Reason for slow flash sync speed

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions
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Schwaeble Regular Member • Posts: 327
Reason for slow flash sync speed

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,224
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

Since the newest announced E-mount camera is the A6000, and is not a top line E-mount camera, I'm guessing that Sony holds back a few things.

The A7 is also E-mount, is higher placed than the A6000, and has 1/250th max synch speed.

Most mirrorless cameras, including all E-mounts, have shutters, and those shutters still need to be fully open for X-sync. It's not the mirror that's responsible for limits on max X-sync, it's how quickly the shutter can open (if it's not a EFCS) and close.

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john-photoguy Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

I sure wish it was higher,  and it could be, My Old Nikon FM2 has 1/250 with fully mechanical shutter.  Nikon D70 is set at 1/500!

I suspect it is a compromise between size, speed, and longevity.  Ligher faster shutters must not last as long as slower more stout pieces.  But it is only speculation

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Schwaeble OP Regular Member • Posts: 327
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

I think I understand what you are saying, but, well, 1/160 s these days seems a pretty lowly sync speed (available in the least expensive Nex camera) and could be improved with the shutter and presumably this would be easier (cheaper) to do in APS-C  than in FF.

But that and the reasons why Sony may choose to not do so aside, isn't the trick to really high sync speeds (north of 1/500s) to flash multiple short bursts with a dedicated flash that each light the traveling shutter slit (at high speed) and that in their accumulation give the effect of correctly exposing the full sensor with a really high shutter speed and flash? So, maybe there are real or marketing reasons to not upgrade the shutter. But, what in this day and age is the reason that an electronic marvel like an a6000 which seems to have a seemingly real system flash hotshoe won't be offered with such capability at least in conjunction with a very pricey dedicated flash unit?

Or is there such capability?

After all, for people who really do not care to carry FF lenses and cameras anymore the a6000 seems positioned as the flagship system camera that Sony will be offering.

symbology Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Schwaeble wrote:

I think I understand what you are saying, but, well, 1/160 s these days seems a pretty lowly sync speed (available in the least expensive Nex camera) and could be improved with the shutter and presumably this would be easier (cheaper) to do in APS-C than in FF.

But that and the reasons why Sony may choose to not do so aside, isn't the trick to really high sync speeds (north of 1/500s) to flash multiple short bursts with a dedicated flash that each light the traveling shutter slit (at high speed) and that in their accumulation give the effect of correctly exposing the full sensor with a really high shutter speed and flash? So, maybe there are real or marketing reasons to not upgrade the shutter. But, what in this day and age is the reason that an electronic marvel like an a6000 which seems to have a seemingly real system flash hotshoe won't be offered with such capability at least in conjunction with a very pricey dedicated flash unit?

Or is there such capability?

After all, for people who really do not care to carry FF lenses and cameras anymore the a6000 seems positioned as the flagship system camera that Sony will be offering.

Sorry, but it is kind of hard to follow your post.  I hope the below info helps.

I am sure that the Sony / Minolta flashes that support HSS will sync up to the max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec.

exdeejjjaaaa
exdeejjjaaaa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,724
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Schwaeble wrote:

But that and the reasons why Sony may choose to not do so aside, isn't the trick to really high sync speeds (north of 1/500s) to flash multiple short bursts with a dedicated flash that each light the traveling shutter slit (at high speed) and that in their accumulation give the effect of correctly exposing the full sensor with a really high shutter speed and flash?

it is, but HSS/FP offers much lower total light vesus just the one long flash impulse within x-sync timeframe with both shutter blades open to expose the whole sensor... so the camera can have both low spec x-sync (1/160) and HSS/FP at the same time... no contradictions...

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viking79
viking79 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,137
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed
1

Focal plane shutters can only sync at 1/160 to 1/250th or so. This is a limitation of that type of shutter, which all DSLR and mirrorless cameras use (even if they use electronic first curtain shutters they are still limited by mechanical rear curtain).  I believe the higher the sync speed the faster the curtain has to move, which will likely lead to more vibration.

Some older cameras using global electronic shutters, which we lost when we went to CMOS from CCD, can sync much faster. Like Nikon D1x and D70s.

Leaf shutter cameras can usually sync at max shutter speed, so if you really need that sort of sync speed you would have to go with a point and shoot or something. A fuji X20 can sync up to 1/2000 or maybe even 1/4000 I think.

Eric

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,250
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

blue_skies
blue_skies Veteran Member • Posts: 9,653
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed
2

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

I think that some already said it, but the answer is, read this article, it has good illustrations:

Lol - dpreview loses the animation - go to the article to see the animation of the images below.

The slow sync speed max is the slowest shutter speed that fully opens to shutter. That is, one curtain has moved fully, and the second one has not started to move yet.

The A7 is faster as it does not have the first curtain (EFC on) active.

slow sync - the sensor must be fully exposed for the flash sync

The high sync speed max is usually the max shutter speed. The shutter and flash are highly synchronized and as the two curtains are 'chasing' each other, the image will be flashed in 'slits'. The flash turns into a strobe that follows the curtains as they are moving.

high speed sync

high speed sync for faster shutter speeds (slits is smaller, needs more strobes)

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Cheers,
Henry

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SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,224
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

dotborg wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

The A7 does do 1/250th X-Sync. That's one of the differences between it and the A7R (1/160th). Another, probably-related, difference between the two is that the A7 has EFCS and the A7R does not.

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RonFrank
RonFrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,130
So... use a high speed sync flash.

If using the flash at beyond the sync speed is a requirement there is high speed sync mode.

This may not provide a full strength flash but will provide flash with sync speeds up to 1/4000.  Sony flash has this option but others do as well like the Metz 52 AF dedicated to Sony.

IMO the Metz is the best flash going currently.

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exdeejjjaaaa
exdeejjjaaaa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,724
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

viking79 wrote:

Focal plane shutters can only sync at 1/160 to 1/250th or so.

it depends on the sensor size too... with manual (non TTL flash - so not time lost on anything) my E-M1 can xsync @ 1/400

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,250
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

The A7 does do 1/250th X-Sync. That's one of the differences between it and the A7R (1/160th). Another, probably-related, difference between the two is that the A7 has EFCS and the A7R does not.

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain. It also has bigger pixels, which helps mask shutter shock.

dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,250
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

RonFrank wrote:

If using the flash at beyond the sync speed is a requirement there is high speed sync mode.

This may not provide a full strength flash but will provide flash with sync speeds up to 1/4000. Sony flash has this option but others do as well like the Metz 52 AF dedicated to Sony.

IMO the Metz is the best flash going currently.

Is high-speed sync available on the A7(r)?

SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,224
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

The A7 does do 1/250th X-Sync. That's one of the differences between it and the A7R (1/160th). Another, probably-related, difference between the two is that the A7 has EFCS and the A7R does not.

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain. It also has bigger pixels, which helps mask shutter shock.

That's an interesting theory, but it doesn't hold water. The A7 can still sync at 1/250th with EFCS disabled. I just verified it.

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,250
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

The A7 does do 1/250th X-Sync. That's one of the differences between it and the A7R (1/160th). Another, probably-related, difference between the two is that the A7 has EFCS and the A7R does not.

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain. It also has bigger pixels, which helps mask shutter shock.

That's an interesting theory, but it doesn't hold water. The A7 can still sync at 1/250th with EFCS disabled. I just verified it.

And you'll get a lot more shutter vibration with it disabled but you probably won't notice too much more than the A7r due to the larger pixels.

GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,199
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed
1

symbology wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:...

But, what in this day and age is the reason that an electronic marvel like an a6000 which seems to have a seemingly real system flash hotshoe won't be offered with such capability at least in conjunction with a very pricey dedicated flash unit?...

Sorry, but it is kind of hard to follow your post. I hope the below info helps.

I am sure that the Sony / Minolta flashes that support HSS will sync up to the max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec.

I tested my Nex-6, and with HSS (and Sony external flash), I was able to use 1/4000.  I did a quick toss of my shoe in the air and it froze the action -- no motion blur.

I mentioned this in another thread where there was complaining about the 1/160 speed, but I didn't see any responses to why HSS wouldn't be what was desired.

HSS probably will only work with compatible flash units, not generic ones.

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Gary W.

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Andy Dan Regular Member • Posts: 160
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

The Olympus E-M1 has 1/320 sync speed, so mirrorless cameras can do that...

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abortabort Senior Member • Posts: 1,704
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed
1

The Olympus E-M1 has 1/320 sync speed, so mirrorless cameras can do that...

Also has literally half the distance to travel, so there is potentially twice the maximum amount of time the whole sensor can be exposed for. It has nothing to do with 'being mirrorless' and everything to do with using focal plane shutters (which incidentally are made by only a couple of companies, they are not made by Sony at all).

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Beaverhelmet Senior Member • Posts: 1,557
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

Schwaeble wrote:

Does anyone know what the reason may be that even the newest announced e-mount camera's flash sync speed is only 1/160 s?
Is it not possible to improve upon that with a mirror less camera for some reason or do just too few customers care for it to be faster?

The A7(r) cameras are very light. Due to the sensor size, the shutter is quite large and has a lot of mass relative to say a micro four-thirds shutter. Moving the shutter fast enough to get 1/250s sync speed would multiply the shutter vibration issues that people are already complaining about.

The A7 does do 1/250th X-Sync. That's one of the differences between it and the A7R (1/160th). Another, probably-related, difference between the two is that the A7 has EFCS and the A7R does not.

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain. It also has bigger pixels, which helps mask shutter shock.

That's an interesting theory, but it doesn't hold water. The A7 can still sync at 1/250th with EFCS disabled. I just verified it.

-- hide signature --

A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

And the EFCS lacking A7R actually does flash sync perfectly in 1/200s. Tiny black shading visible in top of the frame at 1/250s. At least mine does.

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