If you are an action shooter like me, then you need to shoot at fast shutter speeds..1/1000 or faster to capture the action. But using flash at this speed required high speed sync, which in turn meant using multiple speedlights to get enough power to illuminate the subject. Speedlights work well, and have some advantages in their small size and portability. But what if weight isn’t a real problem, you just want lots of high speed sync power in a studio pack.
I’m happy to report if you are an Elinchrom user this ability has arrived via the PocketWizard Hypersync technology. I had heard Dave Black showed some amazing images using this technology at Photoshop World (take a look at his site, incredible work), and my friend Mark Astmann at Manfrotto kept reporting you could shoot at 1/1000 or faster using Hypersync. He was right.
To work with the Ranger, you need three parts..the PockeWizard Power ST4 receiver, the Flex TT5 or MiniTT1 and the EL-19374 Skyport Transceiver adapter (to connect the ST4 into the Ranger). Next, you will need to download the PocketWizard Utility at the Pocket Wizard website.
Here is where the fun begins. You start by calibrating your MiniTT1 transmitter by shooting a full power flash burst at a white wall. When you see clipping occurring, either a dark band at the top or bottom, you have gone past your maximum shutter sync speed. You then keep calibrating the transmitter to improve your fastest sync speed. PocketWizard does a great job walking you through the steps using the utility to get the best performance. For a detailed look at Hypersync and the new Pocket Wizard Flex system, check out Rob Galbraith. The tech at Pocket Wizard told me highest sync speeds will vary depending on camera used. Boy were they right.
Using my D3, I was able to only get to 1/500 before clipping occurred. This is faster than the 1/200 I normally get when using my Ranger, but not by much. So I decided to try my D300s, and what a surprise. I was able to get 1/2000 and much faster sync speeds.
Since the S Freelite heads have a slower flash duration, these are better to use than the A heads which have a faster flash duration. The longer flash burst allows Hypersync to time the shutter/flash better for faster sync speeds.
I’ll admit I am so excited about this that I just got my PocketWizards today, and spent 3 hours running tests. My son volunteered to ride his bike as fast as he could down the street. This is only the beginning. I have shoots in the next week that I will further put Hypersync technology to the test. Maybe I can get a faster sync speed using my D3. For now the high speed sync dilemma in studio packs is solved. I can shoot at any speed I want on my D300s and still use my Ranger pack. Very exciting!
Top shot: Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 24-70mm, 1/2000 at F4. Elinchrom Ranger with one S head used. Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and ST4 used with Hypersync calibrated.
Bottom shot: Nikon D300s, 24-70mm, ISO 200, 1/8000 at F5. Elinchrom Ranger with S head used, Pocket Wizard Flex MiniTT1 and ST4 used with Hypersync calibrated.