Fuji X20 and 1/4000 flash synch? - New Evidence

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I decided to give the Fuji X20 a go - I have the Sony RX100 and while it is still an amazing camera I don't find it that much fun to shoot with - it feels clumsy in my hands. There's a ton of conversations on other forums about the pros and cons of the X20 jpeg engine and the new sensor - to bad it's not the same size sensor as what is in the RX100. So far so good, I don't like the fuji colors right out of the box but I've been able to tone them down. I believe the Sony does lower light better, but one of the main reasons I got the Fuji was for the leaf shutter - I've done some crude flash tests using a SB-900 in SU4 mode. I can't really tell exactly what the results are - I'm inside and it's dark out - but it doesn't look like there's any problem getting 1/1000s or faster flash sync. The little popup flash will only adjust to -2/3 ev - it will be fun to see what reality is once the sun comes up.

Update:
Here's a quick test out in this morning's sun - I should have shot at ISO 100, they were about 3/4 stop over exposed so I pulled them all down that amount - same exposure for each shot, same brightness adjustment in Lightroom. I just handheld the SB-900 with no modifiers so it's a little harsh but that's not the point of the test. Looks to me like it's working great!

1/4000 f/2.5 ISO 200 No Flash
8925096171_c59bd894a3_b.jpg
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Fuji X20 High Speed Flash Sync Test by Michael Presley, on Flickr

1/4000 f/2.5 ISO 200 Popup Flash Only -2/3ev
8925693340_9134fa6748_b.jpg
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Fuji X20 High Speed Flash Sync Test by Michael Presley, on Flickr

1/4000 f/2.5 ISO 200 SB-900 in SU4 Mode, 1/64th Power 105mm Zoom
8925087451_69a50c1144_b.jpg
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Fuji X20 High Speed Flash Sync Test by Michael Presley, on Flickr
 

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Joined
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yes I did and it allowed me to, I had to have the camera in manual mode - inside as I was I couldn't really tell for sure to what extent, but without a doubt the slaved Nikon strobe was contributing to the light in the photo... as was the popup camera flash. I had a gel on the Nikon strobe so I could see the colored light.

I just clicked on your photoblog link - I love the photo-van project and will read more as I get some time.
 
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yes I did and it allowed me to, I had to have the camera in manual mode - inside as I was I couldn't really tell for sure to what extent, but without a doubt the slaved Nikon strobe was contributing to the light in the photo... as was the popup camera flash. I had a gel on the Nikon strobe so I could see the colored light.

I just clicked on your photoblog link - I love the photo-van project and will read more as I get some time.

Thanks, if you click on the link to my photography blog you will see my interest in the 1/4000th sync with flash, please tell me something that will prevent me from wanting to spend more money on another camera just because it can do high speed sync with flash and allow me to conduct more experiments at higher speeds!!!! :biggrin:
 
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I had a look at the review but couldn't see any suggestion of high synch flash?
I found one review that mentioned flash sync of 1/1000th sec with external flash.
I see mention of 1/4000th on flickr
Then I saw something about "leaf shutters" and I can imagine it being an advantage for the shutter to close at the centre last- no chance of having a slit of light at the bottom of the frame.
More reports at 1/4000th with X100
I don't need another camera I don't need another camera I don't need another camera I don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another cameraI don't need another camera
 
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I haven't yet had time to go very far with this but... here's a sample of where it's headed. As I understand it, the leaf shutter in this camera can't traverse the distance any faster than 1/1000th and with the aperture wide open (f/2) that's not fast enough, but this camera has an electronic shutter to allow faster speeds. I think it was the Nikon D70 and maybe the D50 that had electronic shutters as well. I'm sorry if I lead you down the path of another camera :tongue:

I had a day of shooting with the X20 at a little festival we went to. As far as handling, this little camera is a dream to use. I'm just now processing the shots - I ended up shooting in RAW which may or may not be necessary to eek out the best quality from it. At base ISO (100) things look promising, at ISO 200 there's a grittiness to the shots, by 400 I'm not to happy so far. I'm not giving up on it yet, it took me a little while to get good shots out of my EM5. This camera will be my fair weather outside camera if I keep it (and I really want to - it's such a sweet thing in my hand).

Here's a shot of my room: ISO 100, f/2, 1/4000s, no flash
8920778250_e0a19a1d27_b.png
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2013-06-02_DSCF4522_.jpg by Michael Presley, on Flickr

Here's a shot of my room: ISO 100, f/2, 1/4000s, popup flash -2/3ev
8920166325_c1a3c847ac_b.png
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2013-06-02_DSCF4523_.jpg by Michael Presley, on Flickr
 
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I haven't yet had time to go very far with this but... here's a sample of where it's headed. As I understand it, the leaf shutter in this camera can't traverse the distance any faster than 1/1000th and with the aperture wide open (f/2) that's not fast enough, but this camera has an electronic shutter to allow faster speeds. I think it was the Nikon D70 and maybe the D50 that had electronic shutters as well. I'm sorry if I lead you down the path of another camera :tongue:

I had a day of shooting with the X20 at a little festival we went to. As far as handling, this little camera is a dream to use. I'm just now processing the shots - I ended up shooting in RAW which may or may not be necessary to eek out the best quality from it. At base ISO (100) things look promising, at ISO 200 there's a grittiness to the shots, by 400 I'm not to happy so far. I'm not giving up on it yet, it took me a little while to get good shots out of my EM5. This camera will be my fair weather outside camera if I keep it (and I really want to - it's such a sweet thing in my hand).

Here's a shot of my room: ISO 100, f/2, 1/4000s, no flash
[URL]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2865/8920778250_e0a19a1d27_b.jpg[/url]
2013-06-02_DSCF4522_.jpg by Michael Presley, on Flickr

Here's a shot of my room: ISO 100, f/2, 1/4000s, popup flash -2/3ev
[URL]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7391/8920166325_c1a3c847ac_b.jpg[/url]
2013-06-02_DSCF4523_.jpg by Michael Presley, on Flickr

Darn, so the built in flash works at 1/4000th - sounds like I could do interesting things with this camera!
When I have my trigatron up and running in a few weeks .....

aDSC_0184_zps524b5e2d.jpg
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If the x20 is the same as the x100, at f2 the limit is 1/1000.

If you manually select f2 and 1/4000, the shutter speed is highlighted in red.
Check the manual, might be different on the x20.

I think at f8 you can flash sync at 1/4000....something like that.

With my cheap wireless trigger i can get maximum 1/500 (better triggers can get higher).
 
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the picture provided is 1/4000 f2, the X20 has an electronic shutter as well as the leaf. I've fired the SB900 in SU4 mode at 1/1000 or better but haven't had a chance to see how well it actually does outside.
 
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the picture provided is 1/4000 f2, the X20 has an electronic shutter as well as the leaf. I've fired the SB900 in SU4 mode at 1/1000 or better but haven't had a chance to see how well it actually does outside.

I found a quote on one site that suggests the camera's internal flash will only synch at 1/4000th at F8 - not sure how true that is.
I've been anxiously awaiting another electronic shutter camera that can do high speed synch - my D70S can do it up to 1/8000th if I trick it.
I had thought this was limited to CCD sensors but apparently not?
 
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Here's how I'm seeing this camera work - in A mode the maximum shutter speed is indeed linked to the aperture setting - 1/1000 @f/2 and it goes up as you stop down - I haven't made note of the values but at f/2.5 it's around 1/1250 or so. I'll go outside in a bit and make some notes. In manual the electronic shutter is allowed to kick in and you get some visual feedback that something is different by the shutter speed turning red. I've shot it several times with the internal flash at 1/4000 (in manual). I think there's some misinformation floating around out there - I believe it was in DPReviews article on the X20 they said the electronic shutter would kick in in A,S,and P modes - I'm not seeing that happen - simply because the max shutter speed is 1/1000 wide open. I don't know about the sensor's ability - whether CCD or not.

From what I understand - this type of shutter is used in several of the "high end" enthusiast cameras but I don't know about the ability to use the on board flash at these shutter speeds. Between how I'm seeing this work, and the really nice build and operations of this camera, it's growing on me and I will likely keep it.
 
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Here's how I'm seeing this camera work - in A mode the maximum shutter speed is indeed linked to the aperture setting - 1/1000 @f/2 and it goes up as you stop down - I haven't made note of the values but at f/2.5 it's around 1/1250 or so. I'll go outside in a bit and make some notes. In manual the electronic shutter is allowed to kick in and you get some visual feedback that something is different by the shutter speed turning red. I've shot it several times with the internal flash at 1/4000 (in manual). I think there's some misinformation floating around out there - I believe it was in DPReviews article on the X20 they said the electronic shutter would kick in in A,S,and P modes - I'm not seeing that happen - simply because the max shutter speed is 1/1000 wide open. I don't know about the sensor's ability - whether CCD or not.

From what I understand - this type of shutter is used in several of the "high end" enthusiast cameras but I don't know about the ability to use the on board flash at these shutter speeds. Between how I'm seeing this work, and the really nice build and operations of this camera, it's growing on me and I will likely keep it.

I think with the D40 the focal plane shutter works up to 1/125th and then the electronic shutter kicks in- flash up to 1/500th sec and then I think mainly due to the fact that a full power flash takes about 1/700th sec to fire [SB800] flash is disabled. But putting on an old flash still works because it still triggers the flash circuit.
Perhaps with the X20 the built in flash fires at close to 1/1000th sec at full power to they won't guarantee good results at faster speeds due to the fact that the shutter speed could be over before the flash has finished firing.
As long as you know what you're dealing with and how to work around it I think it sounds like a powerful tool. I'd imagine an SB800 at 1/4 power and F2.0 @ 1/4000th sec will give you more power than a professional camera using full power flash at the usual 1/250th synch speed. Approximately twice the power I'd imagine.
 
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So this is the maximum shutter speed I'm seeing as I adjust the aperture in 'A' mode:

f/2.0 1/1000
f/2.5 1/1200
f/3.2 1/1500
f/4.0 1/2000
f/5.0 1/2500
f/7.1 1/3000
f/9.0 1/4000

In manual mode speeds faster than 1/1000 at any aperture are allowed but indicated in red, implying that the electronic shutter is now active. None of this is described in the manual that I have found.

I'm aware that the flash duration is faster at lower power - in my test example at 1/64th power I was about 4 feet from my sister-n-law and it a little over powering even then. I plan to play some more of course. The image quality is pretty good, especially at the lowest ISO. I wish my u43 camera could do this.
 
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Very interesting, thank you :)
I take it the shutter also acts as the aperture[?] In that way the fact that it only has to open as far as F9 means it can do so faster and therefore have more time for the flash to operate proportional to what it would have if it had to open all the way to F2.0[?] Lots of guessing here but that's how I see it as being possible for this behavior.
I think the speed shows in red to tell you that the flash might still be discharging after the exposure is over so you may not get the exposure you were expecting, but the fact that it still allows the flash to be used makes it a powerful tool :smile:
 
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Very interesting, thank you :)
I take it the shutter also acts as the aperture[?] In that way the fact that it only has to open as far as F9 means it can do so faster and therefore have more time for the flash to operate proportional to what it would have if it had to open all the way to F2.0[?] Lots of guessing here but that's how I see it as being possible for this behavior.
I think the speed shows in red to tell you that the flash might still be discharging after the exposure is over so you may not get the exposure you were expecting, but the fact that it still allows the flash to be used makes it a powerful tool :smile:

I'm not sure about the shutter/aperture theory - I'll have to read some more. It doesn't appear that the red shutter speed indication has anything to do with the state of the flash charge, but rather has to do with the mechanical vs. electronic shutter - I get red indication above 1/1000 @f/2 without any flash discharges - and above the other speed settings at other apertures. I'm pretty sure I don't understand everything that's going on, but I'm pretty sure I see a pattern of operation that should be useful, and fun.
 
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This is unsubstantiated, but for the SB-900 at least the M 1/1 and M 1/2 values agree with other sources I've read. If this is accurate, then 1/4000s shutter at M 1/8 power should be pretty reliable - and very powerful... add to that a zoom head that goes to 200mm (for the 9xx series) and that's a lot of light!

1/880 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1100 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2550 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5000 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/10000 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/20000 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/35700 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/38500 sec. at M 1/128 output
 
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This is unsubstantiated, but for the SB-900 at least the M 1/1 and M 1/2 values agree with other sources I've read. If this is accurate, then 1/4000s shutter at M 1/8 power should be pretty reliable - and very powerful... add to that a zoom head that goes to 200mm (for the 9xx series) and that's a lot of light!

1/880 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1100 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2550 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5000 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/10000 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/20000 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/35700 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/38500 sec. at M 1/128 output

Similarly with my D40 and SB24 I found that leaving the flash at 1/4 power covered everything at high shutter speeds. After 1/1000th sec you end up controlling the flash power with shutter speed.
 

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