Can I increase the flash sync speed?


Link Posted 13/05/2013 - 20:28
Hi Folks, I have a K-30 and a AF200fg flash and a Yongnuo 560 II speedlight. I'd like to be able to take pictures at speeds above 180/1
but it I use the pop up flash as a master and the speedlight as a slave I'm still restricted to 180/1 and it's the same with radio controllers or hotshoe cable. Is there a way of doing it?


Link Posted 13/05/2013 - 21:22
If you have a pentax 360 or 540 flashgun then these both have a High Speed Synchro function which enables flash to be used at shutter speeds of faster than 1/180th. I think one of the current sigma flashguns does too. Not sure that it is possible with the on-board flash or the pentax 200 flashgun, although someone on here will know better than I

Mat W

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Link Posted 13/05/2013 - 21:41
Hi Mat W, Thanks for that, I watched a Youtube video with Gary Fong showing how to use those two flashguns in wireless mode, but they are just a bit pricey for me. Like you say I'm hoping someone on here has a idea.



Link Posted 14/05/2013 - 02:22
There are not too many reasons why you could need a sync speed faster than 1/180th. sec. Maybe if you tell us what you have in mind, someone will give you an alternate way to do it.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)


Link Posted 14/05/2013 - 06:59
The camera shutter determines the flash sync speed and really has nothing to do with the actual flash speed which could be as short as 1/20000 or something.
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Link Posted 14/05/2013 - 09:25
gartmore wrote:
The camera shutter determines the flash sync speed and really has nothing to do with the actual flash speed which could be as short as 1/20000 or something.

Indeed, the sync speed is the fastest speed at which the shutter is fully open, at shutter speeds faster than this the second curtain starts travelling before the first curtain has reached the end of the frame. Firing the flash at any point with such an arrangement will only illuminate part of the sensor. (Google focal plane shutters, and you should find much clearer explainations)

Those flashes that offer a higher sync speed use multiple flashes to cover the entire frame. It could be if photographing high speed action that this will give multiple images each 1/1000s appart.

In normal flash photography the duration of the flash is effectively the duration of the photo, though fill-in flash & second curtain work also use light recorded from outside the flash duration, with the balancing done by shutter speed.
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Link Posted 14/05/2013 - 10:32
With other brands, you can stretch the sync speed a bit as long as you are aware of the limitations and effects of doing such a thing (ie. the black bar on one edge due to the way faster-than-sync-speed is achieved).

Sadly, Pentax disables the hotshoe and PC-Sync port, if you have one).
Only PTTL compatible flashes with HighSpeedSync will allow this to work on Pentax work -- but then the reduced output is also quite a limiting factor.

Luckily the actual need for higher sync speed is actually a pretty niche requirement.
You can often get away without it. As others have requested, let us know what it is you're trying to achieve and we might have workable solutions.


Link Posted 15/05/2013 - 21:09
Hi Guys, thanks for your comments. Some of them are a little too complex for my tiny camera brain. I had a Panasonic before my Pentax K-30 and it was excellent with the flash off camera and very fast and I was able to take great shots of water drops. I know a lot of this kind of photography is to do with the power of the flash but I find with my Pentax a get a lot of blur on the drops even at 1/64 flash power. This is the main reason I want a faster shutter speed.


Link Posted 15/05/2013 - 23:19
You want a shorter flash duration, not a faster shutter speed. The exposure is dependent on the flash output. Studio flash tends to have relatively long bursts of light, maybe 1/1000s, but a small off camera flash might deliver 1/10,000s.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 00:36
Ralphpiano wrote:
but I find with my Pentax a get a lot of blur on the drops even at 1/64 flash power.

Use a small aperture, dim the room as much as practically possible, and use the flash for the given aperture. That way, you should be able to get perfectly frozen water drops.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)

George Lazarette

Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 00:45
The main reason for wanting to sync at a higher speed is when you are using fill-in flash when there is plenty of ambient light, which necessitates a highish shutter speed.

As Pentaxian says, in this case you need to reduce the ambient light, and light the picture with one or more flashguns. The effective shutter speed will then be the duration of the flash, not the actual shutter speed.

Turn the ISO down as low as it will go.

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Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 09:11
the method i used was to set up the water and camera ,start the water dripping hold a pencil tip at the point the drips hit and manual focus on that. flash was on remote cable facing to coloured card background cannot remember the output level it was set at but it was quite low. once this was done turned the lights out so thr room was completely dark, fired off batches of 10 and then checked to see what i had. a bit hit and miss but cheaper than buying loads of valves and timing equipment.
was quite pleased with this, colour added in ps

sigma 105 macro,f10 1/8s according to exif
K3 II and the odd lens or 2



Link Posted 16/05/2013 - 11:42
The onboard flash doesn't support High Speed Synch (HSS) but the AF360FGZ and AF540FGZ flashes do, such that you can set the shutter speed to any setting available on the camera, even 1/8000th.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
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