Noob question re studio lighting

Joined
Jun 3, 2013
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Staffordshire Moorlands
I am starting to experiment with studio flash.

I have two Multiblitz Minilite 200's
http://www.myphotoweb.com/multiblitz/pages/minilite/minilite.htm
that i picked up for a song and am looking to get a couple of better heads in the future.

I am using a white/black backdrop and shoot through umbrellas.

So far results have been variable, probably because I am triggering the flash heads using an SB600 bounced from the camera.

My question is this. I want to trigger the flash heads without using an on-board speed light and to use shutter speeds greater than 1/250.

What is the most cost effective way to achieve this for a D800, I am on a budget (not imposed by me but my financial director aka wife). it would need to work with my existing lights plus whatever I get in the future (Bowens, elinchrom, lastolite etc)

Any advice gratefully received.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
289
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Dubai
Pocket wizards get you up to 1/8000 sync.

Elinchroms duration with the S heads works with high sync speeds. The flash duration to power output is reverse to most flash brands.

Google Tom Bol Quadra Sync.
 
Joined
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Messages
366
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Miami, Florida
As far as I know, only the pocket wizard TTL units are capable of syncing above 1/250 (although those will work with standard studio strobes).

That said, it would perhaps be helpful to understand why you are trying to sync at a faster speed. In most studio situations, where you are controlling the light with your lights, the camera's shutter speed is largely irrelevant. Under such circumstances, you are really using the duration of the lights as your shutter speed. If the lights you are using have an effective duration of 1/250 or longer, then syncing at a faster speed may not make a difference.
 
Joined
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thnaks for the replies, I think I am beginning to understand more

The critical thing is the flash duration has to be longer than the shutter speed so to say.

With the Nikon Flash units what they do to achieve this is to flash a series of flashes rapidly (you wont see this) so that the time of flash is extended. The down side is each flash in the series is less than the power you set it to so less light is available.

The Elinchrom flash duration is explained here by Tom Bol:

http://tombolphoto.com/blog/d800-14000-flash-sync-w-elinchrom-quadra-and-pocket-wizard-hypersync/
 
Joined
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Messages
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Miami, Florida
The critical thing is the flash duration has to be longer than the shutter speed so to say.

Respectfully, I think you have it backwards. The shutter speed needs to be as long as, or longer than, the flash duration. Otherwise, you run the risk that a portion of the frame will not have been exposed with the light from the flash (which you can see when you use a standard strobe at a shutter speed higher than the camera's flash sync, e.g., using a 1/800 instead of 1/250). You can use a longer shutter speed without a problem (other than allowing more ambient light) so long as the flash--regardless of its duration--triggers at some point while the shutter is open.
 
Joined
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Messages
289
Location
Dubai
Respectfully, I think you have it backwards. The shutter speed needs to be as long as, or longer than, the flash duration. Otherwise, you run the risk that a portion of the frame will not have been exposed with the light from the flash (which you can see when you use a standard strobe at a shutter speed higher than the camera's flash sync, e.g., using a 1/800 instead of 1/250). You can use a longer shutter speed without a problem (other than allowing more ambient light) so long as the flash--regardless of its duration--triggers at some point while the shutter is open.

My understanding, but maybe Im wrong or havent worded it clearly, is if the shutter speed is longer ie slower to open and close and the flash is too quick then only a portion of the frame is light by the flash as the "slit" or opening of the shutter moves across the sensor.

The Nikon Flash units fire multiple flashes (at a reduced power) to effectively create a longer flash duration so that the "slit" is getting lit by flash at every position along its path.

The Elinchrom quadras have an A head which is for action and an S head which is for standard.

The A head flash is shorter in duration in order to freeze action while the S head has a longer flash duration.

http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=Understanding_HyperSync_and_High_Speed_Sync


Flash duration is a critical factor. The flash duration is the length of time from when your flashtube is initially energized to when it is no longer emitting energy. Longer flash durations are better. You may want to compare and contrast flash t.5 times from the flash's manufacturer directly to see how long or short your flash is. The t.5 times listed below come from the Ranger RX manual, for example

Ranger_RX_7.5_Power_Flash_Duration.jpg
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Ranger RX S Head Flash Duration Shape t.5=1/1150

800px-IMG_0282.jpg
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Ranger RX (S Head) at full power, 5D Mark II 1/8000th f/22


Ranger_RX_A-head_7.5_Power_Flash_Duration.jpg
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Ranger RX A Head Flash Duration Shape t.5=1/2300

800px-5DIIRangerRXA_RC_%2B3.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Ranger RX (A Head) at full power, 5D Mark II 1/8000th f/22

Its recommended when using Elinchrom Ranger/Quadras to use the S head if you are using higher than sync speed for flash photography.

http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/hypersync_fpsync/



Sensor size and flash duration are the two biggest factors in how well a system will perform. DSLR's with smaller sensors, combined with flashes with longer durations will provide the best HyperSync performance, although other variables also play a part.

Camera and speedlight flash companies circumvented this limitation with High Speed Sync flash (also known as Auto FP (Nikon) or HSS (Canon)). This is simply a high speed strobe light emitting a pulsating burst of light over a long period of time. This works well with speedlights but it operates at an overall lower level light output and uses lots of battery power. It does nothing for photographers using larger flash or those needing lots of power.
 
Joined
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Messages
366
Location
Miami, Florida
It seems more like a wording issue. It may be easier to express this way...

Each camera has a maximum sync speed. In essence, that it the fastest (shortest in duration) shutter speed that you can use to still have the entire frame exposed at one time (as opposed to the slit moving across the frame). When you exceed the maximum sync speed, you're into the moving slit, and only certain systems will work (such as Nikon's speedlight approach of firing multiple bursts; pocketwizard's TTL units do something different when working with traditional strobes, although you are not getting the maximum output from those lights). As long as you're using the cameras maximum sync speed, you really don't need to concern yourself with effective flash duration; sine the entire fame is exposed at one time, the fact that there may be some trailing off light from the strobe that you miss will not impact the image (which will still look evenly exposed).

Where effective flash duration becomes important is when you are shooting sports or any other subject in motion. In those cases, the flash is really working as your shutter would; thus, while the shutter is open for a 1/250, the flash duration may be more like a 1/1000. A shutter speed of 1/250 generally won't stop action, while a 1/1000 gives you a better chance of stopping action, or avoiding the blur that comes from too long of an exposure.
 

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