Speedlites - How many are enough?

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
528
5
St. Paul, MN
Four Yongnuo YN565EXII speedlites and five Yongnuo YN-622C remotes. Maybe more.

I typically use two 60" white umbrellas (45" for outdoor shoots) with two speedlites per umbrella. In most cases, this isn't essential, but the two speedlites allow for dialing down the power to get very short recycle times. I can shoot a manual burst of 2-3 shoots without delay.

I don't use ETTL with these speedlites. I prefer the consistency of shooting in full manual and don't always trust what my meter happens to be reading. Plus, these speedlites are great in manual mode, not so great in ETTL. If ETTL is high priority, then Canon flash is a must.

The YN-622Cs work quite well with the 5D3. One could get by with cheaper remotes from Yonguo, but I like using the 5D3 menu to control the power and zoom setting of each flash (or up to three groups of flashes). This is very handy. The built-in optical slave is another option, but I use these for fill flash with some outdoor shoots. It has become easier to simply use one remote per flash and not worry about whether the optical slave flash will see the master flash.

Another option is using 1-3 speedlites on it's little stand-alone foot shoe and place them on tables to bounce off the ceiling. This all depends upon the room.

If shooting with a backdrop, I also bring two Yonguo YN460-II with two more YN-622C remotes. I particularly like blowing out white backdrops, so these speedlites work well for this.
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,518
12
Halfrack said:
RLPhoto said:
Hyper sync - long duration flash over the entire curtain movement
True high sync speeds - standard sync method but @ above 1/250th. (Which is still the best and most efficient but expensive.)
HSS - pulsed flash over the duration of the curtain movement.

I think you misread my comment, all of these methods are ways of syncing at High speeds, hence HSS but the most true form is the traditional method and the others are a workaround.
There is nothing 'true' or 'high sync speed' when syncing above 1/250th or 1/180th or even 1/60th. HSS is syncing multiple bursts over a curtain movement - where the sync is with the slit being exposed is perfectly timed with the speedlites. Syncing with a Leaf shutter doesn't involve multiple bursts.

Syncing with a 'slow' strobe or speedlight where your shutter speed is faster than the lights t.1 time is just that, dealing with slow lights. The issue is that you're not going to get even exposure over the frame, let alone between shots.

Now, with all that said, with the faster studio lights, like Einsteins in the fast mode, or the Bron Move2 packs that'll do a 1/10,000 flash duration, you can 'sync' at 1/125th or even slower, and 'freeze' your subject with light. Then, all syncing at a faster speed does is allow you to kill the ambient light.
Which for most of my purposes is exactly what I'm setting out to do, such as with a portrait in full daylight, or balancing a portrait subject in open shade against full daylight, or a portrait in full daylight that will benefit from being shot wide-open. With my Einsteins fired with ODS adjusted Odins I get consistent, even exposures at shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, though usually don't need to go past 1/2000. The Godox Witstro is also clean, even and consistent.

Freezing action with flash is another technique skill-set altogether; both are entirely valid and useful.

Whether it's correctly called HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS or Crazy-Fast-Speedy-Sync is immaterial to me. When you understand the characteristics or shortcomings of your chosen method, it simply becomes another tool to expand your creative scope, limited only by your imagination.

-pw
 

Quasimodo

Easily intrigued :)
Feb 5, 2012
977
0
47
Oslo, Norway
www.500px.com
I ended up buying two more, thus giving me five. My thinking is that two will service as light for the backdrop, one light for each side, and sometimes one for front beauty dish. For HSS stuff I will try my way (and my friend who has two also, giving me the possibility to use 7 at once).

Thanks for your input :)
 

Ivan Muller

EOS RP
Oct 25, 2011
356
7
I have three Speedlights, 2x 430mk2's and 1x580mk2, plus two Yongnuo 580 equivalent manual backups. I use the three Speedlights with Hahnel ttl wireless triggers, they can also trigger the two manual flashes. I have stands and umbrella adapters for all of them.

For groups and portraits I usually only use one light with a huge 1.4m diameter translucent umbrella. Sometimes another speedlight for hairlight and another one for the backdrop. Depends on the look but I seldom use more than three/four lights.

Enclosed a kitchen shot I did last week using the three Canon speedlights, although I think for this shot I used only two.

Group photo was done using only one light plus umbrella.

I regularly shoot at 800 to 1600iso to give my speedlights some extra power... with the 6d FF these higher iso's pose no problem.

More of my images here at: http://www.ivanmullerphotography.com/
 

Attachments

jepabst

EOS T7i
Aug 28, 2013
91
0
Chicago, IL
www.pabstphoto.com
4 - this question in general cracks me up, who knows!? But I'll explain why I think it's 4 :) --- Complex lighting when required;

1 camera left
1 camera right
1 hair/rim

and a backup in case one breaks. Such nonsense I know. And for what it's worth, I have 3 Godox Ving, 2 Yongnuo and 1 Canon. --- so six :)
 

KitsVancouver

EOS 80D
Mar 29, 2012
113
0
I'm just an amateur photographer who mostly takes photos of my kids so I usually just have one 600EX on my camera. That said, I now have six 600EX and one ST-E3. I take a lot of photos at children parties and I like using low ISO speeds so I put stands everywhere. The place we usually have parties is very large so six lights is often not enough for those rare occasions.
 

Quasimodo

Easily intrigued :)
Feb 5, 2012
977
0
47
Oslo, Norway
www.500px.com
KitsVancouver said:
I'm just an amateur photographer who mostly takes photos of my kids so I usually just have one 600EX on my camera. That said, I now have six 600EX and one ST-E3. I take a lot of photos at children parties and I like using low ISO speeds so I put stands everywhere. The place we usually have parties is very large so six lights is often not enough for those rare occasions.
I would be scared that the kids would run into the lightstands... :) I have settled on 5 for now, but who knows. I am also so lucky that I have a close friend who has two more if I need to borrow, as he can borrow five of me.
 

winglet

EOS T7i
Jul 28, 2013
73
0
Taipei, Taiwan
jepabst said:
4 - this question in general cracks me up, who knows!? But I'll explain why I think it's 4 :) --- Complex lighting when required;

1 camera left
1 camera right
1 hair/rim

and a backup in case one breaks. Such nonsense I know. And for what it's worth, I have 3 Godox Ving, 2 Yongnuo and 1 Canon. --- so six :)

I would agree with this number (4). Besides the configuration described, I have also used 2 in stripboxes for "hatchet" lighting L/R, and 2 ganged in a Foursquare as the main light. But more than four, well, my hat is off to those willing to manage the darn AA's necessary!

An earlier post mentioned the Profoto B1 Air's, I also have two of those and they integrate well with the 600EX-RT's. In the studio I use the ST-E3 to trigger the Canon flashes and the optical slave to trigger the Profotos. Everything manual, of course. With the ST-E3 in the hotshoe and the Profoto Air Remote on a lanyard around my neck, I can tweak the power on any unit remotely, which saves a ton of time. Of course on location with other photographers with flash around, the optical slaves won't work but until now I've only used one system or the other for event stuff. I suppose I could use my (mostly dis-used now) PW Plus II's to trigger in that scenario but I haven't really had that situation.

I admit I am looking forward to testing the HSS capabilities of the Profotos when it is released.
 

wopbv4

EOS RP
Oct 5, 2011
210
0
Australia
skoobey said:
7-9 is all you'll ever need, but 1 is enough.
+1


Eight.

I use lastolite ezybox II softboxes.
Mainlight I use four speedlites, Fill light one, Rim/back light one, plus two for (white) background.

I know that most people think that four 600EX in main light is overkill, but I use the large 40" Octa and it gives me a lot of flexibility. The option to "tilt" one or more of the speedlites inside the softbox gives fantastic effects.
 
Feb 2, 2014
4
0
pwp said:
Halfrack said:
RLPhoto said:
Hyper sync - long duration flash over the entire curtain movement
True high sync speeds - standard sync method but @ above 1/250th. (Which is still the best and most efficient but expensive.)
HSS - pulsed flash over the duration of the curtain movement.

I think you misread my comment, all of these methods are ways of syncing at High speeds, hence HSS but the most true form is the traditional method and the others are a workaround.


There is nothing 'true' or 'high sync speed' when syncing above 1/250th or 1/180th or even 1/60th. HSS is syncing multiple bursts over a curtain movement - where the sync is with the slit being exposed is perfectly timed with the speedlites. Syncing with a Leaf shutter doesn't involve multiple bursts.

Syncing with a 'slow' strobe or speedlight where your shutter speed is faster than the lights t.1 time is just that, dealing with slow lights. The issue is that you're not going to get even exposure over the frame, let alone between shots.

Now, with all that said, with the faster studio lights, like Einsteins in the fast mode, or the Bron Move2 packs that'll do a 1/10,000 flash duration, you can 'sync' at 1/125th or even slower, and 'freeze' your subject with light. Then, all syncing at a faster speed does is allow you to kill the ambient light.
Which for most of my purposes is exactly what I'm setting out to do, such as with a portrait in full daylight, or balancing a portrait subject in open shade against full daylight, or a portrait in full daylight that will benefit from being shot wide-open. With my Einsteins fired with ODS adjusted Odins I get consistent, even exposures at shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, though usually don't need to go past 1/2000. The Godox Witstro is also clean, even and consistent.

Freezing action with flash is another technique skill-set altogether; both are entirely valid and useful.

Whether it's correctly called HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS or Crazy-Fast-Speedy-Sync is immaterial to me. When you understand the characteristics or shortcomings of your chosen method, it simply becomes another tool to expand your creative scope, limited only by your imagination.

-pw
+1
Freezing action is the most crucial and beneficial aspect of any of the "HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS" or whatever goofy acronym a company wants to utilize as a promotional tool. Yet no DSLR company has successfully addressed this to date with a camera that syncs at minimum of a 1/1000th of a second with any existing portable flash systems that actually has good light spread, powerful output (above 200w/s), and 1/2000+ t1 durations. And it seems like no other company has figured out a triggering system that works around that correctly and consistently to date. When a DSLR cam company produces a body capable of producing what I mentioned above, the holy grail of camera/ flash system compatibility will have been achieved for EVERYONE. One can only hope, though I'm not holding my breath... :)
 

DominoDude

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 7, 2013
960
0
::1
Not bringing anything serious to the table, but that is not stopping me.
If your subjects need to apply sun lotion before the shoot, and you tell them "-Say: 'Frizzle'"! then you probably have enough juice coming from your Speedlites.
 

JoFT

I do love photography
Nov 9, 2014
218
35
59
Germany
delightphoto.zenfolio.com
Honestly: I cannot understand why to buy a 600RT from Canon... It´s so expensive... I love the Yongnuo stuff. It´s cheap and the build quality is just great value for money... I started with a Canon 430 EX-II and first some Calumet triggers and The Genesis TTL-Flash... And than I added more speedlites, Manual Yongnuos with a price of 1/10 of an 600RT... I worked with that and today I have

2 Yongnuo 560II
4 Yongnuo 560III
2 Yongnuo 568 EXII
Totally 10 Speedlites
(And 4 Bowens 500R)

The question: what do you want to light. This defines the numbers of light you need. I typically can live with 4-5 Light sources if the amount of light needs do be more.

But before I put 2-3 600RT together on one light stand I would definitely by the Profoto B1 Location Kit...

And some more ideas: for a 2 light set up in TTL: I made some experiments here: http://www.zenfolio.com/zf/transfer/delightphoto/blog/2014/12/ttl-or-not-ttl-shooting-ttl-with-off-camera-flash
 

RLPhoto

Gear doesn't matter, Just a Matter of Convenience.
Mar 27, 2012
3,778
0
San Antonio, TX
www.Ramonlperez.com
Joe J said:
pwp said:
Halfrack said:
RLPhoto said:
Hyper sync - long duration flash over the entire curtain movement
True high sync speeds - standard sync method but @ above 1/250th. (Which is still the best and most efficient but expensive.)
HSS - pulsed flash over the duration of the curtain movement.

I think you misread my comment, all of these methods are ways of syncing at High speeds, hence HSS but the most true form is the traditional method and the others are a workaround.


There is nothing 'true' or 'high sync speed' when syncing above 1/250th or 1/180th or even 1/60th. HSS is syncing multiple bursts over a curtain movement - where the sync is with the slit being exposed is perfectly timed with the speedlites. Syncing with a Leaf shutter doesn't involve multiple bursts.

Syncing with a 'slow' strobe or speedlight where your shutter speed is faster than the lights t.1 time is just that, dealing with slow lights. The issue is that you're not going to get even exposure over the frame, let alone between shots.

Now, with all that said, with the faster studio lights, like Einsteins in the fast mode, or the Bron Move2 packs that'll do a 1/10,000 flash duration, you can 'sync' at 1/125th or even slower, and 'freeze' your subject with light. Then, all syncing at a faster speed does is allow you to kill the ambient light.
Which for most of my purposes is exactly what I'm setting out to do, such as with a portrait in full daylight, or balancing a portrait subject in open shade against full daylight, or a portrait in full daylight that will benefit from being shot wide-open. With my Einsteins fired with ODS adjusted Odins I get consistent, even exposures at shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, though usually don't need to go past 1/2000. The Godox Witstro is also clean, even and consistent.

Freezing action with flash is another technique skill-set altogether; both are entirely valid and useful.

Whether it's correctly called HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS or Crazy-Fast-Speedy-Sync is immaterial to me. When you understand the characteristics or shortcomings of your chosen method, it simply becomes another tool to expand your creative scope, limited only by your imagination.

-pw
+1
Freezing action is the most crucial and beneficial aspect of any of the "HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS" or whatever goofy acronym a company wants to utilize as a promotional tool. Yet no DSLR company has successfully addressed this to date with a camera that syncs at minimum of a 1/1000th of a second with any existing portable flash systems that actually has good light spread, powerful output (above 200w/s), and 1/2000+ t1 durations. And it seems like no other company has figured out a triggering system that works around that correctly and consistently to date. When a DSLR cam company produces a body capable of producing what I mentioned above, the holy grail of camera/ flash system compatibility will have been achieved for EVERYONE. One can only hope, though I'm not holding my breath... :)
Broncolor Scoro Packs + x100/Phase1 LS lenses. It's just really really really expensive.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,468
501
119
RLPhoto said:
Joe J said:
pwp said:
Halfrack said:
RLPhoto said:
Hyper sync - long duration flash over the entire curtain movement
True high sync speeds - standard sync method but @ above 1/250th. (Which is still the best and most efficient but expensive.)
HSS - pulsed flash over the duration of the curtain movement.

I think you misread my comment, all of these methods are ways of syncing at High speeds, hence HSS but the most true form is the traditional method and the others are a workaround.


There is nothing 'true' or 'high sync speed' when syncing above 1/250th or 1/180th or even 1/60th. HSS is syncing multiple bursts over a curtain movement - where the sync is with the slit being exposed is perfectly timed with the speedlites. Syncing with a Leaf shutter doesn't involve multiple bursts.

Syncing with a 'slow' strobe or speedlight where your shutter speed is faster than the lights t.1 time is just that, dealing with slow lights. The issue is that you're not going to get even exposure over the frame, let alone between shots.

Now, with all that said, with the faster studio lights, like Einsteins in the fast mode, or the Bron Move2 packs that'll do a 1/10,000 flash duration, you can 'sync' at 1/125th or even slower, and 'freeze' your subject with light. Then, all syncing at a faster speed does is allow you to kill the ambient light.
Which for most of my purposes is exactly what I'm setting out to do, such as with a portrait in full daylight, or balancing a portrait subject in open shade against full daylight, or a portrait in full daylight that will benefit from being shot wide-open. With my Einsteins fired with ODS adjusted Odins I get consistent, even exposures at shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, though usually don't need to go past 1/2000. The Godox Witstro is also clean, even and consistent.

Freezing action with flash is another technique skill-set altogether; both are entirely valid and useful.

Whether it's correctly called HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS or Crazy-Fast-Speedy-Sync is immaterial to me. When you understand the characteristics or shortcomings of your chosen method, it simply becomes another tool to expand your creative scope, limited only by your imagination.

-pw
+1
Freezing action is the most crucial and beneficial aspect of any of the "HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS" or whatever goofy acronym a company wants to utilize as a promotional tool. Yet no DSLR company has successfully addressed this to date with a camera that syncs at minimum of a 1/1000th of a second with any existing portable flash systems that actually has good light spread, powerful output (above 200w/s), and 1/2000+ t1 durations. And it seems like no other company has figured out a triggering system that works around that correctly and consistently to date. When a DSLR cam company produces a body capable of producing what I mentioned above, the holy grail of camera/ flash system compatibility will have been achieved for EVERYONE. One can only hope, though I'm not holding my breath... :)
Broncolor Scoro Packs + x100/Phase1 LS lenses. It's just really really really expensive.
You keep posting that, the Scoro 3200 has a full power t1 time of 1/285 sec, the 1600 has a t1 time at full power of 1/535, indeed its lowest power setting, that won't overpower anything but the dimmest ambient, is only 1/10,000 sec and that doesn't make it any better than an Einstein at 1/13,000 sec at lowest power. The problem of fast high powered flash is as much flash discharge time as anything else.

The only way to achieve true high shutter speed sync and flash power is to use electronic shutters and multiple flash heads used at low power.
 

RLPhoto

Gear doesn't matter, Just a Matter of Convenience.
Mar 27, 2012
3,778
0
San Antonio, TX
www.Ramonlperez.com
privatebydesign said:
RLPhoto said:
Joe J said:
pwp said:
Halfrack said:
RLPhoto said:
Hyper sync - long duration flash over the entire curtain movement
True high sync speeds - standard sync method but @ above 1/250th. (Which is still the best and most efficient but expensive.)
HSS - pulsed flash over the duration of the curtain movement.

I think you misread my comment, all of these methods are ways of syncing at High speeds, hence HSS but the most true form is the traditional method and the others are a workaround.


There is nothing 'true' or 'high sync speed' when syncing above 1/250th or 1/180th or even 1/60th. HSS is syncing multiple bursts over a curtain movement - where the sync is with the slit being exposed is perfectly timed with the speedlites. Syncing with a Leaf shutter doesn't involve multiple bursts.

Syncing with a 'slow' strobe or speedlight where your shutter speed is faster than the lights t.1 time is just that, dealing with slow lights. The issue is that you're not going to get even exposure over the frame, let alone between shots.

Now, with all that said, with the faster studio lights, like Einsteins in the fast mode, or the Bron Move2 packs that'll do a 1/10,000 flash duration, you can 'sync' at 1/125th or even slower, and 'freeze' your subject with light. Then, all syncing at a faster speed does is allow you to kill the ambient light.
Which for most of my purposes is exactly what I'm setting out to do, such as with a portrait in full daylight, or balancing a portrait subject in open shade against full daylight, or a portrait in full daylight that will benefit from being shot wide-open. With my Einsteins fired with ODS adjusted Odins I get consistent, even exposures at shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000, though usually don't need to go past 1/2000. The Godox Witstro is also clean, even and consistent.

Freezing action with flash is another technique skill-set altogether; both are entirely valid and useful.

Whether it's correctly called HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS or Crazy-Fast-Speedy-Sync is immaterial to me. When you understand the characteristics or shortcomings of your chosen method, it simply becomes another tool to expand your creative scope, limited only by your imagination.

-pw
+1
Freezing action is the most crucial and beneficial aspect of any of the "HyperSync, High Speed Sync or HSS" or whatever goofy acronym a company wants to utilize as a promotional tool. Yet no DSLR company has successfully addressed this to date with a camera that syncs at minimum of a 1/1000th of a second with any existing portable flash systems that actually has good light spread, powerful output (above 200w/s), and 1/2000+ t1 durations. And it seems like no other company has figured out a triggering system that works around that correctly and consistently to date. When a DSLR cam company produces a body capable of producing what I mentioned above, the holy grail of camera/ flash system compatibility will have been achieved for EVERYONE. One can only hope, though I'm not holding my breath... :)
Broncolor Scoro Packs + x100/Phase1 LS lenses. It's just really really really expensive.
You keep posting that, the Scoro 3200 has a full power t1 time of 1/285 sec, the 1600 has a t1 time at full power of 1/535, indeed its lowest power setting, that won't overpower anything but the dimmest ambient, is only 1/10,000 sec and that doesn't make it any better than an Einstein at 1/13,000 sec at lowest power. The problem of fast high powered flash is as much flash discharge time as anything else.

The only way to achieve true high shutter speed sync and flash power is to use electronic shutters and multiple flash heads used at low power.
I don't think you read what I was responding to. You should really read before you post.

He mentioned a camera syncing @ 1/1000th and the flash putting out a 1/2000th duration at or above 200 w/s. Which is quite easily done with a scoro pack.
 

Lawliet

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 18, 2010
549
0
privatebydesign said:
indeed its lowest power setting, that won't overpower anything but the dimmest ambient, is only 1/10,000 sec and that doesn't make it any better than an Einstein at 1/13,000 sec at lowest power. The problem of fast high powered flash is as much flash discharge time as anything else.
Be careful with that equivalency - the Scoro/Move(/Siros S) still run in ectc, even in speed mode.
OTOH it's hard to find a trigger that's fast enough to get one of those packs to be the limiting factor.

For those who don't want to go the LS route there is at least a half way solution - the D8x0 in crop mode syncs almost as fast as the HBlad leaf shutters w/o introducing noticeable black bands.