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11-11-2014, 12:05 AM   #1
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Flash sync speed.

Why do people complain about the 180 flash sync speed for Pentax compared to Nikon that has 250.
I mean the difference is not even half a stop. Can the difference have that much effect on the ambient light during flash photgraphy?

11-11-2014, 02:38 AM   #2
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No.
I personally don't even find HSS necessary...
Everything can be made equal with careful exposure and the use of a ND filter.
If your camera had an expanded ISO reaching down to 80 (as the K-5) it would make even less sense.
When you absolutely need a defocused background in full sunlight only NDs and HSS can help, and it matters not if max flash sync speed is 1/180 or 1/250s...
11-11-2014, 02:42 AM   #3
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I can only say anecdotally that I think it does (based on my work with fluids), but last time I commented on this I was shot down in flames. But I must stress from my point of view it would change the formation of the fluid splash as its sooner in its life cycle, but that has more to do with shape and form than exposure
11-11-2014, 02:58 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cybertaff Quote
I can only say anecdotally that I think it does (based on my work with fluids), but last time I commented on this I was shot down in flames. But I must stress from my point of view it would change the formation of the fluid splash as its sooner in its life cycle, but that has more to do with shape and form than exposure
I won't shoot you down, I promise but I'm struggling to understand here...
The point of time in which you capture the splash (and hence the moment in the "life cycle" of the splash itself) should have only to do with when you press the shutter...
Then again if you exclude natural light (dark studio, small aperture, ND filter etc...) the only factor that affects movement blur is flash duration, and that is very very short, especially on lower power settings...

11-11-2014, 05:28 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
No.
I personally don't even find HSS necessary...
Everything can be made equal with careful exposure and the use of a ND filter.
If your camera had an expanded ISO reaching down to 80 (as the K-5) it would make even less sense.
When you absolutely need a defocused background in full sunlight only NDs and HSS can help, and it matters not if max flash sync speed is 1/180 or 1/250s...

Can you elaborate more on the various scenarios you have mentioned above?
11-11-2014, 06:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Culture Quote
Can you elaborate more on the various scenarios you have mentioned above?
Of course.
The main advantage of a higher sync speed is to be able to make less light enter the lens without changing the aperture.
It is mainly useful in strong light conditions, like daylight, and when you do want a large(r) aperture in order to reduce DoF.

Now you have other methods to reduce light, apart from changing the aperture & the shutter speed: first one is lowering the ISO.
There is 1/3 of a stop between ISO 100 and ISO 80, so an ISO80-capable camera would allow you to use this in order to reduce light gathered by the sensor, and get by with a higher shutter speed in strong light.

As for ND filters, you can reduce light gathered by stopping it before it enters the lens. You can use ND filters up to 10-stop, or even variable ones. They might be a little pricey, but they're very useful, even when you don't use a flash.

In those situations where you want to achieve defocus (using a large aperture, say f/2.8 or f/4) in strong daylight and fill shadows with a flash, then neither ISO nor a half-stop faster sync speed is going to save you.
Since we could be talking about 4-5 stops here, you're left with HSS or an ND filter.

HSS is sure convenient, but not all flash units support it.

You might argue that all the techniques above rob flash of some strength, and you're forced to raise flash power to compensate, but so does HSS.
I hope it's clear enough!

Last edited by LensBeginner; 11-11-2014 at 06:23 AM.
11-11-2014, 06:20 AM   #7
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If 1/180 is 'good enough' and a half stop makes little difference, maybe they should just make it 1/125s. But a half stop is such a small difference, so dropping it to 1/90s shouldn't hurt either...

Seriously, faster sync lets you knock the ambient down without affecting your flash power. Outside in full sun it can be a balancing act between settings to get the flash and ambient where you like, your sync speed puts real limits on your control over the ambient. Having the option of a faster sync speed can make things easier at no compromise (apart from $$ involved in a more capable camera I suppose). More options + no downside to the option = more better.

ND filters and low iso options can help but are no substitute if you are already pushing your flashes to their power limits and don't want to (or can't) move them closer to your subject or don't have more units to gang up and boost their power.

Then there's the absurdity of not even sending a 'fire' signal to the hotshoe when the shutter speed is set higher than 1/180s. I know you will run into sync problems at higher speeds depending on your flash, it's settings, and triggers, but that should be the photographers choice to deal with as you sometimes have a workable combo. It also disables the ability to fire a remote camera via a trigger in the hotshoe of the camera in your hand (not a serious issue for most people, but it would be nice to be able to do this at any shutter speed). At least make it a menu option to send the fire signal at any shutter speed, disabled by default to protect the innocent.
11-11-2014, 06:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
If 1/180 is 'good enough' and a half stop makes little difference, maybe they should just make it 1/125s. But a half stop is such a small difference, so dropping it to 1/90s shouldn't hurt either...
Hey I didn't say that!
You know that story about a straw and a camel?

QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Seriously, faster sync lets you knock the ambient down without affecting your flash power. Outside in full sun it can be a balancing act between settings to get the flash and ambient where you like, your sync speed puts real limits on your control over the ambient. Having the option of a faster sync speed can make things easier at no compromise (apart from $$ involved in a more capable camera I suppose). More options + no downside to the option = more better.
True, but how much more would it cost? will it alter max traveling speed of the shutter, and if yes, will it reduce its operative life? is it worth it?
It's alla about compromises...

QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
ND filters and low iso options can help but are no substitute if you are already pushing your flashes to their power limits and don't want to (or can't) move them closer to your subject or don't have more units to gang up and boost their power.
True, but how often this happens in real life? If you're a photographer with specific needs then you'd probably better use cameras with even higher sync speeds, like cameras that support lenses with a leaf shutter.
That could allow you to go up to 1/500, a full stop over Nikon's 1/250 and a stop and a half over the Pentax. That's quite more tangible than a half stop only, IMHO.

QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Then there's the absurdity of not even sending a 'fire' signal to the hotshoe when the shutter speed is set higher than 1/180s. I know you will run into sync problems at higher speeds depending on your flash, it's settings, and triggers, but that should be the photographers choice to deal with as you sometimes have a workable combo. It also disables the ability to fire a remote camera via a trigger in the hotshoe of the camera in your hand (not a serious issue for most people, but it would be nice to be able to do this at any shutter speed). At least make it a menu option to send the fire signal at any shutter speed, disabled by default to protect the innocent.
I strongly concur. Let them make an optional custom menu item for the more photography-savvy users
More better, as you say.

11-11-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Hey I didn't say that!
Sorry, I was responding to the OP, not you directly. Your reply made it to the server before mine on the back of an unladen camel. Mine was loaded down with all the flash units I need to overpower the sun.

QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
True, but how much more would it cost? will it alter max traveling speed of the shutter, and if yes, will it reduce its operative life? is it worth it?
It's alla about compromises...
I've no idea. Other manufacturers have managed it for years, and that's the main rub. Similar to the way Pentax can knock out weather sealing and SR on 'low-end' bodies but most others don't. What's the actual cost of these little features? Dunno!

QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
True, but how often this happens in real life?
Often enough for me outside. The thing is it's workable for me as it is and sometimes annoying but not annoying enough to go out and spend $$ on a more capable system. But I'll take every half stop I can get if it's offered to me.


It's not something I spend much time bellyaching about (except maybe the not-even-firing-past-1/180 thing cuz' that's just annoying imo), or would switch brands for, but it would be nice to see an improvement here.
11-11-2014, 07:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
When you absolutely need a defocused background in full sunlight only NDs and HSS can help, and it matters not if max flash sync speed is 1/180 or 1/250s...
HUh? I think you are forgetting the use of a telephoto lens and it's effectiveness for obtaining a defocused background, with or without using flash or strobe lighting.
11-11-2014, 07:11 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
HUh? I think you are forgetting the use of a telephoto lens and it's effectiveness for obtaining a defocused background, with or without using flash or strobe lighting.
A tele will hardly help if your main subject's face is in the shade and you can't/don't want to ask him/her to move (a street performer, for instance).
A reflector would most certainly be more helpful, but the topic is about flash and I took for granted that in this hypothetical situation flash use were necessary.
11-11-2014, 07:22 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
I won't shoot you down, I promise but I'm struggling to understand here...
The point of time in which you capture the splash (and hence the moment in the "life cycle" of the splash itself) should have only to do with when you press the shutter...
Then again if you exclude natural light (dark studio, small aperture, ND filter etc...) the only factor that affects movement blur is flash duration, and that is very very short, especially on lower power settings...
I would concur except for the part about an ND filter, wouldn’t use one for what I do, but do use a clear filter to protect the end of my lens from water, paint etc., No the point I was making rather poorly is the point at which the shutter is pressed dictates where you capture a splash in formation, those few tenths of a second count from my point of view more than the stops, but I’m aware that this is a very niche thing, although these aren’t the same splash they were part of the same sequence of shots as it were, the difference between them in timing is a few hundredths of a sec, being effectively locked at 180/160. Limits me in this. although these images are not the best qualitly i hope they help to illistarate my point. the secont pic is 30 one hundreths of a second slower, this is timed via the buffer box rather than my camera to try and alowe me to work around this, and ive also been looking into setting my flashes off via a laser to try and overcome this. Still very much a learning curve for me. But as i stated in my original comment most of this is anecdotal base on my experance doing this.. so from my point of view those few hundreths do count. hope this helped
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11-11-2014, 07:23 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Culture Quote
Why do people complain about the 180 flash sync speed for Pentax compared to Nikon that has 250.
I mean the difference is not even half a stop. Can the difference have that much effect on the ambient light during flash photgraphy?
Who's complaining? It used to be 1/60th of a second.
They raised it to 1/180th of a second and people are complaining?
You just can't do nice things for some people.

Between TTL, P-TTL, & HSS, I don't think I have found an unworkable Pentax solution in the past 30 years.
But then again, I'm the kid who was happy with a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking. "Oooooh. Anthracite!"
11-11-2014, 07:30 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by cybertaff Quote
I would concur except for the part about an ND filter, wouldn’t use one for what I do, but do use a clear filter to protect the end of my lens from water, paint etc., No the point I was making rather poorly is the point at which the shutter is pressed dictates where you capture a splash in formation, those few tenths of a second count from my point of view more than the stops, but I’m aware that this is a very niche thing, although these aren’t the same splash they were part of the same sequence of shots as it were, the difference between them in timing is a few hundredths of a sec, being effectively locked at 180/160. Limits me in this. although these images are not the best qualitly i hope they help to illistarate my point. the secont pic is 30 one hundreths of a second slower, this is timed via the buffer box rather than my camera to try and alowe me to work around this, and ive also been looking into setting my flashes off via a laser to try and overcome this. Still very much a learning curve for me. But as i stated in my original comment most of this is anecdotal base on my experance doing this.. so from my point of view those few hundreths do count. hope this helped
Let's see if I get it this time... is it because you're shooting a burst of pictures (with flash in every single one)? How do you manage to get so short recycle times?
Otherwise... be it at 1/180 or at 1/250 the exposure would be made only by the light of the flash pop, and that would occurr on the first courtain i.e. at the beginning of the exposure even if you shot at 1/15s, and would only last a thousandth of second, even less maybe...

Even if you were shooting in continuous drive mode, it wouldn't make a difference, unless you camera was capable of mroe than 180fps, since at, say, 10fps, you can shoot at 1/10s and still get pictures at the same rate if you were shooting at 1/250...
So I'm a litlle lost here...

Very nice pictures!

Last edited by LensBeginner; 11-11-2014 at 07:37 AM.
11-11-2014, 07:36 AM   #15
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No one shot at a time, the shutter is timed and synched to the release of the water drops, in this case from a solenoid…. The faster I can get that shutter speed the sooner I can catch the collision between them and get more interesting shapes.
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