That Synching Feeling

Do you know what your camera's real synch speed is?

As you probably know, when you stick a TTL-compatible flash up on your camera's hot shoe, the two talk to each other and the camera limits your shutter speed to your highest full synch speed. Usually, this is 1/250th.

Well, the camera does not talk to a PW transmitter (or a garden-variety synch cord) so it does not know to limit the shutter speed. I was shooting at an assignment today using a strobe off camera and a Pocket Wizard as a trigger.

What I found (with a little popping and chimping) was this:

I could get full frame synch at 1/320th, most of the middle of the frame at 1/500th and a predictable and usable third of the frame - mostly in the middle - at 1/800th.

I don't know about you, but I get all tingly inside just thinking about what I could do with a 1/800th synch speed.

(Uh, I didn't mean anything weird by that...)

If you can put the needs-to-be-lit part of a subject in that third of a frame (like, say, the face of an outdoor portrait subject) you have effectively made your strobe more than twice as powerful. The higher shutter speed means you can drop the aperture, making less flash do more. Cleaner backgrounds, too.

I am going to do some real testing and stick the results up in a longer post, but you might want to play with your camera and see what it'll really do using this technique. TTL off-camera cord users need not apply. The body basically thinks there is a flash up there on top.

Yet another reason to get the flash off the camera. As if we needed one.


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