Review of the Pixel Mago 600 for Canon EOS

In June 2014 Pixel announced technical details for their soon to be released Pixel Mago 600 (later renamed to X-600 and then finally just called Mago) and invited bloggers to apply for free product samples to review. I was among the ones with positive feedback and received the unit a month later. The package was delivered with Fedex and included the speedlite together with a proforma invoice over 50$. A week later I received a letter from Fedex kindly commanding me to pay 9,11€ for tax and an additional whopping 12,79€ fee for having payed the tax for me in advance, because Pixel's merch division had chosen to have the tax handled by Fedex instead of the recipient. Basically a good review with some testing takes a lot of work and time and IMHO its release is totally up to the interest of the manufacturer. To the interest of my site is, that it is run in my spare time from almost no money income from the site, so I don't see a reason to put money into it. I wouldn't have minded to pay those 9,11€ tax, although there are ways to prevent this as well (written documents like emails about sending free product samples for review can prove stuff ...), but why the handling fee? I tried to communicate the latter to Pixel. All I got back in response was cluelessness and the urgent request to release the review. Well, I'm not going to owe anyone a thing. So here's your review.

For a company with such a big name the communicated cluelessness about the above details or their prevention is amazing. Considered that technical support works the same way for the final customer, I wouldn't expect a lot in case of technical troubles occuring. The unit itself arrived in original packaging including the speedlite, a softcase, a manual, a stand and extra diffusors for the main bulb (click-on box style) and the modelling/video light (click-on pane style).

On delivery the diffusor box fell off quite easily - way too easy to stay mounted during shots when moving or to operate the flash upside down. After the unit rested on my desk for a month this issue kind of shrinked - seemingly together with the diffusor box. It still comes off easily, but won't fall off from holding the flash upside down even with a good bit of shake. Magic or real? However, the construction is not sticky enough for busy situations of professional shootings. At least the extra diffusor box is included in the package, which isn't the case for Metz or Canon speedlites for example. On the other hand I'm not sure about replacement availability to buy a new one after loosing it.

The unit's outer appearance leaves the impression of decent design and manufacturing. The hot shoe mount features a lock and a rubber ring to seal it against dust and moisture. The battery enclosure is not sealed, but still well constructed. The hatch opens and closes very well. Inside the battery enclosure you also find the USB port for firmware updates. On the opposite side of the unit are a PC sync port, a port for external power (proprietary type, which the manual doesn't lose a word about) and a bracket screw mount, all covered by rubber latches (againg not of the sealed type). The head can tilt and swivel and there are a few click positions, but it can not be locked in position. The hinges in both directions are tight enough to prevent repositioning from the head's deadweight or use of the diffusor box. The flashhead also features a retractable wide panel and bouncer plate. On my Metz the wide panel is unloaded with a spring mechanism. This is not the case here. It's just pull-out and back-in. On the back of the flash you'll find a well-sized LCD with a few buttons and a dial. The functionality is pretty self explaining (with the very exception of switching master/slave menu on and off) and its use quite intuitional. Physically the buttons work very well, but the dial sometimes needs an extra turn (either back or forth) to do what it is expected to do.

The technical specifications sound like a good thing. Check them out here. However, in a few other reviews of the flash it is mentioned that Pixel is still optimizing a lot - not just the firmware, but also parts of the hardware. So features and behaviour might change until the final release. Speaking of specifications, I'm missing a table about detailed guide numbers in relation to zoom positions in the manual, as well as details about GN and zoom equivalent when using the wide panel. And the addition of rapid fire would be great as well.

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