This article is in response to a call by Pixel for applicants to review their new Pixel Mago Speedlite.
Unlike some other reviewers of this speedlite, I do not use speedlites to their complete capability; I do not ‘put them through their paces’ - so this review is a general review this speedlite as I would typically use it.
Here is what comes in the box:
• Pixel Mago Speedlite unit
• Flash stand
• Carrying case
• User manual
The Pixel Mago Speedlite
Out of the box you will notice that the Mago is a very large speedlite, larger even than the Canon 600EX or any of the third party speedlites I have, though it is built very well, including the battery door, which has been a particular weak point of third party speedlite manufacturers. The control buttons all have a good feel and are aptly responsive. I particularly like the dial/wheel for quickly making settings changes. The control menu is about equal with that of other third party manufacturers - they all are a little confusing and have a bit of a learning curve, but here is a quick hint: take some time to read the manual and figure out the menu before you take it on the job. Operation is pretty straight forward; only one button has two functions, for switching between normal and wireless. Other buttons function’s are displayed above them. Lastly there is the mandatory test button and a button to change to manual or TTL.
The speedlite zooms from 20-200mm and can be tilted 180° each side. I must say that I love the locking mechanism on the hot shoe; the slide-lock is much preferred over the screw/twist lock. Pixel purports a 65GN, and while I have not tested this, I will say, it is more powerful than any other speedlite I have worked with - so call it what you want, it’s stinkin’ powerful.
One feature that is new to me on a speedlite is the front LED. While at first I wondered what I would ever use it for, since I have found it quite useful as a fill (when not even using the flash), or to help provide some light to find focus in low-light conditions. It is definitely a nice asset to have on a speedlite.
I really do like this unit, and I see it being a strong contender for my main backup or even my main unit when I need the most power. That being said, since I use a Stofen OmiBounce almost every time I use a speedlite camera mounted, the flash diffuser that comes with the Mago is sub-par. It does not attach well to the unit and will fall off if even lightly brushed. I cannot see myself relying on it while on the job; I would probably just use one of my Stofens (if they fit).
Overall, I would say that this is a very usable, very affordable unit with a lot of power. While I haven’t fully tested out this speedlite, especially with regards to its TTL capability, I can say that I would have no problem confidently using this product day-to-day.