Is HSS really that important?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,110
Re: Is HSS really that important?

Having read through this thread there is a lot of good advice. A few thoughts, some reinforcing what others have said --

First, I would not consider photo equipment a long-term investment in today's world. Things change, and sometimes change fast. I don't know how long you are thinking to keep this lighting set, but I would not buy anything that will not pay for itself within 2 to 3 years.

As to Buff equipment, 5 years ago in the US I would have said it's a great buy. Today in Australia I'm not so sure. As others have said, one of the biggest selling points for Buff was the excellent service, which you likely do not get in Australia. Also, Paul Buff died in 2015, so there is a question of how long the company will carry on his heritage. It seems to me they are losing out in innovation to younger, more aggressive firms. And if you look at the Chinese companies, also being beaten on price.

Several mentioned Godox. Lately the brand has become very popular here in the US. On the plus side they have a very large range, pretty much all of it compatible with their wireless controllers and much of it at very appealing prices. On the downside the range is so extensive it becomes difficult to make choices, and their service seems to be somewhere between awful and non-existent. This is somewhat offset by a very large and helpful online user community and that some of their prices are so low the gear can be considered disposable. Another problem: I see a lot of users posting online seeking help with set-up issues -- which buttons to push to make this work with that. Almost all of them seem to get help, but still I see a lot of apparently intelligent people who simply cannot figure how to work the stuff from the supplied instructions. If you go that way either find a reliable importer in your country, or if you buy from China be prepared to take your chances.

I suggest you shop around for brands readily available in your country. Wireless radio triggering, including adjusting  power levels, from the camera would be a top priority for me, and HSS would be a plus if I ever planned to use the lights outdoors. Battery power would be a plus unless you work mostly in your own studio, but it often means limited modeling light (or none at all). I can live without modeling lights, but some find them essential.

Coming back to your original question, HSS is definitely useful if you ever plan to work outdoors. Whether it is a deal breaker is very hard to answer -- depends on how often you work outdoors, what kind of work you do, your lighting style and so on. You don't get as much of the available light output on the sensor, meaning you may need to keep the lights in close, you may have slower recycle times, and you may need to change batteries more often. But then you don't have to fool with ND filters, and you have the option of using high shutter speeds to limit motion blur if needed.

As to getting the power down lower indoors, ND filters on the flash or possibly an extra layer of diffusion can usually handle that problem. Or an ND filter on the lens if it does not limit focusing or viewing too much.

Gato

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