Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Leaf Shutter + ND + Flash: A Fuji X100s Daylight Primer



Right about now I feel like Alice in Wonderland, holding the "drink me" cup. Having a leaf shutter, a built-in 3-stop neutral density filter and a real chip in a compact camera is opening up a whole new world of possibilities.

But with these possibilities come some quirks, some compromises and a few technical things to be mindful of. What you need to know about leaf-shutter compacts and daylight flash, below.

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Looking at my Google calendar, I have half a dozen shoots scheduled over the next two weeks. And for every one of them, I am now trying to figure out ways to explore the sunlight-killing sync capabilities of my X100s.

What I am finding: there are real limitations involved. But once you get a grasp of the quirks, there is still plenty of room to do things you have never been able to do before.

This post will be part example, part white paper and part hacker guide. And my hope is that it'll be a useful reference for people going forward.


Wide-Open Flash

The first thing you have to realize with a leaf-shutter compact is that even the tiny little built-in flash actually becomes surprisingly useful. Is it powerful? Nope, not by a long shot. But cranking the shutter and shooting wide open gets you a lot of bang for your lumen buck. Also, being able to shoot flash wide open in daylight gives your photos a look that almost (ironically) evokes the soft backgrounds of a much bigger chip.

The photo at top is a quick snapshot of Mandy, one of our Cuban hosts in Havana last month. It's shot at 1/300th of a second (no huge jump there) at f/2 at ISO 100.

I have the ISO as low as it can go, with the 3-stop ND filter engaged, to kill as much ambient as possible. I am set to wide open (to soften the background) and letting the camera choose a shutter speed.

From that point I am letting the on-board flash drive, set to TTL -⅔ stop. (McNally is in Lagos, Nigeria. So I can safely print this.)

I am not sure if that -⅔ is from full TTL or from an already fill-balanced TTL. Fuji really doesn't parse that too well in the manual. But a zoom-in to the collar area reveals just how much that little flash is doing:




So the sun is my key, the flash is my fill and I am shooting wide-open on a sunny afternoon. It's just a quick snapshot, but the photo has a cool feel due to the wide-open depth of field. And that DoF is also helping my flash, in that it is far easier to balance at f/2 than at, say, f/16.


Except it Isn't Really f/2

But that's something you have to remember. As far as the flash is concerned, I am really at f/5.6 at ISO 100, because the ND filter is eating three stops of both ambient and flash. So the flash is having to work as if I am at f/5.6.

But I could easily knock down that background down an additional stop and a half or so by moving the shutter speed to 1/1000th of a sec and staying at f/2. The current flash power needs would not change at all.


!/1000th at f/2: The Sweet Spot

So, technically, the camera syncs at any speed. But (and this is a big but) the iris-like leaf shutter cannot go past 1/1000th when wide open. That's because the outer edges will get less exposure due to the physical properties of the shutter. So 1/1000th is as fast as you can go when wide open. If you want faster shutter speeds, you have to close down. And that's the real reason the ND is there to begin with, to offset that design limitation.

Yes, you can sync faster. But you have to close down. So there is no flash power advantage to speeding up your shutter, which would in normal circumstances buy you a more wide-open, flash-friendly aperture. Because ironically you have to close down your aperture too, due to the leaf shutter's limitation.

So while the camera syncs at any speed, your flash has the furthest possible "ambient-mix" reach when your shutter is at 1/1000th and the aperture is at f/2.


Your 240ws Speedlight

That's the leaf-shutter advantage, in a nutshell. But shooting wide open (for maximum flash advantage and nice backgrounds) your new sync ceiling is effectively 1/1000th. Or put differently, two stops up from 1/250th. Which effectively makes your flashes two stops more powerful when used with the X100s than when used outdoors with a 1/250th sync camera. (Cue the sobs of a thousand Canon users.)

So a 60ws speedlight becomes as useful as a 240ws monobloc in a typical outdoor portrait situation. A 640ws Einstein, for instance, is now more useful at 1000th than a 2000ws monobloc is at 1/250th on a normal camera. Which is doubly amazing when you consider how reasonable an Einstein is, when paired with a Vagabond Mini Lithium portable power source.


But Even Speedlights Can Reach Out in Sun

While in Cuba we did a very bootstrapped lit group portrait while out in the Viñales Valley, AKA tobacco country. The landscapes were amazing, and we thought this a much better venue than shooting the group in the hotel lobby.

I did not have flashes with me, but I scrounged two SB-800s from my friend Mark Heaps. We squeezed five minutes we didn't really have, in order to do a group shot before hitting the bus to another location.

Here is the entire setup—an X100s on a tripod, one on-camera SB for fill and a VAL'd, slaved SB-800 as a key. Pretty high tech, huh?



Photo ©Duncan Davidson

Don't look like much, as they say. But with a leaf shutter those SB's can in theory be almost almost as useful as Elinchrom Quadras. For the record, the fill was on ¼ power, the key was on 1/1 power. Exposure was at 1/500th, f/8. No ND is used here, because we want the backdrop to be in focus.

And a quickie, 19-person group shot in a full sun environment now looks like this:




And no, the posing is not very polished. Many were concentrating more on the hand-made cigars they were enjoying than on the group shot. And Erik, (3rd from right in the back) has not yet grasped the fact that if he cannot see the camera with both eyes, then it cannot see his whole face.

But holy crap, that camera is owning full daylight at twenty feet with just a couple SB's. The sun is directly overhead and darting in and out of the clouds. Look at the BTS shot again. Great choice for a group shot, huh?

And we still have some additional flash-to-subject room in that exposure, actually. This is why I am excited about actually taking some time to light outdoor images with this camera.


T.1 Times Matter

This really does not come into play with a normal, focal plane shutter. But in some cases, the actual length of the flash pulse, expressed as a t.1 time, will be your limiting factor.

Think of it this way: If your full-power flash pop actually takes 1/1000th of a second to fully happen, no system in the world will fully sync it at a 1/4000th of a second. It's like trying to squeeze a gallon of time into a quart-sized container. Not gonna happen.

So if you are running into weird limitations, do a little research and look into your particular flash's t.1 times at various power settings. That will probably point to a fix.

Fortunately, the "1/1000th at f/2 at ISO 100 with ND" sweet spot is pretty close to most flash's max t.1 time. But that exposure only gets me to a full-sun balance and soft background. What I want is to dominate full-sun and shoot at wide open. And for that, there is a cheap and easy fix.


Again with the ND?

Yes. So the camera has three stops of ND built-in. Which is awesome. And it's an actual, physical filter, too. And a good quality filter at that. But we can add more at the front of the lens. Don't need much, either, since we already have three stops. Two more stops as an aux-ND filter oughta do it:




This is a high-quality, 2-stop B+W ND filter. It's a good-quality filter, which is (fortunately) pretty cheap owing to its small, 49mm in size. So for an added ~$26, I can choose to use the two-stop filter, the built-in three-stop filter or combine them for a five-stop drop.

I don't have access to four-stops, but remember that is a global adjustment. So I can tweak that EV at my preferred f/2 aperture by adjusting the ISO by a stop.


Two Daylight-Dominating Kits

Needless to say, I am excited about what I can do with this camera in real daylight portrait situations. The limitation, as I see it, is the 35mm throw. I'll have to adjust to that field of view. And still, I'll likely have a second, traditional body with a 50 and a tele on set.

Having done a couple of quick tests, I can match sunlight in pretty close with a speedlight—even running it through an umbrella. So that's cool. A Fuji X100s and a speedlight kit is a great capability out of a super small kit. Adding a second speedlight allows me to gang them for one more stop of sunlight-killing power, or split them for a multitude of different looks.

Kick it up a notch with the X100s and a couple Einsteins, Photeks and a Vagabond battery, and I could dominate sun with a midday, 20-person group shot. Or, obviously, anything smaller than that. Like a single-person portrait, for instance.

Sorry to the uninterested for the windy, tech-heavy post. But long story short (and provided you are willing to learn the quirks and exposure limitations) this is an amazing capability out a small camera and a very portable piece of lighting kit.


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55 Comments:

Blogger Peter Tsai said...

Good read David, I've been getting excited to do the same thing with a new to me Sony rx1. I did some quick tests and it seemed to sync well at all speeds but I didn't check for flash vignetting at the highest most shutter speeds.

May 01, 2013 12:28 AM  
Blogger Omar Mohatarem said...

Good advice David on making the most of that leaf shutter.

BTW - do you not find some of the flash implementation in the X100S to be a bit half baked? Things like having to manually select external flash where every other camera works it out automatically? Also no rear sync, and no flash in continuous drive mode? These seem like arbitrary software limits and hopefully Fuji can resolve these with firmware updates.

May 01, 2013 12:59 AM  
Blogger djaef said...

Great post David. Lots to absorb there. What's a Photek by the way? Some sort of trigger? Google tells me he's a DJ ;)

May 01, 2013 1:19 AM  
Blogger Don Fitzsimmons said...

With each post, I want one more.

May 01, 2013 1:28 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Great post! The leaf shutter is a big reason why I decided to pick up the X100S. Were there any issues connecting the SB-800 to the camera, and are there any limitations in using the on-camera SB-800 to fire slave speedlights as opposed to radio triggers?

May 01, 2013 1:29 AM  
Blogger Adam M said...

Regarding the 1/1000s limitation at full aperture: Can you do it, and end up with a vignette? Or does the camera just say no?
If you can do it, does the vignette only apply to the flash-lit part of the frame? And how much of the frame is affected?

May 01, 2013 2:33 AM  
Blogger David Williams said...

Great post David. Since buying my x100s 5 weeks ago I've also been playing with the high speed flash, both internal and on the Yongnuo as the slave with the Wein Sync Link IR pulse. It works great, posted some samples at dwwphotography.blogspot.com.au, just search for it and have a look. I love your site and your video on the x100s settings. Regards, David

May 01, 2013 4:25 AM  
Blogger Lei Gong said...

I shot the X100s with a Profoto Acute pack and the Air sync module and there was no flash exposure past 1/1000s. Past 1/1000s, the flash just did not appear at all in the shot. I repeat the same thing with the SB-910 attached to the camera and also no flash exposure past 1/1000s.


My guess is the leaf shutter only operates up to 1/1000s. Anything faster than that, is another mechanism the camera uses to record higher speed. Which makes sense if think think about it. Medium format lenses only rate upto 1/1000s at the fastest leaf lenses. There's no way the X100S has a magical 1/4000s leaf shutter that's 2 stops faster than the $7000 lenses out there.

May 01, 2013 5:50 AM  
Blogger Good old Clive said...

A thoughtful, thought provoking post and a great read! I hadn't considered adding a further ND duh. I liked your Canon comment even as a Canon owner myself. I have a wedding gig in a couple of weeks, the X100 gets sneaked out more an more with time, still need a DSLR to keep the customers happy, that's all more or less. Happy days everyone.

May 01, 2013 5:57 AM  
Blogger Chris S. said...

OK, I guess I'm still missing just why I can't go past 1/1000s.
Here is a quick link to an image that I shot with my x100s. ISO200, 1/3200s, f/2, ND on. Einstein triggered with cybersync radio triggers.

Seems to be fully flashed to me. What am I missing?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t3hvdm1cfh09gng/flash.jpg

May 01, 2013 7:03 AM  
Blogger Scott Gant said...

I know it's asking a lot, but could you apply all that you gave us here into a demonstration video...to help with the slow-witted people such as myself?

Also, from what you've said elsewhere, you seem really set-against using Pocket Wizards with the X100s at higher sync speeds. Zack Arias indicates he can get up to 1/800th to sync rather well with Pocket Wizards. But regardless of that, have you had any problems with using flashes in slave mode with the X100s outside...in the bright sun?

And also, thanks for all the time and energy you've put into presenting this, as always.

May 01, 2013 7:19 AM  
Blogger Fr. T. said...

In your post you said about the group photo setup, "VAL'd, slaved SB-800". I've looked around, but am still stumped...what's "VAL'd"?

May 01, 2013 8:44 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Omar-

Yep, there are some hinky things with the flash implementation. And I do think some of them are addressable via firmware updates, and I have said as much.

May 01, 2013 9:45 AM  
Blogger Reche Rush said...

Voice Activated Lightstand...

May 01, 2013 9:47 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@djaef-

Welcome. A Photek is my most-used light softener. There are probably 50 posts about it on Strobist. This will get you started:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2011/06/gear-basics-choosing-and-using-soft.html

May 01, 2013 9:48 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Chris-

It will sync that high, but the shutter speed actually does not actually advance past f/2, no matter what the display said.

May 01, 2013 9:50 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@ Scott-

You're right. That is asking a lot.

As for PW vs a wire, there is always going to be some latency in a remote. Even a PW, which is faster than most. So a wire will get you higher up this balancing scale. Which is why Zack tops out at 1/800th with a PW.

Even a slave introduces a tiny amount of latency. Which jus goes to show you how this process is about shaving micro (not milli) seconds.

May 01, 2013 9:53 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Fr. T.-

Welcome to Strobist.

VAL: Voice-activated light stand. AKA, a person holding a flash. I am gonna make you look up "slaved," in the context of lighting, though. You can do it.

Teach a man to fish . . .

May 01, 2013 9:55 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Lei-

Your problem is likely in the Acutes. One of the reason they are the more affordable Profoto flashes has to do with their relatively slow t.1 times. They will be outside of the above 1/1000th envelope at most power settings. And the older the Acute model, the worse.

May 01, 2013 9:57 AM  
Blogger Chris S. said...

So it's still shooting at 1/1000s even if the exif is showing 1/3200s???

May 01, 2013 11:50 AM  
Blogger Kyle Schwab said...

Just curious... how do you deal with the built in flash triggering an off camera flash? It seems that it affects the exposure quite easily; it's very bright. Maybe this doesn't matter outdoors, but I couldn't avoid it indoors. Any thoughts on that?

May 01, 2013 12:31 PM  
Blogger Sean Luchterhand said...

@Lei

Keep in mind the leaf shutters in $7000 lenses have to cover a much larger area than the Fuji X100S's APS-C sensor size. If they had to implement a second, focal-plane shutter in the camera to get shutter speeds above 1/1000th of a second, I'm sure it would be mentioned in their advertising. Furthermore, the camera would probably have a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th instead of 1/4000th.

May 01, 2013 1:07 PM  
Blogger Ronald Sokoloff said...

I have been reading Strobist since around the time of second Boot Camp and was just beginning to think I have an inkling of how to plan a photo shoot when these last few X100 posts come up. My X100 is by my side every day and love it for indoor and close up work. So I was both excited and confused by the idea of having it as my only travel camera. A couple of questions.
1. Roughly how far away was the camera for the group photo?
2. If you could have borrowed a light stand and an umbrella would you have used them?
3. I am attending a family reunion this summer and anticipate indoor and outdoor individual and group photos. My plan was to bring a DSLR two light stands with umbrellas, a tripod, Justin clamps and 3 SB's. Assume I skip the DSLR and only bring the X100 what else would you bring to this event?

FWIW I backup to an iPAD and upload to Dropbox as a second backup each evening.

May 01, 2013 1:46 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hi. Thanks for the leg work and the very readable report. Nowhere do you mention the detail that ISO 100 isn't available on the x100s when shooting RAW. Do you in general not shoot raw? If so, I'd be interested to here more about your various picture settings in the camera when shooting with flash like this. Thanks!

May 01, 2013 1:49 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

As to the comment regarding the look of a larger chip, being able to shoot at f/2 does help get a softer background, but there's a tradeoff.

You have to be pretty close to the subject to get the shallow depth of field and that means perspective distortion with the wide lens. It's just not pleasing for tight portraits.

This is not even close to as nice looking as using something like a 100mm+ lens on 35mm or a 150mm+ lens on MF.

I would love an X100s with something like a 100mm+ lens. The 35mm is perfect for a lot of things but many portrait applications just don't work.

May 01, 2013 1:51 PM  
Blogger Ronald Sokoloff said...

Oops. Twenty feet camera-group distance. It's in your original post. My bad.

May 01, 2013 2:34 PM  
Blogger Anthony R said...

That's a wild ride your on Mr. Hobby. From FX to MF To APS ;) I'll have to pick up one of those Fuji's when I haven't chewed through my disposable income.

May 01, 2013 3:07 PM  
Blogger Eric Duminil said...

This is the best explanation I've found to the question "What happens at f/2 and 1/4000s with the X100(s)?" :
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmX100/17 (Large aperture / high shutter speed combinations in manual mode)

May 01, 2013 3:24 PM  
Blogger brett maxwell said...

now can you just imagine if they came out with an X100 with a portrait focal length, something 85-105mm equivalent?

i've been tempted by the Fuji X-mount cameras because i could get more focal lengths, but the lack of leaf shutter causes a lot of hesitation.

May 01, 2013 4:19 PM  
Blogger Matt Haines Photography said...

I'm going to have to stop reading your blog. Every post makes me want an X100s a little more....

May 01, 2013 5:12 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Chris-

It is more complicated than that. Check out the DPReview link in a comment below yours.

May 01, 2013 6:34 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Kyle-

I don't use the built-in flash when shooting OCF. I turn it off and sync from the hot shoe.

May 01, 2013 6:35 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Ronald-

1. You saw that and answered it below.
2. Prolly not, unless I had a big boom to get it right out front/over the group.
3. I am probably the wring person to ask that question to. I just went to PR for a week, then Cuba for a week and only took an X100s...

May 01, 2013 6:37 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@David-

Yep, I shoot jpegs. I tweak the camera enough to where they come out very much like I like them. See my video that I added to the Fuji X100s review post.

May 01, 2013 6:38 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Mike-

Indeed. I'd give my right arm for that.

May 01, 2013 6:38 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Matt-

Sorry!

May 01, 2013 6:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Arrgh David, stop making me want more gear! (or is it less gear? I'm so confused :-)

May 02, 2013 12:30 AM  
Blogger Christian Höfliger said...

As always David; great post! Many thanks, for Your deep plunge into these technical things. And not to forget, it's all for free!! Thats why a pro like me (more than 25y in business), love your blog. Actually, your blog has changed my way of working drastically (and b.t.w my back want's to say thank you too :)

Next week I have the possibility, to test the X100s, and I will keep your experiences in mind while shooting.

May 02, 2013 2:56 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Real measured T.1 time for the SB800 is and 1/1 is 1/320, it doesn't take long before you are losing more flash than ambient you are killing.

May 02, 2013 8:37 AM  
Blogger NYSTAN said...

DAVID- an older guy here....I could swear that the VIVITAR 283's, when powered down, using the add on manual power adapter (that you swapped out from the 'electronic eye-sensor) produced insanely short durations... 1/7500 and 1/10,000 etc, but damn it has been a while. I don't have an x100S. MY leafs are sitting in with my flat fields in a box marked SINAR....but am curious if this would in fact allow you to break the barrier in some new as yet unexplored way. With enough ND and slow (relatively) shutter speed with a super fast fill flash, you might be able to push the envelope. My camera tech who used to measure flash duration is long gone, in more ways than one. LOved reading your thorough explanation and this re adaptation of what was once, some years back, stock and trade information. Built in NDs? Nope! That was a long way off!! Thanks Again, Stan S, NYC

May 02, 2013 12:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

my Canon G1X can do that at 1/3 the price...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sundevilstormin/8640956797

great post, need to get me slide-rule out for some of the calcs...!

May 02, 2013 9:29 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

using my old school magic sync cam, I rarely go up to 1/800s as I may fire my sb900's at full. So mentally I just keep it at 1/500s so that I can easily fire at full without wasting light.

Now this is a real treat. I've been waiting for someone to have the guts to try the fuji's with flash. Theoretically, it can sync, but I really can't confirm by going to forums as there is quite a few people that is knowledgeable enough to do the tests.

In a single article, david closed all of my outstanding issues with the fuji's. Physical ND (thought it was electronic), and flash photog.

Now I'm gonna tape 1/4th CTO on that little built in flash to balance. Yes, I'm the kind of guy that always have gels on the flash.

Sadly though, I'll lose the convenience of nikon's CLS/AWL. The fuji with Buff's cyber commander with the einstein's will be a great combo.

Many thanks David... as usual, great post.

May 02, 2013 10:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i feel like the dyslectic agnostic with insomnia who lay awake all night wondering if there really was a dog. I'll settle for being a sceptical iconoclast if that is permitted under the rules.
Fuji is great innovative company that also makes superb glass but I think we have been gamed by their marketing arm. If the x100had been introduced with interchangeable lenses there would have been little to do other than tweak the firmware and upgrade the sensor and there would never have been an 'X' line. Instead we have three cameras offering variations on the above theme and each lacking something the other two have. This has produced and industry of forums and bloggers advising us which one we should have for our needs and a number of pro's telling us that a fixed 35mm equivalent lens is all anyone ever needed plus examples such as the above post. The great photographers of the past used these lenses because they were all that was available and quickly added cameras and lenses as things progressed. When zoomable lenses arrived they embraced those also. This fad for the fixed lens will pass as well but it is a little dishonest in the ase of some pro's who boast of the X100s or similar as their main camera while using medium format for their commercial work.
BTW: any good dslr (including Canon) will deliver HSS. GC.

May 03, 2013 11:11 AM  
Blogger Don Boys said...

David,

Is there anything in this post that the x100 would not be able to do. I understand smaller files and a different sensor, but I think the x100 has all the required freatures.

Don

May 03, 2013 11:51 AM  
Blogger Neil Benda said...

I guess David has no love for all his D70seses anymore.

May 12, 2013 7:58 AM  
Blogger Olivier Besner Morin said...

@Unknown

He's not saying it's all you'll ever need, he's saying it's his travel camera.

Are you surprised he didn't bring a phase one to Cuba?

May 13, 2013 7:30 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 22, 2013 10:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 23, 2013 10:20 AM  
Blogger shane said...

Hello David,
Thanks for the great blog, just picked up a x110s, very happy with it. Couple of things though, I put a heliopan 49mm filter on, and I cant focus closely without hitting the filter, have you had this issue? As well you mentioned wanting to trigger ext flashes optically from the built in flash. I have found this works fine with the flash in commander mode. Have you had any success with that?
thanks,
Shane

June 14, 2013 11:59 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@Shane-

I have not made use of the flash in commander mode yet (that's for TTL). But as for the filter, you have it on backwards. You need an adapter ring (comes with Fuji or 3rd party shade) to use a filter. You just mounted it backwards w/o the adapter ring, thus the problem.

June 15, 2013 12:52 AM  
Blogger shane said...

Thanks David, I ordered the third party shade and adapter. The commander mode fires my speedlights no problem, no TTL. Just set my lumopro up and the commander flash is perfect....thanks for all the great advice and tips you provide....

June 15, 2013 1:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

X100S & Canon 580 EXII

I have a Vello (B&H) hotshoe cord and also a Yongnuo 602 (transmitter & receiver).
Are both safe to use for the Fuji's electronics?
I bought them to use with a Canon 5D2
Thanks

July 11, 2013 2:43 PM  
Blogger Matt Eigenberg said...

I know this thread is a little old but it's one that I think is of great interest to strobists. I admittedly haven't relied too heavily on my speedlights as main lights. I tend to have fairly high key shots while in open areas. I try and salvage the backgrounds the best I can while popping some fill light at my subjects with a 24" softbox at close range.

I have a pair of 5D2's that I've been shooting and as much as I love them, the 1/200 sync (arguably 1/160) is a huge limitation to somebody interested in strobist photography. I was considering trying some old inexpensive x3200 WLs to try and blast enough light (with ND filter and stopping down a bit) but your article has put me on a new track that I'm pretty pleased about.

I have a wedding coming up in the spring that's on a golf course with no trees close by and no cover (why, I couldn't tell you... not my choice to make I guess). Anyway, I also did some of the engagement pictures on that same course mid-summer and while I pulled it off, I was less than thrilled with the results (luckily, the clients appeared to love them). I've been stressing over how I'm going to be able to do this with an entire wedding party. I can't just put a softbox in their face like I can with 2 people. After reading this, I was able to justify my purchase of a new camera that I've been craving anyway. I'd love to have an x100s but found a perfect and very inexpensive x100 with firmware 2.0 and a serial number that is outside of the dreaded sticky aperture problem (doesn't perform like the "s" but still made it a great little camera). I've done a little experimenting with a couple of 580exII's and phottix atlas IIs and can easily sync 1/1000 (1/2000 when I stop down a little). I might sell my b1600s and pick up a set of e640s (and a vagabond lithium)for the fast t1 time. This has added a lot of options (and fun)to my photography.

Thanks for the great info.

November 18, 2013 11:06 AM  
Blogger Matt Eigenberg said...

I know this thread is a little old but it's one that I think is of great interest to strobists. I admittedly haven't relied too heavily on my speedlights as main lights. I tend to have fairly high key shots while in open areas. I try and salvage the backgrounds the best I can while popping some fill light at my subjects with a 24" softbox at close range.

I have a pair of 5D2's that I've been shooting and as much as I love them, the 1/200 sync (arguably 1/160) is a huge limitation to somebody interested in strobist photography. I was considering trying some old inexpensive x3200 WLs to try and blast enough light (with ND filter and stopping down a bit) but your article has put me on a new track that I'm pretty pleased about.

I have a wedding coming up in the spring that's on a golf course with no trees close by and no cover (why, I couldn't tell you... not my choice to make I guess). Anyway, I also did some of the engagement pictures on that same course mid-summer and while I pulled it off, I was less than thrilled with the results (luckily, the clients appeared to love them). I've been stressing over how I'm going to be able to do this with an entire wedding party. I can't just put a softbox in their face like I can with 2 people. After reading this, I was able to justify my purchase of a new camera that I've been craving anyway. I'd love to have an x100s but found a perfect and very inexpensive x100 with firmware 2.0 and a serial number that is outside of the dreaded sticky aperture problem (doesn't perform like the "s" but still made it a great little camera). I've done a little experimenting with a couple of 580exII's and phottix atlas IIs and can easily sync 1/1000 (1/2000 when I stop down a little). I might sell my b1600s and pick up a set of e640s (and a vagabond lithium)for the fast t1 time. This has added a lot of options (and fun)to my photography.

Thanks for the great info.

November 18, 2013 11:08 AM  
Blogger Tony Pearce said...

@David

I have been experimenting with manual hi speed sync - manual flash (Sunpak) mounted on camera and LumoPro off camera fired as optical slave. The camera will only autofocus in shutter priority mode i.e if I go manual and select 1/1000 & 2.0, the camera won't focus. If I however select shutter priority and select 1/1000, the camera will select 2.0 and the camera will focus. Exposure is the same in both cases.

Manual focussing in M won't work as the ambient killing exposure renders the screen too dark to focus peak.

Am I missing something?

January 01, 2014 6:44 PM  

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