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01-03-2010, 08:42 PM   #1
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K7 Sync Speed

Hello everyone,

I am looking to start up a photography business very soon (graduating with my BFA this December), and I am probably going to start with a K7 and a few studio strobes.

My question is, the K7's sync speed is only 1/180. That's pretty weak. I know on some Canon and Nikon cameras, you can use trick high speed modes to sync up to 1/500. Is this possible on the Pentax, or am I forever stuck with 1/180?

If I am stuck with 1/180, I will probably have to look at other brands for a camera.

Thanks!

01-03-2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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As far as I can tell, you can only have shutter speeds if you have an external flash with a HSS mode attached to the hot shoe. If you are using a wireless trigger, the camera wont even trigger the transmitter if the shutter speed is over 1/180. Annoying, I know. Personally I think this is pentax's biggest weakness vs. canon/nikon right now.
01-03-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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That's not only annoying, it's a deal breaker for me. 1/180 is pretty much useless for most flash photography, especially outdoors.

I am seeing things on spec sheets that say "high sync speed available." 1/180 certainly isn't high, unless we're talking about a 645 slr.
01-03-2010, 09:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
That's not only annoying, it's a deal breaker for me. 1/180 is pretty much useless for most flash photography, especially outdoors.

I am seeing things on spec sheets that say "high sync speed available." 1/180 certainly isn't high, unless we're talking about a 645 slr.
Canon and the non-electronic shutter nikons only sync at 1/250. Thats 1/2 a stop (i think). You can easily make that light up by bumping the ISO up 1/2 stop or opening the aperture 1/2 stop.

Plus, you can shoot as high as 1/4000 if you want. Just get a flash with pentax HSS.

01-03-2010, 10:04 PM   #5
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1/180th isn't useless outdoors at all. I use it constantly. The difference between that and 1/250th is not a big issue. If you really need a higher shutter speed for certain applications, use a compatable P-TTL flash and HSS, then you can have any shutter speed you want. In studio, there's no real need for anything higher than 1/180th
01-03-2010, 10:13 PM   #6
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I suppose I should say for many applications it is less than ideal. But, it is a good amount better than a 1/30 speed Leica or a 1/60 K1000.

The question is, however, if I can use a P-TTL flash and sync at 1/500 or whatever, why can't I do that with a studio strobe connected to the PC port?
01-03-2010, 10:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
That's not only annoying, it's a deal breaker for me. 1/180 is pretty much useless for most flash photography, especially outdoors.

I am seeing things on spec sheets that say "high sync speed available." 1/180 certainly isn't high, unless we're talking about a 645 slr.
How is it useless indoors in any way?

And you could use ND-filters outdoors. More work, but possible.

And I think you can have high speed sync with Pentax flashes, for whatever it's worth.
01-03-2010, 10:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
How is it useless indoors in any way?

And you could use ND-filters outdoors. More work, but possible.

And I think you can have high speed sync with Pentax flashes, for whatever it's worth.
Imagine you wanted to shoot a photograph of something with no ambient light at all, just flash. A 1/500 sync, f/16 or so with a low-power flash. You can make a photograph shot in noon light appear to be made at dusk or night. Impossible with 1/180 without nd filters.

01-03-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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*sniff* My 645 only syncs to 1/60s (w/o LS lenses).

QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
I suppose I should say for many applications it is less than ideal. But, it is a good amount better than a 1/30 speed Leica or a 1/60 K1000.

The question is, however, if I can use a P-TTL flash and sync at 1/500 or whatever, why can't I do that with a studio strobe connected to the PC port?
Dedicated TTL flashes (regardless of manufacturer) that support HSS have circuitry and extra pins that allow them to communicate digitally with the camera. Studio strobes and other non-dedicated shoe flashes do not have the circuitry, and PC cables only have 2 wires. The F5P cables for pentax have wires corresponding to all 4 pins.
01-03-2010, 11:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
Imagine you wanted to shoot a photograph of something with no ambient light at all, just flash. A 1/500 sync, f/16 or so with a low-power flash. You can make a photograph shot in noon light appear to be made at dusk or night. Impossible with 1/180 without nd filters.
No camera has a sync speed of 1/500... And you can't make a photo at noon look light sunset... And the amount of flash power you need to black out the sun is considerably more than can be achieved with a shoe-mounted flash
01-04-2010, 01:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kunik Quote
No camera has a sync speed of 1/500... And you can't make a photo at noon look light sunset... And the amount of flash power you need to black out the sun is considerably more than can be achieved with a shoe-mounted flash
Leaf Shutter.
01-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #12
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1) The syc speed is programmed into the camera and it will not send a flash trigger pulse to the shoe or PC port if the shutter speed is higher than 1/180th. In fact I prefer this over the Nikon way, I was using a 300Ds the other day and it will send a sync pulse out at higher shutter speeds and then you have half exposed images because the shutter curtain covers the sensor for part of the exposure.

So with a Pentax, no matter what mode it is in, you are limited to 1/180th unless you are using HSS with a connected P-TTL compatable flash.

The highest "true" Sync speed available today is 1/250th. The reason being that the shutter and flash sync and any speed higher than that will have the curtain partly covering the sensor (or film in a 35mm). Actually it's a pair of shutter curtains. One leading and one trailing to expose the sensor. So at higher speeds, the slit between the curtains is ever smaller and only exposing part of the sensor at any given moment. So if the speed is higher than 1/250th part of the sensor is always covered with at least part of the shutter curtain.

2) To achieve a higher sync speed (1/500th) the shutter curtain is no longer employed. The sensor instead is charged and quickly shut down like a Point and Shoot camera does it. The main disadvantage of this is some "shutter" lag and more noise. Oh and of course your going to have to spend more money on a body that has this feature.

You have to go to a Nikon D3 or Canon D1 as far as I'm aware (but may be wrong). Even these cameras have 1/250th X sync speeds with the mechanical shutter.

Check out the prices of those cameras and see how important this is to you.


So what do you feel you can't do at 1/180th? Your shot at noon scenario is well, just nonsense. If you really wanted to do that, you would have to use ND filters and then the flash is somehow going to have to overpower those filters. 1/500th and f16 is still going to capture plenty of sunlight and lets just say that in full sun those settings would get you a near black image (capturing no ambient light). Could you point me to a flash that can put out more power than the sun to only light the subject? Because in your example, the flash would have to be able to put out more than double the power of the sun to expose the subject.

And what would you achieve with this setup? This certainly isn't model or portrait shooting.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 01-04-2010 at 01:40 AM.
01-04-2010, 02:04 AM   #13
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For the sort of outdoor lighting situations you're describing a pro would be using hot lights so sync speed is a non issue really. It's not the kind of thing you can do on the cheap, nobody would hire you.

Last edited by Damn Brit; 01-04-2010 at 03:14 AM.
01-04-2010, 02:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
Imagine you wanted to shoot a photograph of something with no ambient light at all, just flash. A 1/500 sync, f/16 or so with a low-power flash. You can make a photograph shot in noon light appear to be made at dusk or night. Impossible with 1/180 without nd filters.
You certainly can use Pentax HSS with a P-TTL flash to set higher shutter speeds than 1/180.
I've used it to darken the ambient background while the flash illuminates the subject. Just bear in mind the flash power drops as the shutter speed increases, so it only works over a limited subject distance if the shutter speed is high.
01-04-2010, 06:36 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
Hello everyone,

I am looking to start up a photography business very soon (graduating with my BFA this December), and I am probably going to start with a K7 and a few studio strobes.

My question is, the K7's sync speed is only 1/180. That's pretty weak. I know on some Canon and Nikon cameras, you can use trick high speed modes to sync up to 1/500. Is this possible on the Pentax, or am I forever stuck with 1/180?

If I am stuck with 1/180, I will probably have to look at other brands for a camera.

Thanks!
If you really think that the 1/2 to 1 1/2 stop of higher sync speed is a deal breaker, then get a different brand. For myself, I haven't found it to be a problem, but I do most of my flash photography in a studio, and when I'm outdoors I either use reflectors or else a very large hammerhead flash that makes any of the shoe mount units I've seen look like kindergarten toys.
I'm sure that there are times where the 1/180 second sync will stop you dead in your tracks, but in 40 years of semi-professional photography, I have yet to run into one of those situations.
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