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01-10-2016, 08:58 PM   #1
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Speedlight flash not firing at fast shutter speeds??

This maybe a stupid question, so forgive me. I have no experience using external flash and just bought a Neewer TT660 II to use with my Pentax K5 II camera, hoping to use it when I shoot soccer under the lights. The problem I am having is that no matter what settings I try, the flash only works at shutter speeds of 1/125 and slower. I am using M setting on the camera and the flash, and it works perfectly at lower shutter speeds - I tested full range of flash output and sensitivity values. But as soon as I switch to 1/180 and faster shutter on the camera, the flash doesn't fire anymore (shutter still works fine). Is there something I am not doing right, or is this a limitation of the system? Is there a way to trick the flash to fire at fast shutter (I need 1/500 or faster). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

01-10-2016, 09:07 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by genesmasher Quote
Is there a way to trick the flash to fire at fast shutter (I need 1/500 or faster)
Short answer is no.

Pentax flash sync speed is 1/160th and you need to have the camera in 1/3 EV stops to get that. When in 1/2 EV stops mode you can only go to 1/125th. The camera will not fire the flash if the shutter speed is more then 1/160th.
01-10-2016, 09:18 PM   #3
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Set the flash unit to the high speed sync mode.
01-10-2016, 09:27 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bschriver11 Quote
Set the flash unit to the high speed sync mode.
If that flash has it. If it is very basic you may not have HSS.

01-10-2016, 10:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
If that flash has it. If it is very basic you may not have HSS.
I am sure it doesn't have HSS mode. Oh well. Seems silly of Pentax to limit flash sync to slow shutter speeds only. Is this some kind of physical hardware limitation?
01-10-2016, 10:26 PM   #6
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See http://www.scantips.com/lights/flashbasics2c.html
01-10-2016, 10:29 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by genesmasher Quote
Seems silly of Pentax to limit flash sync to slow shutter speeds only. Is this some kind of physical hardware limitation?
All cameras have that limit, some a little faster. High end Nikon for example can (I think) go to 1/250th. It has to do with the shutter curtain travel, if the flash fires at too high a shutter speed you get black bars on part of the image.

HSS is one way to get around that at the expense of a lot of flash power, but not all flashes can do HSS. In your situation outside under lights, I doubt HSS will really help unless you are able to get very close to the players.
01-11-2016, 12:04 AM   #8
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See if you can pick up an older version of the AF540 - it has HSS. Or raise your ISO - what settings are you trying to shoot at? What lens do you use for this type of photography? You may need to get a faster lens and let your ISO go up so you can hit 1/500th...

But I know if I was playing soccer and I kept getting blind spots by someone using a flash, I'd launch a ball at them accidentally on purpose...

01-11-2016, 12:07 AM   #9
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Pentax K5 sync speed is actually 1/180th (not 1/160th as mentioned above) if using 1/3 stops it will be 1/160th (unless you dial into X, then it will show 1/180th)
1/2 stops you will get 1/180th (and 1/180th in X)

And that does infact fire flashes internal, hotshoe, X-sync port, the whole round trip. Faster shutter speeds will not without some form of HSS trickery
01-11-2016, 12:33 AM   #10
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Genesmasher, you bought the wrong flash. Your camera will fire the right one at 1/6000s.
01-11-2016, 06:29 AM   #11
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Like many before me have said, you may need HSS (high speed sync). This unfortunately means more $$$ as it is an "advanced" feature.

There are a lot of options out there for you and simply too many to describe here. Do some homework and see what fits your needs best. The site below can give you some valuable information and get you started. Please keep in mind it hasn't been updated since 2014, but the information there should be very useful for what you are trying to accomplish.


The Definitive Guide - Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison
01-11-2016, 09:57 AM   #12
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Maybe we should stop and ask - why do you need to use the flash at high speeds? Generally if you use flash the flash itself freezes the action. What is the reason for this requirement?
01-11-2016, 10:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wolfworx Quote
Pentax K5 sync speed is actually 1/180th (not 1/160th as mentioned above) if using 1/3 stops it will be 1/160th (unless you dial into X, then it will show 1/180th) 1/2 stops you will get 1/180th (and 1/180th in X)
Correct. My error.
01-11-2016, 10:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Maybe we should stop and ask - why do you need to use the flash at high speeds? Generally if you use flash the flash itself freezes the action. What is the reason for this requirement?
Good point! Like I said, I have no experience shooting with a flash at all, just learning the basics. But this makes sense - so if I set a relatively low ISO and just fire a flash it will freeze the action even at the longer shutter speed? This flash is rated down to 1/20000s apparently, but I could not find a way to vary the flash time so far, only power output. Manual sucks.

BTW, I will be shooting with a Tamron 70-20 f/2.8, so I might be able to get some good shots at higher ISO without the flash - just wanted to see if I can minimize the noise with the flash instead. And I didn't want to spend $400 on a Pentax flash, being flash novice - hence the el-cheapo chinese flash. Although I must say, it does produce impressive results, from my limited testing so far - I don't regret buying it, even if I cant use it for my intended purpose
01-11-2016, 11:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by genesmasher Quote
Good point! Like I said, I have no experience shooting with a flash at all, just learning the basics. But this makes sense - so if I set a relatively low ISO and just fire a flash it will freeze the action even at the longer shutter speed? This flash is rated down to 1/20000s apparently, but I could not find a way to vary the flash time so far, only power output. Manual sucks.

BTW, I will be shooting with a Tamron 70-20 f/2.8, so I might be able to get some good shots at higher ISO without the flash - just wanted to see if I can minimize the noise with the flash instead. And I didn't want to spend $400 on a Pentax flash, being flash novice - hence the el-cheapo chinese flash. Although I must say, it does produce impressive results, from my limited testing so far - I don't regret buying it, even if I cant use it for my intended purpose
Most flashes don't allow you direct access to duration - that's a function of power for most of them.

The flash use in an outdoor setting with sports is uncommon. It's likely to annoy the players. Use it for a sideline shot after the game if you want. Shoot in high ISO in RAW if you can get away with it (frame rate vs. buffer space) and use noise reduction software for now. See if that gets you what you are looking for first.
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