

  29. Steve
    August 1, 2014

    Great review. I’ve been looking for a second ETTL flash. Will it do HSS? I don’t remember seeing that.

  30. Russell Holly
    August 1, 2014

    Great review of the flash compared to the others. I’m still a flash newbie and comparing it to the Canon helped put it in perspective. The price point makes it very attractive.

  31. Martin Boss
    August 4, 2014

    I think as someone who uses multiple flashes . After reading your review this may be a great addition as a non main flash . where the battery life is less dependent on. Such as maybe rim flash . For the value you can’t beat it. This was a very through and highly thought through review.

  32. Heather Lynett
    August 4, 2014

    Thanks for the informative review. Really impressed. I may check it out before spending a great deal on another Canon speedlight. Your images are AMAZING as always and it does seem to give off a nice balance of light. Although you wouldn’t purchase this for your self do you think if would benefit a beginner like myself?

    • trentchau
      August 4, 2014

      Yep Heather, I think it would be a wonderful benefit. The review shows people what they can potentially do, but if they are a “beginner” what they need is experience. Having tools, any tools, for the job helps you get experience. While people may not consistently make magic with the Mago at first, it is a product capable enough to consistently produce results as you use it. As long you use it after buying it, I see no reason why the product couldn’t benefit you now and in the long run.

      I love the fact that the Mago brings to the masses what used to be something more exclusive to the heavy spenders. For $88 today you get a flash that was worth $500 5 years ago.

  33. David
    August 5, 2014

    Thanks Trent for the awesome review. I cannot remember a review of any photographic equipment that was so thorough in real world use. I tire of technical details. Show me the results and you have done a great job. Always love your work and good to have you on POTN. Even the extreme light on baby doll with sunlight in her hair. I think its just awesome to use video light as model light. Even though a camera will have trouble seeing it, our eyes are awesome and we can see the effect of the light.

    I no longer do weddings so external pack is not important to me. But I was surprised by all the connections on the side. Lots of features for a great value. My 550’s are just to old.

    • trentchau
      August 5, 2014

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. This was the goal of the review, to showcase real world usage and possibilities. It means alot to see you got that out of it.

  34. Tony Thibodeaux
    August 5, 2014

    Thanks for the very well written review. I recently bought a YN568ex after I dropped my Canon 580ex. Although the YN has served me well (In both E-TTL and manual modes) I wish I would have been able to read this review of the Yago for a comparison of the features. Wow, an $82 flash capable of HSS! I’m impressed I mainly shoot birds, some in decreasing light conditions.

    Tony

    • trentchau
      August 5, 2014

      Yes, and with the 200mm zoom rate I think you could of been in for a treat with this flash.

  35. Nathan
    August 5, 2014

    Great review. Question though will this work as a slave to my Canon 70D since it has a built in trigger?

    • trentchau
      August 5, 2014

      It should because I triggered it with an st-e2 and also the wireless system of other flashes.

      But it’s probably reversed engineered.

  36. Frank Kloskowski
    August 5, 2014

    Great thorough review Trent. Fabulous pictures too some of my favorites by you in fact. The Lithium Ion battery on the feature Godox v860c is just what I have been looking for as I get tired of constantly changing batteries even with the battery back I have for my 580EX now. I wonder why Canon did not have a lithium Ion battery setup with the 600EX? I found the Cheetah Lithium 4500 mAh Battey Pack and I may move to that for my 580EX. A Godox v860c or two may also be reality in my future too. The 600EX just seems too pricey. Canon is certainly pushing the envelope on pricing their equipment (the 5D Mark III price is a great example).

  37. Brian
    August 6, 2014

    Great review! One of the best and most thorough I’ve read in a while!

  38. Steven M. Hankin
    August 6, 2014

    I have read many reviews on equipment over the years, but the way you approached this review was a very good systematic approach that you clearly articulated. When I read a product review, I want to walk away learning something that can be applied or improves my work. You actually did things within this review that I did not know a basic flash could do! Your use of photos for each function review provides the reader with some AW HA moments that can be applied to their photography, regardless of the flash used. As a product manufacturer, they should be elated with the review. I doubt that they would select one of the other reviewer over yours! Good Job Trent.

  39. Rob
    August 6, 2014

    I’m kinda ignorant when it comes to the tech of flash, but can one use this with a non-Canon camera? I realize you wouldn’t be albe to make use of E-TTL features, but how ’bout the rest?

    • trentchau
      August 7, 2014

      Yes you can, but honestly I would just buy the one for your brand. They will probably make all of them.

  40. Ernst.F
    August 7, 2014

    This is what you call a true review of a product where the reviewer has no interest or being paid by the company. Trent you have done a great job, this is to show your true passion about teaching and the love of photography. You have used the flash in every aspect and also the most unfamiliar way that amateur or pro could have possibly used the product.You have given your true feeling about the flash from a financial view based on ones budget. You explained clearly every shots and breakdown jargon of lighting.
    Thank you fro your service.

  41. Amanda Pichler
    August 7, 2014

    I wish all the reviews were this in-depth when I am looking at gear. Thanks for a strong consideration for future purchase.

  42. Mike E
    August 7, 2014

    Super impressive review. Very thorough. You really put it through the paces.

  43. Jeff Pello
    August 8, 2014

    Very interested on getting this one, where to buy it? I’m missing the hyperlink… T_T

    • trentchau
      August 8, 2014

      Do a search for Pixel Mago on ebay, that’s the best bet right now.

      • Jeff Pello
        August 9, 2014

        Ugh, not really a fan of ebay, but I’ll try…or maybe I’ll buy yours…lol

  44. Wil Escobar jr
    August 8, 2014

    I would have to say that you did a great job from start to finish of reviewing the flash. It seems this flash would be a backup or additional .

  45. Phil
    August 8, 2014

    Great review. Thanks Trent. I love seeing the wide shots of the shoot. It helps me understand the placement and type of modifiers you used. I’ve learned in your workshops that modifiers are very important. I think everyone would benefit from seeing one of your shoots from a 20’back viewpoint.
    Thanks,
    p

    • trentchau
      August 9, 2014

      Thanks! Love doing those behind the scenes. Glad to know it helps people.

  46. MauvaS
    August 12, 2014

    Thanks for the review and for all honest conclusions. I believe this Pixel may work well for me, as I am of the cost conscious type of person.

    I have a technical question. You mentioned using HSS and setting EC+3. Shouldn’t be -3? I am still trying to learn the basic concepts but if I expose correctly for the ambience/background light, and if I am going to add more light, shouldn’t i just tell the camera to underexposed and then fill the difference with the light from the flash?

    • trentchau
      August 12, 2014

      Mauva in this case the HSS was plussed because I was bouncing the flash up and creating a larger light source. Because of the size of the room the flash power was cut dramatically thus increasing the power.

  47. Alan
    August 13, 2014

    Thanks for that

  48. Jean-Marc Moreau
    August 13, 2014

    Excellent articles…very detailed, something I would ( i wish we could ) love to read in a magazine …!

  49. Beautiful pictures and great write up on the flash….think im going to get wone to go with my 580ii

  50. Phillip Ward
    August 18, 2014

    I posted this as a reply, but it put it under my original post instead of as a new post, but in any case:

    Does the LED turn off when the flash fires? Or is it more like using it to hit focus, then walking over and turning the LED off to shoot? Would be sweet if it turned off automatically. I’d be very interested in getting a couple to replace my first gen Yongnuo yn 560 flashes.

    • trentchau
      August 19, 2014

      The LED stays on. You have to turn it on or off at your discretion.

  51. Phillip Ward
    August 19, 2014

    Do you leave the LED on while shooting? I’m wondering how it affects overall exposure, especially if you are trying to kill the ambient.

    • trentchau
      August 19, 2014

      It’s actually not to bad, mostly if you have a modifier on. If you were nit picky about it than it’s something of a slight inconvenience, but even at 1/128 power the flash overpowers the led’s a bit.

  52. Matt Montemayor
    August 19, 2014

    Trent, just finished reading your complete review. Awesome job! Very thorough and in depth. This makes me want to get out there and shoot with flash. As someone who is trying to build my kit, it’s nice to have a resource like this review!

    • trentchau
      August 19, 2014

      Awesome! I love the response to the real world portion. Was hoping that it would inspire people to the potential that a small value based product like the Pixel Mago can provide.

  53. Mary Lesh
    August 19, 2014

    Wow, amazing review. Very thorough and detailed. How lucky for Pixel to have found you or should I say lucky you found them. I like your honesty!

    • trentchau
      August 19, 2014

      Thanks Mary, I would say they’ve been pretty cool to work with back and forth and most importantly they’ve taken in stride that I wasn’t going to make their product look good if it wasn’t. They’ve taken the honesty very well.

  54. Donn Green
    August 19, 2014

    Excellent review Trent, I read your review about a couple of weeks ago but forgot to comment. I’m very impressed as well and as a lot of folks have already commented here, the real world examples speak much louder than just tech specifications and speculations.

    I have been using speedlights a good bit of late out in the field. A lot of the time it’s just me and the model and with only one person carrying the equipment it’s a no brainer to leave the studio lights and heavy equipment home.

    While I have been shooting the speedlights in manual mode, I’ve been wanting to get one with HSS capabilities. Since I’ve never had this capability, I’m not too clear on what’s required other than a HSS light source and I’m assuming triggers that are HSS capable.

    You mentioned using a trigger with PC cable. Can you clarify for this HSS noob please? I’ve body is the 5DMIII and I do not own any HSS triggers or speedlights yet. Your review has got me chomping at the bit to pick up a couple these at their bargain price. Their current feature set is what impresses me for the hobby work load I have.

    Look forward to your next review… well done sir!

    • trentchau
      August 19, 2014

      HSS does require either a special cord or transmitter to use. A PC cable only triggers the flash, but it doesn’t send the HSS information you need.

      If you want to start basic, something like a long cord like this http://www.amazon.com/Pixel-Super-Off-Camera-Digital-Cameras/dp/B004AKMIRY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=8-1&keywords=canon+ettl+cord+long (can be found cheaper). This cord does connect to your camera but allows you to activate HSS.

      Other ways to do it include buying 2 Pixel Magos and using one as master, but unfortunately it’s infrared wireless base and isn’t the perfect solution for outside.

      Lastly and most expensive is to buy a HSS wireless system like the Phottix Odin system. It will allow wireless hss.

      overall if I had to choose one to begin with it would be the cord. HSS isn’t used all the time, but when you do want it you tend to be rather close to the subject or at least the flash anyways. If you are handy with some Cat5e cable you can also buy a short ETTL cord and resolder it to extend it up to 100 feet.

      • Donn Green
        August 19, 2014

        Being a Network Engineer… I think I’ll chop up my ETTL cord and break out the old soldering gun. The triggers will be more convenient and a good item to give to the family come X-Mas or BD time.

        Thanks for the info… think I’ll go get me one of these flashes and play around with it. I’d like the HSS for shooting in broad daylight with low aperture. Show me some sunny bokeh….

  55. Very lengthy but detailed review. It took a bit to get through but I think you covered all the bases very well. I’ve actually been looking at a Metz 58 flash because it worked with my Panasonic for TTL and had HSS but it is $375 and slightly less power. For the price, i would give up the TTL but I would love to see if they could produce one that works for Olympus and Panasonic m/43 cameras.

  56. lowolf50
    August 19, 2014

    A great Review and amazing samples of what can be done with this flash unit.

  57. Joe Chatman
    August 20, 2014

    Trent, wow! That was absolutely the best review I’ve ever read for any product, HANDS DOWN! You should definitely write reviews for other products. Seriously! I’m sure you’d be paid handsomely. This is better than Consumer Reports Reviews! Great job! You have also really sold me on this flash. I just wish I could win it from you. LOL

  58. Gary W.
    August 21, 2014

    GREAT review!!! I don’t think there was anything that you missed covering on this flash.This flash sounds like it is as close to a no-brainer as you can get!

  59. mkim
    August 22, 2014

    Just WOW!
    It is quite impressive so see the amount of work you have put into making this review.
    It was a pleasure to read it.
    Thank you!

  60. Ronnie Yeoh
    August 25, 2014

    I had a Nikon flash with a unique battery one time. So on a trip to some remote mountainous area in China for a model shoot, I ran out of batteries. Couldn’t get them anywhere. But they had plenty of AA batteries. I learned to buy speed lights with commonly available batteries now. Still the Pixel Mago is one powerful speed light for the money. I see them in those photo accessory stores and just by-passed them thinking they’re just another China knock-off. After this review, I think I’ll go get one tomorrow.

  61. Tiziano
    August 26, 2014

    Hy Trent
    sorry for my bad english.
    Please tell me if is possible connect Pixel Mago flash for Canon EOS with Godox PB960 and Godox cable for CANON flash.
    Thank You very much
    Tiziano

    • trentchau
      August 26, 2014

      Unfortunately I don’t know if this is possible.

  62. Pingback: Pixel Mago flashgun beta reviews round-up | Lighting Rumours

  63. Vella Roland
    August 27, 2014

    This is possibly the most thorough review of this flash. Very helpful. Thanks for the review Trent Chau!

    • trentchau
      August 29, 2014

      yay thank you Vella, also thanks for dropping the equipment off! Sorry I missed you.

  64. Randall Morris
    August 29, 2014

    I understand that others have tested this with some Youngnou ettl wireless triggers with less than 100% functionality, but I am interested if there has been any documented testing with the Phottix ODIN wireless controller for Canon.

    • trentchau
      August 29, 2014

      Randall I would if I had access to them, unfortunately I do not.

  65. LC
    August 29, 2014

    I have been in the market for a new flash. A friend of mine just purchased this one and loved it. I was looking on the internet for any feedback on the quality of it, and Voila!! This wonderfully written article basically provided everything and more!

  66. Cornelio Ocampo
    September 14, 2014

    shipping address sent via email.
    cannot wait to try this amazing flash myself.
    thanks Trent.

    • Cornelio Ocampo
      December 30, 2014

      i never received the package. unfortunately, the shipment got lost in the mail.

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2014 by in Equipment Testing, Flash and Studio Lighting, Studio Lighting and tagged , , , , .

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