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Author Topic: Highest sync speed in pro-sumer DSLR?  (Read 13530 times)

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« on: September 16, 2009, 17:56 »
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I was wondering if anyone knew what the highest flash sync speed is on a pro-sumer grade DSLR. I only use strobes, not speedlights, so I'm constrained by the camera sync speed. Unless I'm incorrect and you can use high-speed X-sync with strobes.

If anyone has info regarding any of the above, I'd greatly appreciate it!


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 18:38 »
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Supposedly using Radio-poppers, one can achieve high speed sync using studio strobes such as Alien Bees.

« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 20:14 »
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I forgot to mention that I'm using $40 eBay wireless triggers for the strobes. Don't laugh! They fire around 98% of the time for me!  ;)

« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 20:38 »
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I think it would be around 1/200 or 1/250  and 1/500 for medium format cameras.

« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2009, 01:37 »
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The D70 (at only 6MP) has a sync speed of 1/500, but I can't seem to find anything else affordable that does... :-\

« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2009, 03:36 »
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I know my Canon 5D is limited to 1/200 which is pretty limiting ie you need lots of flash power to overcome full daylight.  Some of the older Nikons have electronic shutters, and they're good for at least 1/500th...

I tested a technique with PocketWizards and Vivitar 285s that will get you to 1/250, and 1/320 in a pinch - will post instructions if anyone is interested

« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2009, 04:44 »
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1/500 for medium format cameras.


That's not quite so. Only medium format cameras with central shutters in the lenses have fast sync speeds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutter_(photography)#Central_shutters

My old Mamiya 645 has a sync speed of 1/125 if i remember correctly, the 1/500 is Hasselblad stuff.

RT


« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2009, 04:52 »
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You haven't said whether you want high speed sync for outdoors or in a studio, if it's in a studio (or somewhere where you're totally controlling the light) and you want to freeze action you're barking up the wrong tree as the cameras sync speed is pretty much irrelevant, it's the strobes and the way you have them set that freezes the action.

Now I'm lucky in so much that I've got a studio and lots of gear, however I could if I wanted to totally freeze somebody jumping off a trampoline in mid air using nothing more than two 400w strobes and the camera set at 1/60th (in fact I could set the shutter at 2 secs and freeze them if I really wanted to), there's a bit more to it than that but if this is want you want to do let me know and I'll explain more.

And you can do this using your cheapo radio triggers and any camera.

« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2009, 04:58 »
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I could if I wanted to totally freeze somebody jumping off a trampoline in mid air using nothing more than two 400w strobes and the camera set at 1/60th (in fact I could set the shutter at 2 secs and freeze them if I really wanted to)

In that situation it's important to have strobes with short flash duration. Most (cheap) studio strobes have a duration of 1/1000s (T=.5) or longer, that isn't enough to freeze fast movements. The cheapest way to freeze action is to use small on-camera flashes, they generally have short flash durations, especially when used at a small power setting.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 05:00 by Perry »

« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 06:38 »
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I forgot to mention that I'm using $40 eBay wireless triggers for the strobes. Don't laugh! They fire around 98% of the time for me!  ;)

you're ebay triggers will max out. I got 1/180 pretty reliably but trying to go over that (cam goes to 1/250) and I get the partial black of poor syncing.  Seems to be pretty common with the cheap triggers (but they work well for the price :))

RT


« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 06:55 »
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I could if I wanted to totally freeze somebody jumping off a trampoline in mid air using nothing more than two 400w strobes and the camera set at 1/60th (in fact I could set the shutter at 2 secs and freeze them if I really wanted to)

In that situation it's important to have strobes with short flash duration. Most (cheap) studio strobes have a duration of 1/1000s (T=.5) or longer, that isn't enough to freeze fast movements. The cheapest way to freeze action is to use small on-camera flashes, they generally have short flash durations, especially when used at a small power setting.

At 1/1000th you could freeze a bird in flight!! Unless he's trying to photograph a bullet leaving a gun he'll be able to freeze most things even with the cheapest strobe set up, the trick is all about making sure you have control over the ambient light so it doesn't effect the shot, and if you read his original post he say's he only uses strobes.

« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 09:29 »
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<OFF-TOPIC WARNING!>

At 1/1000th you could freeze a bird in flight!!

No you can't. You can't even freeze people moving fast with 1/1000th. Of course if you have low standards on what is "sharp", what you say may be true. Here are closeups of a droplet travelling less than 8 miles per hour http://www.scantips.com/speed.html
Notice how Alien Bees are not enough to freeze movement. (I'm saving my money to get me a set of Elinchrom Quadra with 1/6000s speedhead.. :))
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 09:35 by Perry »

« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2009, 09:46 »
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I definitely have had problems trying to freeze motion with my bees.

charlesknox

  • www.charlesknoxphoto.com
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2009, 09:48 »
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I use a canon 30d with bees and pocketwizard plus 2 to trigger and my sync is 1/250

« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 10:58 »
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I had purchased a D70 from someone on craigslist and had no problems with a 1/500 shutter speed using my radio triggers on the strobes. Unfortunately, 6MP doesn't really cut it for microstock if you want larger size sales.

I am interested in freezing motion (hair whipping, jumping, etc.) in the studio. Perhaps in the future, as I acquire more knowledge and skill, I'll be using the strobes outside. For now, I use reflectors when shooting outdoors.

The problem for me using small on-camera flashes is the amount of light. I love the fact that I get pure white out of my backdrop straight out of the camera and am not willing to lose that.

Thanks for all of the advice and please keep it coming!  ;)

« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2009, 13:43 »
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If your shot is only lit by a strobe, freezing action is not achieved by the shutter speed, its achieved by the flash duration. You could have 1/60th on your shutter speed, but say 1/2600th flash duration and freeze moving hair. Short flash durations is one aspect that separates less expensive strobes with higher end ones.

If you want to have ambient light in the shot and freeze action, you could use a hot light, or a reflector with a fast lens - allowing you to bring up your shutter speed beyond its maximum sync.

RT


« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2009, 13:47 »
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<OFF-TOPIC WARNING!>

At 1/1000th you could freeze a bird in flight!!

No you can't. You can't even freeze people moving fast with 1/1000th. Of course if you have low standards on what is "sharp", what you say may be true. Here are closeups of a droplet travelling less than 8 miles per hour http://www.scantips.com/speed.html
Notice how Alien Bees are not enough to freeze movement. (I'm saving my money to get me a set of Elinchrom Quadra with 1/6000s speedhead.. :))


<OFF-TOPIC REPLY!>

Great example of why I don't come here much now, I try and help the OP out by suggesting he made be mislead in his original question which as it turns out he was (he PM'd me), but as you want to highlight to everyone how great you are by taking the topic to the extreme maybe you should first download that milk drop shot and then send it off to a lab to view under a microscope just to check because I have a suspicion you'd probably find there's still some tiny insignificant blur and and as you're clearly one of the worlds perfect photographers that might not be acceptable for you.

In the meantime the rest of the photography world could quite happily carry on taking shots of people using studio strobes and freezing the action as they have done for a long time, I took some yesterday of a guy jumping off a trampoline, they weren't for stock and I wasn't bothered whether they would be perfectly frozen, shot with the lights in the studio left on and the model light left on the one strobe I was using, and guess what the guys frozen in mid air and bearing in mind I shot it at f8 manually focussed the result is frozen enough to a standard that I'd argue 99.99% of people would be happy with ( not you obviously, because  as you pointed out it can't be done  ::) ) and if you care to check (I'm sure you do) the strobe was a Bowens 1000DX set at about 7.2-7.4, I haven't a clue what speed flash duration it was but I'm guessing somewhere round the 1/1000th mark as it's max is 1/1500th. Camera shutter speed 1/125th and I had a BLT with a packet of cheese & onion crisps for lunch.

And if you really want me to I'll even skip my work schedule and convert it especially for you and post an example with a 100% crop of the guys eyelid just to prove to you that it can be done, which of course as you pointed out it can't.

To the OP (and everyone else for that matter) - sorry for the rant and yes I'll send you details tomorrow if that's OK.

Disclaimer: I'm not the worlds greatest photographer, don't claim to be, don't care who is or thinks they are, happy to help anyone who isn't on an ego trip, just PM me.






« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2009, 14:08 »
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I definitely have had problems trying to freeze motion with my bees.

Depends on how much ambient light is in the studio.
Like Sean, I also have some problems freezing motion with my White Lightning strobes, but that is mainly because I have trouble getting my studio really dark in the daytime.

On the other hand, I used to shoot high schools sports (daylight) & never went above 1/1000 sec.
Froze pretty much everything except a fast moving ball.
I did pan with the action though, which is part of the trick to shooting sports.

« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2009, 14:15 »
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I definitely have had problems trying to freeze motion with my bees.

Depends on how much ambient light is in the studio.
Like Sean, I also have some problems freezing motion with my White Lightning strobes, but that is mainly because I have trouble getting my studio really dark in the daytime.

On the other hand, I used to shoot high schools sports (daylight) & never went above 1/1000 sec.
Froze pretty much everything except a fast moving ball.
I did pan with the action though, which is part of the trick to shooting sports.

Perfectly dark.  I was trying to toss a hat in front of the camera, and I could not get it sharp.  I tried using more lights at lower power, less at higher, speedlights, etc.  No luck.  So now I don't worry about those shots :)

« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2009, 16:02 »
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<MORE OFF-TOPIC>

Great example of why I don't come here much now, I try and help the OP out by suggesting he made be mislead in his original question which as it turns out he was (he PM'd me), but as you want to highlight to everyone how great you are by taking the topic to the extreme maybe you should first download that milk drop shot and then send it off to a lab to view under a microscope just to check because I have a suspicion you'd probably find there's still some tiny insignificant blur and and as you're clearly one of the worlds perfect photographers that might not be acceptable for you.

Sorry, never meant to offend you - please don't take my writings too personally. I just wanted to straighten out some facts. Like that "slow" studio strobes aren't enough to freeze fast motion (flying birds or trampoline jumpers).

I have shot athletes in a dark hall doing their stuff with 1/900s (t=.5) strobes and had problems with motion blur, I know what I'm talking about.

Let's do some maths.
Usain Bolt's top speed is something like 28 mph.
That's 493 inches per second. During a 1/1000 second flash exposure Usain runs almost a half an inch. That would cause a significant blur. And his hands would be making even faster movements. Usain would look sharp only from a far distance.
Usain Bolt isn't even the fastest people, far from it. For example tennis players or karatekas make much faster movements.

I think it's a good thing to inform people that you can't just buy any kit of studio strobes and get sharp images of fast moving stuff.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 16:06 by Perry »

« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2009, 16:20 »
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Sometimes a little motion blur adds to the shot, no?



1/125 sec, Canon 5D, White Lightning strobes.
Please don't ask at what power, because I honestly don't remember what they were set at.


grp_photo

« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2009, 16:19 »
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 :)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 16:33 by grp_photo »

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