A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Started Nov 7, 2012 | Discussions
R6BOB Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Have you ruled out the pocket wizards by using a sync cable direct ?

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Re: No camera issue at all - studio flashes are different from speedlights

philbot wrote:

Nordstjernen wrote:

Maximum camera sync shutter speed is matched for speedlights, not for studio strobes, since they have much longer flash duration. Time to find the specs for the flash system you are using!

For many studio flashes shortest sync speed is 1/125 sec. For some system you can get special "high speed" radio triggers to sunc at 1/250 sec.

So this is not about the camera. It is about knowing studio flash systems.

Also, in studio you seldom need such short shutter speed, since the flashes will outpower the existing light anyway. Use 1/60 or 1/125 sec, and it will make absolutely no diference.

Sync speed is only an issue when using battery pack studio type flashes outdoor on bright days, but then we often use powerful flashes and ND filters.

From my understanding and experience of strobes/flash, I don't agree Nord,

Im led to believe sync speed is related to the mechanics/timing of the shutter alone, pure and simple.

Whilst most studio strobes have very long durations in comparison to standard flashes, this casuses far less problems with SYNC since the only downside is you are effectively wasting some of the light if you exceed their 'on' duration.

For HSS and normal flashes, they have to 'pulse' to generate a sufficient amount of light as the shutter is 'rolling' accross, effectively extending their flash duration..

See here, http://www.exposureguide.com/high-speed-sync-flash.htm

The OP's issue looks like a standard sync issue.. although when using transmitters/strobes you can get the case that they fire too late, so the rear curtain can cause the blackout..

I use entry level strobes (Elinchrom/Lastolite) and with simple Pixel Soldier triggers can do 1/320th with absolutely no sync issues at all, I just could never achieve maximum power from the strobes, but even the lowly 400WS ones I use never go more then 1/2 power..

And I've seen studio triggers that do 1/8000th (you need powerful IGBT strobes to ensure enough power at those silly shutter speeds)

Depends fully on the studio flashes start cynking with the camera! Also, using too short shutter speed might clop off some light, since the burning time of many studio flash tubes is pretty long.

Speedlites and light/radio/cord trigged studio flashes are two quite different things.

That YOUR flashes and triggers do sync at 1/320 sec with YOUR camera doesn't mean this is the same for all combinations of studio flashes and cameras!!!

HSS has no relevance at all when using standard studio flashes.

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Already answered!

Just read the previous posts!

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 38,315
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Timmy Fox wrote:

I wouldn't think shutter speeds as slow as 1/250th should be affected, but you could try disable the Electronic First Curtain shutter. I know on the a77, using shutter speeds of about 1/2500th or faster in very bright light can create a variable-ND-filter-like effect if you use the EFCS.

Go back and read the first post in which the OP said:

"I tried with the electronic first curtain on and off to see if that made a difference but it did not."

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 38,315
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

BuDWiZe wrote:

i had this problem last weekend during a paid shoot. it worked at 1/125 so i quickly just left it tehre for the time being. hopefully someoen can answer as i want to know aswell

Go back and read all the posts as the question has already been answered.

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philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

tbcass wrote:

BuDWiZe wrote:

i had this problem last weekend during a paid shoot. it worked at 1/125 so i quickly just left it tehre for the time being. hopefully someoen can answer as i want to know aswell

Go back and read all the posts as the question has already been answered.

I don't see any answer, am I missing something?

Is the sync speed 1/200th for an A99 then? I though it would be 1/250th as per the A77..

Any studio strobe should work up to the max sync speed of any camera without black bars appearing, it might get reduced light over the scene if it's really really slow, but not bars..

???

Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

philbot wrote:

tbcass wrote:

BuDWiZe wrote:

i had this problem last weekend during a paid shoot. it worked at 1/125 so i quickly just left it tehre for the time being. hopefully someoen can answer as i want to know aswell

Go back and read all the posts as the question has already been answered.

I don't see any answer, am I missing something?

Is the sync speed 1/200th for an A99 then? I though it would be 1/250th as per the A77..

Any studio strobe should work up to the max sync speed of any camera without black bars appearing, it might get reduced light over the scene if it's really really slow, but not bars..

???

A99 sync is 1/250 sec with devices that support this. Not all do. Read the specs for studio flashes and triggers ...

You mentioned Elincrom. Here from their SPEED trigger unit, which is a newer system:

  • Normal & Speed sync modes. The Normal mode is fully compatible with all non-Speed modules.
  • Up to 1/150s shutter speed in Normal mode for SLR cameras and up to 1/320s shutter speed in Speed mode for enabled SLR cameras.

Read what they say about NORMAL mode!

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VirtualMirage
VirtualMirage Veteran Member • Posts: 3,956
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Leon van Roosmalen wrote:

If i'm remembering correctly, was there not a different maximum synctime with IBS on or off? this was with the 700 and the 77.

It doesn't apply to the A77, only the older cameras.  I sync my A77 with my strobes at 1/250 all the time with no issues and I have IBIS on.  The manual also doesn't state different requirements when IBIS is on unlike the A700 did.

So most likely that wouldn't apply to the A99 either.

I think I have had my A77 goof once in a manner similar to the OP's image but it was a user error.

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Paul

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Jim Ogilvie Contributing Member • Posts: 773
Sync speed IS a studio flash spec

Nordstjernen wrote:

Maximum camera sync shutter speed is matched for speedlights, not for studio strobes, since they have much longer flash duration. Time to find the specs for the flash system you are using!

For many studio flashes shortest sync speed is 1/125 sec. For some system you can get special "high speed" radio triggers to sunc at 1/250 sec.

So this is not about the camera. It is about knowing studio flash systems.

Also, in studio you seldom need such short shutter speed, since the flashes will outpower the existing light anyway. Use 1/60 or 1/125 sec, and it will make absolutely no diference.

Sync speed is only an issue when using battery pack studio type flashes outdoor on bright days, but then we often use powerful flashes and ND filters.

With respect, I disagree with your assertion that sync speed is a spec designated for speedlights.

Sync speed (or Xsync) has always been about the shutter mechanism and it's sync with studio flash.  Long before pocket wizards the xsync port was the common outlet for connecting a camera to studio flash. Of course it still exists now, but most people use wireless triggers.

A photographer using this port always knew they could use the maximum sync speed of the camera to sync with those lights.  I've not heard of a single instance where this is untrue.

Studio flash systems themselves have a short duration, and that flash duration happens entirely inside the window of the sync speed. I've been shooting all manner of studio flash systems for years, and none (even the cheapest, bargain basement poor studio mono's) would have any trouble syncing to the max sync speed of the camera.  No special anything required.

Flash duration on studio strobes may be longer than speedlights, but I am fairly confident that any studio flash units made in modern times have a flash duration well shorter than 1/250 of a second.

I'll conduct my own test shortly to see what sort of sync I can get out of the A99 with studio strobes. If it's not 1/250 as Sony states, they have some explaining to do.

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Re: Sync speed IS a studio flash spec

Depends on which sync speed the studio flashes/triggers are specified for.

Here are some specs for Elincrom Skyport triggers:

SLR Camera Sync speeds: SPEED mode up to 1/250 s, STANDARD mode 1/160 - 1/200 s.

How do you explain standard mode?

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VirtualMirage
VirtualMirage Veteran Member • Posts: 3,956
Re: No camera issue at all - studio flashes are different from speedlights

Nordstjernen wrote:

Maximum camera sync shutter speed is matched for speedlights, not for studio strobes, since they have much longer flash duration. Time to find the specs for the flash system you are using!

For many studio flashes shortest sync speed is 1/125 sec. For some system you can get special "high speed" radio triggers to sunc at 1/250 sec.

So this is not about the camera. It is about knowing studio flash systems.

Also, in studio you seldom need such short shutter speed, since the flashes will outpower the existing light anyway. Use 1/60 or 1/125 sec, and it will make absolutely no diference.

Sync speed is only an issue when using battery pack studio type flashes outdoor on bright days, but then we often use powerful flashes and ND filters.

You are correct about that and I wasn't thinking about that when I was mentioning how I have no issues syncing at 1/250 with my A77.

But then again, my Einstein E640 will do flash durations ranging from 1/588 sec to 1/8,000 sec in color accuracy mode and from 1/588 sec to 1/13,500 sec in action mode.  So my flash setup exceeds my camera's flash sync limitations and so I haven't run into the issues you have described, allowing me to set my camera to its maximum flash sync speed.

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Paul

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Nordstjernen
Nordstjernen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,876
Re: No camera issue at all - studio flashes are different from speedlights

VirtualMirage wrote:

But then again, my Einstein E640 will do flash durations ranging from 1/588 sec to 1/8,000 sec in color accuracy mode and from 1/588 sec to 1/13,500 sec in action mode. So my flash setup exceeds my camera's flash sync limitations and so I haven't run into the issues you have described, allowing me to set my camera to its maximum flash sync speed.

If the flash/radio trigger system isn't 100 % in sync with the camera, then you might get a sync problem when using shutter speeds close to the sync limit.

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Jim Ogilvie Contributing Member • Posts: 773
Re: Sync speed IS a studio flash spec

Nordstjernen wrote:

Depends on which sync speed the studio flashes/triggers are specified for.

Here are some specs for Elincrom Skyport triggers:

SLR Camera Sync speeds: SPEED mode up to 1/250 s, STANDARD mode 1/160 - 1/200 s.

How do you explain standard mode?

That's a good question. I don't have an answer for that.

With that being said, I just did my own quick tests and sure enough - the A99 was not able to sync properly at 1/250.  In fact, I detected a very tiny blackening of the top of the frame even at 1/200.  So I had to shoot at 1/160 to get a perfectly clean frame.

I tried this with pocket wizards and a sync cable with identical results.

The A77 fared better and was able to push 1/200.

I've never had this issue before. Glad to find out now.

Going to do some digging.

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VirtualMirage
VirtualMirage Veteran Member • Posts: 3,956
Re: No camera issue at all - studio flashes are different from speedlights

Nordstjernen wrote:

VirtualMirage wrote:

But then again, my Einstein E640 will do flash durations ranging from 1/588 sec to 1/8,000 sec in color accuracy mode and from 1/588 sec to 1/13,500 sec in action mode. So my flash setup exceeds my camera's flash sync limitations and so I haven't run into the issues you have described, allowing me to set my camera to its maximum flash sync speed.

If the flash/radio trigger system isn't 100 % in sync with the camera, then you might get a sync problem when using shutter speeds close to the sync limit.

That is true and that is where I had my one or two glitches that got results similar to OP. My wireless flash trigger was having some "seating" issues with my camera since it was connected to a hotshoe adapter. It was causing the trigger to trip just a tad late causing the black bar. As a temporary fix, I used the hotshoe adapter as a simple cold shoe mount and used a short sync cable to connect my trigger to the camera's sync port and it was working fine for the rest of the shoot. Since then I have not had an issue since the trigger seems to be seating onto the adapter just fine.

I am wondering if this is the OP's problem. They have the same Einstein E640 (which as you may have guessed by the flash durations, is an IGBT type) as I do so I don't think it is a limitation of the camera or the flash, but possibly a sync issue. I would recommend them trying a physical sync cable between the main strobe and the camera and see if they still have the issue. If that fixes the problem, then it is the trigger causing the issue.

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Paul

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philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Nordstjernen wrote:

philbot wrote:

tbcass wrote:

BuDWiZe wrote:

i had this problem last weekend during a paid shoot. it worked at 1/125 so i quickly just left it tehre for the time being. hopefully someoen can answer as i want to know aswell

Go back and read all the posts as the question has already been answered.

I don't see any answer, am I missing something?

Is the sync speed 1/200th for an A99 then? I though it would be 1/250th as per the A77..

Any studio strobe should work up to the max sync speed of any camera without black bars appearing, it might get reduced light over the scene if it's really really slow, but not bars..

???

A99 sync is 1/250 sec with devices that support this. Not all do. Read the specs for studio flashes and triggers ...

You mentioned Elincrom. Here from their SPEED trigger unit, which is a newer system:

  • Normal & Speed sync modes. The Normal mode is fully compatible with all non-Speed modules.
  • Up to 1/150s shutter speed in Normal mode for SLR cameras and up to 1/320s shutter speed in Speed mode for enabled SLR cameras.

Read what they say about NORMAL mode!

That's all about the triggers (The elinchroms have them built in).. those are mightily important.. Latency in wireless triggers is the reason why we only now have wireless products that can match current sync speeds (1/250th)

I use DLites without the skyports built in, and those sync at 1/250th with no issues using Pixel Soldiers.. (but the OP has already stated his A77 is fine).

If X-Sync was somehow designed around normal flashes fast durations, we'd have Sync speeds up to very high shutter speeds.. as it stands X-Sync is so slow, no limitations exist for all studio lights I've ever seen.

remylebeau
remylebeau Regular Member • Posts: 293
Re: No camera issue at all - studio flashes are different from speedlights

Nordstjernen wrote:

remylebeau wrote:

There is a situation where the difference is big and that's with movement. I was on location with a strobe and some wireless flashes, and I had to capture movement and the difference between 1/200 and 1/250 is the difference between freezing action and not.

Admittedly it's only in certain situations but in those situations there's no room for play. I'm looking into getting LED video lights to just avoid the whole issue completely.

Motion is just a problem when you are mixing flash and available light, i.e. with fill flash.

If you let the speedlites do all the lightning, the ultra short flash duration will freeze even very fast motion.

For studio flashes/battery pack studio type flashes this is a different story, since flash duration is much longer. To freeze action you need fast burning flash tubes, which comes at an extra cost, and never will be as fast as speedlights.

That's very true but that's why my situation was a little complicated. I needed to show the environment as it relates to the clients business, but at the same time bring the subject away from the background.

I don't think I'll try it with that set up again, the video lights are looking better and better as a solution rather than an option.

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Jim Ogilvie Contributing Member • Posts: 773
Which pocketwizards?

Robert, just curious are you using the Plus 2 models or the newer Plus 3's? They seem to have the same specs, but just curious anyways.

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OP robert614 Senior Member • Posts: 1,553
Re: Which pocketwizards?

Jim Ogilvie wrote:

Robert, just curious are you using the Plus 2 models or the newer Plus 3's? They seem to have the same specs, but just curious anyways.

Hello Jim,

I am using a Plus 3 on the camera and pocketwizard PowerMC2's.The PowerMC2's are designed specifically to work with my Paul Buff Einsteins and they plug directly into the top of the strobe body.

As my strobe's flash duration is faster than 1/250th even at max power,I think the problem lies somewhere in the triggering chain.I will try using a sync cable and see if I get the same result.

I saw in an earlier post you got similar results as I did in my OP.I know I can just slow down the shutter speed and not worry about it,but now I'm curious where the problem actually lies.

Thanks to you and everyone else for the feedback and advice.

OldClicker Senior Member • Posts: 2,322
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

The sync speed is 1/250 sec. for any system that is timed correctly.  (And probably much higher than that if you could adjust the timing.)  If it works for a Sony flash at 1/250, then it works.  If you use something else, then you have to use the speed that compensates for thie difference in timing. - TF

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BuDWiZe Contributing Member • Posts: 636
Re: A99 w/studio strobes sync issues?

Nordstjernen wrote:

philbot wrote:

tbcass wrote:

BuDWiZe wrote:

i had this problem last weekend during a paid shoot. it worked at 1/125 so i quickly just left it tehre for the time being. hopefully someoen can answer as i want to know aswell

Go back and read all the posts as the question has already been answered.

I don't see any answer, am I missing something?

Is the sync speed 1/200th for an A99 then? I though it would be 1/250th as per the A77..

Any studio strobe should work up to the max sync speed of any camera without black bars appearing, it might get reduced light over the scene if it's really really slow, but not bars..

???

A99 sync is 1/250 sec with devices that support this. Not all do. Read the specs for studio flashes and triggers ...

You mentioned Elincrom. Here from their SPEED trigger unit, which is a newer system:

  • Normal & Speed sync modes. The Normal mode is fully compatible with all non-Speed modules.
  • Up to 1/150s shutter speed in Normal mode for SLR cameras and up to 1/320s shutter speed in Speed mode for enabled SLR cameras.

Read what they say about NORMAL mode!

hrm ive just done a test. im in the speed mode for my ELS triggers and still get the shutter blacking out top of image

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