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Author Topic: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?  (Read 14125 times)

dlleno

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 03:41:10 PM »
more power thats for sure :D 

yea the important thing to the outdoor strobist (who complains about fractions of an f/stop)  is balance of ambient and flash -- its a contest between the sun and the strobe.  Thats why an ISO boost doesn't help -- for every increase in ISO you have to reduce the aperture.  we want high shutter speeds and low apertures so that the strobe has a fighting chance against the sun.

good thing we arn't still at 60th or 125th sync :D :D

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 03:41:10 PM »

racgordon

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 03:52:07 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong....... (famous last words)

This is not necessarily something intrinsic to DSLRs but is a fundamental issue with a focal plane shutter, and applies to Digital or Film.

I will try and explain although a Google search (substitute your favorite search) will I am sure turn up a more lucid explanation.

Most handheld DSLRs (maybe with the exception of the Leica S) still use a focal plane shutter which allows light to hit the sensor by opening a (first) curtain, and then at the end of the exposure shutting a (second curtain).  Due to mechanichal factors (materials strength, inertia etc.) there is a maximum period of time when the WHOLE area of the imager is exposed to light at the same time.  Above that period of time (or shutter speed) the second curtain follows the first curtain so that (in effect) the light (of the exposure) scans across the imager.

Focal plane shutters that ran horizontally across the image plane (Leica M style) which used a treated cloth material for each shutter curtain were limited to a maximum synch speed of around 1/50 or 1/60 second.  I recall talking to Leica folks in the 80s when I was in the business and their view at the time was that that speed was the best trade off between consistent accuracy, durability, and quietness.  At the time Vertical run focal plane shutters (and remember because of the rectangular nature of the 35mm frame, the vertical shutter blades had 2/3 of the distance to travel) eventually crept up to 1/125 second and stayed there until the 90s when IIRC they hit about 1/200sec

The shortest amount of time when the WHOLE imager area can be exposed at once is therefore the highest flash synch speed. in the mid 80s some companies (Olympus comes to mind) came up with an innovative way to get around this by pulse firing a strobe (at obviously reduced power) so that strobe light would be evenly distributed across the film at higher shutter speeds than was normal at the time.

This limitation is one of the reasons why medium format camera systems (where the size of the shutter would be greater, and thus maximum synch speed lower) tended to use a leaf shutter.  The leaf shutter rather like the lens aperture has concentric blades and can close and open fully, thus at any speed you can always get flash synch (although I cannot recall ever seeing anything higher than 1/800 sec).

The advantage of the aster shutter speed beyond freezing action (or the inverse, preventing camera shake) was to control the amount of ambient light in the composition.  e.g. if you want to darken the background when using a strobe.

The whole point of this long winded explanation is that I suspect that since maximum sync speeds in focal plane shutters have not got much above 1/250 sec. in the last 20 years there is probably a major physical limitation to doing so.  I am willing to bet if camera company X came out with a camera that allowed the use of all strobes at 1/1000 sec just about every wedding photographer would buy it!

The question I have is if it is theoretically possible to do this  by using a slower shutter speed like 1/250 sec and "faking it" by taking a 1/1000 sec sample of the image created during the 1/250 second exposure.  I see that you would lose two stop of illumination overall but it appears that between 100 and 800 ISO most modern imagers have sufficient latitude?

Lastly, why, if you can get 1/250 on full frame can you not get higher on a crop sensor, surely the shutter run distance is shorter, and so the synch speed should be higher?

tome223

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2012, 04:19:44 PM »
Thanks everyone for the great input.  I love the 1/250th flas sync on my 60D and was shocked that the 5d mark ii and iii only have 1/200th despite the 5d mark iii being 2.5-3x the price.  And the D700 and D800 both have 1/250th.  I do notice a difference with max flash sync between 1/250th and say 1/180th - namely w/blurred waving hands.  my 60d + the pop up flash is always on 1/250th for indoor candids of my toddler.  One of the features I like the most on the 60d is the wireless trigger to the 430 ex ii....here's to hoping cano's future ff are 1/250th flasj sync or faster

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neuroanatomist

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2012, 04:35:43 PM »
here's to hoping cano's future ff are 1/250th flasj sync or faster

My 1D X has a 1/250 X-sync speed, as do the previous 1Ds bodies.  The 1D IV has 1/300 s.
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paulc

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2012, 04:35:55 PM »
Sync speed is important because lighting is a game of ratios.  Ambient is just another light to balance.

bbasiaga

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2012, 05:03:41 PM »
I suspect that design limitations are nearing regarding the shutter technology (as someone said above).  Add to that increasingly complex and capable speedlight systems that make HSS easier, and you get lack of attention to designing faster shutters. 

In one justification, the MFG can give you a 'cheaper camera' (with slower shutter xsync), and then charge only those who need higher speeds extra for their flash systems.  In another justification, they force you to pay extra to sync at 300 because they are greedy b*stards.

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2012, 05:26:15 PM »
I'd buy a FF EVF DSLR if it could allow for x-sync at 1/1000 or faster.

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2012, 05:26:15 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2012, 05:26:37 PM »
Thanks everyone for the great input.  I love the 1/250th flas sync on my 60D and was shocked that the 5d mark ii and iii only have 1/200th despite the 5d mark iii being 2.5-3x the price.  And the D700 and D800 both have 1/250th.  I do notice a difference with max flash sync between 1/250th and say 1/180th - namely w/blurred waving hands.  my 60d + the pop up flash is always on 1/250th for indoor candids of my toddler.  One of the features I like the most on the 60d is the wireless trigger to the 430 ex ii....here's to hoping cano's future ff are 1/250th flasj sync or faster

With the 5d2 (and 5d3 I believe) it's limited to 1/200 likely due more to use of similar level of shutter technology & specs, but having a physically larger area to transit across. Thus, having to slow it down. With the 1D series, as Neuro has said, has had 1/250 since it's probably the fastest they can make the shutter for a 35-mm FF without starting to get astronomically expensive (if it's even feasible), or switching to some other kind of shutter tech.
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cpsico

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2012, 06:07:19 PM »
I may be wrong, but with High Speed Sync on a flash, max sync shutter speed becomes less relevant.
Yes but with a penalty in maximum flash power, and you must buy an expensive flash capable of HSS

Drizzt321

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2012, 08:08:37 PM »
I may be wrong, but with High Speed Sync on a flash, max sync shutter speed becomes less relevant.
Yes but with a penalty in maximum flash power, and you must buy an expensive flash capable of HSS

And have several of them in order to makeup for the lost power, as well have one mounted on your camera or somewhat expensive to very expensive RF triggers which can do the wireless ETTL w/HSS.
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Hillsilly

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2012, 11:50:06 PM »
I wouldn't say they are getting worse.  Just not getting better.  For the better part of the last twenty years most mid range Canons have been around the 1/180 - 1/200s mark.  Less than 10 years ago, a lot of Canon bodies were still in the 1/90 - 1/125s range.  Unfortunately, it seems you can have a fast max shutter speed, or a fast sync speed, but you can't have both.  I might be sounding like a Canon apologist, but I prefer the option of a faster shutter speed on my DSLRs for action photos (if I want faster sync speed, I'll just use of my medium format cameras - but then I can't go out in the sun or I have to use very small apertures).  Now, where did Canon put that 1/8000s shutter speed....
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hyles

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2012, 02:10:07 AM »
When balancing ambient and flash light in low light, i usually use speed of 1/100, sometimes faster and with static subject even slower.
In low iso's bright light shot, even 1/250 is a slow speed if you don't want to use narrow f-stop. In this case i switch to HSS.
Although a shorter sinc speed would have been mutch better, i don't  see 1/180vs 1/200 to be a real problem .
As far as i remenber the only eosD to have 1/500 was the 1D with its fast 1/16000 shutter. But it used a CCD, so the faster sinc was obtained cutting power to the sensor instead of closing the shutter, this was (is?) not possible with cmos, this is why this feature was not present on other reflx.
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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2012, 02:55:53 AM »
This limitation is one of the reasons why medium format camera systems (where the size of the shutter would be greater, and thus maximum synch speed lower) tended to use a leaf shutter.  The leaf shutter rather like the lens aperture has concentric blades and can close and open fully, thus at any speed you can always get flash synch (although I cannot recall ever seeing anything higher than 1/800 sec).

I agree. Yet another reason shooting film is still relevant and vital. Not only can I sync a flash to 1/500, but I can even handhold a Bronica SQ-Ai at 1/15 and still get a sharp shot, too.

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2012, 02:55:53 AM »

racgordon

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2012, 11:09:09 PM »
Has anyone given any thought to my throwaway idea about "Faking" a fast synch speed by taking a 1/1000 sec sample of a 1/200 exposure.   Now granted it would do nothing for those using a strobe to fill in foreground illumination when shooting outdoors and other advanced fill flash work, but I could be an interesting tool for wedding/event photographers.

If you think about it it is sort of HDR in reverse, but for I think this would have to be something done within the camera and not something I think you can do post processing.

There might be other uses for this type of function, what we are doing is to take 4 samples of sensor output during a 1/200 second when flash us used (and 1/200 sec is the max synch speed).   I think that combining a number of "sub samples" like this of a series of shots might allow all sorts of interesting effects.

Does anyone have any opinions?

stewy

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2012, 10:05:16 AM »
It would be nice if at least Canon's 1D line supported 1/500 or 1/1000 sync speed. Its a noticeable difference in light intensity when going from full sync to high speed sync. Add a light modifier to soften the light and that makes things even worse.

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Re: Why are flash sync shutter speeds getting worse?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2012, 10:05:16 AM »