Is flash sync speed important?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Senor Hound, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    So most cameras out there (in my range) have a flash sync of about 1/180 to 1/250. But the Nikons have a crazy fast flash sync of 1/500!!! But what does this mean? I know what flash sync is, but what sort of situations would a high flash sync be an advantage? The only thing I could think of was something like a beach or snow? I just don't see it as that big of a deal if it can only be used in the limited situations I think it can.

    Someone help a guy out and shed some insight in on this?
     
  2. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Fill-flash outdoors, especially when you want to use a large aperture to blur the background.
     
  3. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    And actually very few nikons have it.
    I find it very nice for when shooting sports/action, and also, like socrates said, for fill on a bright day
     
  4. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    For fill-flash, I've found the FP mode (D80/SB600) to be quite useful. The flash distance drops dramatically but it still does the job. FP was common with long-burning bulbs many years ago.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The only Nikon that has it is the D40/D60. And the reason is the shutter is only used to prevent bloom on readout. The shutter opens, and THEN the sensor is turned on, and off, then the shutter is closed for the read out. Very high end point and shoot style behaviour.

    Every other Nikon drags the shutter curtain across a running sensor (like film does) limiting the max sync to 1/250th

    As to why, this scene could have benefited from 1/500th to make the background darker, or to allow me to reduce the flash power. (reduce aperture 1 stop, reduce flash power one stop, increase shutter speed one stop gives an identical picture since flash is not dependant on shutter speed, and saves battery life and boosts recycle time)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    Almost..... The D60 is not including in th 1/500 group...... D60 is 1/200.....
     
  7. Kegger

    Kegger TPF Noob!

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    The D70 is the other Nikon with 1/500th sync speed. Comes in handy a lot of the time.
     
  8. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    This is one of the reasons i love my D1h
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The d40 (not the d40x), d70, and d50 (maybe even the d70s) and the Canon 1D can do this. In fact, the x xync is not limited to 1/500, and can actually sync all the way up to the camera's max shutter speed. Try it.

    Benefits? You can easily overpower the sun if your flash is powerful enough. It's like having unlimited access to ND filters with a standard mechanical shutter.

    As far as Nikon and Canon, I believe any of their cameras with a CMOS sensor has a mechanical shutter and is limited to 1/200-1/250 depending on the sensor size where as the CCD sensors are not limited.

    This won't work firing a flash from on the camera's hotshoe or using Commander Mode iirc. You have to use something like a pc cord or wireless trigger, optical, radio, or otherwise.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Canon Flash units (the top ones anyway) have HSS (High Speed Sync). I assume that Nikon has something similar (FP mode?)

    That that does, is pulse the flash, rather than use one burst of light. This allows for the use of any shutter speed but really reduces the effective range.
     
  11. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Fast flash sync is critical for me because I get a lot of direct sunlight in my house that I need to be able to balance out. A faster shutter speed with flash means less natural light and more flash lighting. It also makes a huge difference outdoors in mid-day sun. That creates deep shadows on people's faces, and the way you balance that out is with very fast flash sync. It also lets you use a larger aperture to keep backgrounds out of focus, and it lets you stop quicker moving subjects thanks to the fast shutter speed. 1/200 or 1/250s is too slow for a lot of the stuff I shoot.

    The most common way of getting around this if you don't have fast enough flash sync for something is to get an assistant and have them hold a reflector, but that won't work for all things. My D40 gets a lot of use and a lot of photos that my D80 wouldn't get just because of the flash sync issue.
     
  12. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Yeah FP mode is what it is on the Nikons, available with the SB-600 or 800 flashes. And yes, it's very inefficient.
     

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