High Speed Sync

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Hi All,

I was trying to capture some moving water over a static subject and of course it led to High Speed Sync (HSS).

NIKIN Z8 + GODOX V1 Flash +Nikkor MC 105mm

I setup the camera by applying the Highest Sync Speed available:

1712756496001.png


When I applied this setting I noticed that the V1 Flash menu showed the HSS Symbol :

1712760617953.png


The object of the exercise was to get 1/8000 shutter speed with an acceptable exposure at the lowest possible ISO setting.

First attempt was made using the V1 with a bounce card:
1712756969141.png


The following is the lowest ISO I could use to get a useable image:


1712757313372.png
1712757209055.png


I tried a few different diffusion methods.
The V1 has an optional kit of light modifiers and the best results I got was with changing the bounce card with a Grid:

1712757546498.png


The Grid made a huge difference:

1712757794935.png
1712757812010.png


One other example is that I am always looking to get a good pic of my cat. Using the grid and ISO 100 / F3.5 / 1/8000 with HSS I got the best pic ever of my cat:

Sandy
1712757999959.jpeg


Overall not as difficult as I first thought but I will be using HSS a lot more. I am now wandering the countryside looking for moving subjects.

As usual all comments are very welcome.

CHEERS
JBO
 

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Good shots, and write up. I use HSS outside frequently, just feel like it adds a certain depth that flat light can do, without being contrasty. . You have to consider that a speedlight is limited on output, add a modifier and you choke down the output even more or move to far away and it just doesn't provide enough light. I've found that 1/1000 on shutter seems to be an overall good setting for HSS, I haven't really noticed any significant improvement going above that. This was a 4 layer focus stack shot yesterday between the rain (not nearly enough layers thanks to more rain). 1/1000, f/7.6 ISO 320
 
Cats are VERY hard to shoot with flash unless you disable the i-TTL. i-TTL is an auto-exposure mode for flash that fires a pre-flash before the shutter opens to get a light level reading in the meter, and then uses that information to control flash power during the exposure. Cats' reflexes are so fast that they blink on the preflash and you get closed eyes. Turning off i-TTL means you have to figure out the flash level and set it manually, like 1/4, 1/16, whatever is appropriate for your selected aperture. And of course, you probably then get glowing eyes. Red-eye reduction seems like it would help, but that's multiple preflashes, which will probably send the cat running.
 
Cats are VERY hard to shoot with flash unless you disable the i-TTL. i-TTL is an auto-exposure mode for flash that fires a pre-flash before the shutter opens to get a light level reading in the meter, and then uses that information to control flash power during the exposure. Cats' reflexes are so fast that they blink on the preflash and you get closed eyes. Turning off i-TTL means you have to figure out the flash level and set it manually, like 1/4, 1/16, whatever is appropriate for your selected aperture. And of course, you probably then get glowing eyes. Red-eye reduction seems like it would help, but that's multiple preflashes, which will probably send the cat running.
Cats are an overall nightmare to try and get a good pic. I was lucky to get a cat just waking up and as you said it was gone immediately after the flash.

Cat pics are an under unappreciated photographic genre.

CHEERS
JBO
 
Nice shots, can`t offer much flash commentary as I hardly use them.
 
Its worth noting that "HSS" is a misnomer. Theres no actual flash synch involved. You have a continuous light source, NOT a flash or speedlight. The only "synch" is in not burning the light source at the times that the shutter is closed. This is to conserve precious energy, which is critical since HSS output is relatively feeble.

If not for the energy shortage and the wear on the flash tube, the "flash" could have just a simple user controlled on-off switch to light or extinguish the tube, much like using an LED panel. No need at all for the light to communicate with the camera.

Point is, you can get exactly the same images by using an LED panel, which brings the bonus of allowing you to see your lighting.

"HSS" dates to the 1970s and remained with us since it remained useful due to very little progress in FP shutter designs. Now that we have LED panels, HSS remains with us mainly due to marketplace inertia. IOW its obsolete.
 
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Its worth noting that "HSS" is a misnomer. Theres no actual flash synch involved. You have a continuous light source. The only "synch" is not burning the light source at the times that the shutter is closed. This conserves precious energy, which is critical since HSS output is relatively feeble.

Point is, you can get exactly the same images by using an LED panel, which brings the bonus of allowing you to see your lighting.

"HSS" dates to the 1970s and remained with us since it remained useful due to very little progress in FP shutter designs. Now that we have LED panels, HSS remains with us mainly due to marketplace inertia. IOW its obsolete.
This is quite wrong, sorry. High Speed Sync is NOT continuous light, it is pulsed flashes exactly synchronized with the shutter travel, so that adjacent bands of exposed sensor each get their flash at exactly the right instant. The communication necessary for this is why speedlight and camera both have to support HSS for it to work. The speedlight is not capable of continuous light. High-speed synch is exactly that: it not only synchronizes the flash with higher shutter speeds, but it synchronizes each pulse of the flash with the shutter during its travel. In that sense, it's even more synchronized than standard flash, which only has to pop when the first curtain is open.
 
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This is quite wrong, sorry. High Speed Sync is NOT continuous light, it is pulsed flashes exactly synchronized with the shutter travel, so that adjacent bands of exposed sensor each get their flash at exactly the right instant. The communication necessary for this is why speedlight and camera both have to support HSS for it to work. The speedlight is not capable of continuous light. High-speed synch is exactly that: it not only synchronizes the flash with higher shutter speeds, but it synchronizes each pulse of the flash with the shutter during its travel. In that sense, it's even more synchronized than standard flash, which only has to pop when the first curtain is open.
Then how do you explain its use with film ?

Film is where it all began. The pulses are *effectively* a continuous source such that the FP shutter can be used at all speeds ABOVE the X-synch speed.

Regardless of the hidden tech, to the photographer, HSS is continuous lighting, which is why in many situations an LED panel is a more practical form of continuous lighting.
 
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Then how do you explain its use with film ?

Film is where it all began. The pulses are *effectively* a continuous source such that the FP shutter can be used at all speeds ABOVE the X-synch speed.

Regardless of the hidden tech, to the photographer, HSS is continuous lighting, which is why in many situations an LED panel is a more practical form of continuous lighting.

Understanding the "hidden tech" is necessary to effectively use of HSS. In a focal plane shutter at speeds slower than the "sync" speed, there is a brief instant when the entire sensor is exposed; (just as the first curtain fully opens and before the second curtain starts to follow it closed). This instant is the only time one pulse of a strobe can expose the full sensor.

At the first shutter speed above the "sync", the first shutter only gets half-way before the second starts following, resulting in a slit equal to 1/2 the sensor being exposed at any given time during the shutter travel. Increasing shutter speed results in a progressively smaller open slit. The the total time it takes the "slit" to travel across the sensor is always the "sync" speed of the camera (1/200 on my camera). So the shutter speed is still just the time different portions of the sensor gets illuminated over a total time period of 1/200 sec. So a 1/5000 shutter speed is just the time specific slits on the sensor gets exposed over a total time period of 1/200 sec. (Creating an "effective" shutter speed for exposure purposes.)

The flash tube in a modern strobe is capable of producing a large quantity of light, but is reliant on the stored energy in a capcitor to do so, the rapid discharge only last a brief instant. Depending on the power setting that flash duration could be 1/1000 sec + at full power, to as much as 1/30,000 sec at 1/64 power. HSS emits pulses, to utilize the limited storage of the capacitor (@ reduced power), to coincide with the travel of the open slit in the shutter. This is where the in camera communication comes in with TTL to manage the power of those pulses. In the old "leaf shutters", there was no "rolling action, they popped open for the required time, then closed simultaneously, so synchronization wasn't an issue. I've not used the electronic shutter, so can't speak to it's operation.

I started with film in the 60s, so my memory is foggy on how I handled speeds above sync, seem to recall they had "slow burn" flash bulbs, which provided a longer continuous light, combined with a leaf shutter, you shoot at faster shutter speeds with flash, but that wasn't what we term HSS today. I really didn't start using HSS much till a few years back with advent of digital and TTL.
 
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................, which is why in many situations an LED panel is a more practical form of continuous lighting.

Interesting conversation.

I have to disagree that LED panels are a practical light source "In Many Situations" .

Do you think my cat would have waited for me to get another tripod out and setup the LED panel ???

It is just not practical for me to use LED panels in 95% of the photography I do. If I am walking around a nature reserve or a quick trip up to a local park why would I want to lug another tripod + LED panel ??

I use my flashes a lot on pretty much everything I photograph. GODOX V1 + 2 x MF-12 + X-PRO Wireless trigger gives me a huge range of options that cannot be achieved with LED panel:
- Off camera flash for those difficult to reach places
- Pin point placement of extra light
- Combined the three flashes synced can produce a black background on a sunny beach at midday (Inverse Square Law)
- Background or hair lighting with the small flashes gives depth to an image that is just not possible with a single LED panel and is difficult to achieve with several.

I could go on and on and on. The bottom line is that I own 3 flash units + multiple diffusers and zero LED panels.

At some point my attention will turn to video and I will look at continuous lighting.

CHEERS
JBO
 
Then how do you explain its use with film ?

Film is where it all began. The pulses are *effectively* a continuous source such that the FP shutter can be used at all speeds ABOVE the X-synch speed.

Regardless of the hidden tech, to the photographer, HSS is continuous lighting, which is why in many situations an LED panel is a more practical form of continuous lighting.
I never used it with film, but it works the same way, although not many film cameras support it (some Nikons and Minoltas, from what I'm reading.) The camera and flash both have to support it, and they communicate with each other to pulse the strobe. It is NOT continuous light, or even "effectively" continuous light. Flash power is limited because of the energy required for multiple strobes per exposure, and speedlights are not capable of continuous light. You have a serious misunderstanding of what is happening with high-speed sync if you think it's continuous light.

If you do have continuous lighting (like your LED panels,) then you can shoot at whatever speed you like, film or digital, but it's not high-speed sync. It's not even sync.
 
Hi All,

I was trying to capture some moving water over a static subject and of course it led to High Speed Sync (HSS).

NIKIN Z8 + GODOX V1 Flash +Nikkor MC 105mm

I setup the camera by applying the Highest Sync Speed available:

View attachment 273615

When I applied this setting I noticed that the V1 Flash menu showed the HSS Symbol :

View attachment 273624

The object of the exercise was to get 1/8000 shutter speed with an acceptable exposure at the lowest possible ISO setting.

First attempt was made using the V1 with a bounce card:
View attachment 273617

The following is the lowest ISO I could use to get a useable image:


View attachment 273619View attachment 273618

I tried a few different diffusion methods.
The V1 has an optional kit of light modifiers and the best results I got was with changing the bounce card with a Grid:

View attachment 273620

The Grid made a huge difference:

View attachment 273621View attachment 273622

One other example is that I am always looking to get a good pic of my cat. Using the grid and ISO 100 / F3.5 / 1/8000 with HSS I got the best pic ever of my cat:

Sandy
View attachment 273623

Overall not as difficult as I first thought but I will be using HSS a lot more. I am now wandering the countryside looking for moving subjects.

As usual all comments are very welcome.

CHEERS
JBO
Nice write up. Good information here that I just might be able to use being as I am a total newbie to flashes. Great kitty shot!
 
I have to disagree that LED panels are a practical light source "In Many Situations" .

This ^^^^^^. The only suitable use I've found for LED panels is in video where you need a continuous light, without a lot of heat.

Modern LED panels (even the higher end) are not capable of producing the power of even a speedlight. Now with the higher ISO capabilities of the newer digital cameras, that may not be such an issue, but they're still under powered (not recommended) for HSS. Then you run into temperature fluctuation with LEDs, my speedlights and studio strobes are pretty much constant with color temperature, those fluctuations can drive you batty over the course of a shoot. Finally, continuous lighting in portraiture isn't very flattering to the eyes, it causes the pupils to contract to pinpoints.
 
Finally, continuous lighting in portraiture isn't very flattering to the eyes, it causes the pupils to contract to pinpoints.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with this statement. Eye colour is the iris and in low lighting conditions the iris shrinks because the pupil expands. Older strobe modelling lamps varied between 150 and 250 watts, the latter being halogen. Modern LED modelling lamps have now reached 30-40 watts which are very close to the equivalent 250 watt incandescent lamps. If using a strobe with an LED modelling lamp in the 10 watt range, the pupil gets so large eye colour is getting lost and frankly a large pupil is not attractive and may imply fear as this is what our pupils do when we are scared. There is a healthy balance for attractive eyes, my preference is the pupil is about the same width as the iris. Very few constant LED light sources have the power of the sun to create a pinpoint pupil.
 
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