Flash sync speed

Started Mar 6, 2013 | Discussions
victoria1
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Flash sync speed
Mar 6, 2013

Canon 50D manual tries to explain the three flash sync speed alternatives: auto, 1/250-1/60 sec auto and 1/250 sec  fixed) p175.  Apparently these are only relevant to AV mode?  I shoot flash in M mode, indoors and out, using a Speedlight 430ex.  In darker settings, I set a lower shutter speed to avoid very dark backgrounds - say 1/60.  Sometimes the flash fails to freeze movement and I figure this is caused by ambient light from ceiling lights, etc. and that I needed a faster shutter speed, say 1/125.  My question is about flash sync speed and the camera shutter speed.  In M mode, can I select a sync speed of 1/125 and successfully use a shutter speed of1/60 to freeze movement?

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Oly Canikon
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to victoria1, Mar 6, 2013

The sync speed of a camera is the max shutter speed that you can use with flash. So you can't set a shutter speed and a sync speed. Unless I misunderstood that seemed to be what you are asking.

This is basically an effect of the way that focal plane shutters work. The x sync speed is the maximum speed where the FP shutter is fully opened. The flash which has a speed in the range of 1/10,000 sec will fire during the shutter fully open time. If you manually set a faster speed you will get a partial frame exposed.

Leaf or lens plane shutters will sync at much higher speeds but are not used in DSLR's. Also high speed sync is an option and probably what you are looking for. This pulses the flash during an exposure that is faster than sync speed. The down side is lower flash output so range is limited.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to victoria1, Mar 6, 2013

victoria1 wrote:

Canon 50D manual tries to explain the three flash sync speed alternatives: auto, 1/250-1/60 sec auto and 1/250 sec fixed) p175. Apparently these are only relevant to AV mode? I shoot flash in M mode, indoors and out, using a Speedlight 430ex. In darker settings, I set a lower shutter speed to avoid very dark backgrounds - say 1/60. Sometimes the flash fails to freeze movement and I figure this is caused by ambient light from ceiling lights, etc. and that I needed a faster shutter speed, say 1/125. My question is about flash sync speed and the camera shutter speed. In M mode, can I select a sync speed of 1/125 and successfully use a shutter speed of1/60 to freeze movement?

Sync speed refers to the fastest shutter you can use and avoid getting grey or underexposed strip in your image when you use a flash. I believe the 50D is 1/200. Most cameras are but I can't remember. My 5D3 is but my 7D is 1/250.

So basically if your camera's sync speed is 1/200 you just choose that speed or anything slower when you are in M mode and you will be fine. If you set your shutter faster than 1/200 then put your flash on high speed sync or HSS.

Here is good video. It is a PW ad which you don't need but the animations are good.

http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/tutorials/pocketwizard_controltl_optimiz/

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Lemming51
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to victoria1, Mar 6, 2013

The normal flash sync (aka x-sync) speed of the 50D is 1/250 sec.  That's the fastest speed at which the shutter uncovers the entire sensor.  Traditional flash can be used with 1/250 or any longer shutter speed.  At faster shutter speeds the 1st and 2nd shutter curtains form a slit that passes over the sensor.  Using the flash at shutter speeds shorter than the x-sync, then only the portion of the sensor that's uncovered when the flash fires will record that light.

victoria1 wrote:

Canon 50D manual tries to explain the three flash sync speed alternatives: auto, 1/250-1/60 sec auto and 1/250 sec fixed) p175. Apparently these are only relevant to AV mode?

Yes.  The default for Av is for balanced fill-flash.  It sets a shutter speed that gives good exposure for the ambient light and the flash provides just fill light on the near subject.  In typical dim indoors, this results in a long shutter speed that may require tripod use.

The custom function changes Av to act more like the full auto modes, setting a fast hand-holdable shutter speed, the flash becomes the main light on the near subject and the background will be dark.

I shoot flash in M mode, indoors and out, using a Speedlight 430ex. In darker settings, I set a lower shutter speed to avoid very dark backgrounds - say 1/60. Sometimes the flash fails to freeze movement and I figure this is caused by ambient light from ceiling lights, etc. and that I needed a faster shutter speed, say 1/125. My question is about flash sync speed and the camera shutter speed. In M mode, can I select a sync speed of 1/125 and successfully use a shutter speed of1/60 to freeze movement?

Yes, you can set the shutter speed to 1/125 - 1/250 to freeze motion.  To keep the background from going too dark you'll need to open the aperture wider or set a higher ISO.

The 430EX is also capable of High Speed Sync with the 50D.  Use the "lightning-bolt" H button on the speedlite to display the same symbol in it's LCD.  This setting allows you to use flash at any shutter speed up to the 1/8000 sec.  It does this by "flickering" the entire time the shutter curtain slot passes over the sensor.  A typical use of HSS would be shooting outdoors in daylight with a wide aperture and using flash to remove shadows on your subject's face.  At f/2.8 and limited to 1/250 x-sync such a picture would be very overexposed, but with HSS you can shoot with flash at f/2.8 and 1/1000 sec.

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apersson850
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Lemming51, Mar 6, 2013

It seems the OP got the impression that he can use a "sync speed" and another "shutter speed" at the same time.

You can only use one shutter speed for each photo. The sync speed is the limit for the shortest exposure time which will still work with a normal flash.

It's like the actual speed of the car and the speed limit. You can only drive with one speed, but the speed limit may be something else, and if you exceed it there may be a nasty result.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to victoria1, Mar 6, 2013

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will  become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to apersson850, Mar 6, 2013

apersson850 wrote:

It seems the OP got the impression that he can use a "sync speed" and another "shutter speed" at the same time.

You can only use one shutter speed for each photo. The sync speed is the limit for the shortest exposure time which will still work with a normal flash.

It's like the actual speed of the car and the speed limit. You can only drive with one speed, but the speed limit may be something else, and if you exceed it there may be a nasty result.

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Anders

Yes that was the message I got as well. That was why I and others are explaining sync speed which is the reference. Only one. Shoot at or slower you're OK - higher you need HSS.

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apersson850
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Zee Char, Mar 7, 2013

OK. Looking at the replies from the outside, I wasn't sure the message got through.

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happysnapper64
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Zee Char, Mar 7, 2013

Zee Char wrote:

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

WOW!! That is a really great ghostly effect. You say that you panned & shot when the shirt was in the viewfinder? I could use that technique for sure. Thank's Zee Char.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to apersson850, Mar 7, 2013

apersson850 wrote:

OK. Looking at the replies from the outside, I wasn't sure the message got through.

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Anders

That was a good call you made. I was thinking the same thing.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to happysnapper64, Mar 7, 2013

happysnapper64 wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

WOW!! That is a really great ghostly effect. You say that you panned & shot when the shirt was in the viewfinder? I could use that technique for sure. Thank's Zee Char.

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lee uk.
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First half press shutter button to achieve AF then sweep and press all the way.

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Oly Canikon
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Zee Char, Mar 7, 2013

Zee Char wrote:

happysnapper64 wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

WOW!! That is a really great ghostly effect. You say that you panned & shot when the shirt was in the viewfinder? I could use that technique for sure. Thank's Zee Char.

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lee uk.
There are old pilots, & there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.

First half press shutter button to achieve AF then sweep and press all the way.

zooming during exposure can make a similar effect.

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Oly Canikon, Mar 8, 2013

Oly Canikon wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

happysnapper64 wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

WOW!! That is a really great ghostly effect. You say that you panned & shot when the shirt was in the viewfinder? I could use that technique for sure. Thank's Zee Char.

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lee uk.
There are old pilots, & there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.

First half press shutter button to achieve AF then sweep and press all the way.

zooming during exposure can make a similar effect.

Yes it would. Never thought about it. I was thinking tripod at first but if the flash fired and froze the subject then you could easily hand hold and zoom. Another interesting variation on this. Kinda like a couple getting married on the command deck of the starship enterprise at warp speed, standing in front of a big clear window. Gonna have to try that.

If you were really creative you could slowly turn sideways and the lights in the ambient zone would have a curve to them. OK I'll stop

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Zee Char
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Zee Char, Mar 8, 2013

Zee Char wrote:

Oly Canikon wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

happysnapper64 wrote:

Zee Char wrote:

And you are right. There is an area where the flash will become weaker and the ambient light will become dominant. If your subjects are within the flashes range they will freeze at slower speeds but you will get motion blur outside the flashes range.

Before I understood flash I shot on P mode which defaults to 1/60 and had the same problems you did. Also the closer you get to sync speed which is 1/250 as I found out by these other fine posters you can to kill ambient light and make your flash the dominant source. So if you have florescent light as ambient you can overpower it more (not all) by shooting at sync speed.

Here is an example of the flash freezing and what was happening to you. Shutter 1/10 and I swept the camera while I pressed the shutter. The t shirt about 5 feet away froze but the christmas tree about 10 feet away is blurred. Some photographers use this in low light situations to bring in more ambient as long as you are steady and there is not a lot of movement by people in the background.

WOW!! That is a really great ghostly effect. You say that you panned & shot when the shirt was in the viewfinder? I could use that technique for sure. Thank's Zee Char.

-- hide signature --

lee uk.
There are old pilots, & there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.

First half press shutter button to achieve AF then sweep and press all the way.

zooming during exposure can make a similar effect.

Yes it would. Never thought about it. I was thinking tripod at first but if the flash fired and froze the subject then you could easily hand hold and zoom. Another interesting variation on this. Kinda like a couple getting married on the command deck of the starship enterprise at warp speed, standing in front of a big clear window. Gonna have to try that.

If you were really creative you could slowly turn sideways and the lights in the ambient zone would have a curve to them. OK I'll stop

This is my only non flash zoom shot I experimented with. I like your idea.

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happysnapper64
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Re: Flash sync speed
In reply to Zee Char, Mar 8, 2013

I would love you to start a thread asking for shots like the 2 you posted, & variations. I only say YOU because you have already got the jump on this. I'm sure you would get loads of images that would blow us away. Go on, give it a try, & Ill see if I can come up with something to contribute.

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lee uk.
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