New free Cactus firmware update lets you get TTL and HSS with almost every camera and flash brand

Mar 24, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

New free Cactus firmware update lets you get TTL and HSS with almost every camera and flash brand

Mar 24, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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This is something that I know my Pentax, Sigma and Panasonic shooting friends will be pleased with. Nine months after releasing the Cactus V6 II and Cactus V6 IIs, there’s new brand-specific firmware updates coming. These let you get HSS and TTL across different brands of camera and flash. Yes, that’s right, you’ll soon be able to use your SB-900s on your X-T2, or your 600EX II-RT with an A6500.

The firmware is system specific, and they’re releasing it in phases. The first is for Sigma, Sony and Fujifilm. Canon, Nikon, Olympus Panasonic and Pentax will follow. And it’ll work with flashes from a multitude of brands. You’ll even be able to mix and match different brands of flash into the same lighting setup.

The website for the new Cactus X-TTL system is still listed as coming soon. There hasn’t been any official dates announced for the release yet. But each firmware will be brand specific to your camera, and they’ll be introducing them in phases. The first phase includes…

  • Sigma
  • Sony
  • Fujifilm

After this, updates will be available to cover the remaining systems

  • Canon
  • Nikon
  • Olympus
  • Panasonic
  • Pentax

What’s particularly interesting is the addition of Sigma camera support. Thus far Sigma camera users have had to deal with hacks and workarounds to try to get a lot of things to work, so this should make their lives much easier.

As far as flash compatibility, cross platform TTL will only be available with units from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic. Presumably it will also be compatible with third party Nikon & Canon compatible flashes from companies like Godox and Yongnuo. There’s been no official confirmation of this yet, but it would definitely ease the wallets of other brand shooters. As for high speed sync, if you’re a Pentax or Sony shooter, you’ll still need a Pentax or Sony branded flash if you want HSS capability.

The firmware updates are free of charge, and you can keep updated when they start being released on the Cactus X-TTL microsite.

Top image Copyright Paul Monaghan and used with permission.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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8 responses to “New free Cactus firmware update lets you get TTL and HSS with almost every camera and flash brand”

  1. Cactus Image Avatar
    Cactus Image

    Thanks for sharing the ground-breaking news ??

  2. 5857521ManitobaInc Avatar
    5857521ManitobaInc

    the real killer feature they need is brand translation… inter brand operability… the capacity to use different INCOMPATIBLE flashes and have the transmitters and receivers translate the signals so you you can use ANY brand flash unit with any brand camera… having full ttl control off one brand camera with several different brand flash units with no issues would be a HUGE boon to people who collaborate or switch brands.

    1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
      Paul Monaghan

      And that’s the whole point in the X-TTL firmware :).

  3. dimitrisservis Avatar
    dimitrisservis

    I use V1 Cactus triggers and to be honest I had good results with HSS by mounting the Cactus trigger in TX on a Yongnuo 622N and another 622N on the camera. Because in the end it’s all about timing not function.

  4. Andreas Gradert Avatar
    Andreas Gradert

    The question is – will this work with the Neewer flashes, too? This would be perfect, as I need a four flash setup :-)

    1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
      Paul Monaghan

      They should work with any 3rd canon/nikon compatable flash with a hotshoe and digital ttl.

      Simply fit a v6ii on the bottom of the flash and it should auto select what type of system it is or you can manually select.

      If your buying speedlights and triggers though you would be as well to buy the cactus rf60x which has a built in cactus trigger

  5. steve Avatar
    steve

    I love my Cactus V6 transceiver units. I never used HSS so I was never that swayed into wanting to get the V6II. However being able to borrow different brand flashes from friends and have them all working via TTL with my Nikon is a reality I never thought would actually happen. They are doing a marvelous job of uniting different brands in way I haven’t seen since the invention of the MIDI protocol. I just wish they’d up the build quality of their transceivers though, they are a quite plasticy and flimsy feeling. I broke the screen on one after it fell off the desk onto a wooden floor not that long after buying it. A thing many maintain would never happen with PocketWizards.

    1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
      Paul Monaghan

      I’ve dropped my v6i so many times and they always seemed to shrug it off although had to put the batteries back in a few times :).

      I found the build quality fine tbh, much better than my godox triggers.

      The v6ii looks almost identical and feels pretty much the same but the screen is different and I guess most of the internals :).

      Really enjoying them.