Flash duration - Alein Bees 800, Elinchrom 500 Ri

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bcrier, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. bcrier

    bcrier TPF Noob!

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    I am interested in doing model shoots where there is a lot of action and interaction with the environment. So as we all know flash duration has to be very low. What does that really mean? How low does it have to be to effectively do active model shoots?

    Also, Alien Bees flash duration is listed as[SIZE=-1] 1/3300 sec. at full power and [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]1/1650 sec. at 1/32 power. Whereas Elinchrom 500 Ri flash duration is listed as 1/1558. Does this mean that Alien Bees are actually faster than Elinchrom? I should point out that the watts/sec are different on the two lights.

    Any help that anyone can provide is extremely helpful.

    Bobby
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  2. willli

    willli TPF Noob!

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    This is a very interesting point that you bring here and I also mention on another post.

    When you mention that the model is going to be doing a lot of interaction with the environment you mean studio environment or outdoor environment?

    I ask you because if you are going to be shooting the action, at the studio without no light contamination from another light source, then flash duration is very important but if you are going to shoot outside, on exterior well that is a different scenario.

    Please write a little more details on what you are planning and Im going to be able to help you in more detail.

    Try to explain where are going to be you shoots and at what time, Day or Night, Indoor, outdoor.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Alien Bee flashes have very short flash durations, and 1/3300 is a very fast flash duration. AS I RECALL, ALien Bee flash units have FASTER (shorter-quicker-more brief) flash durations at FULL power than they do at lower power levels, which is the exact,polar opposite of many flash systems.

    One of the main complaints I have read about AB flashes is inconsistent flash color temperatures as the flash power is dropped to lower levels; one photog raphr I read on-line suggested that the difference is as much as 700 degrees Kelvin between full power and the lowest power, which would be a very large difference that would be pretty readily visible.

    Flash duration doesn't mean much outdoors unless you can *completely* eliminate the exposure factor coming from the daylight that happens to be there on the shooting location. For example, on a bright, sunny, summer day in the Gulf Coast area, near the water, the ambient sunlight in a marine environment could see the exposure be as bright as ISO 200 at 1/1500 second at f/7.1, or even brighter!!!! There is NO WAY I know of to mix flash at that ambient light level with the vast majority of modern d-slr bodies--and in fact, flash would not be much help since the light is so bright you could shoot stop-motion in that kind of killer bright sunlight. For using studio type flash outdoors, in really BRIGHT-BRIGHT lighting conditions, most people would suggest that you have a camera like a Nikon D1x, Nikon D70, or Nikon D40, or one of the Sony CCD cameras, which have a Hybrid CCD/Mechanical shutter, which when hooked up to an Alien Bee flash, will allow you to shoot flash at very high shutter speeds, like say 1/8000 second or 1/5000 second, somethings like that, when the flash is connected with a PC cord or with a remote trigger. That will "kill" the ambient light, and will allow the foreground to be exposed with flash lighting.

    Paul C. Buff's older forum at his web site had some posts on exactly how to do this--but the critical KEY in really bright daylight is having a camera that has a Hybrid CCD/mechanical shutter system; other cameras will NOT be able to do this under bright lighting conditions. There is a reason the poster above me is asking Day,night, indoor,outdoor? questions. If you do not have all your ducks lined up, outdoors, the ultra-fast flash durations will not be of much use unless you can "kill the ambient" lighting...
     
  4. bcrier

    bcrier TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the very helpful information. Yes, that makes perfect sense. I should have mentioned that I am interested in action/active photography indoors, in a controlled environment of a studio.
     

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