I have to admit one thing I was very excited to try with the Nikon D800 was using my Elinchrom Quadras and Pocket Wizard’s Hypersync. Why? Because with my D300s I can sync to 1/2000 using my Quadra with mininal clipping. Generally Hypersync works better with small sensor cameras like the D300s. Guess what…the 36MP full frame D800 syncs at even higher speeds!
I use my 400 watt Quadras a lot. They are perfect for remote outdoor shoots, pack plenty of power, and I can use the whole range of Elinchrom lighting accessories on shoots. Later this summer the Quadras will get a new lithium battery that will double the amount of full power shots, and reduce the weight more than a pound…these packs are a powerful, portable package.
Here is what I ran into the other day photographing a climbing friend, Melissa. I wanted to shoot a portrait of her, and my go to lens is the Nikon 85mm 1.4. I wanted to shoot at 1.4 for the selective focus, but needed to add flash to the image. Since the right shutter speed was 1/4000, normally I would be out of luck using strobe with a flash pack. But enter Pocket Wizard’s Hypersync. Using a MiniTT1 transmitter on my D800, and a FlexTT5 attached to my Quadra, Hypersync calibrates the shutter to trigger during the flash tail (after the peak burst) and allows faster sync speeds.
Pocket Wizard recently updated their firmware to 3.003, which automatically does the recalibrating of flash/shutter release for you…I just plugged both units in as described above, and started shooting…simple! I also set my flash duration to SLOW in the Hypersync utility. A few things should be noted. First, you need to use the slow ‘S’ heads with the Quadra to make this work. The ‘A’ heads are just too fast for Hypersync to do its magic. And as you use faster shutter speeds, you will start to get clipping (black bands from the shutter curtain blocking the light). But I found clipping minimal and only on the edges of the shot. If you shoot outdoors, this is often not even visible. And here is the best part using the D800 with Hypersync; since the D800 creates such huge files, I can easily crop the edges of an image and still have a 60MB file to use. This is gonna be fun! And remember, fast sync speeds will freeze the action with fill flash, allow use of wide open apertures for portraits, and help you darken midday skies…lots of ways to use this technique in your shooting!
We did shoot a few pics with slower speeds and smaller apertures…this image is 1/160 at F16. But with Hypersync, I can pretty much use any shutter speed I want with my D800 and Elinchrom Quadra.