Speedlites - How many are enough?

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,783
868
119
RLPhoto said:
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.
Not 'quite easily', in Optimal Mode the Scoro S will do 150Ws at 1/2,150 sec, but as Lawliet points out Speed and Min modes also do have colour control via ECTC, this can give you an extra stop, or 300Ws. However, a single PCB Einstein will do over 300Ws at less than 1/2,000 sec in Sport mode for 1/30 the price of just the Broncolor Pack, get two and you have temp consistency too.

There is no need to spend mega bucks to achieve that, but it is very very difficult to get much better flash performance than that for any money. Flash duration is the bigger problem here, very fast shutter sync would be comparatively easy for manufacturers to implement, heck Nikon did it very nicely for Strobists in the D70, you can true sync that via the PC socket at any speed, but, the illumination it gets is still limited by the flash duration times.

So, you could achieve "a camera syncing @ 1/1000th and the flash putting out a 1/2000th duration at or above 200 w/s" with a D70 and an Einstein, which would cost you less than the rental of a Broncolor kit for a shoot.

Leaf shutters are not the answer, they still have shutter petal travel times and at high speeds simply act as a second aperture, light gets through but it is vastly reduced, it is not the true shutter speed, and it determines your subject/flash illuminated dof.
 

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:
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.
Not 'quite easily', in Optimal Mode the Scoro S will do 150Ws at 1/2,150 sec, but as Lawliet points out Speed and Min modes also do have colour control via ECTC, this can give you an extra stop, or 300Ws. However, a single PCB Einstein will do over 300Ws at less than 1/2,000 sec in Sport mode for 1/30 the price of just the Broncolor Pack, get two and you have temp consistency too.

There is no need to spend mega bucks to achieve that, but it is very very difficult to get much better flash performance than that for any money. Flash duration is the bigger problem here, very fast shutter sync would be comparatively easy for manufacturers to implement, heck Nikon did it very nicely for Strobists in the D70, you can true sync that via the PC socket at any speed, but, the illumination it gets is still limited by the flash duration times.

So, you could achieve "a camera syncing @ 1/1000th and the flash putting out a 1/2000th duration at or above 200 w/s" with a D70 and an Einstein, which would cost you less than the rental of a Broncolor kit for a shoot.

Leaf shutters are not the answer, they still have shutter petal travel times and at high speeds simply act as a second aperture, light gets through but it is vastly reduced, it is not the true shutter speed, and it determines your subject/flash illuminated dof.
Again he mentioned a DSLR and regardless of what you call a leaf shutter, it syncs just fine at those speeds. Just like the x100s.

And thanks for pointing out why the Einstein because it just made my previous point better. But again, a scoro pack can and will do those speeds just fine with above 200w/s in duration priority.
 

Bernd FMC

EOS T7i
Apr 27, 2014
85
0
51
Germany
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
 

Quasimodo

Easily intrigued :)
Feb 5, 2012
977
0
47
Oslo, Norway
www.500px.com
Bernd FMC said:
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
Happy to hear :)

I did a photo-shoot this Christmas of a family of eleven. I did ok, but I am now wondering if I should add one or two :) Waiting for reliable reviews on the Youngno clone 600ex rt, as they are way cheaper :)
 
Sep 20, 2012
1,689
0
Houston, TX
Bernd FMC said:
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
Are you sure you don't need an ST-E3-RT to command these three, or maybe a higher power bare bulb flash in those instances where you need to overpower the sun (not trying to mean- this is the exact state I am in... :( )
 

Quasimodo

Easily intrigued :)
Feb 5, 2012
977
0
47
Oslo, Norway
www.500px.com
sagittariansrock said:
Bernd FMC said:
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
ST-E3 is great to have, giving you a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately (as has been my experience trying to use my speedlites on my analoge cameras) it will not work with other systems. Hence I needed to buy Pocket Wisards to trigger them on my analogue medium format camera, and then you of course loose ettl.
Are you sure you don't need an ST-E3-RT to command these three, or maybe a higher power bare bulb flash in those instances where you need to overpower the sun (not trying to mean- this is the exact state I am in... :( )
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,783
868
119
Quasimodo said:
sagittariansrock said:
Bernd FMC said:
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
Are you sure you don't need an ST-E3-RT to command these three, or maybe a higher power bare bulb flash in those instances where you need to overpower the sun (not trying to mean- this is the exact state I am in... :( )
ST-E3 is great to have, giving you a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately (as has been my experience trying to use my speedlites on my analoge cameras) it will not work with other systems. Hence I needed to buy Pocket Wisards to trigger them on my analogue medium format camera, and then you of course loose ettl.
Try the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, that triggers 600-EX-RT's fine on third party cameras but, as you say, you don't get ETTL. But seriously, how often do you need ETTL? Flash exposure isn't too difficult to get, especially with multiple remote flashes, even on comparatively dynamic subjects.
 

Bernd FMC

EOS T7i
Apr 27, 2014
85
0
51
Germany
sagittariansrock said:
Bernd FMC said:
Hello Speedlite Junkie´s ;D

Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.

2 Worked fine most of the Time, 3. is better for some additional Light´s .

Will mark my Group like Ramon .

Greetings

Bernd
Are you sure you don't need an ST-E3-RT to command these three, or maybe a higher power bare bulb flash in those instances where you need to overpower the sun (not trying to mean- this is the exact state I am in... :( )
I´ve got an ST-E3-RT a bit longer as my 3. 600EX-RT ;-)

Greetings Bernd
 

sulla

EOS RP
Dec 31, 2012
243
3
Austria
www.flickr.com
well, there never are enough flashes. I've got an ST-E3-RT transmitter and 2 600EX speedlites. Normally that is all I need for photography in the field. The E-TTL is great.

For a mobile studio-like setup I have another pair of 2 Yongnuo manual speedlites, I just did not want to spend too much on canon speedlites. For a studio-type-of-setup the manual flashes work fine. I use them as optical slaves and also the canon flashes in M-mode.

I could borrow a 430EX2 and a 580EX2 from a friend and, should that not be enough, also a Nikon 900 from another friend, but I have never needed to do so. I once nearly had a studio-project that required this (high speed photography), but it hasn't taken place, unfortunately...

So, I have already used 4 flashes...
 

Bernd FMC

EOS T7i
Apr 27, 2014
85
0
51
Germany
Bernd FMC said:
Now my amateur Setup ist complete with 3 600EX-RTs.
Correction - if ordered a 4th 600 EX-RT because the Version II is much more expensive and better only at refresh Time and overheating - that does not matter to me and so i have got 4 similar 600 + an 430 EX III.

Reason for the 4th ? - My Softbox is capable of using up to 4 Speedlites - and "full" the Light is evenly spread.

Also i am using Color Gels a bit more - so more Speedlites are more fun ( and better Images ? - we will see ) .

The RT System is working fine - simply using it without any Problems ( Speedlites not fixed by Canon for now because of the more than 7 Units Bug )

Greetings Bernd
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
3,964
1,525
Irving, Texas
pwp said:
davidson said:
I read Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook recently and he says, I believe, that he has 12 speedlites, and his mentor Joe Mcnally, has 17. You get when you need, I don't think there is such a thing as too many...
Can you imagine the attention to detail required setting up 12 let alone 17 Speedlights? And the lack of flexibility? For certain projects you'd certainly get a unique look.

For OP Quasimodo, of course it depends on the sort of projects you'll be taking on. A bunch of Speedlights might be perfect for your work. If you're not missing the Elinchroms, then maybe you don't need monos. If future projects require you do need monos again, Einsteins are worth a very close look. I have six of them plus a raft of accessories, modifiers, VML batteries etc. The PCB stuff is extraordinary value. http://paulcbuff.com/

For HSS work, at a pinch I can get the Einsteins to play ball triggering them with the almost mythical abilities of the Phottix Odin system and their ODS fine-tuning function. Only expect HSS/Einstein to work on full power (longest flash duration). More flexible for HSS, and maybe very useful for you, is the Godox Witstro 360, also triggered with Phottix Odin. There is a $25 eBay accessory that means you can use Bowens mount modifiers.
http://flashhavoc.com/godox-witstro-ad180-ad360-review/

With the Phottix Odins you can maximise HSS output with ODS fine tuning. Rather than going right into ODS here, check out:
http://flashhavoc.com/phottix-odin-ods-over-drive-sync/comment-page-1/#comment-19555

Phottix is doing great things right now. Their Mitros speedlight is getting a lot of attention as is their most recent announcement, the TTL & HSS capable Indra 500 http://flashhavoc.com/phottix-indra500-ttl-announced/

But how many speedlights are enough? For Joe Mcnally and his required team of lighting assistants, seventeen is good. For me it's two 600 EX-RT's plus the Godox Witstro 360. I'd say build up as projects demand and budget allows.

-pw
17 Canon 600EX-RT means either one on camera as the master and 15 lights (1 in the bull pen), or two in the bull pen if he's using an ST-E3-RT doesn't it?

I have 7x 600-EX-RT. I also got a Flashpoint Streaklight 360 (Same as Godox) with Cells II transmitters/recievers. If I could do it all over again I'd have just gotten 3 of the Streaklights. HSS is achieved through the Cells II at all flash power levels.

Haven't used any of my Canon flashes in a long time. :'(
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
3,964
1,525
Irving, Texas
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.
Wish I could spend a day with you to see how you set up around the room. I've often wondered how this would work. Do you just space them out around the room to light the whole place up evenly?

I've shot a few parties during the holidays in large rooms without flash. The rooms are usually fairly evenly lit with the room lights, but I still have to use slower shutter speeds and a fast lens (f/2.8).

Then again, I would worry that even the adults would mow down a couple of stands. Worse yet, get tripped up. I've got the Nano stands to do it, just not the courage. It would be great to be able to stick them all on the walls.

Sorry, hijacking.
 

arthurbikemad

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 19, 2015
451
18
UK
17 speedlights! Thats crazy! If powered by the internal AA batteries thats 68 AAs, plus a set of spares = 136 AAs hahaha, thats some charging!!! :S :D (17 8 cell chargers please Sir lol)

I have 4 in my bag (600EXRT1+ST-E3-RT triggers and a YN-E3 trigger for second curtain sync :S) and also have the ELB400 HS dual to go kit, plus a Skyport trigger for the 600's, you can hook up the Skyport to all four 600's via sync cables, use them this way for rim lighting etc, the ELB400s are great for me, tiny flash heads and pack down into my small backpack, Elinchrom Quadra Octa also packs down super small for location stuff, also easy to hold for hours if needed by an assistant. I also use Sekonic meter with skyport trigger to meter my lights, old fashioned way perhaps but I like to see ratios and percentage of ambient. :)

I love my speedlights but AA's do my nut in, lugging around 32 (16 spare) batteries is a pain! Plus 2 and spares for the ST-E3-RT! Also nothing recycles like a portable studio strobe, things have come a long way over the years, perhaps in time hotshoe speedlights will get smaller, more powerful and even have model lights for what they are I do feel 600EX-RTs are bulky.
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
3,964
1,525
Irving, Texas
arthurbikemad said:
17 speedlights! Thats crazy! If powered by the internal AA batteries thats 68 AAs, plus a set of spares = 136 AAs hahaha, thats some charging!!! :S :D (17 8 cell chargers please Sir lol)

I have 4 in my bag (600EXRT1+ST-E3-RT triggers and a YN-E3 trigger for second curtain sync :S) and also have the ELB400 HS dual to go kit, plus a Skyport trigger for the 600's, you can hook up the Skyport to all four 600's via sync cables, use them this way for rim lighting etc, the ELB400s are great for me, tiny flash heads and pack down into my small backpack, Elinchrom Quadra Octa also packs down super small for location stuff, also easy to hold for hours if needed by an assistant. I also use Sekonic meter with skyport trigger to meter my lights, old fashioned way perhaps but I like to see ratios and percentage of ambient. :)

I love my speedlights but AA's do my nut in, lugging around 32 (16 spare) batteries is a pain! Plus 2 and spares for the ST-E3-RT! Also nothing recycles like a portable studio strobe, things have come a long way over the years, perhaps in time hotshoe speedlights will get smaller, more powerful and even have model lights for what they are I do feel 600EX-RTs are bulky.
Exactly this. The AAs are heavy as heck!
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,470
708
We have a local Pawn Shop with a huge reader board.

It Says:

If you know how many guns you have, then you don't own enough!

I assume they are referring to flashguns, of course ;)
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
3,964
1,525
Irving, Texas
Mt Spokane Photography said:
We have a local Pawn Shop with a huge reader board.

It Says:

If you know how many guns you have, then you don't own enough!

I assume they are referring to flashguns, of course ;)
I put flash suppressors on mine to control the lighting. Mine only work manually. No auto. ;)
 

geekpower

EOS 80D
Feb 22, 2015
187
0
can anybody comment on the practicality of using multiple lights in amateur settings? not people coming to you for portraits, but you whipping out the camera and lights to take pics of family and friends. will they hold still long enough to get set up?
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,092
1,031
Alberta, Canada
Given the expertise evident in this thread I'm wondering if someone would offer a suggestion for my situation.

During short daylight winter days I like to shoot birds from a blind set up. Presently, I have only two 600 RTs one a foot or so off camera, cabled and one external where I perceive it is likely to provide fill or frontal lighting of the bird. Midday, fill works but a little later it tends to be all flash.

I was close to another used 600 but wouldn't pay the price he was asking. I've really wondered if I'd be OK with a transmitter and just the two flashes completely away from the camera. The third flash was to have been directed at background lighting of trees.

Go easy, I'm a beginner trying hard to learn. ;)

Jack
 

arthurbikemad

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 19, 2015
451
18
UK
Jack if you have 600RTs then a radio transmitter is a must have, the YN ST E3 is good value over the Canon and offers second curtain sync, so you could get motion blur leading to frozen images rather then the other way round, if you wanted to expose for the ambient light then shutter speeds can still be an issue when light is low, if you want fill in brighter light and shutter speeds higher than 1/250 (on your 1DX2) then you can use HSS with the 600s but power is reduced, setting up the lights where they will give fill flash and get the shot is down to planning your birds, lights and feeders, tricky, one guy of late spent years waiting for two kingfishers to land in a river/branch with a fish and pass it to the another bird, he used two speedlights, remote shutter and so on. Also don't forget you can use the speedlight to freeze the action, but consideration for ambient light is needed as moto blur can still be an issue. My advise is limited and if anyone want to correct me should my advise be poor please do, many on here are far more experienced than me.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,092
1,031
Alberta, Canada
Thanks Arthur,

I did want advice regarding whether to get the YN ST E3. I've spent so much of late I fear asking my dear wife for more even though she generally says yes. ;)

That would give me more flexibility with the two flashes. I'm still wondering if 3 would be more ideal relative to background, which preferably would not have that black look of a single camera flash. I'm talking about shooting out of an opening in the roof of a shed so it is challenging to position the flashes but I have some extendable jigs set up. I have various props - generally stumps or tree branches and the birds like the area since there are some nice big trees.

I have used HSS with success and I guess the biggest frustration is not having multi-fps. I've posted this shot before but you may not have seen it, it's with fill flash and illustrates the landscape I've got.

On the shed, If you look closely you'll see the camera on a gimbal facing out the opposite direction. The door on the right is another option for shooting. I have one way mirror for viewing ease

Jack
 

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