Reason for slow flash sync speed

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions
OP Schwaeble Regular Member • Posts: 327
Thanks - several good answers: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Thanks for all the answers and input and explanations. You guys are great.

Special thanks to blueskies and Eric for pointing things out in terms even I understand and to Gary W. for offering the insight that he tested "it" and it is indeed so. Good to know.

le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,785
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

dotborg wrote:

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain.

No, even if you use the mechanical first curtains.

1/250s sync is relatively current in FF

and complains when under  

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

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le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,785
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

Andy Dan wrote:

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

The sensor is smaller, less travel for the shutter,

same curtain speed for 1/250 FF than 1/320 4/3

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,251
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

le_alain wrote:

dotborg wrote:

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain.

No, even if you use the mechanical first curtains.

Let me put it a different way: Because the A7r lacks electronic first curtain capability, Sony had to slow down the shutter movement in order to minimize the vibration. This lowered the sync speed from 1/250s to 1/160s.

Hope that makes it more clear.

GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,541
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

le_alain wrote:...

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

How much power do you need?  That F42 flash of mine is really too much power much of the time.  I guess it all comes down to what you are using it for, how high you can let the ISO go, etc.  I don't think I've ever come up with a use for HSS, but I'm glad I have it, and hope to make better use of it one day.  I've seen some neat experimental photos with drop of water and such, and I think you'd need HSS for that.

I don't know what you mean about it not working with manual or auto flash.  I was probably set to fill-flash - is that what you meant?

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

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exdeejjjaaaa
exdeejjjaaaa Veteran Member • Posts: 8,263
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

GaryW wrote:

le_alain wrote:...

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

How much power do you need? That F42 flash of mine is really too much power much of the time.

I bounce back and I use low gains, so that HVL-F60M of mine is barely enough most of the time

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le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,785
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

dotborg wrote:

le_alain wrote:

dotborg wrote:

The A7 has 1/250s sync because it has electronic first curtain.

No, even if you use the mechanical first curtains.

Let me put it a different way: Because the A7r lacks electronic first curtain capability, Sony had to slow down the shutter movement in order to minimize the vibration. This lowered the sync speed from 1/250s to 1/160s.

Hope that makes it more clear.

I did the try with my A7 set at 1/250s and flash on a white wall.

with e-curtain, and with mechanical first curtain.

Both pictures are the same, and you don't see the second curtain on both.

On my A7, mechanical 1/250s synch work.

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le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,785
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

GaryW wrote:

le_alain wrote:...

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

How much power do you need? That F42 flash of mine is really too much power much of the time. I guess it all comes down to what you are using it for, how high you can let the ISO go, etc. I don't think I've ever come up with a use for HSS, but I'm glad I have it, and hope to make better use of it one day. I've seen some neat experimental photos with drop of water and such, and I think you'd need HSS for that.

I don't know what you mean about it not working with manual or auto flash. I was probably set to fill-flash - is that what you meant?

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

No, I mean strobe or auto flash, wich are non TTL flash, sorry for my english

I need some times power outside, or with bounced flash, that HSS can't deliver

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Senior Member • Posts: 4,331
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?

I shot an outdoor wedding yesterday for a friend and used an Opteka TTL for fill flash. The more I use my NEX-7 or 5N the more I realize that flash logic and shutter limitations are a serious downfall for Sony.

1/160th max shutter speed is way too slow. Fill flash on a sunny day is going to give you major blown highlights. There is no way around it as far as I know unless you go with a manual flash. The Opteka can't be blamed since even the pop up flash on the NEX-7 will limit any mode to a max 1/160th shutter speed.

Even if using a manual non TTL flash you are limited by the shutter capabilities which will beginning clip the flash exposure top and bottom of the frame at 1/250th and faster shutter speeds.

I really don't know how pros using Sony equipment get around this problem. I thought about using an ND filter but am not sure if that would have messed with the flash logic.

Any ideas from pros of how to deal with fill flash when using Sony cameras in outdoor settings would be greatly appreciated. I shot at F/8 but didn't want to use a smaller aperture for fear of diffraction. In the meantime I have some seriously overexposed images to fix in LR.

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SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,497
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

PVCdroid 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?

I shot an outdoor wedding yesterday for a friend and used an Opteka TTL for fill flash. The more I use my NEX-7 or 5N the more I realize that flash logic and shutter limitations are a serious downfall for Sony.

1/160th max shutter speed is way too slow. Fill flash on a sunny day is going to give you major blown highlights. There is no way around it as far as I know unless you go with a manual flash. The Opteka can't be blamed since even the pop up flash on the NEX-7 will limit any mode to a max 1/160th shutter speed.

Even if using a manual non TTL flash you are limited by the shutter capabilities which will beginning clip the flash exposure top and bottom of the frame at 1/250th and faster shutter speeds.

I really don't know how pros using Sony equipment get around this problem. I thought about using an ND filter but am not sure if that would have messed with the flash logic.

Any ideas from pros of how to deal with fill flash when using Sony cameras in outdoor settings would be greatly appreciated. I shot at F/8 but didn't want to use a smaller aperture for fear of diffraction. In the meantime I have some seriously overexposed images to fix in LR.

That's exactly what HSS is for. You need to pick up a flash that supports it. The NEX-7 will work fine with an HSS flash.

Note that 1/250th wouldn't have made much of a difference... as it's only 2/3rd of a stop or so shorter. If you were in full sunlight at F8 and ISO 100, you probably needed 1/320th to 1/400th.

An ND filter should have been fine with a TTL flash, since it is through-the-lens, which includes the filter, so metering would have been correct.

-- hide signature --

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,251
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

le_alain wrote:...

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

How much power do you need?  That F42 flash of mine is really too much power much of the time.  I guess it all comes down to what you are using it for, how high you can let the ISO go, etc.  I don't think I've ever come up with a use for HSS, but I'm glad I have it, and hope to make better use of it one day.  I've seen some neat experimental photos with drop of water and such, and I think you'd need HSS for that.

I don't know what you mean about it not working with manual or auto flash.  I was probably set to fill-flash - is that what you meant?

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

I don't know what "far less power" means for Sony flashes but the Canon flashes I have loose about a stop at full power. Considering how much you would have to stop down to accommodate a 1/160s sync speed in full daylight, it more than makes up for it.

dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,251
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)?

Anybody?

le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,785
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

dotborg wrote:

le_alain wrote:...

HSS far less power with the flash, and doesn't work with manual or auto flash for instance.

How much power do you need? That F42 flash of mine is really too much power much of the time. I guess it all comes down to what you are using it for, how high you can let the ISO go, etc. I don't think I've ever come up with a use for HSS, but I'm glad I have it, and hope to make better use of it one day. I've seen some neat experimental photos with drop of water and such, and I think you'd need HSS for that.

I don't know what you mean about it not working with manual or auto flash. I was probably set to fill-flash - is that what you meant?

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

I don't know what "far less power" means for Sony flashes but the Canon flashes I have loose about a stop at full power. Considering how much you would have to stop down to accommodate a 1/160s sync speed in full daylight, it more than makes up for it.

Look at this for the variation of the guid number,

far for a stop:

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Senior Member • Posts: 4,331
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

SQLGuy wrote:

PVCdroid 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?

I shot an outdoor wedding yesterday for a friend and used an Opteka TTL for fill flash. The more I use my NEX-7 or 5N the more I realize that flash logic and shutter limitations are a serious downfall for Sony.

1/160th max shutter speed is way too slow. Fill flash on a sunny day is going to give you major blown highlights. There is no way around it as far as I know unless you go with a manual flash. The Opteka can't be blamed since even the pop up flash on the NEX-7 will limit any mode to a max 1/160th shutter speed.

Even if using a manual non TTL flash you are limited by the shutter capabilities which will beginning clip the flash exposure top and bottom of the frame at 1/250th and faster shutter speeds.

I really don't know how pros using Sony equipment get around this problem. I thought about using an ND filter but am not sure if that would have messed with the flash logic.

Any ideas from pros of how to deal with fill flash when using Sony cameras in outdoor settings would be greatly appreciated. I shot at F/8 but didn't want to use a smaller aperture for fear of diffraction. In the meantime I have some seriously overexposed images to fix in LR.

That's exactly what HSS is for. You need to pick up a flash that supports it. The NEX-7 will work fine with an HSS flash.

Note that 1/250th wouldn't have made much of a difference... as it's only 2/3rd of a stop or so shorter. If you were in full sunlight at F8 and ISO 100, you probably needed 1/320th to 1/400th.

An ND filter should have been fine with a TTL flash, since it is through-the-lens, which includes the filter, so metering would have been correct.

-- hide signature --

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

OK, I'll give an ND filter a try. I do like the $50 Opteka for its 45 GN power and it handles TTL fairly well. I really don't want to invest in a HHS flash for a few hundred at this point in time, especially with MI shoe vs. the NEX-7 Minolta style shoe. Sony should have lifted the 1/160th limitation in manual mode though imho.

Thanks, Pat

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SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,497
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

dotborg wrote:

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)?

Anybody?

Yes, it is. Sony's higher end flashes support it. The HVL-F20M does not, but the higher models do.

-- hide signature --

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,251
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

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)?

Anybody?

Yes, it is. Sony's higher end flashes support it. The HVL-F20M does not, but the higher models do.

Do you know if the HVL-F20M can be used to trigger off-camera flashes using their TTL/HSS capabilities (such as the HVL-F43M)?

SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,497
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

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)?

Anybody?

Yes, it is. Sony's higher end flashes support it. The HVL-F20M does not, but the higher models do.

Do you know if the HVL-F20M can be used to trigger off-camera flashes using their TTL/HSS capabilities (such as the HVL-F43M)?

I know it can trigger off-camera flashes. I don't whether this would work or make sense with HSS, since it would require the 20 to not fire, or face a partially overexposed area of the image.

-- hide signature --

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dotborg Veteran Member • Posts: 8,251
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

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)?

Anybody?

Yes, it is. Sony's higher end flashes support it. The HVL-F20M does not, but the higher models do.

Do you know if the HVL-F20M can be used to trigger off-camera flashes using their TTL/HSS capabilities (such as the HVL-F43M)?

I know it can trigger off-camera flashes. I don't whether this would work or make sense with HSS, since it would require the 20 to not fire, or face a partially overexposed area of the image.

So, the camera mounted flash used to trigger off-camera flashes will always add to the exposure (unlike Canon, Nikon, Olympus and possibly others)?

exdeejjjaaaa
exdeejjjaaaa Veteran Member • Posts: 8,263
Re: So... use a high speed sync flash.

dotborg wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

dotborg wrote:

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)?

Anybody?

Yes, it is. Sony's higher end flashes support it. The HVL-F20M does not, but the higher models do.

Do you know if the HVL-F20M can be used to trigger off-camera flashes using their TTL/HSS

capabilities (such as the HVL-F43M)?

http://www.mhohner.de/sony-minolta/flashcomp_setups.php#wireless

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Senior Member • Posts: 4,331
Re: Reason for slow flash sync speed

SQLGuy wrote:

PVCdroid 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?

I shot an outdoor wedding yesterday for a friend and used an Opteka TTL for fill flash. The more I use my NEX-7 or 5N the more I realize that flash logic and shutter limitations are a serious downfall for Sony.

1/160th max shutter speed is way too slow. Fill flash on a sunny day is going to give you major blown highlights. There is no way around it as far as I know unless you go with a manual flash. The Opteka can't be blamed since even the pop up flash on the NEX-7 will limit any mode to a max 1/160th shutter speed.

Even if using a manual non TTL flash you are limited by the shutter capabilities which will beginning clip the flash exposure top and bottom of the frame at 1/250th and faster shutter speeds.

I really don't know how pros using Sony equipment get around this problem. I thought about using an ND filter but am not sure if that would have messed with the flash logic.

Any ideas from pros of how to deal with fill flash when using Sony cameras in outdoor settings would be greatly appreciated. I shot at F/8 but didn't want to use a smaller aperture for fear of diffraction. In the meantime I have some seriously overexposed images to fix in LR.

That's exactly what HSS is for. You need to pick up a flash that supports it. The NEX-7 will work fine with an HSS flash.

Note that 1/250th wouldn't have made much of a difference... as it's only 2/3rd of a stop or so shorter. If you were in full sunlight at F8 and ISO 100, you probably needed 1/320th to 1/400th.

An ND filter should have been fine with a TTL flash, since it is through-the-lens, which includes the filter, so metering would have been correct.

-- hide signature --

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

OK, I'll give an ND filter a try. I do like the $50 Opteka for its 45 GN power and it handles TTL fairly well. I really don't want to invest in a HHS flash for a few hundred at this point in time, especially with MI shoe vs. the NEX-7 Minolta style shoe. Sony should have lifted the 1/160th limitation in manual mode though imho.

Thanks, Pat

SQLGuy,

The ND filter recommendation was perfect. Just tried a HOYA NDX64 and can shoot with ttl fill flash as low as f1.8 in bright sun with the sel5018 on my NEX-7. The shutter speed was around 1/120 in aperture priority mode. Thanks for rattling my brain on this which I should have thought of before.
The ND filter came from a guy who sold me a 5n and Canon fdn 50/1.4. A step up filter I had around was used for the -SEL5018. That deal just keeps on giving.

I've rarely used ND filters and was surprised how well resolution and color are maintained.

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