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Author Topic: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync  (Read 4903 times)

K3nt

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Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« on: March 26, 2013, 04:32:04 AM »
Hello all,

Since googling seems not to turn up any understandable results I decided to ask if any one here who could shed some light on the issue (pun intended. :))

I have been narrowing my options down to getting either the 500BRXi kit (500/500w) or the Ranger Quadra RX setup. However, they all say they can do flash durations down to 1/6000th of a second (give or take) but flash sync speed is only 1/250th of a second.
Speedlites can do HSS easily, no problem, they emit several pulses as the shutter traverses across the sensor to light the whole thing. Fine and dandy, but apprently the Elinchrom's cannot do this.
I was thinking though, if I set the camera to 1/2000th of a second shutter speed, but the Elinchroms to output flash over 1/1000th of a second, shouldn't that cover the whole sensor and then some?

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Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« on: March 26, 2013, 04:32:04 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2013, 02:42:41 PM »
In theory, if the timing is optimal, then yes.  That's how the PocketWizard HyperSync works.  The timing will need to be tweaked for each camera/light combo, so your triggering system will need the capability to fine tune the timing.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 04:51:09 PM »
Out of curiosity...if you're using studio strobes, why do you care what your shutter speed is? Whenever I'm using strobes, I just set the shutter to 1/125 and forget about it. The strobes so overpower everything else -- that's the point of using them, after all -- that ambient exposure is irrelevant. And the flash duration is all that's necessary to stop motion.

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 05:14:44 PM »
Hello all,

Since googling seems not to turn up any understandable results I decided to ask if any one here who could shed some light on the issue (pun intended. :))

I have been narrowing my options down to getting either the 500BRXi kit (500/500w) or the Ranger Quadra RX setup. However, they all say they can do flash durations down to 1/6000th of a second (give or take) but flash sync speed is only 1/250th of a second.
Speedlites can do HSS easily, no problem, they emit several pulses as the shutter traverses across the sensor to light the whole thing. Fine and dandy, but apprently the Elinchrom's cannot do this.
I was thinking though, if I set the camera to 1/2000th of a second shutter speed, but the Elinchroms to output flash over 1/1000th of a second, shouldn't that cover the whole sensor and then some?

There are two issues at play here - the latency of your triggering system and the fact that your camera's shutter uses two curtains.  Up to the maximum sync speed, the entire sensor is exposed for the entire duration of the exposure.  Faster than that, the two shutter curtains form a "slit" which "travels" over the sensor - i.e. the entire area of the sensor is not exposed at once.  As a result, only a small area of the sensor will get exposed by a single burst of the flash.  Hence why HSS uses a burst of pulses.

On the other hand, to freeze motion with studio strobes, you mainly need to ensure that the ambient light is sufficiently low not to have an impact on the exposure, then you can leave the sensor exposed for longer, and the "real" exposure only happens when the strobes fire. - That is how most high speed flash photos - think of a bullet going through an apple etc. are taken - the shutter is left open, and the strobe is fired at precisely the right moment (using a trigger which senses the firing of a gun, for instance).
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 06:37:45 PM »
There are two issues at play here - the latency of your triggering system and the fact that your camera's shutter uses two curtains.  Up to the maximum sync speed, the entire sensor is exposed for the entire duration of the exposure.  Faster than that, the two shutter curtains form a "slit" which "travels" over the sensor - i.e. the entire area of the sensor is not exposed at once.  As a result, only a small area of the sensor will get exposed by a single burst of the flash.  Hence why HSS uses a burst of pulses.

True.  I missed that above, thinking 1/2000 s exposure.  But you're right, 1/2000 s is the instantaneous duration of the area between the curtains (the slit), and that slit takes much longer that 1/2000 s (and longer that 1/1000 s) to traverse the sensor.

The way monolights are used is taking advantage of the 'tail' of the flash duration.  The 'action mode' of the Einsteins purposefully extends that tail (at the cost of constant color temp).

Timing is still key.
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agierke

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 07:20:07 PM »
Out of curiosity...if you're using studio strobes, why do you care what your shutter speed is? Whenever I'm using strobes, I just set the shutter to 1/125 and forget about it. The strobes so overpower everything else -- that's the point of using them, after all -- that ambient exposure is irrelevant. And the flash duration is all that's necessary to stop motion.

Cheers,

b&

it would be so you could use strobes outside and still dial down ambient sunlight. it offers some dramatic lighting scenarios but you need a high speed sync to combat daylight. even 2000 w/s strobes benefit from some high speed sync to create more dramatic lighting scenarios.
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 08:37:35 PM »

Hello all,

Since googling seems not to turn up any understandable results I decided to ask if any one here who could shed some light on the issue (pun intended. :))

I have been narrowing my options down to getting either the 500BRXi kit (500/500w) or the Ranger Quadra RX setup. However, they all say they can do flash durations down to 1/6000th of a second (give or take) but flash sync speed is only 1/250th of a second.
Speedlites can do HSS easily, no problem, they emit several pulses as the shutter traverses across the sensor to light the whole thing. Fine and dandy, but apprently the Elinchrom's cannot do this.
I was thinking though, if I set the camera to 1/2000th of a second shutter speed, but the Elinchroms to output flash over 1/1000th of a second, shouldn't that cover the whole sensor and then some?



Theres a big difference in the 500 BXRis and the Quadra, the BXRI fastest flash duration is 1/1558th of a second at full power, and the Quadra depends on the head used S or A(action , faster) plus which output or combination you use from the quadras A+ or B outputs.. Flash duration at t 0,5, Ranger Quadra-S Flashhead .

Outlet A (100%) 1/1300
Outlet B (33%) 1/3200
Outlet A+B (100%) 1/1800

Flash duration at t 0,5, Ranger Q-A Flashhead
Outlet A (100%) 1/3000
Outlet B (33%) 1/6000
Outlet A+B (100%) 1/4000

I know this because I use Elinchroms RX style 600 which are similar to the 500BXRIs but slightly faster flash duration and Quadra kit with A heads.

And as Neuroanatomist and Trumpet power and Agierke have correctly pointed out it actually down to a combination of factors,  sync speed, triggers latency if applicable and even taking ambient light into account.

If you are solely after studio lighting flexibilty with action stopping results the Quadra with A heads can work quite well, but the BXRIs will not, poss if you catch someone mid jump or something but not something like a water ballon bursting.

Einstiens should do but at minimum power and speedlights on HSS or minimum power should do also, and thats assuming you arent taking any ambient light into the equation, which may start to involve shutter speed too.. as pure high speed photography is solely about the flash duration and the sharpness of the flash spike. Flashes that have a longer burn and flash tail wont be able to freeze action.

But there's a but, hypersync an option on some cameras with pocket wizzards but not currently on 5D III. Theory is the flash is triggered earlier to fire the main stongest part of the flash first then the flatter mid section of output and the beginning of the tail is used for the main exposure, treating the flash light like a constant source when shutter is normally set to 1/1000 + . but this technique can be a bit hit and miss.  And confusingly to do this better, its actually  flashes with a longer flash duration that are needed. BXRIs may even be too quick. So it kinda leaves them in a middle ground as they would prob freeze models moving slowly say in a fashion shoot or lifestyle acting but not fast action.

It can be a tricky techy thing to understand shutter speed vs flash duration vs type of flash duration output curve and then add situations where ambient light comes into it and it get tricky. And then which camera too comes into the equation for the flash sync speed or effectiveness or hyersync if used ( Nikons are a lot better at the current moment or with MFDB you can sync up to 1/800 or even 1/1600 in some cases.

What I will say is the Quadras are very good but can take a bit of work to get really good results. The Einstiens may be better all round if you wont need much power when needing a fast flash duration ( and if you dont need location battery power).. they will go up to 1/10,000 at 128th power I think but this may only twice that of a speedlight, whereas the Quadras will do a reasonable 1/3000 or 1/4000 at full power on 400ws and 1/6000 at 100ws on the B channel thats 1/3rd of the power.

If you dont want to have to start understanding flash output and shutter theory just yet then speedlights will be the quickest option. But I would rather have the light modifying tools and the look n feel of studio flash over speedlights.

What type of things do you want or need to shoot with the lights and in what scenarios?, purely studio using only flash lighting or outdoors trying to freeze action or maybe on location and with often using ambient with flash or sometimes mainly only flash for the lighting? I really does depend on what you want them to do in a given scenario and the result that you are after. Thats why I needed the flexibility of both, plus sometimes use speedlights too.

Hope this helps, I can be a flash geek when needed  ;)  as use it a lot and have had to run through many scenarios to find what works the best in certain situations.


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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 08:37:35 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 09:10:50 PM »
i use phottix odins and Elinchrom monolights, combined they can get right out to 1/8000 sec
its not a lidted function on the odins but it just works also i have just discovered that the stratto 2 recievers also work and even better 1 reciever can fire to lights with a 3.5mm audio splitter cable! makes it much cheaper :)
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 10:27:16 PM »
i use phottix odins and Elinchrom monolights, combined they can get right out to 1/8000 sec
its not a lidted function on the odins but it just works also i have just discovered that the stratto 2 recievers also work and even better 1 reciever can fire to lights with a 3.5mm audio splitter cable! makes it much cheaper :)

Thats cool Wombat, can you go into it in more detail, I thought it was just for speedlights. What flash heads are you using, are you using that to trigger speedlights which in turn triggers the monilights, And does it work at lower power settings better than higher ?

I tried some cheaper ones yongugo or something that have a dial to change the hypersync setting but it rarely works I think my RXs or too quick for it.

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 10:33:43 PM »
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906651-REG/elinchrom_el_20852kit_d_lite_rx_4_400w.html

these are my lights

I have access to RX heads too to test them out but just dont have time at the moment

its pretty simple really use the 3.5mm connector from the odin into the elinchrom
set HSS on the odin controller in Manual and it will let you dial in any shutter speed

i've also got a stratto 2 reciever that works for the manual elinchroms but i have had issues with it communicating after the system goes to sleep so i still have to work out exactly what is going on there
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 06:46:22 AM »
Thanks to everyone for your replies. Awesome stuff here.

I am looking to do mostly outdoor action stopping stuff and find I need a s**tload of speedlites if I ever want to get any decent results, and the modifiers intrigue me to get better light.

Some studio portrait work will be involved but less of that, and for that I know most any combo will do. It's the action stopping outdoorsy stuff that has me a bit puzzled.

Wombat: seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. You're not getting any of the funky dark lower or upper frame effects with that?
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 08:19:40 AM »
wombat,

 any chance you can post some shots demonstrating the capability of your setup? would be much appreciated!
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 01:17:22 PM »
Actually, I just realized something based on the cool things said earlier. Let's see if I got it right.

You're saying that my shutter speed doesn't really matter as long as the flash is powerful enough for a short amount of time?

So 1/250th shutter speed + 1/4000th flash duration of suitable power would actually freeze most anything. Is that right?

If so, I got no problems with getting any of the Elinchrom gear :)
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 01:17:22 PM »

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 03:27:52 PM »
Actually, I just realized something based on the cool things said earlier. Let's see if I got it right.

You're saying that my shutter speed doesn't really matter as long as the flash is powerful enough for a short amount of time?

So 1/250th shutter speed + 1/4000th flash duration of suitable power would actually freeze most anything. Is that right?

If so, I got no problems with getting any of the Elinchrom gear :)

The question, really, is what the ambient exposure is like.

In a studio, it's generally rather dark, only lit by the dim modeling lamps. And you're generally shooting at something like 1/250 @ f/11 @ ISO 100. That's your Sunny F/16 rule, or EV 15. (I generally shoot at 1/125 @ f/8, but the difference is inconsequential.) Without the flash, the space is much closer to EV 4. You brightest highlights are below Zone I, which is why it comes out pure black.

So, what happens is that your camera flips up the mirror and opens the shutter. When the shutter is fully open, it sends the signal to the flash to fire, waits a fraction of a second (if you're shooting below your sync speed, which you should be doing), and then starts to close the shutter.

The flash duration is typically very, very, very short. So your subject is only brightly illuminated for, in your example, 1/4000 second while the flash is firing, even though the shutter is open the whole time. The rest of the time, as far as your camera is concerned, the room is pitch black.

Now, take your same setup outside on a sunny day. The ambient light is basically the same as what the flash is delivering. Even without the flash, the scene is properly exposed; with the flash, you're now overexposed.

This is where things get interesting, and why people want high speed sync. You want to reduce ambient exposure because, for whatever reason, you want the scene lit with flash and you don't want the sunlight to be contributing to the exposure. That means you're looking to set your camera to expose in the range of EV 20 or even more, which is a bit insane. You could do that with 1/1000 @ f/22 @ ISO 50, but most flashes aren't going to sync that fast at full output, you're pretty far into diffraction territory, and digital cameras aren't actually capable of exposing at ISO 50, they just clip highlights a stop faster. Realistically, you're either looking at some very unusual high-speed sync setups or neutral density filters -- and most who do that sort of thing go with the much, much cheaper and easier-to-deal-with neutral density filters.

I guess the real question is what type of motion you're looking to stop and where.

If it's outdoor sports, you don't need flash. You've got all the light you need.

If it's anything indoor and you're lighting the scene entirely with flash, the flash duration will stop the motion regardless of shutter speed.

It's only some really weird and unusual situations where you need high-speed sync to stop motion, and, if you're really in such a situation, you should prepare yourself to get down and dirty with some custom solution.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 08:03:08 PM »
wombat,

 any chance you can post some shots demonstrating the capability of your setup? would be much appreciated!

yeah i have been meaning to do a tutorial on this since it does come up alot and it is an undocumented feature of the odins, so far i've only tried it with my elinchrom dlite-IT 400w heads
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Re: Elinchroms and High Speed Sync
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 08:03:08 PM »